How to Unblock iPlayer Outside the UK (Abroad in 2024)

Nwachukwu Glory  - Tech Expert
Last updated: January 15, 2024
Read time: 18 minutes

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.


BBC iPlayer is a popular streaming site serving UK citizens, featuring loads of exciting movies, TV shows, and more. Unfortunately, the platform’s geo-restricted availability is often disappointing for its subscribers traveling abroad as they lose access to their favorite media due to a location change. Nonetheless, a robust streaming VPN can help users unblock iPlayer anywhere outside the UK.

BBC iPlayer is one such restrictive streaming platform, offering lots of streaming content from the BBC library, both new and old. However, 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 watching it in the US or anywhere in the world you want:

  1. Subscribe to a quality VPN service. Our number one recommendation is NordVPN.
  2. Download and install the VPN application on your device.
  3. Pick a UK server and connect to it.
  4. Go to BBC iPlayer and sign in to your account.
  5. 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 exciting TV shows. It is a subscription-based service from BBC that aims to serve the UK’s people.

Like most streaming services, BBC iPlayer also applies geo-restrictions to its content. Although numerous attempts were made earlier to expand iPlayer availability, none could succeed. Hence, today, iPlayer is available as a typical UK-exclusive streaming platform. Consequently, you can’t watch BBC iPlayer outside the United Kingdom boundaries.

While this is disappointing for binge-watchers, 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 easily 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 from accessing 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 strategy the BBC recommends for users is downloading programs offline in the UK before moving abroad.

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

So, the good news is that you can still watch iPlayer by the BBC outside the UK the way you did back home using some workarounds. 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 total security. Thus, you can easily unblock any blocked platform at your place by spoofing your online location to a country where that site is available.

Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer – Our hands-on review

Simultaneous connections6Unlimited8
Average speed (UK) 100+ Mbps100+ Mbps100+ Mbps
Supported DevicesmacOS, Windows, Linux, Android, iOSmacOS, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TVmacOS, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Routers, Smart TVs
Best deal (per month)$2.99 Save up to 69% + 3 months free$1.99 Save 82% + 4 months free$6.67 Save 49% + Get 3 months free

Best VPNs to unblock BBC iPlayer outside the UK

Although, there is no shortage of VPN services online that protect your privacy. However, finding a solid 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? We 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 are the three best VPNs based on our tests that let you unblock BBC iPlayer anywhere.

1. NordVPN

NordVPN for Streaming

With over 440 servers offering UK IPs, NordVPN is the best choice to unblock UK content anywhere, including BBC iPlayer. It’s stable and fast connectivity is another add-on for smooth streaming.

servers 6,000+ servers in 60 countries
P2P optimized servers Supports P2P sharing
encryption AES-256-bit encryption
Zero-logs policy Zero-logs policy
Kill switch Kill switch
MultiHop mode Double VPN
tor compatible Tor compatible
Split tunneling feature Customizable split tunneling
protection DNS/IPv6 leak protection
simultaneous connections Allows up to 6 simultaneous devices
money-back guarantee 30-day 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
  • Desktop connections are slow sometimes

When you look for reputable VPNs, NordVPN comes up in a flash. Think about speed, dynamism, and multiple servers in the UK; NordVPN has them all and stands out from all other VPNs on the internet.

It has over 440 servers in the UK and many other servers worldwide (over 6,000 in total). They keep on improving their services to outdo BBC iPlayer geo-blocking technologies.

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

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

2. Surfshark


It has multiple servers offering 3 different UK locations. This choice of IPs empowers Surfshark to resist VPN detection and unblock iPlayer seamlessly.

servers 3,200+ servers in 100 countries
encryption AES-256-bit encryption
P2P optimized servers P2P support
MultiHop mode MultiHop mode
protection DNS leak protection
Kill switch Automatic kill switch
Zero-logs policy Zero-logs policy
Split tunneling feature Split tunneling
Camouflage mode Camouflage Mode
simultaneous connections Unlimited simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee 30-day money back guarantee
  • Great connection speeds
  • Blocks intrusive cookies
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Protects users from ads and malware
  • Distant servers may be slow

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

Surfshark is among the few reliable VPNs that 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.

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 online.

