BBC iPlayer not working with VPN: How to fix the problem (2023 guide)

BBC iPlayer serves up a load of on-demand TV shows and films, allowing you to enjoy the latest releases from the comfort of your sofa. However, it’s geo-restricted, which means you might have trouble using BBC iPlayer outside the UK. You can enjoy iPlayer abroad using a VPN, but what if your current VPN isn’t working correctly? Our guide will help you solve the problem.

In our no-nonsense guide, we explain how you can use BBC iPlayer while travelling without being hit by errors. If your current VPN isn’t working, that probably means the BBC has blacklisted the server you’re trying to connect with. You won’t be able to use your streaming account until you’re back in the UK. Our guide will help you get back up and running.

In this article:


How to use BBC iPlayer abroad: quick guide

  1. Get ExpressVPN (£5.57+), Ivacy (£0.80+), NordVPN (£2.49+), Atlas VPN (£1.21+) or PureVPN ($1.41+)
  2. Open the VPN and connect to a server based in the UK
  3. Sign in to your BBC iPlayer account
  4. Use BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world

Why is BBC iPlayer not working with my VPN?

Here’s the simple answer: BBC iPlayer isn’t working with your VPN because you’re trying to use the website from a restricted territory (outside of the UK) and the website knows it. A superior VPN can help you solve that problem.

Try these fixes

Delete your browser cookies – Cookies stored on your device will help websites to understand where you’re accessing BBC iPlayer content from. By clearing your cookies, the BBC website will no longer recognise your previous IP address. In other words, you can try connecting again as a ‘new’ user.

Try connecting to a different VPN server – There’s a chance the VPN server you’re trying to use for iPlayer streaming is acting slower than usual, or it’s not working at all. If you can, try and connect yourself to a different server based in the UK to see if that solves your problem.

Contact your VPN’s support team – Depending on the VPN you’re using right now, you may be able to reach out to the support team directly and ask why iPlayer isn’t working. If you keep scrolling down this page, you’ll see that we’ve highlighted the VPNs that offer 24/7 live chat support.

Uninstall and reinstall your VPN software – Sounds like a simple move, but it’s worth a shot. In some cases, a quick reset of your VPN software can solve connectivity issues and give you access to BBC iPlayer.

If you’ve worked your way through the potential solutions above and still aren’t having any luck, then it’s time to sign up with a new, better VPN. Keep on scrolling as we round up a selection of our favourites, all proven to work with BBC iPlayer.

How does BBC iPlayer detect my VPN?

If your VPN isn’t very good and doesn’t hide your location 100% of the time, the BBC will blacklist the server you’re using, which means your VPN is useless. Bad VPNs take a long time to replace blacklisted servers, which means you have no way of gaining access to films and TV shows streaming on the iPlayer website.

On the other hand, the best VPNs we’ve seen do a brilliant job of replacing blacklisted servers. That means that even if the BBC disables a server, a replacement will be up sooner rather than later.

Free VPNs for BBC iPlayer

If you’re trying to save yourself some money, free VPNs can be a real temptation. But our advice is to steer clear – free VPNs are more likely to sell your data to third parties in order to make a profit. In contrast, the trusted VPNs we’ve listed on this page will keep your valuable data hidden at all times.

The best VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2023

ExpressVPN

Use ExpressVPN to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK
Number of servers worldwide160 in 94 countries
Bandwidth allowanceUnlimited
24/7 live chat serviceYes
Number of devices supported at once
5

If the VPN you’re using at the moment refuses to work with BBC iPlayer, consider switching to ExpressVPN. We’ll happily recommend this VPN time and time again – it’s easy to use, speedy and works well if you’re looking to access iPlayer outside the UK.

ExpressVPN does a very good job of replacing its blacklisted servers when needed. That means that, even if iPlayer temporarily disables incoming connections, the VPN will have a replacement server up and running in no time. To access your account, all you need to do is open up ExpressVPN, connect to a server based in the UK and go from there.

This VPN keeps your real IP address hidden around the clock, so websites won’t know you’re accessing content from abroad. Every ExpressVPN member has access to servers in over 90 countries around the world. ExpressVPN works on a range of different devices including Mac, PC, Android or iOS.

Try ExpressVPN with our unique discount code (30-day money-back guarantee)


NordVPN

Use NordVPN to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK
Number of servers worldwide5,200+ in 59 countries
Bandwidth allowanceUnlimited
24/7 live chat serviceYes
Number of devices supported at once 6

Here’s another VPN that lets you enjoy BBC iPlayer outside the UK. NordVPN has servers dotted across the globe and all of them are protected using military-grade encryption. With NordVPN’s enhanced encryption technology, you can even stay safe on public wi-fi networks without speeds being affected.

NordVPN’s servers are super secure and you can connect without handing over your valuable personal data. This trusted VPN never keeps track of how you’re using the service and which websites you’re visiting, so privacy is guaranteed. You can try NordVPN’s CyberSec feature, which blocks suspicious-looking websites and therefore reduces the risk of your device being infected with data-grabbing malware.

Connecting to a server using NordVPN is simple stuff. To watch BBC iPlayer abroad, pick a country that you’d like to connect through (in this case, the UK) or hit the Quick Connect button and get connected to the best server for you. If you need help at any time, you can use NordVPN’s 24/7 live chat service.

