BBC iPlayer is without a doubt one of the best online streaming services in the world. However, finding a reliable VPN service for use with it is difficult.
Not only is finding a reliable VPN difficult but finding one that actually works with BBC iPlayer can be even more of a challenge.
In 2015 BBC iPlayer started to crack down on users accessing the service via a VPN and because of this many VPN services no longer work with iPlayer.
We’ve been taking a look at a whole host of providers and testing them with BBC iPlayer to bring you this updated guide for 2018.
So if you want to access BBC iPlayer using a VPN all you need to do is choose one of the five below as they’re tried and tested.
Best VPN for BBC iPlayer 2018
Best VPN for BBC iPlayer
Good streaming speeds for iPlayer
1-month money back guarantee
Not suitable for Fire TV
In our testing we found NordVPN to be the number one provider for use with BBC iPlayer.
Unlike most other providers it’s simply a case of connecting to their UK VPN server and heading over to BBC iPlayer. We experienced no problems streaming both TV shows and other content when using NordVPN.
Apps are available for both Android and iOS and software for Windows and Mac computers allowing you to watch on any of your devices.
One of the best features of the service is we suffered no slowdowns or buffering even when using the service at distance.
If you’re unsure about using NordVPN with BBC iPlayer then the 30-day money back guarantee allows you to try the service without risk.
Save 30% off a 1-year NordVPN package using the coupon “VPNCOMP17“
Best VPN for server selection
Large range of UK servers
1-Month money back guarantee
A bit more expensive
ExpressVPN makes another good choice for watching BBC iPlayer.
One of the best features of the service is the fact they have VPN servers in 6 different locations across the UK including three locations across London plus Berkshire, Kent & Maidenhead.
If you find one server isn’t working with iPlayer then it’s quick and easy to reconnect to another location to find a working server.
ExpressVPN is a little bit more expensive than some other services out there but we do find them to be one of the most reliable suffering no buffering or drops of VPN connection while watching.
There’s also a whole host of apps making connection easy. These are available for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux and Amazon FireTV.
Get an exclusive 3-months free when taking a 1-year package using the button below
3. Cyberghost VPN
Best VPN for beginners
Really easy to use apps
Nice selection of servers
Not the fastest
CyberGhost VPN is another VPN service that is great for use with BBC iPlayer.
They’re actually the only provider we’ve seen that have a specific option for accessing streaming services and one of those is for BBC iPlayer.
Simply select the streaming option on their app and then click BBC iPlayer and not only will the app connect you to a working server but it’ll even open the BBC iPlayer website for you.
If you’re new to VPN use and a little overwhelmed by all the technical terms then CyberGhost VPN is definitely the service for you.
The individual monthly price is a little bit on the expensive side but if you’re prepared to sign up for 1, 2 or even 3 years then there can be massive savings to be made. We would recommend 1 year at the most though just in case a further round of VPN blocks come into effect.
Best VPN for speeds
Great streaming speeds
Amazon Fire TV app
Not all servers work
VPN.ac is one of the fastest VPN services out there and their download speeds far outperform many other providers.
For this reason, they make an obvious choice for watching BBC iPlayer because they’ll allow you to view from almost anywhere without any buffering issues.
We used the “London – 2” VPN servers on the service to watch BBC iPlayer and these worked perfectly fine. One thing to note though is not all servers work with iPlayer such as the “London” ones so you may need to play around a little until you find a working one.
In VPN.ac’s favour though they are one of the most secure VPN services. They have one of the highest encryption standards available and they store no logs of your activity which means what you watch and do on the internet remains private.
Apps are available for Android and iOS with software for Windows and Mac. There’s even an Amazon Fire TV app so if you want to watch iPlayer on your Amazon Fire TV using a VPN then you’ll also be able to do so easily.
Save 20% off VPN.ac using the coupon “VPNCOMPARE20“
Best VPN for stealth
Flying under the radar
Difficult for beginners
LiquidVPN is a smaller VPN service that definitely works in its favour when it comes to BBC iPlayer. With fewer people using the service it means they’re less likely to be blocked from accessing iPlayer.