3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN new features block logo 120 by 120 now

This industry-veteran offers UK IP addresses from 4 UK cities. Thus, it not only unblocks BBC iPlayer, but also lets you stream other UK sites across the globe.

servers 3,000+ servers in 94 countries
encryption AES-256-bit encryption
protection DNS/IPv6 leak protection
P2P optimized servers P2P servers
network lock feature Network Lock feature
Trusted servers nord TrustedServer technology
Zero-logs policy Strict zero-logs policy
Split tunneling feature Split tunneling
simultaneous connections Allows up to 5 devices simultaneously
money-back guarantee 30-day money back guarantee
  • Blazing-fast connection speed
  • No buffering
  • Blocks intrusive cookies
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Disables ISP internet throttling
  • Slightly costly than the market average

Look no further if you desire a VPN that offers reliability and speed. ExpressVPN has it all.

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

With ExpressVPN, you can connect to a server in the UK when in the US or any other country. 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 can extend a helping hand 24/7. They help you fix issues and ensure a flawless user experience if anything goes wrong.

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 online and protects you from hackers, spyware, and cookies, which can intrude on your privacy.

Features to consider in a VPN for BBC iPlayer

There are many VPNs on the internet, but not all can bypass the geo-blocking technology of BBC iPlayer. In addition, some are slow and cannot evade geo-restrictions with the desired speeds, whereas others do not offer adequate security.

So, before spending your money, you must ensure your chosen provider is strong enough to support iPlayer streaming.

Here are the essential features to consider 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 your connection, while others would speed it up.
  • Anonymous Browsing: The BBC iPlayer geo-blocking technology can detect and block some IPs related to a VPN. 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, etc.
  • Customer support: BBC iPlayer technology blocks VPN connection as soon as it detects one. Therefore, you need a service available 24/7 to provide customer support and assign an undetected IP to you should a need arise.

VPNs you should not use with BBC iPlayer

Now that you know the best VPNs to access iPlayer anywhere, you may wonder if there are any services that you should avoid. So here we list some of those VPNs that you should steer clear of when accessing iPlayer. It’s not that all of the following are bad. Instead, they aren’t robust enough to bypass the harsh BBC iPlayer restrictions. But, at the same time, some others are not good for online privacy at all.

  • Betternet
  • SuperVPN
  • EarthVPN
  • OverPlay
  • Perfect Privacy
  • Hide.Me

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

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

So, without further ado, here is how to start streaming BBC iPlayer outside the 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 a server optimized for streaming iPlayer.
  • Come out of the VPN app without disconnecting.
  • Using your web browser, visit our IP checker tool to ensure your UK IP address works fine.
  • Head to the BBC iPlayer website, sign in to your account, and stream your favorite show.

How to sign up for BBC iPlayer

Like most streaming platforms, BBC iPlayer signup is straightforward. Here are the steps for signing up for BBC iPlayer:

  1. Navigate to BBC iPlayer’s website and click on the ‘Sign in’ button on the top left corner of the homepage.
  2. If you don’t have an account, click on the Register Now tab at the bottom.
  3. Choose your age group.
  4. Enter your date of birth.
  5. Then, enter your email address and generate a password for your account. You also need to fill in the country and postal code. Look up London postal codes on the internet.

After filling in the blanks, tap on the ‘Register’ button. You will get a verification email with a link to click to finish the process.

How to download the BBC iPlayer app outside the UK?

After subscribing 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 at the screen’s top.
  • Scroll down (till the bottom of the page) and click 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 while accepting iPlayer’s terms of service. Sign in if you already have an iPlayer account.
  • Start streaming.

On Android:

  • Download and install a BBC iPlayer 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 review 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 tap on it.
  • Click on the “Force stop” button.
  • Next, you need to clear all the Google Play Store data. Find the “Storage” option on the same screen and click “Clear Storage.”
  • Open the Play Store and search for the BBC iPlayer application.
  • Sign-up for a subscription plan or sign in, and start streaming iPlayer on your Android device.

How to watch BBC iPlayer for free?

Although watching BBC iPlayer for free, using free VPNs is not a smart option. This is because free VPNs are suspicious, slow down your internet connection, and make money by selling user data to third parties.

Nevertheless, if you must use free VPNs to save money, we recommend utilizing trustworthy services such as Proton VPN and Atlas VPN.  