Try NordVPN with our unique discount code (30-day money-back guarantee)


Ivacy

    Use Ivacy to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK
    Number of servers worldwide5,700 in 100+ locations
    Bandwidth allowanceUnlimited
    24/7 live chat serviceYes
    Number of devices supported at once 10

    Ivacy works well with the iPlayer website and it’s a solid option if you don’t want to spend lots of money on a VPN. It’s built to support 256-bit encryption, which keeps cybercriminals at bay, plus you get public wi-fi security that protects against malware if you’re connecting to a hotspot in a public area.

    Crucially, you can use Ivacy to access geo-restricted websites such as BBC iPlayer without anybody knowing about it. That’s thanks to Ivacy’s strict no-logs policy, which prevents your valuable personal data from being sold to sinister third parties.

    This is one of the most popular VPNs proven to work with BBC iPlayer. You’ll have access to over 3,000 VPN servers across the globe. A single subscription has you covered on up to 10 different devices at once. To sweeten the deal, Ivacy’s internet kill switch will keep you hidden even if your connection drops without warning.

    Try Ivacy with our unique discount code (30-day money-back guarantee)

    For more on Ivacy, you can read our full Ivacy review.


    Atlas VPN

    Use Atlas VPN to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK
    Number of servers worldwide 750+
    Bandwidth allowanceDoes not limit bandwidth per user
    24/7 live chat serviceYes
    Number of devices supported at once Unlimited

    Atlas VPN is your shield against online threats and also unlocks geo-restricted content hosted on iPlayer for you. It’s a good pick if you’re on a tight budget and comes with a built-in tracker blocker that eliminates ads, suspicious websites and phishing links. Atlas VPN is a good choice if you want to watch BBC iPlayer anywhere in the world.

    Other handy Atlas VPN features include a shielded connection that leaves ‘no room for unsecured data exchanges’, alongside a data breach monitor that lets you know if your personal details have been exposed online. Atlas VPN has a strict no-logs policy, plus a network kill switch that halts the service if your connection becomes unstable.

    Atlas VPN hosts over 700 servers around the world. Clicking the ‘Connect’ button automatically picks the best one for you according to distance, download speed and latency. Then, you can start watching iPlayer shows wherever you are in the world. This VPN supports unlimited devices and works on both desktop and mobile.

    Members get access to a 24-hour live support service. If you encounter a technical problem or have any questions, you can reach out to a real person and get the problem sorted. Give Atlas VPN a try and watch iPlayer without encountering region-based error messages.

    Try Atlas VPN today with our exclusive code (30-day money-back guarantee)


    PureVPN

    Use PureVPN to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK
    Number of servers worldwide 6,500+ in over 78 countries
    Bandwidth allowanceDoes not limit bandwidth per user
    24/7 live chat serviceYes
    Number of devices supported at once 10

    If your current VPN doesn’t work with the iPlayer website, move over to a better service. PureVPN is a great example as it’s powerful enough to bypass geo-locked websites and services so you can enjoy BBC shows without a fuss. You’ll be able to log in to your iPlayer account even if you’ve roamed outside of the UK.

    Aside from iPlayer, PureVPN also works with ITV Hub, Hulu and Amazon Prime. There are over 6,000 super-secure PureVPN servers based in over 70 different countries.

    Try PureVPN with our unique discount code (31-day money-back guarantee)

    Prices listed above correct at time of publication

    How to watch BBC iPlayer on Windows

    If you want to watch BBC iPlayer shows on your Windows PC, just run through the steps we’ve listed below.

    1. Pick one of our recommended VPNs and sign up – let’s use ExpressVPN for this example.
    2. Once you’ve created your ExpressVPN account, sign in using your username and password.
    3. From your Windows device, open ExpressVPN and select a server located in the UK.
    4. Once you’re connected to that server, head to the BBC iPlayer website.
    5. Log in to your BBC iPlayer account and enjoy on Windows from anywhere in the world!

    Watch BBC iPlayer on Mac

    If you want to watch BBC shows on your Mac, just run through the steps we’ve listed below.

    1. Pick one of our recommended VPNs and create your account – we’ll use ExpressVPN for this example.
    2. Once you’ve created your ExpressVPN account, sign in using your username and password.
    3. From your Mac, open ExpressVPN and select a server located in the UK.
    4. Once connected, head to the BBC iPlayer website.
    5. Log in to your BBC account and enjoy on Mac from anywhere in the world!

    How to watch BBC iPlayer on iPhone

    If you want to watch BBC iPlayer shows on your iPhone, just run through the steps we’ve listed below.

    1. Head to the Apple App Store from your iPhone.
    2. Download the ExpressVPN app to your device.
    3. Download the BBC iPlayer app to your device – it’s on the Apple App Store.
    4. Sign in to your ExpressVPN account, and then connect to a server based in the UK.
    5. Now that you’re connected to a VPN, open the BBC iPlayer app and log in to your account.
    6. Enjoy BBC iPlayer on iPhone from anywhere in the world!

    Watch BBC iPlayer on Android

    If you want to watch BBC shows on your Android, just run through the steps we’ve listed below.

    1. Head to the Google Play Store from your Android tablet or smartphone.
    2. Download the ExpressVPN app to your device.
    3. Download the BBC iPlayer app to your device – it’s on the Google Play Store.
    4. Sign in to your ExpressVPN account, and then connect to a server based in the UK.
    5. Now that you’re connected to a VPN, open the BBC iPlayer app and log in to your account.
    6. Enjoy BBc iPlayer on Android from anywhere in the world!

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