The BBC is famed for producing critically acclaimed television content loved by millions. And you can watch many of the British broadcaster's greatest TV shows, movies, and more on its official streaming platform: iPlayer.
BBC iPlayer has content for pretty much everyone, from dramas to documentaries. Some of its best shows include Doctor Who, Fleabag, Rupaul's Drag Race UK, Our Girl, Eastenders, Line of Duty, Call the Midwife, Killing Eve, Gavin & Stacey, Louis Theroux, Merlin, and lots more.
1. NordVPN: The best BBC iPlayer VPN
NordVPN is one of the most common and biggest names in the VPN space, and it also happens to be one of the best — especially for BBC iPlayer with its variety of UK servers.
2. ExpressVPN: A very reliable BBC iPlayer VPN service
ExpressVPN offers a great mix of speed, reliability, and outstanding customer service. It also has servers in multiple UK locations, making it an excellent choice for unblocking BBC iPlayer.
3. Surfshark VPN: Affordable BBC iPlayer VPN
With plans starting out at about 8 cents per day, it's really hard to skip over Surfshark. It offers a ton of great features that you'd expect from a VPN provider and is super simple to use for streaming iPlayer content.
But there's one caveat: you can only access iPlayer if you have a UK home or office address. When you try accessing iPlayer in another country, the BBC will quickly realize this and provide a message telling you that the platform cannot be accessed in your location.
Whether you're a Brit traveling overseas or a British TV fan who lives in a different country, you'll probably be frustrated at being unable to access iPlayer. If you'd like to use iPlayer outside the UK, you just need to sign for a VPN service. Then, you can connect to a UK-based server and gain full access to iPlayer. In this article, we list the best VPN services for use with BBC iPlayer in 2021.
The best BBC iPlayer VPN
Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Streaming services unblocked: BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon | Servers: 5,500+ | Server Locations: 80+ in 60 countries | Trial Period: 30 days
- Very easy to use
- Apps for all major operating systems
- A great choice of UK servers
- Limited to six devices
If you're looking for the best overall BBC iPlayer VPN in 2021, you should opt for NordVPN because it has more than 440 servers in the UK.
With such an impressive choice of British VPN servers, it's super easy to unblock BBC iPlayer and watch your favorite British television shows. Plus, there are over 5,500 international VPN servers in total.
But there aren't just lots of UK VPN servers on offer with NordVPN; they're also very powerful. In our review of NordVPN, we were very happy when it provided speeds of 65-69Mbps on a 75Mbps UK connection.
NordVPN has easy-to-use, feature-packed apps for lots of operating systems and devices, including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and more. What's a bit annoying is that you can only use up to six devices via one account. But you do get some great features, such as a no-logging policy, double VPN, malware and unwanted advert blocking, browser extensions, a DNS leaking test, 24/7 support, and more.
A very reliable BBC iPlayer VPN service
Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Streaming services unblocked: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube | Servers: 3,000+ | Server Locations: 160 in 94 countries | Trial Period: 30 days
- Easy to use
- Fast speeds
- Global servers
- More expensive than some competitors
- Five-device limit
ExpressVPN has also built a strong reputation for being one of the top VPNs on the market. And with the British Virgin Islands-based provider offering servers in multiple UK locations, it's an excellent choice for unblocking BBC iPlayer.
Whichever UK server you choose, you can expect great speeds for streaming TV shows and movies on BBC iPlayer. In fact, when we reviewed ExpressVPN, speeds on a 75Mbps UK connection ranged between 60 and 65Mbps.
We also love ExpressVPN because of its easy-to-use apps, which are available for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and many other major platforms. It's quick and easy to connect to a fast VPN server thanks to a big power button.
Its apps aren't just easy to use, but are also packed full of great features. There are over 160 global server locations available, VPN split tunneling, kill switches, private DNS, 256-bit encryption, a no-logging policy, a VPN speed test, unlimited bandwidth, how-to guides, and a 24/7 live chat. But what we don't like is that there's only a 5-device limit when you sign up for an account.
Affordable BBC iPlayer VPN
Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Streaming services unblocked: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon | Servers: 3,200+ | Server Locations: 100+ in 65 countries | Trial Period: 30 days
- Very affordable
- Plenty of VPN servers
- Great security features
- Some people might find it a bit basic
Surfshark is another prominent VPN provider, but it's also one of the cheapest services and charges as little as $2.49 per month for a premium subscription.
As well as offering outstanding value, Surfshark will also enable you to unblock BBC iPlayer in all corners of the globe. When we tested Surfshark for ourselves, we saw extremely impressive speeds of 68Mbps on a 75Mbps British line.
With any VPN service, you'll want access to plenty of international servers, and Surfshark has over 3,200 of them. Many of these servers are based in the UK, making it very easy to unblock BBC iPlayer and other British TV streaming platforms.
Unlike NordVPN and ExpressVPN, Surfshark doesn't limit how many devices you can use via your account. What's more, there are apps for major operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux. Surfshark also offers a no-logging policy, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, a camouflage mode, 256-bit encryption, secure protocols, and many other features.
