Recommended VPNs for BBC iPlayer 2020

Great VPNs for BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer is an online streaming service that offers the best channels of the British consortium BBC, one of the most widely known on the planet. Channels such as BBC, my5, Channel 4, and others are successful brands from this enormous company.

BBC is known to produce and broadcast the best British TV in the business, as well as some exciting sports content and radio shows. You can watch shows such as EastEnders, Collateral, Keeping Faith, Strike, Career of Evil, This Country, Mum, Ordinary Lies, MOTD, The Missing and The Young Offenders.

With the BBC iPlayer app, you can also access documentaries like Life and Death Row: The Mass Execution or Rent For Sex: Ellie Undercover. Sports and food programs are also popular options, and shows for children and fashion lovers are also hot commodities.

What makes a VPN good for streaming?

When trying to choose the right VPN provider for your online streaming experience, there are specific factors that you need to take into account before making your decision. Those factors are:

  • High speed: VPNs take something away from your internet speed overall in order to provide the service. However, some brands have the infrastructure and investment to justify fast rates and no buffering when streaming online, including the BBC iPlayer. The companies listed in this article can all provide more than adequate standards when it comes to speed.
  • Server location (UK): For online streaming, it is crucial to choose a VPN with servers in as many countries as possible. In the specific case of the BBC iPlayer service, connecting to servers in the United Kingdom to access streaming content from within the UK is an obligatory requirement.
  • Unlimited bandwidth: Online streaming involves a lot of data sent and received, so you need a VPN with unlimited bandwidth. Otherwise, you may get interrupted when watching your favorite BBC iPlayer show in the middle of it! That is why free VPNs are not good enough for online streaming: they often have traffic limits.
  • Privacy/security: You want a VPN provider with a strict no logging policy and that secures your traffic and IP address, so nobody knows if you’re watching The Missing, EastEnders, or the Premier League Match of the Week – and no one can hack into your connection while you are!
  • Encryption/protocols: The better the encryption, the more secure your data will be, avoiding theft of  your encrypted communication between your machine and the VPN server. In order to enjoy the BBC iPlayer, you need your VPN to perform secure encryption methods and protocols. Brands with OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and SSTP will be well.positioned.
  • No logs/kill switch: A kill switch will maintain the protection of your online and digital assets because it will disable your internet connection in the event of a VPN connection loss. On the other hand, you don’t want your VPN to collect logs of your activity, because you don’t know if the service provider will use this data against you if a law enforcement agency comes calling.

How does the BBC Block Content and Why?

The BBC iPlayer service is blocked in the United States of America and any country outside of the United Kingdom. Even UK residents living abroad will not be able to enjoy the app because the restrictions have more to do with geographical location and copywriting rights than with  the international location of the user.

Services such as the BBC iPlayer are designed  to be available only to people in the UK, and the streaming service is able to  recognize connections or requests via the users’ IP address. If the system recognizes an IP address that comes from outside the UK territory, then it will show the following blocking messages:  “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues,” or “BBC iPlayer programmes are available to play in the UK only.”

Like Netflix, the BBC iPlayer has become very adept at blocking VPNs from spoofing people’s location and broadcasting its signal. How do they do it? BBC is regularly making updates to their technology to help prevent access to the iPlayer from outside the UK, which is a violation of the terms of use.

Can you use a free VPN with iPlayer?

Free VPNs are online encryption tools and resources that, at least in theory, will help users hide their IP address and traffic to gain access to numerous sites and services internationally and to earn extra privacy or anonymity.

However, most of them don’t work with the BBC iPlayer, as they don’t have secure enough encryption not to be recognized by the system as VPN connections. They get blocked quickly, they don’t offer robust security or privacy, their protocols are weak, and they make money by selling users’ data logs to every agency or entity that may desire them.

Also, free VPNs are considerably slower than paid, custom versions,  and online streaming requires certain levels of connection speeds that they are unable to provide under any circumstances. Free VPNs also come with annoying bandwidth limits that will make the BBC iPlayer experience an unfriendly one.

