I tested multiple VPNs to find the best free VPN for BBC iPlayer. After my tests, I found multiple good options worth considering, but I also learned that even the best free VPNs have limits. So, it’s best to consider a top-tier premium option if you want seamlessly connectivity. While the free VPNs on this list effectively unblock BBC iPlayer and let you stream in HD, I still suggest you use ExpressVPN to watch BBC iPlayer. It offers lightning-fast speeds, multiple UK servers, and industry-standard security. Plus, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it yourself. If you’re unsatisfied, it’s easy to get a refund. Watch BBC iPlayer abroad with ExpressVPN

Quick Guide: Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer (Tested in January 2023)

Watch BBC iPlayer with ExpressVPN risk-free

3 Easy Steps: How to Use a VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer

The Best Free VPNs to Watch BBC iPlayer (Tested in January 2023)

1. ExpressVPN — #1 VPN for HD Streaming on BBC iPlayer

Key Features: ExpressVPN is my top choice for streaming BBC iPlayer. It offers an impressive network of 3000+ servers, including 5 locations in the UK — Docklands, London, East London, Midlands, and Wembley. During tests, all 5 of ExpressVPN’s UK server locations accessed BBC iPlayer without issues. While connected to ExpressVPN’s UK servers, my connection speeds only slowed down 10% compared to my baseline speed. So, the connection was always fast enough to stream shows on BBC iPlayer completely lag-free. I also noticed that ExpressVPN’s connection speeds remain fast across long-distance servers, which is ideal if you’re physically far from the UK. If you want to use your local internet while simultaneously watching BBC iPlayer, you can use ExpressVPN’s split tunneling feature. It lets you connect to BBC iPlayer via ExpressVPN while routing all your other online through your regular connection. You’ll also find ExpressVPN very impressive in terms of security. It recently went through an independent audit which ensured its protection is airtight and it doesn’t keep logs of connections or your activity. Plus, it offers various other security features, including the following:

AES 256-bit encryption — Encrypts your traffic to safeguard your online activity. TrustedServer Technology — RAM-based servers that are wiped clean of all their data every time they’re turned off. No-logs policy — ExpressVPN never stores your browsing information on its servers. Built-in kill switch — Disconnects you from the internet to protect your identity if the VPN connection drops. Threat Manager — Blocks third-party trackers that can track your online activity and build a profile on you.

ExpressVPN also has extensions for Chrome and Firefox. These are unique because they act as a remote control for the full app and include extra privacy features that the app doesn’t have. BBC iPlayer is notorious for being difficult to access outside of the UK, but the HTML5 geospoofing feature on ExpressVPN’s Chrome Extension meant I never encountered any errors. ExpressVPN also offers excellent customer support. Its website has 24/7 live chat support and a massive knowledge base that’ll help you troubleshoot common issues. I always connected to a support agent within minutes whenever I needed help, and they provided useful information that promptly fixed any issues I faced. While ExpressVPN isn’t completely free, it still provides excellent value for money with its cheapest plan costing $6.67/month. Plus, you can use ExpressVPN to stream BBC iPlayer completely risk-free. It has a 30-day money-back guarantee, and it’s easy to get a refund if you’re unsatisfied with its performance. I requested a refund via live chat to test this guarantee, which was approved in minutes. I had the money refunded to my account during the same week. Watch BBC iPlayer with ExpressVPN risk-free

2. CyberGhost — Unblock BBC iPlayer on an Optimized UK Streaming Server

Key Features: CyberGhost offers a streaming-optimized server specifically for BBC iPlayer and a variety of other UK servers. Its optimized server was especially impressive as it took only a few seconds to connect and then provided lag-free streaming on BBC iPlayer. Throughout all my tests, CyberGhost’s connection speeds were consistently fast. I tried multiple UK servers, including the streaming-optimized one, and my speeds only dropped 20% compared to base values. So they always remained fast enough for buffer-free HD streaming on BBC iPlayer. CyberGhost was also recently audited by Deloitte. The firm confirmed that CyberGhost’s server configurations are according to its privacy policies and don’t identify users or pinpoint their activities. Alongside this, the VPN offers various other security features to keep you safe such as:

AES 256-bit encryption — Industry-standard encryption which encrypts and secures your traffic. NoSpy Servers — Servers owned by CyberGhost in Romania, where there aren’t any electronic surveillance laws. Strict no-logs policy — Don’t keep logs of your activity on its servers. Built-in kill switch — Kill your internet connection if the VPN disconnects to keep any of your identifying information from leaking.

