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How to watch BBC iPlayer abroad

BBC iPlayer is a commercial-free streaming platform which offers a huge range of high-quality content including news, TV programmes, and movies. Despite its popularity, the service is only available to devices with a UK IP address. Fortunately, there is a simple solution using VPNs that allows iPlayer content to be streamed from anywhere in the world. Here is how to watch BBC iPlayer abroad. 

How to watch BBC iPlayer abroad quick guide 

If you’re a British resident who forgot to download your favourite shows before going abroad, or you just live outside the UK and want access to popular iPlayer programmes such as Eastenders, Call The Midwife, or Casualty, then all you need is a new IP address. Here is how you can get one: 

  • Choose a VPN – There is a wide range of both premium and free VPN services available. But BBC iPlayer uses strong geo-blocking technology. That’s why only the best VPNs will allow you to access all BBC iPlayer content. We suggest NordVPN as this service has plenty of UK servers, and you should have no trouble using one of these servers to stream iPlayer content in HD or even 4K. You can also read more about our recommended premium or free VPNs to find one which suits you best. 
  • Connect to a (UK) server and get a new IP address – Once you have chosen your VPN, download the software and install it onto your device. After this, you can select a UK server which will then give you a new IP address. 
  • Log back into BBC iplayer – Once you have your new UK IP address you can head to the BBC iPlayer website and either login or make a new account. You’ll now be free to stream live and on-demand TV from anywhere in the world.
  • In case you are still geo-blocked, please change to a different server.

Do I need a UK TV license?

Yes. If you want to stream content on BBC iPlayer in theory you will need to purchase a valid TV license. It costs £159 for a standard UK TV license, and you can find out more information on the TV licensing website. But when signing up on the website for a new account, all you need is a valid UK postcode (any postcode 😉 )

How to watch BBC iPlayer abroad using a VPN 

VPNs can allow users to access new IP addresses which are located within the UK. This way, anyone can successfully log into UK streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and watch content from anywhere in the world. A suitable VPN should be able to bypass the geo-blocked content on iPlayer and provide fast connection speeds so that the content you stream is of the highest possible quality. Here is a list of our recommended free and premium VPNs for watching BBC iPlayer from Spain or anywhere else in the world. 

Premium VPNs

If you not only want to access geo-blocked streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, but you also want to ensure that your privacy is protected from cyber threats, then a premium VPN is your best choice. Premium VPNs will provide unlimited data and bandwidth so that users can watch as much content as they wish without worrying about any data caps. VPNs with larger server coverage will make certain that your access will not be blocked by iPlayer as there will be many more UK servers to choose from. Here are our favourite premiums VPNs suitable for watching BBC iPlayer abroad: 

  • NordVPN – Unlimited bandwidth, lightning-fast speeds, and over 5400+ servers, are just a few of the reasons why NordVPN is one of the best premium services that money can buy. This VPN has many UK servers that can access BBC iPlayer content using 6 simultaneous connections. Using NordVPN, you’ll be able to stream an unlimited amount of content without having to face any lag or buffering. If you’re still not convinced, then you can try NordVPN for free for 30 days. NordVPN also works in countries with internet restrictions such as Egypt, Turkey, Russia and China. So even in those countries you can watch BBC iPlayer on holidays.
  • Surfshark – With an impressive range of servers and some of the fastest connection speeds out of all VPNs in the current market, Surfshark is undoubtedly a fantastic choice for bypassing geo-blocked streaming services. They also offer unlimited device connections under one subscription so you’ll be able to watch BBC iPlayer on as many devices as you want all at the same time. Their military-grade encryption ensures that your data is not at risk and their interface is clean, reliable, and easy to navigate. All these features plus their reasonable subscription price makes Surfshark a great choice for streaming geo-blocked content.

Free VPNs

If you want to avoid paying for a VPN to access BBC iPlayer, then you can opt to try a free version. Free VPNs can be less reliable and secure than premium alternatives, but some will still allow you to access content on geo-blocked streaming services. Most free VPNs will have a limit on how much data you can use each month so if you’re only planning on using iPlayer briefly, then a free VPN could be the best option for you. Here are our top two free VPNs which will enable you to watch BBC iPlayer abroad: 

  • Windscribe – With a generous allowance of 10GB per month, Windscribe offers one of the best packages among free VPNs. Their connections are extremely reliable, and the service provides AES 256-bit encryption and IP masking. Furthermore you get R.O.B.E.R.T., so adverts are blocked and users’ data is safely protected from threats such as malware, trackers or phishing.  
  • Hotspot Shield – Hotspot Shield offers a free plan which has military-grade encryption and guarantees that they don’t log or collect any data which can be traced back to users. The problem is that you only get 500 MB of free data per day, which is hardly enough for long streaming sessions.

Although the UK has a substantial range of online streaming services, like BBC iPlayer, many of them have geo-restrictions imposed. A VPN is the only way to bypass these reactions and enable users to watch BBC iPlayer abroad. There is a vast range of both free and premium VPNs available but when deciding which service to choose, it’s wise to ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this VPN give me access to BBC iPlayer? 
  • Does this VPN have a wide server coverage?
  • Are there any data or bandwidth caps?
  • How reliable are the connection speeds?

An ideal VPN for accessing streaming services such as BBC iPlayer will be fast, secure, and reliable. You can either choose one of our suggestions listed above or if you are planning to use your VPN for other reasons such as torrenting, security, or anonymity, then click here to read about our top free and premium VPNs.

What is BBC iPlayer?

BBC iPlayer is a popular, UK-based streaming platform that stands proudly among US-based services such as Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+. The service includes both live and catch-up content from all of BBC’s channels including BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, Radio 1, Cbeebies, CBBC, and BBC News. All content is available at no cost to UK residents. However, although downloaded content can be watched from devices abroad, new content cannot be accessed without a UK IP address. If the website or app is attempted to be accessed from any other country, then users will receive this message, “For rights reasons, you cannot stream programmes in BBC iPlayer outside the UK, even on holiday”. 

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