If you live in Canada, there’s no way to watch British shows via BBC iPlayer– unless you know how to “geo-hop.” Read on for a quick guide to geo-hopping that’ll show you how to watch BBC iPlayer in Canada.
- 1 Why the BBC Built a Virtual Wall
- 2 How the BBC Blocks Canadians
- 3 Can the BBC block VPNs?
- 4 Which VPN service is the best one for accessing BBC iPlayer from Canada?
- 5 Check It Out Yourself Risk Free For 5 Days
- 6 StrongVPN’s Key Features
- 7 Established In 1995
- 8 Excellent Reviews
- 9 Here are some additional StrongVPN benefits
- 10 Installation Walkthrough
- 11 Works on iOS and Android, Too
- 12 How to Solve Common Problems
- 13 Summary
Why the BBC Built a Virtual Wall
Without so-called “geo-blocks” (virtual walls that prevent users living in certain locations from accessing content in other areas), the way that the BBC distributes its shows would likely have to change.
BBC movies and TV shows follow strict release schedules. A new BBC title first airs live, then it becomes available for streaming on BBC iPlayer. After a certain amount of time (usually 30 days) the BBC removes the title from iPlayer. Next, it offers the title as a download on Amazon, Britbox and other on-demand video services.
If everyone everywhere could access BBC iPlayer, the BBC would have to adjust the way it does business. They’d also probably have to buy more video servers to accommodate an increase in the number of people accessing the iPlayer site.
Another complication is that in the UK, everyone has to buy a TV license to watch TV legally – so the BBC would have to revamp their license fee collection system as well.
How the BBC Blocks Canadians
The “geo-block” the BBC uses to keep Canadians (and anyone else located outside the UK) from using BBC iPlayer is actually not all that sophisticated.
Essentially, the BBC’s geo-block is just a simple filter that blocks out non-UK IP addresses.
IP addresses are like mailing addresses, in that they facilitate the flow of information from point A to point B. Every machine on the Internet has a unique IP address. Computers can’t communicate without them.
If you try to load a BBC iPlayer using a computer that has a Canadian IP address, you’ll get geo-blocked. But if your computer has a UK IP address, you can easily use BBC iPlayer and access all the latest BBC shows.
The easiest way to change your computer’s Canadian IP address into an British one is via the use of a VPN. If you log onto a British VPN server, it’ll look like you’re located in the UK when you go online. Once you’ve got a UK IP address, you’ll be able to access not only BBC iPlayer but also all the other licensed content that’s ordinarily only available in the UK.
Can the BBC block VPNs?
The BBC can – and often does – attempt to block known VPNs from accessing iPlayer. However, VPN blocks are easy to overcome.
Unlike physical mailing addresses, VPN IP address are not permanent. Any VPN service provider can easily change all their servers’ IP addresses. All it takes is a few simple commands.
As long as a VPN service provider is willing to play “whack-a-mole” with the BBC, it can react to and overcome any type of block that the BBC tries to implement.
Additionally, VPN services that offer DO (Data Obfuscation) allow an additional layer of protection from VPN blocks. Obfuscation allows you to “blend in” with non-VPN users when you use a VPN.
Our preferred VPN for geo-hopping used to offer obfuscation as an option, but now obfuscation seems to be enabled by default. Because there’s no way to turn obfuscation off, its entire user base is likely totally invisible.
Which VPN service is the best one for accessing BBC iPlayer from Canada?
You have to be wise about the VPN service you choose if you want to get to BBC content from Canada via iPlayer.
As mentioned above, some VPN services are much better at getting past geo-blocks than others.
StrongVPN is the best and most reliable VPN for geo-hopping out there right now.
Back in 2015, StrongVPN came out with an obfuscation feature called “scramble.” With scramble mode activated, anyone could easily avoid any type of geo-block and enjoy all the web has to offer without having to worry about physical borders.
The latest version of the StrongVPN lacks the scramble toggle button. However, StrongVPN still lets you go anywhere on the web.
It’s very possible that the makers of StrongVPN perfected scramble to the point where they felt comfortable enough to make it a default feature. There doesn’t seem to be any way to turn scramble off anymore – and that’s a good thing if you’re a geo-hopper.
If obfuscation is now “hard coded” into StrongVPN, that means that there’s no longer any way for the BBC (and other video providers that implement geo-blocks) to identify and block StrongVPN IP addresses.
Check It Out Yourself Risk Free For 5 Days
According to StrongVPN’s FAQ page, you can get your money back within 5 days if you don’t like their VPN service.
Once you get a StrongVPN account, just login and verify for yourself that you can get to BBC iPlayer. If there are any problems, just cancel.
StrongVPN’s Key Features
Features like dynamic IP addresses, UK-based VPN servers, configurable ports and built-in obfuscation help StrongVPN subscribers overcome pesky geo-blocks.
Dynamic IP addresses
All of StrongVPN’s UK servers have dynamic IP address, which means that they change constantly. Even if the BBC someday finds a way to pierce through StrongVPN’s obfuscation and identify StrongVPN’s UK IP addresses, they’d have to update their firewall constantly to keep up with the changes.
Plenty of UK-based VPN servers
The more servers that a VPN service has, the better. If a VPN service doesn’t have enough servers to keep up with demand, connection speeds will slow. StrongVPN doesn’t have that problem.