Although it’s not free, CyberGhost is among the more affordable VPNs on this list. Not only does it offer affordable monthly plans, but it also provides a large 83% discount for its 2-year + 2 months plan. So, you can subscribe to CyberGhost for as low as $2.19/month. Of course, there’s also a long 45-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can try CyberGhost to stream BBC iPlayer completely risk-free. I easily had my refund approved via live chat in minutes, and the money was back in my account within 5 days. Watch BBC iPlayer for free with CyberGhost

3. TunnelBear — GhostBear Feature Allows Easy Access to BBC iPlayer From Abroad

Key Features: TunnelBear is an excellent free VPN for watching BBC iPlayer. It has 1 free server in the UK, which you can use to access BBC iPlayer. However, you should enable the GhostBear feature to disguise your traffic and successfully access BBC iPlayer because it detects you’re using a VPN otherwise. While testing its speeds, I was impressed with how fast TunnelBear is for a free VPN. I only noticed a drop of roughly 30% compared to my baseline speeds, meaning the connection was always fast enough to watch shows on BBC iPlayer in HD. Having only 1 available server can lead to overcrowding and other issues, but I didn’t experience any of these problems while testing TunnelBear. Alongside providing great streaming performance, TunnelBear is incredibly secure, with vital features like the following:

AES 256-bit encryption — Best-in-class encryption to secure your online activity. VigilantBear — TunnelBear’s kill switch disconnects your internet if the VPN connection drops. No-logs policy — None of your browsing activity or connection logs are ever stored on TunnelBear’s servers.

TunnelBear currently supports Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux and offers browser extensions. The only minor con is that you can only use the free plan to stream on 1 device at a time. It’s also worth noting that you only get 500MB/day with TunnelBear free, so there’s a limit to how much you can stream. TunnelBear also offers multiple plans you can subscribe to for unlimited data and access to more servers. There are monthly, 1-year, and 3-year plans, and you can get a subscription for as low as $3.33 at a 67% discount. Also, while it doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, TunnelBear evaluates refunds on a case-by-case basis, so you can still request one if you aren’t satisfied. Watch BBC iPlayer for free with TunnelBear

4. Windscribe — 2 Free Servers in the UK for Streaming BBC iPlayer

Key Features: Windscribe is a great choice if you need a reliable free VPN to watch BBC iPlayer The free plan offers various servers, including 2 different servers in the UK. Therse servers were able to grant access to BBC iPlayer without issues. While it doesn’t provide the fastest speeds, Windscribe’s connection speeds always remain fast enough for lag-free streaming. My connection speeds dropped roughly 42% compared to my baseline values when connected to the UK servers. Despite this drop, there’s never any lag while streaming BBC iPlayer using Windscribe. Windscribe also offers various features to keep you safe and anonymous online such as:

AES 256-bit encryption — Top-tier encryption that protects your traffic from any prying eyes. No-logs policy — Never keeps any of your identifying information on its servers. Leak protection — Prevents DNS, IP, and other similar leaks to ensure you stay anonymous online.

Alongside providing 10GB/month of free data, I like that Windscribe’s free plan lets you stream on up to devices simultaneously. Plus, you can stream on a wide variety of platforms, including Fire TV, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and more. It is also able to access other platforms such as US Netflix.  Windscribe also offers monthly and yearly paid plans with unlimited data, and you can subscribe for as low as a month at a % discount. Plus, there’s a “Build a Plan” option that lets you choose specific servers at 1$ each. You can try Windscribe completely risk-free. Its money-back guarantee is short at only days long and requires that you’ve used less than 10GB on the paid plan. When I requested my refund, it was approved on the same day, and I had my money back in my account 5 days later.

Easy Comparison Table: 2023’s Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

Watch BBC iPlayer with ExpressVPN

Warning! None of These Free VPNs Work With BBC iPlayer

How I Tested and Ranked the Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

I tested all the leading VPNs on the market against the following criteria and ranked them by how well they performed.


hide.me’s free plan only offers servers in the US, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer a free server in the UK, so you can’t watch BBC iPlayer with it.

Proton VPN

You get unlimited data with Proton VPN free. However, the free plan only lets you access servers in the US, Netherlands, and Japan, meaning you can’t use it to stream BBC iPlayer.

Free plan or money-back guarantee — I made sure the VPNs I suggest offer a free plan or a money-back guarantee so you can test them yourself without risking your money. Works with BBC iPlayer — I looked for VPNs with at least 1 UK server that can access BBC iPlayer. Good streaming speeds — I only suggested VPNs that maintain fast speeds while connected. You only need a speed of 5Mbps to watch BBC iPlayer in HD without buffering (although your physical distance to the UK will impact your speed). Security and privacy features — I prioritized VPNs with strong encryption, leak protection, a kill switch, and a strict no-logs policy to ensure your streaming history can’t be linked back to you. User-friendly VPN apps — I made sure the VPNs I listed offer intuitive desktop and mobile apps for a hassle-free streaming experience.

