Unblock iPlayer outside the UK (watch abroad, in the US, anywhere)

Last updated by   Nwachukwu Glory
Want to unblock iPlayer outside the UK and watch BBC programs abroad? A VPN is all you need. This article quickly explains how to do it.

Online streaming is on a dramatic rise all around the world. But it seems geo-blocking and media streaming go hand-in-hand.

People often connect to the internet to stream music, movies, live shows, TV Programs, and so on. However, more and more streaming platforms are deploying Geo-Blocking technologies to restrict access outside a particular region. This causes a lot of frustration for so many people as they become unable to stream their favorite content.

BBC iPlayer is one such restrictive streaming platform. While it offers lots of streaming content from the BBC library, both new and old, it deploys geo-blocking technology and restricts viewers outside the UK.

But just because you’re not in the UK does not mean you shouldn’t have access to your favorite streaming platform. This guide explains how to unblock BBC iPlayer outside the UK with simple and effective methods.

Stream BBC iPlayer anywhere with a VPN – Quick guide

In a rush to start streaming your favorite iPlayer TV shows? Here is a quick guide for unblocking iPlayer and watch it in the US or anywhere in the world you want:

  • Subscription to a quality VPN service. My number one recommendation is ExpressVPN.
  • Download and install the VPN application on your Windows PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, or Android.
  • Pick a UK server and connect.
  • Go to BBC iPlayer and sign in to your account.
  • You should have the iPlayer unblocked now. Enjoy your favorite BBC iPlayer content.

Why can’t I stream BBC iPlayer overseas?

BBC iPlayer is a content-rich platform offering a variety of interesting TV shows. It is a subscription-based service from BBC that aims at serving the people in the UK.

Like most other streaming, BBC iPlayer also applies geo-restrictions to its content. Although numerous attempts were made in the past to expand iPlayer availability, it all couldn’t succeed. Hence, today, iPlayer is available as a typical UK-exclusive streaming platform. Unfortunately, it means that you won’t be able to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK.

While this may be disappointing, it is even more frustrating for the iPlayer subscribers who cannot watch their favorite programs only because they have moved outside the UK boundaries. However, with the right tools, you can change the IP country and watch iPlayer in America or any other country.

Can I unblock iPlayer abroad?

Unblock iPlayer outside UK in US

Since BBC pays for its UK TV rights, it restricts viewers from other locations to access the streaming platform.

But as a legit subscriber to the service, you may want to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK, which is understandable. Nonetheless, the only workaround the BBC recommends for users is to download programs offline in the UK before moving abroad.

Of course, this isn’t a permanent solution to the problem since you’ll be missing out on all the latest episodes.

So, the good news is that you can watch iPlayer by the BBC outside the UK the same way you did back home. You have a couple of methods for this, including free proxy websites and SmartDNS services.

But the most reliable tool to break the robust geo-blocking technology of BBC iPlayer is a VPN. That’s because a VPN helps you mask your IP location with full security. Thus, you can easily unblock any blocked platform at your place by spoofing your location to a country where that site is available.

Best VPNs to unblock BBC iPlayer outside the UK

Although, there is no shortage of VPN services online that help protect your online privacy. But finding a strong VPN that can bypass the content filtering technology of the BBC iPlayer can be challenging.

That’s because BBC deploys a state-of-the-art technology for geo-blocking that even blocks proxies, unblockers, and most VPN services. Hence, you cannot randomly pick any VPN service to access BBC iPlayer in the US or anywhere else.

So how can I find such a VPN? I hear you ask. Don’t worry. You can go through this guide about the best UK VPNs to find the one that best meets your needs. Yet, if you want some quick recommendations, here I elaborate on the three best VPNs that let you unblock BBC iPlayer anywhere.

1. ExpressVPN


Key features:

  • Blazing-fast connection speed
  • Over 3000 servers across 94 countries
  • No buffering
  • Blocks intrusive cookies
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 30 days money-back guarantee
  • Offers split tunneling
  • Disables ISP internet throttling

Look no further if you desire a VPN that offers reliability and speed. ExpressVPN executes with blazing speed and is the number one choice for accessing BBC iPlayer in the US or anywhere globally.

It has multiple servers in the UK, which would enable you to connect to a range of iPlayer-compatible servers, giving you several choices.

