BBC is one of the biggest TV channels in the UK. Besides being a news channel, it also offers a variety of TV series, documentaries, films, and cartoons… etc. While such contents are available through BBC iPlayer in the UK, unfortunately, anyone outside of the United Kingdom territory faces geo-restriction problems.
In this tutorial, I will teach you how to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK. By using a VPN service, we will change our virtual location to London and stream BBC iPlayer as if we are a UK resident.
To make this happen, you can either follow the quick tutorial below or read the full article to understand why you need a quality VPN service for BBC iPlayer.
Let’s get started!
Analysis: Because of copyrights and licensing issues, BBC is required to air its contents only in the UK districts. Such limitations are being handled by their system administration allowing the UK IP ranges in and preventing the non-UK IP ranges out of the system.
Solution: By using a VPN service with the UK server, we will change our local IP address to the UK’s. This will enable us to watch BBC iPlayer as if we are in the UK territory.
A quick guide to watching BBC iPlayer outside the UK:
- Visit SurfShark VPN -It has servers in the UK
- Click the “Buy now” button and pick a plan
- Enter your email address and complete the purchase with a preferred payment method. (You will receive your credentials at your email address)
- Download the compatible SurfShark app for your device and install it.
- Login to the SurfShark app with your credentials.
- Navigate to “Locations”, search for “United Kingdom” and connect to one of the UK servers (London, Manchester, or Glasgow)
Once you are connected, you will have a United Kingdom IP address. This will help you stream BBC iPlayer without any geo-restriction problems.
Just like below!
At this point, things might seem unclear. If you like to get the full insight of BBC iPlayer streaming with a VPN service, then make sure to keep on reading. I will illuminate you by addressing the geo-restriction issue, and also I will teach you how to bypass the restrictions with a VPN.
Why is BBC iPlayer only available in the UK?
BBC offers a different version of their sites. This is why you are being redirected to bbc.com instead of bbc.co.uk when trying to browse the site outside of the UK.
BBC’s explanation to this:
- “Some content on our sites is available in the UK but not internationally; notably, certain rights restricted video. In order to ensure that people in the UK do not see advertising we have to use GeoIP.”
To put this short, restricted video rights and advertising options cause the core problem for us.
Furthermore, as mentioned in the quote above, the BBC applies the GeoIP-blocking system to figure out where the visitors come from. That way, the technology will restrict you from watching BBC iPlayer when trying to access it from outside the UK.
How to stream BBC iPlayer outside the UK
We’ve detected the problem:
- “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues…”
It is now time to fix it!
No matter how hard BBC iPlayer tries to keep the shows available to UK residents, anyone outside of the UK can also enjoy them. They just need a VPN service. Such services are used both to encrypt our online traffic and change our IP address.
For our case, we will use a VPN service that has servers in the UK. This way, we will connect to the UK server and get our online traffic encrypted in this location. The encryption will grant us enhanced online privacy as well as a UK IP address.
In the following steps, I will walk you through the necessary actions we got to take to bypass BBC iPlayer’s geo-restriction.
Let’s move on…
Registering a BBC account
BBC made it a must to have an account to stream shows. Therefore, visit the BBC now and create your account.
Choosing the right VPN
In order to change our local IP address to the UK, we do need a VPN service.
First of all, not many services can bypass BBC iPlayer GeoIP-Blocking technology. In that sense, we should be going after a decent and working solution: SurfShark VPN
The company has hundreds of servers in the UK (London, Glasgow, and Manchester). Furthermore, the speed performance of the servers is pretty good (80+ Mbps) that you can watch BBC iPlayer with the best quality possible.
- Visit SurfShark VPN and pick a plan. (Do not select any addon services, you will not need them)
- Enter your e-mail address.
- Complete the purchase with a preferred payment method.
Downloading the VPN app and installing it
If the purchase is a success, SurfShark will send the login credentials to your email. You will be using your email as a username and strong password generated by SurfShark.
Both of them are ready? Let’s log in and download the SurfShark app compatible with our device.
To do so:
- Visit SurfShark and log in to the portal with your email and password.
- Click on the “Apps & extensions” menu on the left.
- Choose the compatible VPN app for your device and download it.
- Finish the installation by following the tutorial.
- Launch the app and log in with the same credentials.
Connecting to the right VPN server
Here comes the final step. It is time to connect to the right VPN server to watch BBC iPlayer anywhere in the world.
- On the VPN interface, click on the “Locations” menu.
- Write “United Kingdom” to the search bar. You will see the available UK servers.
- Click on one of the “London, Glasgow, or Manchester” servers to initiate the VPN connection.
Once the connection is established, you will have a UK IP address. That will grant you the access to BBC iPlayer platform no matter where you are in the world.
Just refresh the BBC iPlayer page on your device and enjoy quality shows anywhere in the world.
Do not forget! In addition to the BBC iPlayer content, you can also stream the following BBC channels:
- BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, Radio 1, CBBC, CBeeBies, BBC Scotland, BBC News, BBC Parliament, BBC Alba, and S4C.
Problems when using a VPN
So far everything looks super fine. We got a problem and fixed it with a VPN service. However, things might change in a way you may not like.
Because of the copyright issues, BBC iPlayer started a war against VPN services and blocked many of them. Related to the cut-off, BBC says:
- …blockade to deter pirates from ripping off its dramas, comedies, documentaries, and other programs, which are funded by TV license-fee payers in Blighty.
In other words, BBC is taking cautions to keep its streaming service running only to TV license-fee payers.
The news follows:
- Now the corporation is putting a stop to all that, or at least it’s trying to. If you try to watch iPlayer via a VPN, you’ll get this simple error message instead: “BBC iPlayer TV programs are available to play in the UK only.”
BBC looks pretty determined about blocking outside access to iPlayer programs and it adds up:
As concluded from the last quote, the BBC will implement new updates to its system to block VPN providers from time to time.
It is a super irritating yet common problem while accessing BBC iPlayer. One day you wake up, it might seem that the UK server of the VPN provider is not unblocking the BBC iPlayer embargo.
In such cases, make sure to consult to SurfShark’s customer support to learn unaffected UK servers or try to use alternative BBC iPlayer friendly VPN services such as CyberGhost, NordVPN, or ExpressVPN.
It can become quite irritating not being able to stream your favorite shows. Because of the harsh restrictions taken by providers, unfortunately, it is not possible to access streaming websites outside of certain locations. One of the biggest platforms causing such problems is BBC iPlayer.
Because of the Geo-IP blocking, BBC iPlayer offers its programs only to UK residents. In other words, any IP range other than the UK will be blocked!
Bearing this problem in mind, a VPN solution becomes handy to bypass the BBC iPlayer embargo as it can change your IP address to any country you want.
In that sense, I introduced you to an amazing VPN service called SurfShark VPN. The VPN service has several servers in the UK and it can help us watch any BBC content outside the UK.
In case of a blockage, make sure to check out other VPN providers such as CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, or NordVPN.
I am a privacy advocate excelling in cybersecurity and VPN services. Along with my 8 years of experience, I will teach you how to enhance your online privacy and enjoy the ultimate freedom anywhere in the world. On VPNxD, I am responsible for privacy guides, and how-to-do articles.