Use ExpressVPN to watch BBC iPlayer

How can I watch BBC iPlayer for free?

You can watch BBC iPlayer at no cost with a free VPN. I’ve even tested and ranked the best free VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2022. However, the truly best VPNs for BBC iPlayer are all low-cost premium VPNs because its geoblocking is tough for VPNs to get around. In order to overcome this, a VPN needs frequently updated servers, leak protection, and obfuscated servers. Only top premium VPNs can effectively overcome these blocks — but you don’t necessarily have to pay anything to use one. For instance, you can get CyberGhost free for 45 days with its money-back guarantee. During this time, you’ll get unlimited access to all its premium features, including a dedicated streaming-optimized UK server for BBC iPlayer. As long as you ask for a refund before the 45 days are up, you’ll get it without issues. My refund was processed immediately after requesting it via live chat, and I had my money back in a week.

Before you use a VPN to access BBC iPlayer, I recommend checking the local laws in your country. In most regions, VPNs are legal, but you can’t use one to break any laws (like downloading or sharing copyrighted material). That said, streaming BBC iPlayer from outside the UK with a VPN is against its Terms of Use. However, there’s no mention of whether this applies to UK residents who are temporarily abroad — I couldn’t find any evidence of consequences during my research. Having a UK TV license is important if you’re streaming on BBC iPlayer (although you don’t need to provide proof of the license). My team and I haven’t heard of any legal action so far, but you may face a fine of up to £1,000 or even prison time if you’re caught.

Why does BBC iPlayer only work in the UK?

Due to copyright and content rights, you can only stream BBC channels and TV shows inside the UK. BBC iPlayer blocks any IP address outside the UK to prevent people from accessing its content from overseas. However, this can be annoying if you’re a UK resident and are overseas for work or vacation. So, you can use a VPN to get a UK IP address and watch your favorite programs. Unfortunately, most VPNs don’t work because BBC iPlayer heavily invests in blocking IP addresses belonging to VPNs. So, it’s best to use an affordable and reliable provider like ExpressVPN that offers advanced unblocking technology, unlimited bandwidth, and multiple fast UK servers. Also, you can try ExpressVPN completely risk-free. It’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can test it yourself and get a refund if you’re unsatisfied with the performance.

Why is BBC iPlayer not working with my VPN?

Even the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer can struggle to access it sometimes. Thankfully, you can try the following fixes to overcome errors:

Try a different server in the UK — You might have chosen a server that’s been detected by BBC iPlayer. Switch to a different UK server and refresh BBC iPlayer to see if it works. Reset your internet connection — Simply restarting your internet will refresh your connection and reset your IP address. This might help you resolve issues and allow your VPN to work properly. Make sure your VPN app is updated — Check to see if you’re using the latest version of your VPN app. If it’s not up to date, getting the latest version might fix issues and enable a smooth connection to BBC iPlayer. Clear your browser and DNS cache — Your browser’s cookies can sometimes store location data, which BBC iPlayer can use to block access. Clearing browser data removes this information and might fix any issues you’re facing. Contact customer support — If nothing else works, contacting your VPN’s customer support is the best option. While most free VPNs have lackluster or even non-existent customer support, the ones I’ve listed above offer support options if you have trouble.

Can I watch BBC iPlayer with a free proxy?

Maybe, but I don’t recommend it. Free proxies don’t offer the same level of protection as the best free VPNs. Free proxies don’t have proper encryption or no-logs policies and other useful features you need to stay safe online. Thankfully, various affordable monthly VPNs with top-tier security provide safe and reliable access to BBC iPlayer. Watch BBC iPlayer with ExpressVPN

Don’t Miss Out on Your Favorite BBC iPlayer Shows

If you rightfully have a UK TV license and are traveling overseas, it can be frustrating to miss out on your favorite TV shows. Thankfully, a VPN lets you bypass geo-restrictions and access BBC iPlayer to stream shows without any issues. There are several decent free VPNs you can use to stream BBC iPlayer in HD without lag or connection errors. However, after extensive testing, I found that ExpressVPN is best for BBC iPlayer thanks to its superfast speeds, large server variety, and top-grade security. Best of all, you can watch BBC iPlayer with ExpressVPN risk-free. It’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you have a long time to test it yourself and see if it’s right for you. If you’re unsatisfied, you can ask for a refund at any time via the responsive live chat.

Other Top VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2023