You can watch the BBC iPlayer on BBC website, or alternatively, you can download BBC iPlayer App, whichever you prefer. It allows you to watch both live TV, as well as some older content.
The point is, if you have a favorite UK TV show, you are likely to find it on BBC iPlayer. The same goes for sport events, documentaries, music, and a lot more. The iPlayer App is an invaluable resource for streaming contents.
The only problem is the fact that it is not available to anyone from outside of the UK. Not unless you use some sort of tool that can help you bypass these geo-restrictions. And that is what we are going to discuss in this guide on how to unblock BBC iPlayer, as well as how to watch iPlayer abroad. So let us begin.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Can’t You Access BBC iPlayer?
- 2 How Do Geo-Restrictions Work?
- 3 What Is A VPN?
- 4 Which VPN To Use?
- 5 How To Set Up A VPN And Access BBC iPlayer?
- 6 What About The UK TV License For BBC iPlayer?
- 7 Compatible Devices
- 8 Conclusion
Why Can’t You Access BBC iPlayer?
As mentioned, BBC iPlayer is geo-restricted. When some content is under geo-restriction, that means that only certain regions have access to it. In this case, you would have to live within the borders of the UK in order to access it.
This is done because of copyright issues, which force the service to only give access to the iPlayer to UK citizens. If you try to access BBC’s content from some other country, you will receive a notification that the service is not available for you.
In other words, the website knows where you are from, and that you don’t have the privilege of access.
How Do Geo-Restrictions Work?
IP addresses are different for every user, which means that everyone has their own, individual IP. You get your IP from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and to a regular person, they look like random numbers. However, when a website scans an IP, it gets an entire goldmine of information about you.
One piece of that info includes your real life location. Thanks to this, BBC Media Player knows that you are not a part of its legitimate audience, which is why you won’t get access to its content.
So basically, your IP address is the problem, and your IP address is the thing that you need to change. If you don’t, the story ends there, and you won’t access the iPlayer unless you go to the UK.
However, our goal is to explain how to watch iPlayer abroad, and the solution is to use a VPN.
What Is A VPN?
VPN is short for Virtual Private Networks. They are tools that were specially developed in order to increase your online safety and security. Since the internet is a dangerous place, filled with malicious content, hackers, and many different prying eyes, many have felt that protection is necessary.
The solution came in the shaped VPN providers, which do an amazing job when it comes to protecting their customers. They do so by hiding your data stream and protecting it with multiple security features.
There are many different VPNs out there, and each of them has their own way of doing this. They all provide different features, that eventually lead to the same goal, which is to protect you from harm.
However, what they all have in common are three biggest features, that every VPN out there has. These features are what defines VPNs, and what makes them different from other security tools.
- security protocols
- data encryption
- server networks.
These three features work together in order to make you safe and anonymous online, while their other features assist where they can.
The first line of defense against online threats are security protocols. They allow your VPN to form a secure tunnel around your data flow, which protects it from view or influence. While you have this tunnel, your data is safe and nobody can spy on your online activities, including your ISP.
The next layer of defense is data encryption. Since no security system is always perfect, it might happen for your secure tunnel to leak some of the data. If that happens, and you are doing something that you wish to stay private, you would end up in trouble. However, with strong encryption backing you up, even if your data does leak, those who collect it still won’t know what they are looking at.
Finally, there are server networks, which are especially interesting to us. Basically, VPNs have their own servers that are placed in countries around the world. They are interesting because when you access them, you get a new IP address. And it is not just any new IP, but one that is local to the area where the server is at.
This was first introduced as another layer of protection because all of your data, that usually would have been assigned to your IP now goes somewhere else. Basically, once you cut the connection to that server, there is nothing left to connect you to your online actions.
However, a useful side effect was soon discovered. That is the fact that you can use this method of changing your IP address to trick online services.
For instance, to watch BBC iPlayer all you need to do is change your IP by choosing a server based in the UK, and for the web you will appear like connecting from the UK even though you may be thousands of miles away. As a result, all the BBC iPlayer contents will be available to you.
Which VPN To Use?
