The BBC has many fans outside the UK despite how hard it is to actually watch it abroad. Today, we’ll show you how to unblock BBC streams anywhere in the world with a VPN, plus recommend the best providers to help you do so. You’ll also learn about iPlayer and alternative methods to access the BBC.
The BBC has some of the most popular shows on TV. Getting access to this content outside of the UK can be problematic, however, even if you’re a citizen who’s simply traveling abroad. Content license restrictions means BBC blocks access to IP addresses outside of the UK. If you’re in the country you can watch shows as you please, but as soon as you leave, you’ll be blocked. Fortunately, it’s easy to get a UK IP address and watch the BBC abroad by using a VPN or one of several third party resources.
VPNs Provide Safety, Security, and Worldwide BBC Access
Privacy is a major concern these days, especially for anyone traveling across country borders. Hackers may be waiting at every vulnerable hotspot, governments are eager to get their hands on user data, and ISPs capture and often sell our personal information without consent. The good news is you don’t have to give up your right to privacy every time you use the internet. With a good virtual private network (VPN), you can stay safe while accessing your favorite content anywhere in the world.
VPNs work by encrypting data as it leaves your device, making it nearly impossible to decipher and read. This prevents third parties from seeing which websites you visit or which movies you stream. VPNs also let you mask your true location and choose a virtual one instead. With this simple but powerful feature you can appear to be from almost any country in the world with just a few clicks.
We’ve streamlined the selection process by providing a few VPN recommendations below, each chosen using the following criteria. No matter which one you go with, you’ll be able to access the BBC outside of the UK wherever you travel.
- Server network – The bigger a VPN’s server network, the more options you’ll have for a solid connection. You also need plenty of servers within the UK so you can get a coveted BBC approved IP address.
- Extra security features – Having strong encryption and solid privacy practices is great, but if a VPN goes to great lengths to provide bonus features, it can change the way you look at online security.
- Jurisdiction – Where a VPN company is registered impacts how privacy laws affect your data. Anywhere outside of the UK, U.S., Australia, and Canada is preferable. (Check out our article on the 5 Eyes Surveillance Agreement to learn more).
- Logging policy – Your privacy can’t be guaranteed if a VPN logs your data.
Top 4 VPNs to Unblock the BBC Anywhere in the World
No matter where you go, you shouldn’t be without the BBC’s exceptional content catalogue. The following VPN providers have been tested and proven to bypass the BBC’s geo-blocks outside the UK while preserving connection speeds for smooth, buffer-free streams:
As its name suggests, ExpressVPN is the industry leader when it comes to speed. ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers all around the world, covering 94 different countries with over 145 server, all with high-quality and reliable connections. The entire process is also completely transparent thanks to built-in speed test options featured in the Windows, Mac, and Android versions of ExpressVPN’s software. Feel like your downloads are sluggish? Run the test and find out for sure.
Speed isn’t the only thing you need in a VPN. To ensure your data stays safe, ExpressVPN deploys strong 256-bit AES encryption along with a zero-logging policy that covers traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses. You also get full DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch to help keep your identity secure, even in case of an accidental disconnect. These tools make ExpressVPN one of the fastest and easiest to use VPNs on the market, perfect for accessing BBC channels while traveling abroad.
Rounding out the ExpressVPN package is user-friendly software for all modern platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS mobile devices; incredible download speeds backed by unlimited bandwidth and no speed throttling; excellent privacy features for reliable internet access in countries like China; that ability to watch Netflix from any region with some of the best VPN availability around; five server locations in the UK, covering London, Kent, Wembley, and more.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
- Unblocks US Netflix
- Fastest servers we have tested
- Torrenting/P2P allowed
- No logs for personal data
- Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
- Expensive month-to-month plan.
If you want tons of servers, NordVPN is the service for you. The company has an incredible network of over 5,100 servers in 60 different countries, more than twice the size of many competitors. Over 690 of these servers are in the UK alone, giving you plenty of options for fast, lag free connections with an in-country IP address for full access to the BBC. NordVPN extends the usefulness of its network by offering unique features like DDoS protection, double VPN, and faster P2P downloads through dedicated servers.
Additional perks of NordVPN include specialized servers that offer features like onion routing, faster P2P downloads, double encryption, and DDoS protection; open and private access to the internet in countries like China, Russia, the UAE, and Turkey; smart and attractive custom apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and more; full access to Netflix, even when other VPNs are blocked.
Read our full NordVPN review.
- Unblocks US Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon Prime and other streaming services
- Extensive server park of over 5,400 different servers
- Tor over VPN, double VPN
- Extra-secure Double VPN for data encryption
- 24/7 Live Chat.
- Not much
- Apps can sometime be slow to connect.
IPVanish has all the right features for helping you stay invisible online. The foundation of this online anonymity starts with 256-bit AES encryption on all data along with a superb zero-traffic logging policy. DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch lock down your identity in case of an accidental disconnect, and added security features such as a timed IP address shuffling option make for some of the best anonymity around.
