How to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK



Chris, a UK-born media connoisseur, is an expert in watching international TV. Known as "The Global Screen Wanderer", he has travelled extensively across the globe with long stints away from home. With over 10 years of experience he has become the go-to guru for streaming content from home and abroad.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK. This solution works in any country on many different types of devices.

BBC iPlayer is without a doubt one of the best online streaming services in the world.

Unfortunately, it’s only available in the UK, and if you’re outside the UK abroad, then you’re blocked from watching.

Thankfully, you can avoid the geo-restrictions and in this guide, I’m going to show you the few steps you need to take so that you can watch iPlayer abroad from any country.

Ready to get streaming your favourites? Keep scrolling down.

What you need to watch BBC overseas

To watch BBC iPlayer abroad, you’ll need an app called a VPN.

A VPN allows you to protect your online privacy by disguising your location and allowing you to change your online location.

To watch iPlayer abroad, you should sign up for the VPN from ExpressVPN, which will cost you around US $5 – $10 per month, depending on how long you subscribe.

They’re super-easy to use, have apps for every device type and best of all they’ve got a 30-day money back guarantee so you’ve got loads of time to test it and see it working.

They’ve also given us a neat 49% off deal for our readers if you take their 12-month package which is well worth looking at for big savings.

Good alternatives include NordVPN and CyberGhost VPN, so you’re free to choose. The ultimate decision is yours.

30-day money back guarantee

How to watch iPlayer abroad using a VPN

If you’re ready to get going, to watch iPlayer abroad, follow the instructions below:

Step 1

Head over to the ExpressVPN website and sign up.

Step 2

Download the Windows, Mac, Android, iOS or Firestick app from the Products area of the ExpressVPN website.

Step 3

Install and Run it.

Step 4

On the app, press Selected Location and select a server based in the United Kingdom.

Step 5

Press Connect.

Now visit the BBC iPlayer website or use the app, and you’ll be able to watch both catch-up and live TV abroad.

ExpressVPN app connecting to the UK.

I said it was simple!

Once the ExpressVPN software has connected, that’s all you need to do.

Watch BBC iPlayer abroad now!

30-day money back guarantee

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a service that protects your privacy online.

It jumbles up all of the information that you send over the internet using what is known as “encryption”.

A part of this privacy protection is it allows you to disguise your online location.

This privacy protection means any websites that you visit or apps you use won’t know where you’re from and are unable to track what you do online.

You can connect to any country and appear in that country, services like the BBC iPlayer app then assume you’re in the UK.

They then stream you the content you want to watch abroad anywhere in the world because, to them, they see you’re in the UK.

Best VPN for BBC iPlayer

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN devices

If you’re looking to access BBC iPlayer, then you needn’t look any further than ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN is one of the world’s most reliable VPN services that provide high-quality connection speeds that are perfect for streaming video content overseas. You’ll be able to watch Eastenders in full HD without any trouble at all.

They have a vast selection of dedicated apps that cover the most popular devices, such as Android devices, any iOS device, and more. ExpressVPN even has support for some Smart TV devices.

ExpressVPN lets you have five simultaneous connections, which may seem small compared to some VPNs like Cyberghost VPN who offer seven devices, but it should be more than enough for you.

The VPN’s customer support is of a high standard and will help you solve any queries. This VPN also offers a full 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you’re not happy, you get your money back.

30-day money back guarantee

2. NordVPN

NordVPN app TV

NordVPN is a top-rated VPN that unblocks BBC iPlayer with ease. You may have seen popular Youtubers talking about them regularly.

They have a massive selection of VPN servers, including an extensive array of UK server options that will provide you with a UK IP address, allowing you to unblock BBC iPlayer content.

NordVPN works exceptionally well with other streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and more.

With your NordVPN subscription, you’ll be able to use their VPN on multiple devices at once. Currently up to 6.

Their VPN app works on most mobile device handsets and will work with desktops or laptops.

Like ExpressVPN, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can rest assured that your investment is protected.

NordVPN is one of the best VPN providers around.

3. CyberGhost VPN

Cyberghost app mock up

If you want a VPN provider with a vast amount of servers, then CyberGhost VPN is the Virtual Private Network for you.

