How to watch BBC iPlayer from abroad

Updated on: 6 July 2020
Updated on:6 July 2020

BBC iPlayer is only available from within the UK for registered users with a valid UK TV licence. While there are plenty of other content services you can use overseas, for many there is nothing quite the same as watching UK TV shows from the BBC on iPlayer.

How to Watch BBC iPlayer from Abroad

Why might BBC iPlayer be blocked?

If you are trying to access BBC iPlayer from outside the UK, you will get a message that access to the site is blocked. If you are inside the UK, but the country of registration of your public IP address is outside of the UK, then you will also be blocked.

BBC iPlayer uses the public IP address of each user to determine if they in the UK. Geo-blocking technology prevents users located outside the UK from accessing the service.

Why is BBC iPlayer blocked outside the UK?

Due to digital rights agreements, the BBC can only allow its registered users to watch live, stream and download BBC TV channels on the BBC iPlayer when located in the UK.

You can watch downloaded programs on BBC iPlayer anywhere if you remembered to download them before you left the UK. If you forgot, read on for how to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.

How can I unblock the BBC iPlayer?

So, if you’re abroad, or in the UK and the BBC think your IP address is registered elsewhere, then how can you access BBC iPlayer? The simple solution is to use a method to hide your real IP address and disguise it as one that is from the UK.

How can I watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK?

To access BBC iPlayer from anywhere, you need to use a service that will provide you with an IP address within the UK to cloak your real location. Using this method, you can also watch ITV from the USA or anywhere else in the world.

One word of caution, accessing BBC iPlayer from outside of the UK is against the BBC’s terms of service and, if spotted, may result in the suspension of your registered account.

Using a Proxy Server to watch the BBC iPlayer abroad

A Proxy Server is a service that will disguise your IP address to make it look like it is from the country of your choosing. While this may sound great, it will dramatically slow down your internet connection. Free Proxy Server’s will bombard you with adverts and even monitor your internet browsing.

Using a VPN to watch the BBC iPlayer abroad

VPN’s are an easy way to disguise your IP address, they are much simpler to set up than a Proxy Server, much quicker, and they are far more secure. While it may sound daunting, it’s quite painless to set up and use. Access to BBC iPlayer is easy with a VPN, regardless of your location and the device you are using.

A VPN makes watching programs on BBC iPlayer when abroad effortless. The best VPNs start from as little as $3 per month and require no technical expertise to set up and start using.

Once you choose the right VPN for you, simply sign up for a subscription and download their software. This straightforward process takes a matter of minutes. We’ve provided simple instructions for doing this with ExpressVPN below, give it a try.

Once you have the VPN in place, you simply start it up and choose the country you wish to connect from (which in this case would be the UK).

Now you have full access to content from the UK as if you were there.

That’s it. It is this easy to use a VPN to watch BBC Player.

Using ExpressVPN to watch the BBC overseas

Step one: Sign up for ExpressVPN and install the VPN

Follow this link to ExpressVPN and click “Grab the deal”.

Choose the plan you want. If you’re living abroad and will want to use iPlayer and other services regularly, then you can save a lot of money by signing up for longer.

Enter your email address and payment info and click “Continue”.

Once your payment has gone through, you’ll get a confirmation link, and you will be able to log in to the website to download the VPN software.

Click the downloads tab on the page, and the website will identify your device type and recommend the correct software. Click Download.

When the download is complete, open it and agree to the terms of service.

Step two: Sign in to the VPN and choose a server in the UK

Load up the VPN software (Search for ExpressVPN in Windows search if you don’t see it) and enter your email address and the password you chose when you signed up.

The great thing about ExpressVPN is that they have loads of options to keep nerds entertained, but the software comes preconfigured, so you don’t have to change anything the first time you use it.

Simply choose United Kingdom from the list of servers, and ExpressVPN will connect.

If you want to know more about the advanced features, check our full ExpressVPN review here.

Step three: Access BBC Player

Now follow this link to iPlayer and choose the programme you want to watch.

You’ll need to sign in or register if you haven’t used iPlayer before. If you’ve recently moved away from the UK just use your old postcode.

And that’s it. You can now watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world without restrictions.

Written by: Stephen Mash

Connect with him:

Software and Systems Assurance Specialist Based in West Sussex, England, Stephen has worked as an information security and safety assurance consultant since 1997, specialising in risk management for high integrity systems. Prior to that, he developed safety-critical software-based systems for the aerospace industry. He transitioned from consultancy into the role of technical copywriter and editor in 2019, writing and reviewing materials on behalf of a broad spectrum of clients.

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