Best VPN Protocols That Work With iPlayer

  • OpenVPN: OpenVPN is the most commonly adopted VPN protocol in the market today. It is safe to use, as it doesn’t allow any leaks of users IP addresses. With it, users can bypass firewalls and access content around the world. OpenVPN’s unique encryption means that the users’ IP address will remain off-limits to anyone online. Because of that, OpenVPN is perfect for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Kodi users regardless of their location.
  • L2TP/IPSec: This protocol enables secure, encrypted communications because of L2TP/IPSec 256-bit key. All mobile operating systems, including Android and iOS, fully support the L2TP/IPSec protocol, and Windows (since the XP version) and macOS (since Version 10.3) are also compatible environments for its use. Some experts and recent tests have shown that the L2TP/IPSec protocol may be faster than the OpenVPN, which is perfect for streaming with the BBC iPlayer.
  • SSTP: This is also secure and doesn’t have any critical issues or flaws. It works with Windows devices but is very similar to OpenVPN in numerous aspects. It evades censorship measures for some web pages and is a good option for services like the BBC iPlayer because it implements the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) 3.0 type of encryption, including the ability to use to TCP port 443.
  • IKEv2: This is another robust encryption measure that most VPN service providers offer these days. It is also one of the most versatile, as people can use it for various reasons s with satisfactory results. It is usable and efficient while implemented on mobile devices because it is good at reconnecting in cases of connection losses and network switches. Fast and stable, it works great with the BBC iPlayer.
  • PPTP: The Point-to-Point or Peer-to-Peer Tunneling Protocol is not recommendable for streaming content on the BBC iPlayer. It is not safe and is significantly slower than the four protocols previously outlined here. It has a fantastic past but is now obsolete. Practically all internet browsers can identify and block the PPTP protocol nowadays.

How to set up a VPN with iPlayer

For this explanation, we have used the PureVPN option to outline how to install and set up a VPN that works with the BBC iPlayer feature. The steps are:

  • Sign up for the PureVPN service, providing a payment method and personal information.
  • Download the app or client to your device.
  • Launch the PureVPN application or any other VPN software on your chosen device, be it a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
  • Establish a connection to a server located in the UK.
  • After a successful connection, you should get an UK-based IP address.
  • When you have your British IP, launch the BBC iPlayer and access your favorite show.
  • Done! Enjoy unlimited streaming on BBC iPlayer from the UK.

FAQs: VPN for BBC iPlayer

Is unblocking iPlayer outside of the UK legal?

Unblocking the BBC iPlayer from another country is frowned upon and not considered a permitted activity, although legality depends on the land of the person trying to access and a myriad of other factors. Based on the BBC’s terms and conditions, it is clear that the service is available to people in the UK only. However, for educational purposes, we highlight instructions and VPNs that work with the iPlayer.

What content is available on the iPlayer?

With the BBC iPlayer, you will be able to watch popular TV shows, movies, cartoons, sports, and much more – all from the BBC’s UK content library. When it comes to channels, the service provides options such as BBC One, BBC Two, Cbeebies, my5, Channel 4, ITV, Sky GO, BT Sport, and others.

You can stream all kinds of shows such as Sherlock, Top Gear, Mum (Season 1 & 2,) Strike, Girls on the Edge, Eastenders, The Great British Bake Off, Poldark, Line of Duty (Series 4,) The Last Kingdom (Series 2,) Happy Valley Series 3, Ordinary Lies, MOTD, The Missing, and many more.

Also, the BBC iPlayer Radio or Radio 4 is available as an app that will allow you to access  BBC Radio offerings from around the world.

Which VPNs don’t work with iPlayer?

IPVanish, an excellent VPN service, doesn’t work with either the BBC iPlayer or Netflix. GhostVPN has had recent problems connecting to its servers in London and Manchester according to users.

What can I do boost up my iPlayer streaming quality and speed?

For starters, get the best plan/speed that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has in its catalog. Then, you need to purchase  one of the VPN services listed in this article, preferably one with several servers in the UK. From that point on, you need to search the best performance and rates for your BBC iPlayer streaming experience. All of the VPN options in this piece are known for offering excellent speeds and little to no buffering.

Can I watch iPlayer in Ireland?

No, despite the geographical proximity between Ireland and the UK, most of the iPlayer services remain blocked in Ireland.

Can I watch iPlayer in the US?

No, the BBC iPlayer service is restricted only for UK residents, which means that people located in the United States or any other nation will not be able to watch the BBC content.

Conclusion

The BBC iPlayer is a fantastic service that lets people anyone  in the United Kingdom watch all of the BBC tv channels via online streaming, as well as access  to the BBC’s wide range of radio stations and best sports coverage of the nation.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are online encryption services that, in addition to providing security and privacy for your internet connection, offer the possibility to work with international online streaming services, such as the BBC iPlayer. However, numerous widely known VPNs are blocked by this British broadcasting network.

To enjoy the best shows, series, and documentaries from the UK’s most prominent TV conglomerate, check out one of the VPN brands listed in this piece – ExpressVPN, NordVPN, PureVPN, SaferVPN, or  PrivateVPN – for total internet freedom to watch what you please.

Written by: Graeme Messina
21 October 2018

Graeme is an IT professional with a special interest in computer forensics, security, and software. When not building networks and researching the latest software trends, he enjoys writing technical articles and blog posts.

Written by: Graeme Messina

Graeme is an IT professional with a special interest in computer forensics, security, and software. When not building networks and researching the latest software trends, he enjoys writing technical articles and blog posts.

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