Unblock iPlayer outside the UK (watch abroad, in the US, anywhere)

Nwachukwu Glory Last updated: June 1, 2022

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.

Online streaming is on a dramatic rise all around the world. But it seems geo-blocking and media streaming go hand-in-hand.

People often connect to the internet to stream music, movies, live shows, TV Programs, etc. However, more and more streaming platforms deploy geo-blocking technologies to restrict access outside a particular region. It causes a lot of frustration for people as they cannot stream their favorite content.

BBC iPlayer is one such restrictive streaming platform. While it offers lots of streaming content from the BBC library, both new and old, 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:

  • Subscribe to a quality VPN service. Our number one recommendation is NordVPN.
  • Download and install the VPN application on your device.
  • Pick a UK server and connect to it.
  • Go to BBC iPlayer and sign in to your account.
  • 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 at serving the people in the UK.

Like most other 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. Unfortunately, it means that 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, you can easily change the IP country and watch iPlayer in America or any other country with the right tools.

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 to access 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 to the problem since you’ll be missing out on all the latest episodes.

So, the good news is that you can still watch iPlayer by the BBC outside the UK the same 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 to unblock BBC iPlayer outside the UK

Although, there is no shortage of VPN services online that protect your online privacy. But 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 that let you unblock BBC iPlayer anywhere.

1. NordVPN


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 5,300+ 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 out there on the internet.

It has more than 400 servers in the UK and many other servers worldwide (over 5000 in total). They keep on improving on their services to outdo BBC iPlayer geo-blocking technologies.

Furthermore, the provider offers pro-active 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 and makes 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 65 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 for you because iPlayer technology can detect some IPs related to a VPN and block them.

Surfshark is among the few reliable VPNs out there that can 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 on the internet.

3. ExpressVPN


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, which would enable 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 on the internet, protects you from hackers, spyware, and cookies, which can intrude into your privacy.

Features to consider in a VPN for BBC iPlayer

There are many VPNs out there 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 need to make sure that your chosen provider is strong enough to support iPlayer streaming.

Here are the essential features to look out for 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 down your connection, while others would speed it up.
  • Anonymous browsing: The BBC iPlayer geo-blocking technology can detect some IPs related to a VPN and block them. 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, and so on.
  • Customer support: BBC iPlayer technology blocks VPN connection as soon as it detects one. Therefore you need a service that is available 24/7 to provide customer support and assign an undetected IP to you should a need arises.

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

Until now, you must have decided about 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 such a server optimized for streaming iPlayer, that’ll be great.
  • Come out of the VPN app without disconnecting.
  • Using your web browser, visit this IP checker tool to make sure your UK IP address is working fine.
  • Head on to the BBC iPlayer website, sign in to your account, and start streaming your favorite show.

How to download the BBC iPlayer app outside the UK?

After you have subscribed 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 located at the top of the screen.
  • Scroll down (till the bottom of the page) and click on 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 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 go through 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. For this, find the Storage option right below on the same screen and click on Clear Storage.
  • Open Play store and search for BBC iPlayer application.
  • Sign-up for a subscription plan, or sign in, and start streaming iPlayer on your Android device.

How can I watch UK TV abroad?

You can unblock any UK TV abroad with a reputable VPN, just like BBC iPlayer.

Not only does it help you bypass geo-restrictions, but a VPN can also serve a range of other purposes; masking your location is one of the primary ones. It means, with a VPN connection, you can spoof your online location and browse the internet like you are in a different area.

It becomes possible because VPN providers have servers in various parts of the world. Connecting to any of these servers would assign an IP address to you different from your location. So, once you connect to the internet via a UK server, you get a UK IP address. Hence, you can watch BBC iPlayer and other UK TV abroad.

Best shows to watch on BBC iPlayer

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

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

Wrapping up

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 on upgrading and continuing to crack down on the use of 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.


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About the Author

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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