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The BBC iPlayer is the digital streaming platform of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC. As the BBC is funded by UK television licenses, this limits the content provided to other countries. As always, if you want to get your Brit TV fix, there are ways around it. This list of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer provides that solution.
You can access BBC iPlayer from outside the UK, but you don't see a lot of content and it entirely depends on where you are. Some countries cannot access it at all while others have a limited catalog of content to watch. The usual way around this is to use Britbox, a joint venture of the BBC and another British television channel ITV. Britbox is a subscription service and if you don't want to pay, using a VPN to provide secure browsing while providing access to geo-blocked content is much better value for money.
If you want to follow Doctor Who, Killing Eve or Line of Duty, if you want a Doctor Foster hit or something different, you can access those shows and more using a VPN. This article lists some VPNs you might consider.
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BBC and VPN
Like Netflix, Hulu, DirecTV and other streaming services, the BBC is actively trying to block VPNs. Any VPN provider on this list bypasses these blocks whenever possible. They change the IP addresses or ranges of their VPN servers or try to hide them. Access is not guaranteed, but using one of these services offers the best chance of accessing iPlayer.
Ways to Mitigate VPN Detection and Blocking
Predictably, content providers must remain both vigilant and up-to-date when blocking access to illicit access. After all, they accept multi-million dollar contracts to deliver the content they make in certain locations only.
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Connect to another VPN
If you're stuck on an IP address from a VPN provider, try a different one. Based on experience, it may sometimes be necessary to try up to three different IP addresses before finding one that works for a while.
When the IP address is detected as a possible VPN, simply connect to another to bypass the detection.
Deselect additional security settings
Often, a VPN server is detected less by its packet output, and more by its absence. For many security reasons, a VPN server is often configured not to respond to certain requests and packets. However, this can often lead to detection because many traditional networks are not configured to respond to requests and protocols in such a way.
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For this reason, disabling additional security protocols included with a VPN can sometimes allow access to content that might otherwise be restricted.
There are many VPN providers to choose from, but you should definitely consider ExpressVPN when making your choice. Many people use a VPN to access content that might otherwise be restricted or denied to them based on geo-location, i.e. continent, country, state, or city. With thousands of servers in 94 countries, you have many options to choose from when selecting a VPN server from among them.
NordVPN actively combats the VPN blacklist and offers thousands of servers around the world so you can access local content wherever you are as well as content from home or BBC iPlayer. The provider currently has over 5 servers in 200 countries, built-in ad blocking, and the ability to double VPN servers for those times when you really don't want to be identified. It's not the cheapest option but it is fast and reliable.
PureVPN is another worthy contender for the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer. It's also fast and reliable and works to keep geo-blocked content available. They have over 6 servers around the world in over 500 countries and 140/24 customer support. It also has a cool feature where you can split your internet traffic, partly via VPN and partly in the clear. This is a cool feature that allows access to local content while allowing access to geo-blocked content. Some testers found that PureVPN didn't work for them, but it worked well in my tests, so they might have updated their server list.
CyberGhost is another reliable VPN provider and a regular on our best VPN lists. It is fast, reliable and offers good value for money. Like these others, the service actively tries to keep geo-blocked content available. They have over 7 servers in 200 countries including the US, so you should be able to watch iPlayer at home. The app is simple to use and works on most devices, so there's no excuse not to get your Brit TV fix.
Access point shield
Hotspot Shield is another VPN for BBC iPlayer. It works well, is fast, reliable, and seems to keep geo-blocked content available most of the time. They have over 3 servers in over 200 countries around the world, including the United States. The app is easy to use, uses 80-bit encryption, and offers a 256-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN is my final suggestion for a VPN that provides access to BBC iPlayer. It is fast, reliable and has over 700 servers around the world. Where VyprVPN stands out is in its Chameleon technology which hides VPN servers from network scans so they are less likely to be blocked. The company also owns the servers it uses rather than renting them, but that doesn't affect iPlayer. However, you have to pay extra for Chameleon.
VPN and access to BBC iPlayer content
There are a few notable absences from this list of VPNs for BBC iPlayer. Some are known not to work with the iPlayer while others didn't work in my testing. That doesn't mean they will never work or never work, but these VPN items are snapshots of performance at that time.
Most VPN providers will switch servers or IP address ranges as soon as they detect or are notified of a blockage. Since IP addressing is dynamic, it can take less than an hour to do and propagate across the internet. So if your existing VPN provider doesn't work with iPlayer, if they're actively working to provide access to geo-blocked content, it's probably only a matter of time.
If you use another VPN that works with BBC iPlayer, feel free to suggest it below. The more options we have, the better!