Configurable port settings
“Run-of-the-mill” VPN services always use port 1194. Blocking one port is even easier to block than an IP address– all it requires is the press of a button. Because StrongVPN customers can choose their own port, they are much harder to block.
As mentioned above, StrongVPN seems to have perfected obfuscation to the point where they’ve likely enabled it by default and removed the ability to disable it. When StrongVPN users access BBC iPlayer, there is no way for the BBC’s computer guys to figure out that your connection is running through a VPN.
Unlike fly-by-night VPN services, StrongVPN offers live support. If you encounter an issue, just hop over to the StrongVPN site and open up a live chat.
Established In 1995
Geo-blocks and piracy crackdowns have created a huge demand for VPN services in recent years. All kinds of shady companies have sprung up as a result. StrongVPN, however, is the real deal.
StrongVPN was around long before VPNs became popular. The company was originally established back in 1995, when the web was still in its infancy and dial-up modems were still the norm.
Here are just a few positive comments from other web publications that have reviewed StrongVPN.
“EXPERIENCED USERS WILL APPRECIATE STRONGVPN’S CONFIGURABILITY.” -TECHRADAR
“STRONGVPN OFFERS EXIT POINTS IN AN IMPRESSIVE 15 COUNTRIES.” – LIFEHACKER
“STRONG VPN’S CUSTOMER SUPPORT IS TOP-NOTCH.” – DEEP DOT WEB
Here are some additional StrongVPN benefits
If you’ve never used a VPN before, there’s really nothing to it. Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough of how to set up StrongVPN for using BBC iPlayer in Canada.
Step 1: Sign up for a StrongVPN account.
The first thing you have to do to get StrongVPN is sign up for an account. You can pick from several different membership packages.
Step 2: Get your password
After sign up, StrongVPN will automatically send you your login credentials via email. Your first password will be randomly generated, but you can always change it to something that’s easier to remember later on.
Step 3: Download and install StrongVPN
After you log in, you’ll reach a screen that looks like the one depicted below. Click the section labeled “StrongVPN Client” to get to the software download page.
After you pick the operating system that corresponds to the one you’re using, you’ll be able to download the StrongVPN installer to your desktop. From there, just follow the wizard’s instructions to complete the installation process.
Step 4: Configure the StrongVPN client
The first time you open StrongVPN, you’ll need to type in (or copy-and-paste in) your login information and password. Of course, if you opt to allow StrongVPN to save your credentials, the next time you open StrongVPN you’ll be able to login with a single mouse click.
StrongVPN recommends that you use OpenVPN to access blocked sites, so click VPN Server and Protocol and select OpenVPN.
Step 5: Connect to a UK server
Any UK server will do the trick. As long as the server is located somewhere in the UK, it’ll let you use BBC iPlayer.
If you notice any lagging, switch your server to a different one and reconnect.
Once you’ve connected to a StrongVPN server, the blue “Connect” button will turn into a red “Disconnect” button.
Once you’re connected, this is what you’ll see. Source: Flixed.io
Step 6: Create a BBC iPlayer account
If don’t already have a BBC iPlayer account, you’ll need to visit the iPlayer website and create one.
Step 7: Log into BBC iPlayer and enjoy
Once you’re in, just pull up BBC iPlayer and pick out something to watch.
Works on iOS and Android, Too
In addition to Mac and Windows, StrongVPN works on Android and Apple mobile devices. You can also use StrongVPN on Ubuntu, Kodi, Amazon Kindle, Bada, HP webOS and Chromium OS / Google Chrome OS.
Once you install the StrongVPN app, the process for using BBC iPlayer is the same. Just pick a UK server and connect, then enjoy.
How to Solve Common Problems
StrongVPN has a helpful knowledge base article that has information regarding how to resolve issues associated with accessing blocked sites.
Here’s a quick summary of what to do if you run into problems using BBC iPlayer while connected to StrongVPN.
Clear your cache
Every app / web browser has a different method for clearing cache, but generally all you have to do is open up settings and look for a “clear cache,” “clear browsing data” or “delete temporary files” option.
Change your timezone
In addition to cache, your time zone also provides a clue about your location. Changing your system time to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) is a second workaround you can try if you run into any errors.
Change your DNS (Domain Name Server)
If you’re using a Canadian DNS, you’re basically telling everyone on the web that you’re probably located in Canada.
DNS are similar to phone books. Computers contact DNS when they want to translate website addresses into IP addresses.
After you clear your cache and change your timezone, try using StrongVPN’s DNS servers in place of your default ones:
If the troubleshooting steps listed above don’t resolve your issue, open up a live chat with a StrongVPN technical support representative and they’ll get you pointed in the right direction.
The BBC built a virtual wall around their content for licensing reasons. However, because the BBC’s geo-block relies primarily on IP address filters, it’s pretty easy to beat with StrongVPN.
StrongVPN has been around since 1995, so its security features are more advanced compared to the competition. Because all of StrongVPN’s UK-area servers have dynamic IP addresses and the StrongVPN client is data obfuscation capable, StrongVPN can overcome just about any geo-block on the web.
In addition to being just as strong as its name implies, StrongVPN is also fairly easy to install and use. Once you install and configure the client, all you have to do is log into a UK server to get started.