BBC iPlayer is one of the best streaming sites on the web. What’s more, unlike most streaming platforms, BBC iPlayer is completely free to use! You just have to create an account, sign in, and you can start watching everything you want.
There’s just one issue – BBC iPlayer is only available in the UK. You can’t watch it abroad. If you try, you’ll only see a small error message which says you can’t do it.
Why does that happen? Because BBC iPlayer uses geo-restrictions to comply with licensing agreements. The site also geo-blocks access to its content because people in the UK have to pay a TV license tax to use BBC iPlayer. It wouldn’t exactly be fair to them to let people outside the UK watch the same content without having to pay any taxes (and it’s not like the British government can force foreign citizens to do that).
But that’s not what you’re interested in, is it? No, you probably want to know if there is any way to unblock BBC iPlayer abroad.
Well, you’re in luck – we actually know three ways you can do that. We’ll tell you all about them in this article. Also, we’ll tell you whether or not free unblockers are worth it.
So without further ado, these are the best three ways to unblock BBC iPlayer outside the UK in 2021:
1. Unblock BBC iPlayer with a VPN
A VPN is a tool that helps you unblock geo-locked shows and movies. To do that, it hides your IP address from the sites you visit. Basically, when you access BBC iPlayer with a VPN, the website will only see the VPN’s IP. That means it only sees the VPN’s geo-location. It doesn’t know what country you are from.
To unblock BBC iPlayer, you’ll have to use a UK VPN. It doesn’t need to be a VPN headquartered there. It’s enough for it to have a few servers in the UK. Most top VPNs have hundreds (if not thousands) of servers, so finding one in the UK isn’t a problem.
Also, here’s another cool thing – VPNs encrypt your traffic, making it virtually unreadable. Your ISP won’t be able to see your connection to BBC iPlayer. They’ll only know you’re connected to the VPN (they’ll just see its IP).
Why does that matter?
Because your ISP can’t throttle your bandwidth. They have no idea you’re exchanging data with BBC iPlayer. So, they won’t be able to slow down your streaming speeds for this site.
Great. You can learn how to easily unblock iPlayer outside the UK here. It’s a guide from ProPrivacy that rounds up the best BBC iPlayer VPNs on the market. It also answers important FAQs and has a step-by-step tutorial showing you how to use a VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer.
2. Unblock BBC iPlayer with a Proxy
A proxy is basically a VPN with no encryption. Other than that, it pretty much does the same thing – it hides your IP address by intercepting and forwarding your BBC iPlayer traffic. To watch anything on BBC iPlayer abroad, you’ll need to use a UK proxy server.
But keep in mind that the lack of encryption means your traffic isn’t secured. Hackers and surveillance agencies can still spy on it. If you don’t care about that, consider this – your ISP can also monitor your traffic. If they don’t like that you’re consuming too much data watching BBC iPlayer, they can throttle your speeds.
So you should only use a proxy if you’re 100% sure your ISP doesn’t throttle your bandwidth.
3. Unblock BBC iPlayer with a Smart DNS
A Smart DNS is an unblocking tool that doesn’t hide your IP address. Instead, it changes your device’s DNS settings to make sure you’re not using your ISP’s DNS server (the server that returns IP addresses when you type a website name in your browser). The Smart DNS also edits your DNS queries (when your browser asks a DNS server what a website’s IP address is) to prevent any geo-location leaks.
That way, BBC iPlayer won’t be able to see your real location by analyzing your DNS traffic and queries.
What’s more, a Smart DNS will also send your traffic through British proxy servers to make sure you can 100% unblock BBC iPlayer.
However, a Smart DNS tool won’t encrypt your traffic. It offers better streaming speeds that way. But that also means you can’t prevent bandwidth throttling. So just like a proxy, only use a Smart DNS if you don’t need to worry about your ISP slowing down your speeds to conserve data.
Can You Unblock BBC iPlayer for Free?
We get asked this a lot. No, you can’t reliably unblock BBC iPlayer with a free tool. You can try, sure, but it won’t work most of the time.
Because BBC iPlayer is pretty good at detecting unblockers. What’s more, it also has an effective blacklisting system in place. We’re not 100% sure how they do it, though they probably have access to databases that contain proxy and VPN IP addresses. A paid service can bypass that type of blocking because it refreshes its IPs more often.
As for free Smart DNS services, there aren’t many around. While BBC iPlayer probably won’t block them, they’re very risky to use. You’re basically routing your traffic through a random DNS server that could be run by anyone, after all. If they decide to interfere with your connection and send your traffic to a phishing site, they’ll be able to do it. Not to mention the speeds will be really slow due to server overcrowding.
Bottom line – just use a paid unblocker. It’s not worth wasting your time (and putting your data at risk) with a free service.
What About Using Tor?
Tor is free to use, but its main purpose is to secure your data and protect your privacy. It wasn’t built with streaming in mind. Its speeds are very slow, so even if you can unblock BBC iPlayer, you won’t enjoy watching videos.
How Else Can You Unblock BBC iPlayer?
Are you aware of any other ways one can unblock BBC iPlayer abroad? If you know other methods that work, please mention them in the comments. Don’t forget to tell us how they work!