The best BBC iPlayer VPN in 2024

BBC iPlayer VPN to indicate that this is the guide for the best BBC iPlayer VPNs
(Image credit: BBC)

It's not surprising that quality BBC iPlayer VPNs are in such high demand. The U.K.'s public broadcaster continues to offer a dizzying array of exclusive TV shows, classic films, and live events that are all absolutely free to watch at the point of access. From "A Good Girl's Guide to Murder", "Call the Midwife" and "The Apprentice", to national institutions like Wimbledon tennis and catching up on watching 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. However, try and check it out from beyond the U.K. and you'll have no luck. It's all thanks to licensing issues that restrict certain shows and movies to certain countries. Annoying? Big time. Luckily, a VPN is all you need to turn the tide.

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 VPNs also offer speedy connections, watertight security and a faff-free user experience.

Written by
Headshot of Tom's Guide VPN Editor Mo Harber-Lamond
Written by
Mo Harber-Lamond

I've been in charge of Tom's Guide's VPN articles since 2020, and in that time I've helped test and review over 100 VPN providers for both Tom's Guide and TechRadar. I strongly believe that privacy, price, and ease of use all go hand in hand to make the very best VPN. 

I've covered cybersecurity and tech in TechRadar, T3, and What Hi-Fi?, and you'll also find my work in titles from Watkins Publishing, and even the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The best BBC iPlayer VPNs at a glance:

1. NordVPN: the best BBC iPlayer VPN in 2024

1. NordVPN: the best BBC iPlayer VPN in 2024
NordVPN is a huge name in the world of VPNs - and a reliable pick that won't let you down when it comes to streaming. NordVPN unblocks BBC iPlayer like a dream (along with Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more) and has the speeds you need to enjoy uninterrupted HD content.

The VPN's security tools are stellar, too, and you can opt for some handy extras if you fancy it. NordVPN's ad-blocker and malware protection are particularly handy, and you can try it for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

↪ Read more in my NordVPN deep dive

2. ExpressVPN: the best beginner VPN

2. ExpressVPN: the best beginner VPN
ExpressVPN is a standout option 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.

↪ Read more in my ExpressVPN deep dive

3. Surfshark: the best-value iPlayer VPN
unlimited simultaneous connections

3. Surfshark: the best-value iPlayer VPN
Surfshark is one of the fastest providers in the industry 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 makes 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.

↪ Read more in my Surfshark deep dive  

Recent updates

In this latest update, I've streamlined the navigation system and double-checked that all facts and figures are up to date.

The best BBC iPlayer VPNs in 2024

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The best VPN overall

NordVPN iplayer VPN

(Image credit: NordVPN)

1. NordVPN

Unblocks everything, lightning-fast speeds, and bargain prices

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

Security and logging practices audited
Blocks malware
Great speeds
Mobile apps can be a little awkward
Subscribe if:

✔️ 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. 

Avoid if:

❌ 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. 

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

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. Be sure to put its 30-day money-back guarantee to good use.

NordVPN is my #1 pick because, quite frankly, it's the total package – and one that won't cost you a fortune. The VPN has more than 440 servers in the UK that are ideal for accessing BBC iPlayer (even if you're on the other side of the world). If you fancy checking out content from elsewhere, or picking a server nearer to your actual location, you can take your pick of servers in 61 countries.

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 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.

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NordVPN test results
DesignA fun and cool design, but it could have been a little more intuitive ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useGenerally very easy to navigate, but the map-based interface needs some understanding⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceBlistering speeds make streaming and everything else a breeze⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingA force to reckon with as far as unblocking is concerned ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyA complete security solution with rock-solid encryption and a built-in antivirus⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 expert assistance available with tons of self-help resources on the website ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceDecent value for the price but there are cheaper options ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The best VPN for beginners

ExpressVPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

2. ExpressVPN

Unblocking iPlayer made easy

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

Reliably accesses iPlayer
Very intuitive apps
Top-tier 24/7 support
Powerful privacy 
Expensive, but worth it
Subscribe if:

✔️ 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.

Avoid if:

❌ 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. 

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ExpressVPN is great 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 a beginner-friendly provider, I'd have to recommend ExpressVPN. I've always 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 (that are ideal for newbies still learning how to use a VPN), 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.