We have already said that VPNs have become increasingly popular, which is because of the rise of privacy breaches, and security issues. At first, only major companies were using them in order to hide their business secrets from corporate spies that were intercepting them.
Soon enough, the rest of the people found out about them. Since then, hundreds upon hundreds of providers have started offering their services. This means that people are aware of the threats that are waiting for them online. That is a good thing. The bad thing is that there are way too many bad VPNs that you might start using.
If you use one of the bad ones while thinking that you are safe, you might end up in some serious problems. This is because not every VPN is the same. They differ in both, features that they offer, as well as a quality of their service.
So, the question is which one to use. And the answer is – it depends. Mostly, it depends on what you need a VPN for. In this case, and by that we mean accessing BBC Media Player or BBC iPlayer App, it is important to have one with several specific features.
- it must have good speeds, since you need it for streaming
- it also has to have a big server network, which would make sure that it offers a server in the UK
- t needs strong encryption and protocols, in order to hide what you are doing.
These are only top features that you need.
Luckily, you won’t have to go through hundreds of VPNs in order to find those that have this. We have already one it for you, and the result is five top VPN providers that we offer. Those are:
ExpressVPN is among the best and most popular providers in the VPN industry. It is among the fastest ones, and also among the most secure ones. It has an excellent reputation and offers many different features.
There are multiple protocols, strong encryptions, as well as servers in 77+ countries around the world. You can use it on all major systems, and pretty much any device that you can think of. Its software is also very easy to set up and use, and if you happen to run into some troubles, you can always contact its customer support.
You have 30 days before the money return guarantee runs out, which means that you have a whole month to decide whether you like it or not. As for its prices, they are very affordable, and you can pay in Bitcoin, or via PayPal, credit card, or debit card. All in all, it is a great VPN, and you won’t regret using it.
30-Days Money Back Guarantee
IPVanish is another great VPN with a lot of fans and a pretty good reputation. It has a bit less server locations than ExpressVPN, which includes around 60 countries. However, it has over 850 servers in those countries, which is over 40,000 IP addresses in total. And don’t worry, a couple of them are definitely British.
IPVanish keeps no logs, and it has great encryption, as well as several protocols. It also allows you 7 days of money back guarantee, but none of those are the reason why it is so impressive.
Its main feature is its incredible speed. This is easily the fastest provider on the market, or if not THE fastest, then it is definitely among them. Thanks to this amazing speed, it is perfect for streaming videos. Like the ones on a certain iPlayer, for example. Try it out and share your impressions.
7-day Money Back Guarantee
Next, we have NordVPN. This is a VPN that values safety and security above all else, which you can easily see from its features. It offers an extremely big network that consists of 981 servers located in 58 countries. It also has pretty fast connections, which is also great for what you need it for.
However, its main feature is actually closely connected to your protection. It is a special and very rare use of double encryption, which literally encrypts your data twice. Now, encryptions are rarely broken, especially the best ones like these VPNs use. But having two of them means that this provider probably has one of the best security systems that you will find.
Among its other features are simple and very well organized software, unlimited bandwidth, as well as a no logging policy. It also supports P2P file sharing and has a 30-day money back guarantee. There is not much more that one could ask of a VPN.
30-day Money Back Guarantee
Our fourth entry is LeVPN. This is another one that is very dedicated to the safety of its users, and it was created by a team of information security specialists back in 2010. Thanks to their dedication, this VPN offers the best encryptions, many protocols for you to choose from, and more.
It also supports P2P, and it keeps no logs. Its server network is present in 114 different countries, and you can use it on pretty much any device, including WiFi routers.
However, this provider also has a special feature that is unique to it, which is a combination of a VPN and SmartDNS. This is called HybridVPN service, and it makes this provider extra capable when it comes to bypassing firewalls and restrictions. That is because of the fact that SmartDNS makes this VPN’s connection seem just like regular traffic. In short, it is a very good and a very safe provider, that you should definitely try out.
Finally, we have the last provider on this list, which is HideMyAss. It is a VPN with a very specific and obvious sense of humor- However, it is also a VPN with one of the largest server networks that you will ever see. It has servers in over 190 countries, and there are 860 of them in total. That is 110,000 IP addresses, which is amazing, even in a VPN world.