With ExpressVPN, you can be in the US or any part of the world and connect to a server in the UK. The provider supports UDP and TCP; it enforces a strict zero log policy and allows you to stream your favorite programs on BBC iPlayer without any buffering issues.

It’s not all that ExpressVPN offers; the VPN service has a friendly technical support team that is available to extend a helping hand 24/7. Should anything go wrong, they help you fix issues and ensure a flawless user experience.

ExpressVPN would not only bypass BBC iPlayer geo-blocking technology, but it would also stop your ISP from throttling your internet. Furthermore, it ensures you remain anonymous on the internet, protects you from hackers, spyware, and cookies, which can intrude into your privacy.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN Best VPNs for Netflix 600x300

Key features:

  • Offers 30 days money-back guarantee
  • Blocks cookies, stops internet throttling
  • Anti-DDoS attacks
  • 24 hours a week customer support
  • Extremely dedicated and attentive customer service
  • Intuitive and friendly user interface
  • Fast content streaming

When you think about reputable VPNs, NordVPN comes to mind in a flash. Think about speed, dynamism, and multiple servers in the UK; NordVPN has them all and stands head and shoulder above lots of VPNs out there on the internet.

It has more than 400 servers in the UK and many other servers worldwide (over 5000 in total). They keep on improving on their services to outdo BBC iPlayer geo-blocking technologies.

The provider offers excellent connection speed, blocks out intrusive and dangerous cookies, ensures system information privacy, and gives you a second to none good user experience.

Furthermore, the provider offers pro-active chat support, and its content unblocking technology is highly resilient and adaptable. All these features would enable you to gain access to BBC iPlayer outside the UK easily.

NordVPN has anti-DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) technology. A DDoS attack uses botnets to attack a device or a service and makes its resources unavailable. It overwhelms a service with colossal traffic to shut it down. NordVPN is one of the best VPNs that can offer an effective and reliable anti-DDoS system.

3. Surfshark

SurfShark 600x300

Key features:

  • Great connection speeds
  • Over 3200 servers in 65 countries
  • Blocks intrusive cookies
  • Offers split tunneling
  • Offers MultiHop (double VPN)
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Protects users from ads and malware

BBC iPlayer deploys a notorious anti VPN system to enforce the geo-blocking mechanism. Using a random VPN may not provide a solution for you because iPlayer technology can detect some IPs related to a VPN and block them.

Surfshark is among the few reliable VPNs out there that can bypass the BBC iPlayer geo-blocking mechanism.

It is an all-around VPN that is great for torrenting and anonymous browsing. It has good customer support, reliable service, and good connection speed as well.

The provider has multiple servers in the UK, which would allow you to unblock iPlayer abroad. Furthermore, Surfshark is one of the cheapest but most efficient premium VPNs you can find on the internet.

Features to consider in a VPN for BBC iPlayer

There are lots of VPNs out there on the internet, but not all can bypass the geo-blocking technology of BBC iPlayer. Some of them are slow and cannot bypass geo-restrictions with the desired speeds, whereas others do not offer adequate security.

So, before spending your money, you need to make sure that your chosen provider is strong enough to support iPlayer streaming.

Here are the essential features to look out for before selecting a BBC iPlayer VPN.

  • UK Servers: This is an essential feature to consider before opting for any provider. A VPN service that boasts UK servers would mask your location outside of the UK and make it seem you are physically located in the UK.
  • Connection Speed: A VPN must have an excellent connection speed to enable you to have a smooth streaming experience. You would want a high definition (HD) quality that would not buffer when streaming on BBC iPlayer. Some VPNs would significantly slow down your connection, while others would speed it up.
  • Anonymous Browsing: The BBC iPlayer geo-blocking technology can detect some IPs related to a VPN and block them. Your VPN should be able to keep you anonymous so that you don’t get noticed and blocked. It should also provide top-notch security against hackers, cookies, spyware, and so on.
  • Customer support: BBC iPlayer technology blocks VPN connection as soon as it detects one. Therefore you need a service that is available 24/7 to provide customer support and assign an undetected IP to you should a need arises.

Unblock BBC iPlayer overseas: a step-by-step guide

Until now, you must have decided about which VPN service you should subscribe to, haven’t you?

So, without further ado, here I quickly list how to start streaming BBC iPlayer outside UK with a VPN.