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ExpressVPN test results
DesignA clean and simple interface on every app⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useVery simple for beginners and lots of customization options will keep tech-savvy users happy as well⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceDecent speed sufficient for everything, but Surfshark and NordVPN are faster⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingFrom iPlayer to Netflix, it unblocks every streaming platform with ease⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyClass-leading security with nifty add-ons for extra safekeeping ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 customer support with friendly and prompt agents, plus lots of helpful guides⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceDelivers excellent value for what it asks, but cheaper options are available⭐⭐⭐

The best cheap VPN service

Surfshark on a range of devices

(Image credit: Surfshark)

3. Surfshark

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

Bargain prices
Over 3,200 servers
Use one plan on as many devices as you like
Impeccable streaming performance
Not hugely customizable
Subscribe if:

✔️ 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.  

Avoid if:

❌ 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.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

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.

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Surfshark test results
DesignA beginner-friendly, fun, and intuitive design⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useEasy-to-navigate apps across all devices, and very clutter-free⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the fastest among all the VPNs I’ve reviewed⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingAccesses every streaming platform you'd want it to⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyWell-rounded security features, and although the kill switch could be better, it does its job ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 professional support with no shortage of helpful guides ⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceAn absolute bargain pick, one of the cheapest around⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Other quality BBC iPlayer VPNs that I've tested

ProtonVPN best iPlayer VPN

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)

4. Proton VPN

Seriously secure and great for streaming

Unblocks BBC iPlayer: Yes | 24/7 customer support: No | 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, Smart TV | Simultaneous connections: 10

One of the best services for streaming
Excellent speeds
No Smart DNS
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a VPN you can set and forget: Proton's always-on VPN feature keeps you connected at all times and re-establishes connection in case of hiccups. 

✔️ You want a privacy-focused VPN: Proton VPN adheres to Swiss privacy laws, which are some of the strongest out there. Also, it's also an open-source platform, so you can audit its claims anytime you want. 

✔️ You want to stream iPlayer on your Linux: Proton VPN comes with a graphical user interface (GUI) for Linux devices, scooting past top providers like ExpressVPN.

Avoid if:

❌ You want an incredibly fast connection: Proton maxed out at around 460 Mbps in my testing. That's far faster than most connections, but if you've got a gigabit line, Nord or Surfshark can make the most of it.

You're watching away from laptops or smartphones: Proton VPN doesn't have apps for as many streaming devices as the likes of ExpressVPN and NordVPN, and there's no Smart DNS present either.

You want to stream for free: the free plan is great for day-to-day usage, but unfortunately, it doesn't get Proton's superior unblocking capabilities.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Proton VPN is a delight for privacy purists looking for superior unblocking capabilities. It offers complete peace of mind thanks to a unique Stealth protocol, an open-source platform, and features such as the always-on VPN. There's also a free plan decent enough for normal usage, but it's no good for streaming.

Proton VPN is well-known as a secure, private VPN service, but in the last couple of years, it has also proved itself as a seriously capable VPN for unblocking an array of streaming platforms – BBC iPlayer included. 

In my testing, it had no problem working as an iPlayer VPN, and each time I tried, I was able to watch whatever I wanted on iPlayer when connected to a U.K. server. Plus, if you subscribe to Netflix or just about any other streaming service, you'll be able to use Proton VPN with them, too.

While peak speeds of around 460 Mbps isn't something to marvel at, it's respectable and gets the job done. 

Plus, with a proprietary VPN Accelerator technology, Proton VPN claims that your server speeds can be cranked up by 400%. That said, in my own testing, I found the VPN Accelerator didn't make much of a difference. Nevertheless, it's a nifty tool to have.

An always-on VPN feature ensures that you're never on the internet without a secure VPN server masking your IP address and protecting your privacy. 

It works almost exactly like ExpressVPN's auto-connect feature in that it re-establishes connection with a VPN server in the unlikely scenario of your VPN connection dropping. 

One downside to Proton VPN is the fact that it doesn't support quite as many devices as other providers. 

If you only stream on your phone or laptop, that won't be an issue, but if you're using a smart TV or another device that doesn't support VPNs, Proton's lack of Smart DNS service lets it down slightly. 

However, its recently introduced Fire Stick VPN app shows that the provider is committed to upgrading its service regularly. 

Also, Proton VPN offers 10 simultaneous connections, which although not the best that I've seen, is certainly more than heavyweights ExpressVPN and NordVPN. 

In my testing, I was very impressed by Proton VPN's security. It's based out of Switzerland, a country outside EU and US jurisdictions and one that's not a part of the '14 Eyes' surveillance network. 