4. Hotspot Shield VPN
A speedy BBC iPlayer VPN
Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Streaming services unblocked: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube | Servers: 3,200+ | Server Locations: 115+ in 80+ countries | Trial Period: 45 days
- Some of the best speeds on a VPN provider
- Military-grade encryption
- Website support could be improved
If you want one of the fastest VPN services for streaming content on BBC iPlayer, you should check out Hotspot Shield VPN.
When it comes to streaming, Hotspot Shield claims to be twice as fast as its rivals. It's able to reach these impressive speeds thanks to the proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol, which is designed for offering enhanced performance.
In our Hotspot Shield review, we tested it on a 600Mbps UK connection and experienced speeds of up to 200Mbps. Meanwhile, it topped speeds of 410Mbps on a 600Mpbs U.S. connection. Simply put, Hotspot Shield is fast and can provide a seamless streaming experience.
What else do you get for your cash? Well, if you do opt for a premium plan, there's military-grade encryption, unlimited connections, and apps for many different major operating systems, along with included antivirus, password manager, and spam-call blocker access. We did, however, feel that its website support could be improved.
One of the most popular BBC iPlayer VPNs
Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android | Streaming services unblocked: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube | Servers: 700+ | Server Locations: 70+ in 70+ countries | Trial Period: 30 days
- Two million active users
- Chameleon protocol
- Up to 30 simultaneous device connections
- Slower speeds
Sporting two million users worldwide, VyprVPN is one of the most popular VPN services around today and will allow you to access BBC iPlayer.
Although it only offers 700 global VPN servers, some are based in the UK. Using one of them, you can quickly unblock the BBC's official streaming platform. But sadly, they don't provide the best speeds.
Lackluster speeds aside, VyperVPN still offers some good features. For example, there's an audited no-logging policy, a built-in kill switch, the Chameleon protocol, strong encryption, a NAT firewall, apps for different operating systems, and 24/7 support.
Another notable advantage is that VyperVPN allows for up to 30 simultaneous connections so you can use it on a wide range of devices all at the same time.
Security-focused VPN that unblocks iPlayer
Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Streaming services unblocked: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube | Servers: 1,200+ | Server Locations: 55+ in 55 countries | Trial Period: 30 days
- Many servers utilize 10 Gbps connections
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Based in Switzerland
- No streaming on Free or Basic plans
- Middling speeds
ProtonVPN is one of the best secure VPN choices on the market. Coming from the makers of ProtonMail, that should come as no surprise. However, it's not only great for protecting your privacy — it also works as a top BBC iPlayer VPN.
It doesn't have the most servers globally, but its UK servers worked for streaming iPlayer content in our testing. It came middle of the pack in terms of speed which is why it's lower down on this list, coupled with the fact that it does not support streaming on its Free plan nor on its entry-level Basic paid plan. You have to upgrade to the Plus plan for streaming which is $8 per month on the 1-year plan or $6.63 per month on the 2-year plan. That's quite expensive if you only want a VPN for streaming, though ProtonVPN is a trusted provider for other VPN uses.
The company is based in Switzerland, which means that it benefits from additional strong legal protection. Switzerland offers some of the world's strongest privacy laws, and remains outside of the EU and U.S. jurisdiction, meaning that it can't be coerced into spying on any users.
There are strong no-logging policies, DNS leak protection, a kill-switch, and it can be used as an always-on VPN that automatically reconnects to a server should the connection be interrupted at any point. All of the servers have a minimum speed of 1 Gbps, and many of them actually use a 10 Gbps connection.
What makes a good BBC iPlayer VPN?
If you're looking for one of the best BBC iPlayer VPNs, there are several things to consider when making your decision.
Given that BBC iPlayer is a British streaming platform, you'll definitely need to sign up for a service that works great as a streaming VPN with plenty of UK servers. By connecting to one of these, you can then unblock iPlayer wherever you live.
Another important thing to look out for is whether a VPN provider can actually be used for accessing BBC iPlayer. Luckily, all the providers listed in this article are compatible with iPlayer. Some others may have UK-based servers, but these could have been blocked by the BBC.
In general, the best VPN services sport global server networks with thousands of connections, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited or high device limits, strict no-logs policies, kill switches, apps that work on all devices, 24/7 customer support, and more.
Do you really need a BBC iPlayer VPN?
If your main aim is to unblock BBC iPlayer in any part of the world other than the UK, you'll definitely need a VPN. The BBC places geographic limits on its streaming platform and will automatically know your location if you've not used a VPN to get a British IP address.
Should you stream online content or play games regularly, a VPN will also provide significant performance improvements because it'll block bandwidth throttling and DDoS attacks.
While a BBC iPlayer VPN is excellent for streaming and gaming, it'll also allow you to unblock other websites that have been impacted by geo-restrictions. Plus, they have some great security and privacy advantages as well. Overall, VPNs are very useful online tools, and it's worth using one.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
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