A virtual private network (VPN) can be used to protect your privacy online, and as an added bonus can grant access to content that may be blocked in your region. This is particularly handy if you are traveling abroad and want to continue watching your favourite shows on BBC iPlayer, for example. Here, we recommend our top five VPNs for BBC iPlayer.
We should first point out that watching BBC iPlayer outside of the UK is technically breaking the rights agreement reached between rights holder and broadcaster. That said, you could argue that as a resident of the UK that pays your TV Licence, you are at least morally in the right. But when it comes down to it, it’s still not technically how you’re meant to be using the service, so proceed at your own risk.
A VPN will open up access to BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world if you connect to a UK server. It tricks iPlayer into thinking you are currently in the UK by giving you a virtual IP address. This works in the same way for accessing American Netflix and Hulu from outside the US, but in that instance you’ll be required to connect to a server located in the US.
Visit our in-depth article for more details about how to watch BBC iPlayer abroad, or read on for our pick of the best VPNs for iPlayer.
If you're simply looking for a VPN at a great price, visit our round-up of the best VPN deals available right now or our pick of the best streaming VPNs if you want to watch a wider range of streaming services. You might also want to read: What is a VPN?
Best VPN for BBC iPlayer
Our pick of the best VPN for UK services is Hidden24. Unlike some of the other VPNs mentioned here, it only offers servers in the UK for now, so is solely designed for connecting to UK IP addresses securely.
Hidden 24 uses your operating system’s own VPN capability to tunnel your traffic to its own UK-based server farm. This means it’ll work on any device, and also offers minimalist protection that doesn’t require the need to install an app.
Its lack of an app interface may put some beginners off, but there are step-by-step instructions available to help you set up the VPN, and we think you’ll find it simple to use.
You can get the first three months of Hidden24 for £3.33 per month thanks to an exclusive deal with Tech Advisor, after which there is a 1-month option, 3-month option and 12-month option for £4.99, £13.47 and and £47.88 respectively.
You can read more in our full Hidden24 review.
NordVPN is our top pick in our overall VPN chart, offering speed, extra features and an easy-to-use app at a great price. It can allow you to connect to UK servers for BBC iPlayer, but also has thousands of servers across 60 additional countries for further use.
You’ll get a built-in ad-blocker and malware protection feature, as well as the ability to install and use the NordVPN app on any of your devices. Browser extensions are available too (for more, see best browser VPN 2018)
NordVPN is available for as little as £2/US$2.75 if you take advantage of its three year deal. Alternatively, you can choose the two year plan for £2.40/$3.29 per month, one year for £4.15/$5.75 per month, or one month for £8.60/$11.95.
Read more in our NordVPN review.
Another of our favourite VPNs is ExpressVPN. It’s simple and speedy, but the downside is that it’s more expensive than many of its rivals. There is currently a deal that offers 15 months for the price of 12, though, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee available.
ExpressVPN is reliable, has great customer support and lots of servers across the globe available to connect to. It promises not to keep any logs so you can trust that your data is kept safe, and there’s a kill switch in place in the unlikely event that your VPN connection drops out.
ExpressVPN browser extensions are available for Chrome and Firefox, too.
Read more in our ExpressVPN review.
Goose VPN is a fast, easy-to-use option that we’d also recommend for watching BBC iPlayer. It works with US Netflix from the UK, too. There aren’t as many servers available at Goose VPN as there are at NordVPN and ExpressVPN, but the UK is there which is all you’ll need for iPlayer.
A 30 day trial is available, with the cheapest option after that priced at £2.99/$4.17. The downside to that is you only get 50GB to your disposal, and that’s unlikely to be enough for most people. Instead, we’d recommend opting for the one year plan that works out at £4.99/$6.97 per month.
Read more in our Goose VPN review.
PureVPN is a great all-rounder, with and is incredibly cheap if you opt for the three year deal at a tiny £1.40/$1.95 per month.
There are more than 750 servers available across a whopping 141 countries, and they’re easy to connect to thanks to the simple app interface.
Read more in our PureVPN review.