They have over 7360+ VPN servers and over 660+ UK servers; each UK server will provide you with a British IP address that’s perfect for unblocking BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world.

They have optimised servers for streaming that will cover most streaming services, including the popular streaming service, Netflix.

CyberGhost offers a massive 45-day money-back guarantee, which is the largest any VPN provider offers.

They’re one of the best VPN services around for you to start watching BBC iPlayer content.

Is there a free VPN?

While there are free VPNs available, they should be avoided at all costs.

Not only are they dangerous for your devices, but they can lead to leaks of your private information.

The best-case scenario with a free service is that it won’t work with BBC iPlayer, and you move on to a premium service like ExpressVPN, which will let you watch BBC anywhere in the world.

Is it illegal to watch BBC iPlayer abroad?

VPNs or Virtual Private Networks are perfectly legal in most countries.

Initially, they were used by businesses and governments to protect sensitive information from being accessed by hackers and other unsavoury characters. However, in recent years they’ve become more popular with those of you looking to access geo-restricted content online.

While it’s not illegal to use a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer, it could be against BBC iPlayer’s terms and conditions.

This could result in you having your BBC account suspended, so using a VPN to access the streaming service is your own risk. However, there is no law to say you can’t use a VPN with your BBC account.

Please note that you should always comply with your local laws and own a BBC TV license before starting watching any BBC content (this does incur a UK TV licence fee).

Whether you download programmes or watch them live on your mobile devices, Smart TVs, Apple TV, etc, you’ll need a TV licence.

What if I don’t use a VPN service?

If you visit the BBC iPlayer website abroad, then rather than being able to stream live or catch up TV, you’ll be blocked from viewing. UK residents can’t access BBC abroad without help.

You’ll see a block message similar to the one below.

iPlayer is not available outside the UK block screenshot

The reason you will be blocked is because of something known as your IP Address.

An IP Address is similar to a phone number. It’s a set of numbers that are unique to your internet connection.

An IP Address also gives away your location.

While it doesn’t pinpoint your exact address, it does let a website know what country you’re in and even what area of that country.

When you visit the BBC iPlayer website, it checks your IP Address, and if it isn’t in the UK, then it blocks you.

A VPN service like the one from ExpressVPN allows you to alter your IP Address to one from another country. In the case of watching BBC iPlayer adjust it to an IP Address from the UK, and iPlayer will think you’re one of the millions of UK viewers; not even your internet service provider will know about it.

So thanks to a VPN and the British server you’re connected to, you now know how to watch iPlayer abroad.

On a side note, you will be required to use a valid UK postcode. You can find your UK postal code online easily.


To unblock BBC iPlayer anywhere on any streaming device, you need to use a VPN.

By using a VPN, you’ll be able to connect to a UK VPN server that will mask the location of your internet traffic, giving you a virtual UK location that’ll be used to make BBC give you access.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN service for the job. Not only will they provide fast connection speeds with unlimited bandwidth, but they’ll allow you to watch live BBC TV shows and have access to on-demand content without any restrictions.

Get ExpressVPN now by following the step by step guide earlier on in this article.

Beginner friendly

Quick to set up

Money back guarantee

30-day money back guarantee

ExpressVPN interface with offer


6 Responses

  1. Emmalee says:

    Tried with Surfshark today and it doesn’t work. Seems like they’ve figured out how to detect vpn use

    • Chris says:

      Hi Emmalee,

      This seems specific to Surfshark as it’s working fine with other providers like ExpressVPN. I recommend you contact Surfshark customer support to see what the issue is.

      Thanks for taking the time to update us and post.

  2. Nigel Welch says:

    I followed your instructions and downloaded BBC iPlayer. How do I get round the problem of not having a BBC licence? You don’t mention this…

    • Chris says:

      Hi Nigel,

      You would need a valid licence as far as we’re aware.

    • Charles Robinson says:

      This whole article is misleading. Not only do you have to have a UK TV license, but also a UK address. Having tried all your recommendations both BBC iplayer and ITV Hub detect usage of a VPN despite using a UK address etc., and therefore cannot receive any TV from BBC or ITV. Please explain why your recommendations do not in fact work. Sept / 2021

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