On the other hand, you may try the best VPNs on the market that offer top-notch services by taking advantage of their free trials and no-question-asked money-back guarantee. For instance:

  • NordVPN: With a buffer-free experience, this VPN service unblocks popular streaming services like BBC iPlayer. It costs $2.99/month and includes a risk-free 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Surfshark: This VPN provider unblocks BBC iPlayer shows in HD on unlimited devices at once. Moreover, its plans start at a low cost of $1.99/month and offer a no-question-asked 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • ExpressVPN: A reputable VPN service provider that unblocks all major streaming platforms seamlessly. Its pricing starts at $6.67/month and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.

Watch BBC iPlayer on your device

Stream BBC iPlayer on Roku

To watch BBC iPlayer on Roku, you must have a Roku UK account and the BBC iPlayer app. The app is available in Roku’s Channel Store.

Follow the steps below to stream BBC iPlayer on Roku abroad:

  1. Reset your Roku gadget.
  2. Configure a reputable VPN provider, such as NordVPN, on your router.
  3. Connect to a server in the UK.
  4. Link the Roku gadget to your TV and sign in to your account.
  5. Navigate to Roku’s Channel Store, search, and begin installing the BBC iPlayer program.
  6. After installation, launch the app and log in with your BBC iPlayer credentials.

Ensure you connect Roku to the VPN-configured router to access the BBC iPlayer content.

Get iPlayer on Apple TV

You have to adjust the App Store region to the UK to watch BBC iPlayer on your Apple TV while abroad. This is because BBC iPlayer is unavailable for Apple TV outside the UK.

Here are the steps to watch BBC iPlayer on an Apple TV outside the UK:

  1. Connect your Apple TV to your television.
  2. Go to the device’s settings and select the ‘Region’ tab. Navigate to General > Region.
  3. Choose the UK and provide all the required information.
  4. Navigate to the App Store, find the BBC iPlayer app, and install it.
  5. Download and set up your selected VPN on your router. We highly recommend NordVPN.
  6. Connect the Apple TV to the VPN-configured router.
  7. Launch the download BBC iPlayer application and sign in using your credentials.

Watch BBC iPlayer on Amazon Fire Stick

You can stream BBC iPlayer from abroad if you have an Amazon Fire Stick. Amazon offers the app directly, and installation is simple.

Here are the steps to stream BBC iPlayer on Amazon FireStick:

  1. Turn on your Amazon Fire Stick and go to the “Apps from unknown sources” section. The option can be found under Settings > Device > Developer Options. Ensure it is turned on.
  2. Download and install the downloader app if you don’t have it already.
  3. Subscribe to a top-notch VPN service like NordVPN and install its app.
  4. Launch the VPN app and select a UK server.
  5. Reboot the Amazon Firestick by enabling the “Apps from Unknown Sources” setting.
  6. Look for the BBC iPlayer application and start installing it.
  7. Open the BBC iPlayer application and log in using your credentials.
  8. Start streaming BBC iPlayer on Fire Stick!

We recommend creating a UK Amazon account to stream BBC iPlayer on Amazon Fire Stick without any issues.

Stream BBC iPlayer on smart TVs

Here’s what you have to do to watch BBC iPlayer on a smart TV outside the UK:

  1. Change the region of your smart TV to the UK. The instructions for this process are available on your TV brand’s official website.
  2. Download and configure a VPN client on your router. We recommend NordVPN.
  3. Connect your Smart TV to the VPN-configured router.
  4. Search for the BBC iPlayer smart TV app and add it to your channel list.
  5. Launch the BBC TV app and log in.
  6. Begin streaming your favorite TV shows!

Watch BBC iPlayer on Chromecast

You may cast BBC iPlayer shows to your Chromecast using the BBC iPlayer app on your iOS and Android devices or the Chrome browser on desktops and PCs with the Chromecast extension enabled.

Here are the steps on how to watch BBC iPlayer on Chromecast from abroad with an iOS or Android gadget:

  1. Download and configure a premium VPN service, such as NordVPN, on your router.
  2. Select a UK server.
  3. Launch the BBC iPlayer app on your gadget.
  4. Search for a show title, open it, and wait for the cast icon to display.
  5. Tap on the cast icon to start streaming your favorite show on TV.