  • Create an account with your chosen VPN provider.
  • Download the respective VPN app on your device where you wish to stream iPlayer.
  • Open the app and sign in to your account.
  • Connect to a fast-speed UK server. Your VPN provider may also offer dedicated streaming servers. If you can connect to such a server optimized for streaming iPlayer, that’ll be great.
  • Come out of the VPN app without disconnecting.
  • Using your web browser, visit this IP checker tool to make sure your UK IP address is working fine.
  • Head on to the BBC iPlayer website, sign in to your account, and start streaming your favorite show.

How to download the BBC iPlayer app outside the UK?

After you have subscribed to a robust VPN, the next step is downloading the respective VPN client on your mobile device. Once done, you can then proceed to download BBC iPlayer app. Here’s how to do it.

on iOS:

  • Sign out of your iCloud account.
  • Click on your user name in the setting window located at the top of the screen.
  • Scroll down (till the bottom of the page) and click on Sign out.
  • Open your VPN application and connect to a server in the UK.
  • Create a new iCloud account and select the UK as your location. (Please note that you cannot access data that sits in your old account after creating a new one.)
  • Go to the Apple Store.
  • Search and download the BBC iPlayer app.
  • Sign up for your preferred subscription plan. Sign in if you already have an iPlayer account.
  • Start streaming.

On Android:

  • Download and install a VPN.
  • Start the VPN application and connect to a UK server.
  • Change your Google Play region to the UK from the Settings tab. (You can go through this detailed guide on changing Google Play country if you want to learn the procedure.)
  • Click on Apps (available in the Settings tab).
  • Look for Google play store and long-press it.
  • Click on Force stop.
  • Next, you need to clear all the Google Play Store data. Go to device storage and click on Google Play Store; click on Clear Data.
  • Open Play store and search for BBC iPlayer application.
  • Sign-up for a subscription plan, or sign in, and start streaming iPlayer on your Android device.

How can I watch UK TV abroad?

You can unblock any UK TV abroad, just like BBC iPlayer with a reputable VPN. Deploy a powerful VPN on your device to watch any UK TV that applies a geo-content blocking mechanism.

Not only it helps you bypass geo-restrictions, but a VPN can also serve a range of other purposes; masking your location is one of the primary ones. It means, with a VPN connection, you can spoof your online location and browse the internet like you are in a different area.

This becomes possible because VPN providers have servers in various parts of the world. Connecting to any of these servers would assign an IP address to you different from your location. So, once you connect to the internet via a UK server, you get a UK IP address. Hence, you can watch BBC iPlayer and other UK TV abroad.

Best shows to watch on BBC iPlayer

If you aren’t familiar with the UK library of iPlayer, then here are a few interesting TV shows you should consider watching.

  • Killing Eve
  • Doctor Who
  • His Dark Materials
  • Bloodlands
  • Planet Earth
  • Normal People
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Our Girl
  • A Suitable Boy
  • Zapped
  • Heroes

Wrapping up

BBC iPlayer offers a lot of exciting and in-demand streaming content. It is subscription-based and is not available for people outside of the UK. It deploys a notoriously strong geo-blocking and anti-VPN technology, which most VPNs fail to bypass.

There are many VPN services on the internet, but most of them are already blocked by BBC iPlayer geo-blocking technology. iPlayer’s content blocking system keeps on upgrading and continuing to crack down on the use of a VPN. That means merely getting a UK IP address from any provider in the wild won’t let you unblock your favorite iPlayer content.

However, reputable providers such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark can let you unblock iPlayer by evading its content restriction technology and help you stream content from outside the UK.

Watching iPlayer in the US or anywhere worldwide is no rocket science. Use one of the VPNs mentioned above to change your location to the UK and subscribe to BBC iPlayer to start streaming.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it legal to use VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer?
Is there any BBC iPlayer free VPN to help?
Is it fine to use a proxy to stream iPlayer?
My ISP throttles my internet when watching iPlayer. What to do?
Can I unblock BBC iPlayer UK in Australia?
Can I listen to iPlayer Radio abroad?

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About the author

Nwachukwu Glory
Nwachukwu Glory

Nwachukwu Glory is a writer, blogger, and tech nerd. She loves trying new gadgets that make life more fun ( and easier). Glory is passionate about digital security and privacy alongside browsing the World Wide Web without any limitations.


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