Here’s how to unblock BBC iPlayer from outside the UK. This will let you watch live and on-demand BBC content on any device, anywhere in the world.
The BBC streams tons of great TV and live sports from multiple BBC channels via the BBC iPlayer. All of it’s free, no login or pay-TV provider needed. But if you’re trying to watch the BBC from the US, or anywhere else outside the UK, you’re going to run into geo-blocks.
You can still (legally) watch BBC iPlayer. A VPN service will let you bypass geo-blocks, which is what the BBC uses to prevent their content from being streamed online outside the UK.
Unreliable VPN and DNS services can slow your connection. We’ve had the best results using ExpressVPN to unblock BBC channels from the US and elsewhere. ExpressVPN has superior streaming speed, great apps for nearly every device, and a 100% 30-day money-back guarantee (real deal — no hoops or fine print). If you only need it for a short time or a single event (like the Super Bowl) just cancel within 30 days to use it for free.
We’ll show you exactly how to get around the BBC geo-blocks with ExpressVPN. You’ll be watching everything on BBC iPlayer, on any device, in about 5 minutes. You can also watch all the other UK TV sites and services that are region-blocked (Sky Sports, iTV, Channel 5, Eurosport, etc.).
Then, if you’re interested in the techy stuff, we explain how content unblocking works and the other benefits of using a VPN (like better online privacy and security).
A quick note — there are quite a few options in this space. If you venture off and try different methods on your own, such as free VPN/DNS services, just be careful. One such service, Hola Better Internet, was very popular — until it came to light they were selling users’ bandwidth to run a spam-bot network. Therefore, you might want to stick with what we’ve already vetted.
Best Way To Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad: ExpressVPN
As Hola Better Internet showed us, it’s better to pay for a service than use a free one. We like ExpressVPN the best because it delivers virtually flawless streaming quality, has great apps for every device, is extremely fast, and very easy to set up and use.
Even better — they have a 30-day, no-hassle, money-back guarantee. With ExpressVPN you can unblock all the BBC channels on BBC iPlayer (BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Sports, etc.) — plus all the other region-blocked UK TV sites and services, and blocked content in 87+ countries.
All of ExpressVPN’s apps make it practically fool-proof to use. Here’s exactly what to do to unblock the BBC.
How To Set Up ExpressVPN, Step-By-Step
STEP 1) Get a 30-day money-back ExpressVPN account. To get the best deal, pick the 12-month plan ($8.32/month).
STEP 2) Download the ExpressVPN app
Download the app for the device you want to use. You can download multiple apps and can use ExpressVPN simultaneously on up to 3 different devices. Their apps are super easy to use, and are available for every device: smartphone, tablet, computer, router, media streamer, gaming console, or smart TV. Pretty much, if you have it, ExpressVPN will work on it.
STEP 3) Connect and start watching BBC iPlayer
Now open the app and connect to an ExpressVPN server in the UK. We’ve had the best performance with the East London server. You may also want to clear your browser/device of the BBC’s cookies.
Once you’re connected, ExpressVPN will take care of everything. Just visit BBC iPlayer and you’ll be able to access all the content — live and on-demand — just like you were actually in East London.
You can take advantage of ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee to try it for yourself.
As long as you’re connected to the UK, you can also watch content on region-restricted UK TV sites. If you’re interested in branching out, ExpressVPN makes unblocking content around the world a snap. Just switch your server location to the US, Canada, Australia, France, Spain, Italy — or 80+ other countries to unblock channels across the globe.
You’ll also find you now have access to a whole slew of other geo-blocked streaming services. For example, if you have Netflix, you can get tons of new titles by unblocking other regional versions of Netflix in the UK, US, and other countries. ExpressVPN also works to unblock Hulu and Amazon Video — handy if you live or travel outside the US. So do explore. It’s pretty cool.
If you want to compare other providers, check out our list of the five best VPNs for streaming.
How Content Unblocking Works
Let’s start with why you’re getting blocked. When you see one of those annoying “Content not available in your country” messages, it means the site you’re on is restricting access based on your location.
They can tell where you are because of your computer or device’s IP address. Your IP address broadcasts your physical location to websites. If a site sees you’re outside its streaming zone (usually its home country) then you get geo-blocked and can’t access its content.
VPN and SmartDNS services work by rerouting your IP address through one of their servers, changing your address to whatever country you need to appear to be in. So, instead of traveling to the UK in order to watch BBC iPlayer, you just send your connection through a UK server and the geo-blocks are lifted.
You’ll also be protected from geo-targeted ads and malware. You’ll keep your identity and personal information safe from prying eyes of all sorts. Your ISP won’t be able to throttle your internet connection or spy on your activities (which they do all the time). You can make international calls on Skype and other VOIP services with domestic rates. If you watch content on open-source platforms like Kodi, or stream bootlegged TV and movies (not that you’d do such a thing), a VPN is a must.
ExpressVPN will give you access to all the great content on the BBC — TV, sports, specials, and more. We think you’ll be surprised how much great stuff there is to watch once those geo-walls come down and you can finally enjoy ‘TV Without Borders’.