It's not surprising that quality BBC iPlayer VPNs are in such high demand. The U.K.'s public broadcaster continues to offer a dizzyingly large array of exclusive TV shows, classic films and live events that all absolutely free to watch at the point of access. From "Doctor Who", "Call the Midwife" and "The Apprentice", to national institutions like Wimbledon tennis and Glastonbury Festival, there's something for everyone on the Beeb.
The BBC iPlayer streaming service brings all of that on demand and live content to laptops, smartphones, tablets, Smart TVs and a wide variety of streaming devices. But try and watch from outside the borders of the U.K. and you'll soon be told that you can't due to rights issues. Annoying, sure. But this is exactly where the best VPN for iPlayer comes in.
I've tested the biggest VPNs around to discover which ones are able to access all the content you're used to back at home when you're abroad. Only the best iPlayer VPNs also offer speedy connections, watertight security and a faff-free user experience. First you'll see my very favorites, after which there's a choice of the top 5.
The best BBC iPlayer VPNs at a glance:
1. ExpressVPN – my top-rated iPlayer VPN overall
ExpressVPN is the best BBC iPlayer VPN no matter where you are thanks to one of the widest server networks, flawless unblocking, and consistent speeds. It's super simple to get up and running, and very secure.
24/7 customer support and tons of helpful articles make ExpressVPN very beginner-friendly. Opt for the 12-month subscription to get 3 months of protection free. There's also a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind.
2. Surfshark – the best-value iPlayer VPN on the market
Surfshark is one of the fastest providers in the industry and with unlimited simultaneous connections and top-notch security features. It effortlessly unblocks iPlayer, Netflix, and everything in between no matter where you are.
It has servers in more countries than ExpressVPN and NordVPN, and RAM-only servers, ad-blocking, and a rock-solid no-logs policy make it equally tempting on the security front too. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out and see if it’s for you.
3. NordVPN – big name is excellent for iPlayer
NordVPN is one of the biggest names in VPN, and it's also one of the best at unblocking iPlayer. It's super fast, offers great privacy, and even adds on extra features like antivirus, malware protection, and Meshnet.
It's easy to use, but has enough customization options for experts. Should you run into any problems, the prompt customer support is very helpful. If it's not for you, a 30-day money-back guarantee will save you from wasting any money if you decide later you don't want it.
In my most recent edit of this page, all existing information, such as server count and simultaneous connections, have been revised to accommodate any updates in recent times and now accurately present a provider's offerings.
I've also added a new section at the end of this guide to give you an idea of some of the new things you can watch on the iPlayer. There will always be the classics like "Doctor Who", "Match of the Day" and "Eastenders", but this is your chance to discover something you may not have enjoyed before.
My list of the best BBC iPlayer VPNs today:
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
ExpressVPN: the best BBC iPlayer VPN overall
The best iPlayer VPN on the market
Unblocks BBC iPlayer: Yes | 24/7 customer support: Yes | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Also unblocks : Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, ITVX, All4, 9Now, 10Play | Streaming devices supported: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox | Simultaneous connections: 8
✔️ You want a straightforward iPlayer VPN: with easy-to-use apps on all devices, autoconnect, and excellent support, ExpressVPN is a delight for beginners.
✔️ You want to stream everywhere: ExpressVPN has servers in a massive 160 locations and 105 countries, which allows it to unblock iPlayer – and just about every other streaming site.
✔️ You want a VPN you can trust with your life: ExpressVPN provides class-leading privacy and security thanks to a verified no-logs policy, a password manager, ad-blocking, and more.
❌ You're on a budget: ExpressVPN's all-round abilities are well worth its asking price, but budget-conscious users may find Surfshark and PIA to be more their liking.
❌ You want to stream iPlayer on lots of devices: Express’s 8 simultaneous connections are decent, but if you want a VPN you can share with everyone, it's worth considering Surfshark or PIA, which both offer unlimited simultaneous connections.
❌ You want a Linux VPN: although ExpressVPN allows Linux installations, it doesn't offer a graphical user interface – only a command-line one.
ExpressVPN is an ideal choice for iPlayer unblocking thanks to its wide server network, fantastic speeds, a unique MediaStreamer tool to stream iPlayer on virtually every device, and easy-to-use apps on all platforms, along with tons of support available. It should definitely be top of your shortlist.
If you're after the #1 BBC iPlayer VPN, I'd have to recommend ExpressVPN. Not only is it our top-rated VPN overall, but in my ExpressVPN review I found it to be perfect for streaming iPlayer thanks to its wide range of British servers, good speeds, and, of course, the fact it can get you access in the first place.
Outside of iPlayer, ExpressVPN performed a clean sweep of streaming platforms in my latest round of testing. It'll get you access to a variety of global Netflix libraries, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube, ITVX, Channel 4 and pretty much everything else.
Although ExpressVPN isn't the very fastest around, speeds of up to 750 Mbps in my testing are far faster than the vast majority of domestic connections. What's more, with servers in 105 countries, you'll be able to explore a huge amount of content outside of iPlayer.