On the other hand, if you wish to cast from a PC or desktop, follow these steps:

  1. Download and configure a trustworthy VPN provider on your router.
  2. Pick a VPN server based in the UK.
  3.  Enable the Chromecast extension. Download and install it if you don’t have it.
  4. Navigate to and sign in with your BBC iPlayer credentials.
  5. Select a show’s title and tap on the cast icon.

Connect both the Chromecast device and BBC iPlayer to the router where the VPN is configured before casting BBC iPlayer.

Does your VPN fail to unblock BBC iPlayer? Here’s how to fix it!

Most VPNs recommended above are capable of unblocking iPlayer anytime, anywhere. However, you may sometimes find it failing to access the streaming platform on one or all of your devices. Such failures indicate that iPlayer technology has somehow detected your VPN use and has blocked your app. So now, you need to fix the glitch and regain online anonymity to access the platform.

But how would you do that? Here’s a quick review of the most common iPlayer streaming issues and the corresponding troubleshooting tips.

  • Try a different server. Often, one of the VPN servers may disconnect in the middle, eventually leaking your IP address. Or, the VPN provider may have to take down a server following detection. Switching to a different server from the exact location can quickly fix the problem.
  • Clear device cookies and cache. They are the biggest spies on your device (computer or a mobile phone), exposing your IP address and location. Clearing cookies and cached data let you re-access iPlayer quickly with a VPN.
  • Flush DNS cache. Like browser cookies and cached data, DNS cache may also be a reason for blocked iPlayer access. However, it isn’t difficult to fix either. For Windows users, open the command prompt, type “ipconfig/flushdns” (in the space with the blinking cursor in front of your username), and press Enter. Mac users can visit this Apple support article to find the instructions for their OSX version.
  • Install VPN on your router. If none of the above fixes work for you, you might have to secure your home network with a VPN to prevent IP leaks. For this, consider setting up the VPN on your router. Once done, you could then stream BBC iPlayer unrestricted on any device.

Best shows to watch on BBC iPlayer

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

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


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.

Many VPN services are on the internet, but most are already blocked by BBC iPlayer geo-blocking technology. iPlayer’s content blocking system keeps upgrading and continuing to crack down on using a VPN. Unfortunately, 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 NordVPN, ExpressVPN, 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.


While BBC doesn’t encourage using proxies or VPNs, there haven’t been any notable instances where a service had blocked a user merely for using a VPN. So, if VPNs aren’t illegal in your country, you can safely use them to watch iPlayer. However, ensure a valid TV license to use BBC iPlayer. The country has included streaming platforms in the TV license fee.

Most free VPNs do not offer robust services to resist the VPN blocking attempts from iPlayer. Hence, they can’t help you unblock this streaming platform abroad. So, instead of looking for a free VPN, consider investing in a good paid VPN that assures unblocking iPlayer anywhere (like the recommended ones).

BBC iPlayer mandates all users to have a valid UK TV license to access the platform. Indeed, considering how the platform typically targets the UK audience, having such a requirement makes perfect sense. But it can be annoying for a foreign iPlayer content consumer.

However, fortunately, BBC iPlayer does not require users to submit verification proof for license ownership. Instead, it only asks users to check the “I have a TV license” option when accessing the platform. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about this aspect when sitting abroad. Simply masking your IP address with a UK IP (with a VPN, for example) and checking this option would suffice to unblock BBC iPlayer anywhere outside the UK.

No. At first, proxies, like free VPNs, can’t evade blocking attempts from the service. So, they can’t help you access iPlayer anywhere. Secondly, they do not offer adequate online security. Therefore, you should risk your privacy by using proxies for streaming.

Use a VPN. It isn’t only good to access blocked websites and hide IP addresses. Instead, hiding your online activities from your ISP works great. Thus, when your service provider doesn’t know about your streaming activities, it can’t meddle with your internet speed.

Of course, you can. All you need is a strong VPN service offering UK servers. Once you install it on your device, connect to a UK server. Then head over to the iPlayer app or website. You will find the UK-exclusive content available to you. Turn off your VPN if you wish to revert to the local media library.

Not really. Like the video streaming platform, BBC iPlayer Radio is also unavailable outside the UK. If you attempt to access it, you’ll likely hear messages like “

” or “

” Again, though, this applies to the UK-exclusive content only. You can listen to the other programs permitted to air globally.

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About the Author

Nwachukwu Glory

Nwachukwu Glory

Tech Expert
61 Posts

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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