According to some reports, more than 60 million people watch BBC iPlayer outside of UK regions and territories. This holds true, even though the BBC has recently taken measures to stop non-British IP addresses from accessing iPlayer. There are a number of ways users are gaining access to iPlayer outside of the UK, including, but not limited to, browser plugins, VPNs, Tor, and DNS proxies. We’ve found that the best method to gain access to the BBC iPlayer is by using a VPN. Using one will you to watch BBC iPlayer in Canada, the US, Australia, or any other part of the world. Let’s explore how you can do that, and why it’s the best method for you to use.
Watch BBC iPlayer Outside of UK Regions: VPN for Laptops and Desktops
The only reason you will not be able to access BBC iPlayer content while outside of the UK is due to geographic content blocking. The BBC website identifies your incoming IP address, which reveals your geographic location. If it determines your IP address is located outside of the UK, it will block your access, instead giving you messages that look like this:
A VPN service, such as IPVanish, will help unblock this content for you. The value in a VPN service is that they it will assign you a new IP address once you connect to a VPN server located in the UK. Most VPN services will have multiple servers in the UK.
We have tested multiple VPN services here at AddonHQ, finding that many of the more popular services have somewhat slow UK servers. IPVanish, however, tends to have far better bandwidth for their UK servers than most other VPNs.
Why choose a VPN over other methods?
As most of the other methods are free, the value of using a paid VPN service to watch BBC iPlayer outside of the UK is in all of the added benefits you’ll get with the service. The most important benefit is the fact that a VPN service like IPVanish will work every time. Many other methods you may read about are highly inconsistent.
Additionally, a VPN will have far better security to keep your streaming habits private. This includes no-log policies, extra security features to help prevent hacking and spying, ad blocking, DNS leak protection, obfuscation methods and a kill switch. All of these methods are designed to significantly protect your online identity and safety.
Furthermore, a VPN has excellent use beyond just watching BBC iPlayer. If you’re looking to gain access to American Netflix, you’ll find that a VPN service will help you get access to that as well. You can even take a look at our newest service, Checkflix, which lets you know which VPN services have access to American Netflix.
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Additional IPVanish benefits
Use a VPN for Mobile Devices
As with using a VPN for your computer, you may want to use a VPN on your mobile device as well. A good VPN service is one that provides you with multiple ways to connect. This includes a mobile application that operates with the same functionality as what you’ll find with the desktop or laptop version.
We’ve found that IPVanish works exceptionally well on mobile. There is no service loss when moving from desktop to mobile, and you’ll be able to connect to the mobile version at the same time as you’re on your laptop or desktop computer.
Most VPN mobile apps will run in the background silently, with a app symbol running along the top of your screen to let you know that the app is functioning. From there, you can load up one of three methods to view your iPlayer content:
- Download the BBC iPlayer app (iTunes, Android) (only possible with a British IP address)
- Download the BBC Media Player app (Android only)
- Go directly to the BBC iPlayer web page from your mobile internet browser
If you try to view the BBC iPlayer from your mobile internet browser set to “mobile view”, it may direct you to download the BBC Media Player. From there, any attempt to view content from the iPlayer website will be opened up in the BBC Media Player app instead.
Use Kodi with your VPN Service
Alongside using the iPlayer app or the BBC Media Player app, we highly recommend using Kodi, in combination with one of it’s BBC plugins to access your BBC content. Kodi is a media platform that allows you to install plugins and access streaming content from a large variety of online sources, including the BBC. As Kodi is a stand-alone application, it helps you decrease the amount of clutter you have on your desktop or mobile device.
Once you have a VPN up and running on either you desktop, laptop, or mobile device, all streaming content going through Kodi will be secured and private. You may even find the viewing experience through Kodi is more enjoyable than with the online iPlayer website or the mobile applications.
Avoid Using a DNS Proxy
You may see advice in other locations to use a DNS proxy. While this method is free and cheap, there are a few issues that should concern you.
A DNS proxy works similarly to a VPN, but it does not come with the added security features you would enjoy with a VPN. This method will connect to a proxy server located in the UK, but will do so in a fairly insecure network. While this method can be utilized cheaply, there are no good, consistent methods to do so. DNS proxies will not guarantee your anonymity, and may easily leak your true location to the BBC. Even so-called “smart” DNS proxies lack the security methods of a VPN service, so you’ll want to use caution with these.
Likewise, content providers like the BBC have a far easier time blocking DNS proxies. A perfect example of this is Netflix, which blocks almost all proxy services. Many VPN services tend to employ better countermeasures, which can be expensive to create and set up, but which work at getting past proxy blocks. There’s a good chance that the BBC will be rolling out proxy blocks in the future alongside their other IP banning methods, so this is something to consider for future reference.
Quick Note on BBC iPlayer
We need to note that is currently illegal to use the BBC iPlayer without a valid license from the BBC. Ownership of such a license is currently restricted to only those within the UK who also have valid UK IP addresses to use with that license for streaming BBC content online. While the BBC has acknowledged the untapped potential the network has outside of the UK, given the extremely large number of people connecting to the BBC outside of the UK, at present, any effort you utilize to access this content without a valid license is unauthorized. Our guide below is designed to serve those UK residents who may be traveling and who desire to access their valid BBC iPlayer content.