With strong privacy laws as its bottom line, Proton VPN is as rock-solid as they come. Thanks to a free plan and a 30-day money-back guarantee on premium plans, you'll have ample time to test the service before committing. 

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Proton VPN test results
DesignA very intuitive design, and the dark mode makes it more sleek⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useThe mobile apps are great, but the desktop apps are a tiny bit complex⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceFast enough for everything, from streaming to torrenting ⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingIt unblocked iPlayer and everything else in my last round of testing ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacySwiss privacy, open-source apps and independent audits are excellent showings⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportThe response time could be better but plenty of help guides available⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceThe premium plans aren't exactly budget-friendly, but there's a great free plan for normal usage⭐⭐⭐

PIA on a range of devices

(Image credit: Private Internet Access)

5. Private Internet Access

Great streaming with plenty of additional features

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 | Streaming devices supported: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Smart DNS | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited

Reliable for iPlayer
Plenty of extra security features
Attractive app overhaul 
Unlimited simultaneous connections
Apps may be too complex for beginners
No full audit
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want lots of servers: PIA has the most servers out of any provider I've tested, claiming over 60,000 in 91 countries, including a server in every US state. 

✔️ You want a trustworthy VPN: PIA is the only VPN to have proved its no-logs policy in court twice. It prioritizes your privacy and offers complete peace of mind. 

✔️ You want a VPN you can share: PIA offers unlimited simultaneous connections at a bargain price, making it a go-to solution for those on a budget.

Avoid if:

❌ Your watchlist is mostly on 10Play: PIA cannot get past the Aussie platform 10Play, but with iPlayer and everything else, it's up there with the best. 

You want an easy-to-use VPN: while a delight for tech-savvy users, PIA's wealth of customization options may make it hard to navigate for beginners.

You want valuable add-ons: PIA is very reliable, but it's not quite the complete package as it lacks a password manager and a built-in antivirus. 

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Private Internet Access offers the most servers on a VPN that we've seen. It’s very good value for money with unlimited simultaneous connections, a no-logs policy proven in court, and great streaming support. Although it misses out on 10Play, it's smooth sailing with every other streaming platform, including BBC iPlayer.

In my most recent Private Internet Access review, it performed better than ever, and it's especially good as a BBC iPlayer VPN. It successfully accessed iPlayer in my testing and, what's more, it's great for Netflix, unblocking a number of regional libraries as well as Disney+, Hulu, and more. 

The only site it couldn't get past was 10Play, the Aussie streaming platform, but other than that, it’s smooth sailing. 

The biggest talking point has to be PIA's jump in 2023 to unlimited simultaneous connections – previously, it offered just 10 but it's now right beside Surfshark as a perfect choice for those looking to cover a lot of devices with a single VPN plan. 

PIA is an absolute bargain, and as the cheapest provider on the list, I'd recommend it for anyone pinching for pennies. To give you an idea, its longer term plans are priced at just a little over $2 a month – an absolute steal, considering the quality of service.

PIA doesn't short-change you and provides impeccable security. It's the only VPN on the market to have proven its no-logs policy in court twice

Add to that a MACE feature that keeps malware and ads at bay and a powerful kill switch, and PIA's security showing is right up there with the best. It's also 100% open-source, just like Proton VPN, meaning you're free to inspect its code any time you want. 

For those that know how to use them, PIA's extra features like Port Forwarding will be very useful, especially if you're planning on using it as a torrenting VPN, but new users and those who want a simpler interface may find that they get in the way of a seamless experience. 

However, I definitely wouldn't consider this a deal-breaker for anyone except the most tech-unsavvy individuals. It's very easy to simply open up the app – on whatever device you're using – and connect to your chosen server.

PIA, quite impressively, has the most VPN servers of any VPN on the market, topping out at a claimed 60,000+ worldwide. An illustrious location list with every server's latency mentioned alongside it makes PIA a delight to use and there will always be a fast and load-free server for you to connect to, no matter where you are.

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Private Internet Access test results
DesignLots of customization options, almost too many which may overwhelm first-time VPN users ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useIdeal for tech experts, but beginners will have a lot of understanding to do⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceSufficiently quick, but not as fast as Surfshark or NordVPN⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnblocks all popular streaming sites, except the Aussie 10Play⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyA proven no-logs policy, an email breach scanner, and class-leading configuration ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportPlenty of helpful guides and 24/7 customer support⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceUnrivaled value for money, excellent for the budget-conscious ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

How to choose an iPlayer VPN

If you're wondering how to watch BBC iPlayer, picking the right iPlayer VPN is essential. Your first check should be that your chosen provider can unblock the British TV streaming site at all. Thankfully, all the VPNs on this page work reliably in this respect, so you can make your decision based on other factors.