We had no trouble streaming content in high quality when using the LiquidVPN service. One of the nice features is you can use BBC iPlayer across many of their locations. You don’t need to just stick with their UK VPN server.
You may need to ensure that DNS Servers are set to Automatic in the LiquidVPN client and enable Liquid Lock. You might also need to try a different web-browser. While we couldn’t get it working with Google Chrome, it worked fine with Internet Explorer.
If you’re a complete novice then these extra checks may be a little confusing for you but if you have a general grasp of using a computer or other device then it shouldn’t be too difficult.
If you’re happy to persevere with LiquidVPN then you’ll be rewarded with one of the cheapest and fastest providers.
How to choose the Best VPN for BBC iPlayer 2018
VPN services have become somewhat of a hit and miss affair in recent years when using with BBC iPlayer after they started clamping down on users utilising them.
This was done in an effort to thwart overseas viewers from accessing the site. Since then it has become a cat and mouse game between providers and the BBC to block and unblock the service.
For that reason, it can be extremely difficult to pick a working VPN service for BBC iPlayer. The five listed above have all been tried and tested in 2018 and are confirmed working.
On that basis, you need to ensure you’re consulting an up to date guide like this one. Services that worked last year are likely not to work this year.
Just select one of the five providers above to enjoy BBC iPlayer. However, we recommend not signing up to longer than a 1-year package just in case a new round of blocks come into place.
iPlayer still not working
Even when you’re connected to a VPN there are plenty of factors that can stop you from using iPlayer but most of these can be easily corrected. Below are a list of common issues you might run into and the ways to fix them.
“BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues”
A few things to try in order:
- Open your web-browser in InCognito or InPrivate mode.
- Change web-browser, for example if you usually use Google Chrome, try Internet Explorer.
- Disconnect from the VPN and reconnect to another UK location.
“This content doesn’t seem to be working”
You will usually see this type of message after seeing a few second introduction or “advert” prior to the programme you’re trying to watch.
To fix this you should select another programme to watch, this should show the TV Licence box. Once you’ve confirmed you’ve got a TV Licence you can go back to your original programme and it should play without issue.
Play button keeps spinning
If you find the play button keeps spinning when using providers such as LiquidVPN you should change web-browser. This issue is usually experienced on Google Chrome.
You should also make sure you’re using LiquidVPN’s own DNS Servers by going to Settings, Advanced and making sure DNS Control is set to Automatic.
You should also go to Liquid Lock in the Settings section and select Manual. You should then press the Enable Liquid Lock on the main VPN app window.
Will BBC iPlayer block VPN services in the future
No one really knows but the likely answer is Yes.
BBC iPlayer worked without issue when using a VPN for many years. A few years ago they started blocking VPN services from accessing.
What usually happens is when BBC iPlayer unleash a range of blocks against VPN services the VPN services themselves work to bypass the blocks and within days (or occasionally weeks depending on the provider) BBC iPlayer is working again.
The reason we recommend NordVPN is they seem to be the provider that works fastest after any round of blocks.
For this reason we recommend signing up to a 1-year VPN package at most and if you’re extra cautious then paying on a monthly basis is least risky. However, paying monthly is most expensive and can cost nearly 60% more per month than if paying yearly.
Best VPN for BBC iPlayer: Recap
BBC iPlayer still works well with VPN services in 2018 but it’s important to use an up to date guide such as this one because services that worked in previous years may no longer work now.
You should be aware that not all VPN services are suitable for use with BBC iPlayer. Even though they have UK VPN servers many have been blocked by iPlayer and no longer work.
The five recommended providers above have all be tried and tested and are confirmed working with BBC iPlayer.
If you need more help on how to use a VPN with BBC iPlayer then take a look at our How to Watch BBC iPlayer abroad guide.
All you need to do now is choose any of them, sign up and enjoy watching BBC iPlayer.