Another ExpressVPN bonus is a diverse set of apps for devices such as the Fire TV Stick and game consoles. With other VPNs, you could end up spending hours fiddling with your Wi-Fi router to connect these devices – not so here, as you’ll have a dedicated app right in the store, ready to download.
Some of these devices rely on Express’s MediaStreamer tech, which allows you to access blocked content through the use of Smart DNS rather than using VPN servers. This means that you can use ExpressVPN to unblock content on tons of devices like Samsung Tizen TVs that don't support true VPN connections. Be aware, though, that it doesn't provide the security benefits of a real VPN on these devices.
On that note, there's not a service that can beat the reliability ExpressVPN offers.
With an independently audited no-logs policy, industry-standard AES-256 encryption, and RAM-only servers, ExpressVPN leads the pack when it comes to maintaining the privacy of user data and keeping it away from the reach of authorities and malicious entities. Plus, superb security add-ons such as the Threat Manager and a built-in password manager make it all the more better.
ExpressVPN is also renowned for its excellent customer service. If something goes wrong while you’re watching iPlayer, you’ll be able to launch a live support chat immediately, as agents are available 24/7.
Overall, ExpressVPN is solid on all counts, and with easy-to-use apps, nifty security features, and wide coverage, it's the perfect BBC iPlayer VPN that'll also keep you protected online, no matter what you're doing.
|A clean and simple interface on every app
|Ease of use
|Very simple for beginners and lots of customization options will keep tech-savvy users happy as well
|Decent speed sufficient for everything, but Surfshark and NordVPN are faster
|From iPlayer to Netflix, it unblocks every streaming platform with ease
|Security and privacy
|Class-leading security with nifty add-ons for extra safekeeping
|24/7 customer support with friendly and prompt agents, plus lots of helpful guides
|Delivers excellent value for what it asks, but cheaper options are available
Surfshark: the best cheap BBC iPlayer VPN
Unlimited connections for a bargain price
Unblocks BBC iPlayer: Yes | 24/7 customer support: Yes | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Also unblocks : Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, ITVX, All4, 9Now, 10Play | Streaming devices supported: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
✔️ You want the best budget VPN: with sub-$2.50 per month pricing available, Surfshark undercuts top providers like ExpressVPN and NordVPN by a fair margin.
✔️ You have a need for speed: In my last round of testing, I found Surfshark to be seriously swift, topping out at over 950 Mbps
✔️ You want unlimited simultaneous connections: one Surfshark subscription allows you to cover as many devices as you want.
❌ You need a foolproof kill switch: under tough testing, Surfshark's kill switch did fail – although this is very unlikely to happen in general usage.
❌ You don't want costly renewals: Surfshark prices shoot up after the end of the first time, and you'll have to cancel and resubscribe to continue benefiting from its cheap prices.
❌ You share P2P a lot: you can use Surfshark for torrenting, but it's not as optimized as ExpressVPN and PIA.
Surfshark offers excellent value without sacrificing performance, unlimited simultaneous connections, some of the fastest speeds in the industry, and near-perfect streaming power. It's not only great for iPlayer, but Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and more. If you can only spare $2.50 a month, this is your best bet.
My Surfshark review demonstrates that there’s no need to break the bank in order to access a top-quality iPlayer VPN. As long as you’re willing to sign up for two years, Surfshark is easily the best cheap VPN on the market today.
In my most recent testing, Surfshark also delivered a clean sweep of streaming unblocking, accessing not only iPlayer but Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. I tested it with other streaming services, including Channel 4 and ITVX in the U.K. and the Aussie 9Now and 10Play, and it was just as effective with them too.
One of Surfshark’s party pieces is its unlimited connections policy – this is quite rare in the industry, and having it combined with such a bargain price offers excellent value. With just one subscription, you, your family, and your friends can all stream iPlayer at the same time without worrying about anyone getting logged out.
Thankfully, even though it’s affordable, Surfshark doesn't lack any essential features. Your browsing data will be secure thanks to 256-bit AES encryption and protocols like IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard – plus the apps are incredibly easy to use no matter what platform you’re on, making iPlayer access super simple.
If you're mobile-first, Surfshark's Android VPN and iPhone VPN apps are really smooth to use. They feel modern, they're simple to navigate, and make staying protected and unblocking content a pleasant experience.
In my last round of testing, Surfshark proved to be one of the fastest VPN services. My speed testing is undertaken on a 1 Gbps connection, and the very fastest providers (including Surfshark, NordVPN, and Windscribe) all maxed out at 950 Mbps. On an even faster line, I have no doubt these providers would ramp up the speeds even more.
Coupled with its great speeds, you'll also get cookie, pop-up, ad, and malware blockers, so no need to worry about being tracked my marketing agencies or falling foul of dodgy downloads.
If you're thinking of browsing further afield, Surfshark offers servers in 100 countries – more than NordVPN and just a few shy of ExpressVPN – meaning that no matter where you are or what you're looking for, you'll stay anonymous and have speedy, reliable access.