Plenty of servers dotted around the world will be a bonus, especially for anyone who does a lot of traveling. Bear in mind VPNs are useful for tons of other things besides streaming. 

Top-quality privacy is also a must. Staying protected online is more and more difficult, so robust encryption, verified no-logs policies and any addition features like built-in antivirus should be green flags.

A good support team, ideally with 24/7 live chat will also be very useful – should you discover your iPlayer VPN suddenly can't unblock the site, a quick message may get you back up and running in a matter of moments. It's also worth going for a service that's simple and easy to use, alongside delivering great privacy.

New to BBC iPlayer

If you're looking for something new to watch on the BBC iPlayer, here are some suggestions of content that has recently hit the service:

  • UEFA Men's Euro 2024: BBC iPlayer has launched an entire Euros channel for this year's champisonship, will special features and matches from the Euros archive. Watch not only the matches, but highlights, home nations camp reports, analysis and the new Euro highlights programme, Euros Breakdown.
  • "A Good Girl's Guide To Murder": This thrilling new series sees Emma Myers ("Wednesday") portray Pip Fitz-Amobi, a girl determined to unmask the real culprit behind an apparently solved murder case. How far will the real killer go to keep her from the truth?
  • Eastbourne Tennis 2024: Get yourself warmed up for Wimbledon by watching some of the biggest starts in women's tennis battle it out on court.
  • "The Traitors US" season 2: Alan Cumming hosts the US version of the viral reality TV show which sees ordinary people play a faux-deadly game of subterfuge.
  • Tennis: Queen's: This pre-Wimbledon tennis tournament sees some of the biggest names in men's tennis take to the grass court.


What is the best BBC iPlayer VPN?

From the results of our in-depth testing, we consider NordVPN to be the best iPlayer VPN. It's fast, reliable, easy to use, and offers excellent privacy features. Plus, it comes at a budget-friendly price.

How do we test iPlayer VPNs?

To ensure we're giving you up-to-date information on these iPlayer VPN providers, we regularly test them to make sure they're keeping up with the competition. This is our process:

First, we fire up the VPN to be tested, and connect to the automatically selected server in the U.K. – this best reflects what the majority of users will be doing.

We then head over to iPlayer and attempt to watch its exclusive content. We do this both in private browsing/Incognito mode and on a regular browser, note any differences, and repeat a number of times to check for any discrepancies.

We then note down the results, and update any relevant guides and articles if necessary.

What can I watch with a BBC iPlayer VPN?

Once you've downloaded a working BBC iPlayer VPN, all of the channel's content will be available to watch. So that means all of the dramas, comedies, documentaries and films it has in its library to watch on demand, as well as all of its live channels.

We're not going to list here everything you can watch... this page would go on and on and on! But we're talking about the vast majority of the "Doctor Who" catalog, those brilliant David Attenborough documentaries like "Planet Earth III", hit shows such as "The Tourist" and "Vigil", and your daily dose of the goings on in Albert Square in "Eastenders".

Then there's the all the live coverage it shows of Glastonbury festival, Wimbledon, the FA Cup and the Olympic Games, too.

Why doesn't every service work as an iPlayer VPN?

While almost every VPN has the power to relocate you by routing your connection through a server in a different country, relatively few have the power to unblock streaming services. 

Most can act as a YouTube VPN, unblocking region-restricted content, thanks to the fact that YouTube has relatively lax VPN usage rules. Essentially, it's pretty easy to get around it.

Other services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are trickier, though. To access Netflix a VPN has to put work into avoiding the blocks and check in place, and Amazon also take into account where your subscription is based/being paid from.

However, in terms of VPN blocking, iPlayer is usually the most difficult to unblock. That's probably because there are no ads and it's free to use in the U.K. – so there's a lot of reasons why people overseas would want to get access. Thus, only the very best services can get you watching.

Written by
River Hart Tech Software Editor
Written by
River Hart

River helps take care of cybersecurity content on Tom's Guide – ranging from breaking news pieces, reviews, and buying guides.


We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example: 

1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service). 
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad. We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.

With contributions from