The IPVanish network is more than 1,300 servers in over 60 different countries strong. Six unique locations in the UK are covered, including London, Manchester, and Glasgow, and you’ll have 100+ servers to choose from among those areas. IPVanish also has an excellent reputation for fast speeds, making it perfect for watching videos or streaming content from the BBC while abroad. You even get unlimited and anonymous access to torrent downloads and P2P networks with IPVanish, making it one of the top choices for breaking through geo-restriction barriers.
IPVanish features at a glance:
- A huge network of servers with plenty of locations throughout the UK.
- Fast download and streaming speeds for amazing HD and 4K videos.
- Easy to use apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android devices.
- Full anonymity for P2P, torrent, and Kodi downloads.
Read our full IPVanish review.
When you need the ultimate in privacy, VyprVPN is the way to go. The company is one of the few VPNs that owns and operates its entire network of servers, over 700 in 70 different countries. This means they takes care of all server maintenance, hardware upgrades, and software installations. No third party ever has access to your data-not IT professionals, window cleaners, or even janitors. This creates one of the strongest foundations for online privacy around. It gets even better when you see VyprVPN’s zero-logging policy on traffic and DNS requests, 256-bit AES encryption on all data, and standard DNS leak protection and automatic kill switch features.
Another great part of VyprVPN is Chameleon. This exclusive protocol takes encrypted data packets and wraps their metadata in a new layer of encryption. The process helps defeat deep packet inspection deployed by ISPs and governments to throttle connections or spy on user activity. If you’re worried that someone is watching your activity, VyprVPN makes it easy to stay safe. It also works like a charm in places like China, Turkey, Russia, and the UAE, letting you bypass censorship walls for an open and free internet.
VyprVPN’s best features include:
- Self-owned network of 700 servers in 70 different countries for fast, private internet access.
- Multiple server locations throughout the UK for excellent access to the BBC.
- Chameleon protocol to defeat censorship blocks and government firewalls.
- Unlimited bandwidth and no restrictions on P2P or torrent traffic.
Read our full VyprVPN review.
Watch the BBC Outside the UK with BBC iPlayer
The best option for watching BBC abroad is to pair the company’s streaming software with a good VPN. BBC iPlayer lets you access all of the BBC’s shows, movies, and special features from the comfort of your own device. Browse new and archived videos from BBC One through Four, BBC News, even Radio 1 and S4C content.
Grab your favorite VPN and your preferred streaming hardware, then follow the steps below:
- Activate your VPN and choose a server location within the UK.
- Visit the BBC iPlayer video site, or download the app on your favorite device.
- Sign in or create your account with BBC.
- Choose your video and start the stream.
Note that BBC has started blocking some VPNs and IP ranges, even those located within the UK. Your mileage may vary depending on the VPN service you use.
Get BBC Access outside the UK with Media Hint
Worldwide, reliable, multi-device access is what every cord cutter and video streamer wants out of life. While content rights and region locks currently have some serious restrictions in place, companies like Media Hint are working to break down those barriers. Media Hint is a subscription based service that offers worldwide access to a variety of streaming channels, everything from BBC to Netflix, Hulu, even Pandora and HBO.
Media Hint gives you a lot of options for watching your favorite shows. You can use a browser extension on desktop computers, watch on Fire TV or Chromecast, or even configure Android and iOS devices for unrestricted streams. Setup is generally pretty quick, especially if you’re on a PC. We’ll cover the browser extension method below so you can get things up and running as quickly as possible.
- Open Chrome, Firefox, or a similar browser with identical extension compatibility.
- Download the Chrome extension or Firefox plug-in.
- Install the software on your browser.
- If the extension doesn’t redirect you immediately, visit Media Hint in the same browser.
- Sign up for your free seven-day trial with Media Hint.
- Visit the BBC iPlayer video site.
- Log in, choose your show, and start streaming. Media Hint will automatically select a UK IP address for unrestricted access to your favorite shows.
Watch BBC Abroad with Beebs for Chrome
Who needs fancy IP bypassing software and separate streaming apps when you can combine everything into one simple download? Beebs Premium is an extension for Chrome that acts as a proxy between your browser and BBC iPlayer.
RELATED READING: VPN vs Proxy: Which Should you Use?
Instead of using a VPN, Beebs assigns you a UK based IP address and automatically connects you through it. Not only will you get instant access to BBC content, but it’s extraordinarily easy to use and is rarely, if ever, blocked by BBC anti-VPN methods.
To use Beebs Premium you’ll need a desktop or laptop computer running Chrome. No VPN is required. Follow the steps below to install and start streaming:
- Open Chrome and make sure you’re on the latest version.
- Visit Beebs Premium on the Chrome extension marketplace.
- Click the blue “add to Chrome” button in the top right.
- Either click the Beebs extension button in Chrome, or go to the iPlayer website.
- Open any video and click the pink “play” button. Note that you may need to log in or register before the stream begins.
- If the Beebs Premium extension is enabled, your video will start shortly.
Reader Suggestions for Worldwide BBC Access
With international content law in its current state, no method will ever be 100% effective at unblocking the BBC for video streaming abroad. VPNs are usually the best way to do it, but even they’ve fallen victim to blocks and heavy restrictions. If you know another way to watch the BBC outside of the UK, share your methods below. The more people who know, the better.