One negative from my testing is that when I put the kill switch under great pressure – closing low-level processes etc. – it did fail. However, this is very unlikely to happen in real life.
Overall, Surfshark is very easy to use with navigable interfaces no matter the device you're using. Should you run into any trouble, 24/7 customer support will get you up and running again in no time at all – plus you’ll also have 30 days to claim your money back if you don’t love the service.
|A beginner-friendly, fun, and intuitive design
|Ease of use
|Easy-to-navigate apps across all devices, and very clutter-free
|One of the fastest among all the VPNs I’ve reviewed
|Accesses every streaming platform you'd want it to
|Security and privacy
|Well-rounded security features, and although the kill switch could be better, it does its job
|24/7 professional support with no shortage of helpful guides
|An absolute bargain pick, one of the cheapest around
NordVPN: the fastest BBC iPlayer VPN
Audited security so you can stream iPlayer safely
Unblocks BBC iPlayer: Yes | 24/7 customer support: Yes | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Also unblocks : Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, ITVX, All4, 9Now, 10Play | Streaming devices supported: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox | Simultaneous connections: 6
✔️ You want a no-nonsense VPN for streaming: NordVPN unblocks every iPlayer library, and even hard-to-crack Netflix locations are no match for it.
✔️ You want an all-in-one security solution: NordVPN nails the basics with a verified no-logs policy and secure protocols and then goes beyond with nifty add-ons such as an in-built antivirus, a Double VPN feature, and Onion over VPN.
✔️ You want excellent value for money: NordVPN packs a lot of power and features under the hood at a reasonable price. Plus, it has customizable plans, so you only pay for what you need.
❌ You want a VPN for your family: NordVPN only offers 6 simultaneous connections, so I'd recommend Surfshark or PIA for unlimited simultaneous connections.
❌ You want a super simple interface: there are lots of guides on setting up and using the NordVPN app, but the map-style interface can take some getting used to.
❌ You want access everywhere: NordVPN pips rivals Surfshark and ExpressVPN in server count with over 6,000 servers, but it's limited in reach with a presence in only 61 countries.
NordVPN is great for Netflix, and it's a great choice for iPlayer as well. It reliably unblocks the British streaming site, and offers privacy and security extras including a built-in antivirus, a password manager, and a verified no-logs policy. Definitely worth considering if you're looking for a mid-range VPN for iPlayer.
NordVPN has been a fixture of my best iPlayer VPN list for a long time now thanks to its large U.K. network and value-adding bonus features. While connected to the web via Nord, you’ll be protected from malware and phishing ads through NordVPN’s Threat Protection tech – learn more in my NordVPN review.
With over 6,000 servers in 61 countries and peak speeds of over 950 Mbps when connected to its proprietary NordLynx protocol, NordVPN is a streaming beast. It’s my top-rated Netflix VPN, unblocking hard-to-crack Netflix libraries and other streaming platforms at will – including, of course, BBC iPlayer.
There's also an excellent SmartPlay feature that combines Nord’s basic VPN protection and smart DNS technology to churn out better security and speed while you stream your favorite content on your phone, laptop, tablet, or even devices such as Smart TV that don't natively support a VPN.
What's more, SmartPlay is automatically switched on the moment you connect to NordVPN – no manual intervention needed. However, be aware that if you're using Nord as a Smart TV VPN and only using SmartPlay, you won't have any added privacy – only the full VPN can do that.
You get two implementations of the kill switch, an audited no-logs policy, and nifty add-ons such as Double VPN and Onion Over VPN. Double VPN routes your internet traffic through two VPN servers instead of one, thus encrypting your data twice. While Onion Over sends everything through the super safe Tor network. Both are great for extra safekeeping.
NordVPN also comes with a built-in antivirus and password manager, establishing the service as more than just a VPN – it’s a full-fledged security tool you can bank on to protect you from just about anything. And you can rest assured that your information will stay private because NordVPN employs powerful encryption and DNS leak protection.
NordVPN knocks it out of the park as far as ease of use is concerned, and although its map-style interface isn't perfect in the mobile VPN apps, on larger screens it's a joy to use.
However, it's a little disappointing that NordVPN allows you to login into only 6 devices at a time, especially when providers such as ExpressVPN have added room for more users in their recent updates. If you think the limited simultaneous connections will be an issue, consider Surfshark or PIA, both of which have no restrictions on how many devices you can use at once.
The bottom line remains that NordVPN offers one of the most, if not the most, complete security packages in the industry and its unblocking capabilities are second to none. If you’re still not convinced, thanks to a 30-day money-back guarantee, you’ll have the freedom to figure out whether the NordVPN package is right for you.
|A fun and cool design, but it could have been a little more intuitive
|Ease of use
|Generally very easy to navigate, but the map-based interface needs some understanding
|Blistering speeds make streaming and everything else a breeze
|A force to reckon with as far as unblocking is concerned
|Security and privacy
|A complete security solution with rock-solid encryption and a built-in antivirus
|24/7 expert assistance available with tons of self-help resources on the website
|Decent value for the price but there are cheaper options