However, this is not the only thing that HideMyAss has to offer. Instead, there are many different features that we already talked about, which include top encryptions, several protocols, as well as decent customer support. It also offers a very well-organized FAQ, so you might search for answers there as well.
Finally, it also offers a speed test tool, which is an extra feature that you won’t often see as a part of a VPN package. It is one of the best VPNs if you need to access content under restriction.
30-Days Money Back Guarantee
Our next stop is Buffered VPN, which is also one of the fastest ones, as well as most secure. Let’s start off by mentioning its easy-to-install software, as well as a 30-day money return guarantee. As always, you will easily unlock the UK content from anywhere in the world. In addition to the UK, this provider also offers servers in 36 other countries.
When it comes to customer support, many have described it as ‘world class’, which is great by itself. The fact that it is available at all times is only an improvement. Other than that, the usual features are also part of the package. That means that you will have no logging policy, and also no limits when it comes to bandwidth, speed, or even server switching.
Strong encryption and protocols will also protect you from malware, hackers, as well as your government’s look. So protect your privacy by trying out Buffered VPN.
Finally, we have hide.me. This is another very popular VPN with strong encryptions and protocols to make you safe, great speeds, and a no logging policy. Simplicity and quality are their major features, but on top of those, there are also numerous servers in the entire world. The majority are in European countries, but they are also posted in many strategic locations around the globe.
The customer support is free and available to everyone, even if they are not a user. This provider allows you to use multiple protocols, all of which offer 256-bit encryption. It is also available for all the biggest systems and devices, and it also offers a free package.
Now, naturally, free VPNs are not a very good idea. You can never rely on them and expect them to protect you as good as a premium would. However, you can use it to try this provider out, and decide for yourself if you like it or not.
How To Set Up A VPN And Access BBC iPlayer?
Setting up a VPN is the easier part of the whole process. The difficult part is to pick which one to use. You can rely on our recommendations, or you can try searching for another one yourself. Whatever you want to do, we advise you to choose carefully.
Anyway, after making this choice, the rest is easy, and all you need to do is follow these steps:
- Go to the VPN’s website
- Sign up, and download its app
- Install the app, launch it, and log into it
- After that, all you need to do is choose a server in the UK
- Now that you have a VPN, it is time to go to BBC iPlayer’s website
- Once you get there, you will have to create a free profile
- Sign up, choose the UK as your country, and fill in the details accordingly
- When asked for a postcode, enter ‘WC1X0AA’ or use a Random Postcode Generator to create one.
- Finally, you will have to confirm that you have a UK TV license, and you will be ready to watch the iPlayer’s content.
What About The UK TV License For BBC iPlayer?
If you click yes when asked if you have a UK TV license, there is a possibility that they will check your IP address. When they see that there is no license connected to it, they might block it.
However, it doesn’t happen often and as a consequence they may just block that very IP address used by the VPN provider. Since your connection is protected by the VPN and you are using a fake IP address, they cannot get to you or take any action against you.
Many VPNs have got blocks because of things like this, which leads to difficulties when it comes to finding a good VPN. The VPN we selected do not usually bump into this issue.
If you are not from a country that explicitly bans the use of VPNs, then this is the only concern that you might have when using a VPN.
BBC iPlayer is compatible with many devices, just like VPNs. This includes:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV 4
- Samsung Smart TV
- Now TV
- Sony TV
- LG Smart TV
No matter where you live, you can use any of these devices to stream BBC iPlayer’s content, as long as you combine them with VPN.
It is very annoying not to be able to access something that you feel really passionate about, and for many people, British TV fits that bill. And let’s also remember that many of the UK citizens that leave the country can’t access their home channels anymore.
Because of this and similar issues, VPNs exist, and they are the answer to this problem. The answer to the question should you use them depends solely on you. The fact is that using them is not illegal in most countries, but you will still have to do it at your own risk. BBC even has the right to charge a fine to those caught watching its live TV without a license.
However, the VPN we included i our list will protect you completely, so that the chances of you feeling any consequences are minimal. In the end, it all depends on how much you want to watch these channels.