Planning a getaway with your significant other or a trip with your friends or family abroad in the coming months?
Sounds like a lot of fun. You probably have everything planned, except one thing – the entertainment. You likely already know, but you won’t be able to watch your favorite series on BBC iPlayer when you get back to your hotel room. If you do that, you’ll just get an error message telling you the service doesn’t work where you’re at.
It’s a shame, but we won’t let it ruin your holiday. In this quick guide, we’ll show you how to easily unblock BBC iPlayer anywhere you go (click here now to get the unblocking tool right now if you’re in a hurry).
Here’s the Easiest Way to Unblock BBC iPlayer
Don’t worry – you don’t need to do anything complicated. You actually just need to use a very simple online tool – a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
If you’re not sure what that is, it’s basically an online service that hides your IP address and encrypts your traffic. Here’s the gist of how it works:
- You use a VPN app to connect to a VPN server.
- The two establish an encrypted connection (called a “tunnel”) between them.
- When you visit BBC iPlayer, your requests to it go through the VPN server.
- Because of that, BBC iPlayer will think the requests are coming from the VPN server, not your device. That means the site will only see the server’s IP address, not your device’s IP (which can reveal your geo-location).
- All that’s left is to enjoy all the content you want!
Really simple, right?
All you need to do is make sure you pick a British VPN server. You need a UK IP address to trick BBC iPlayer into thinking you’re connecting from there.
IMPORTANT – Not All VPNs Can Unblock BBC iPlayer
Don’t get us wrong – VPNs are excellent unblocking tools. However, that doesn’t mean all of them are up to snuff. Unfortunately, BBC iPlayer’s platform can actually detect and block some VPN IPs.
So what should you do?
It’s simple – pick a VPN that actually unblocks BBC iPlayer 24/7. To do that, it needs to refresh its IP pool very often. And only a few select providers can do that. To find the one that’s right for you, click here now to check out a very helpful guide to the best UK VPNs from ProPrivacy.
How Else Can You Unblock BBC iPlayer?
If you don’t feel like using a VPN, or want to have some back-up plans, here is what else you can use:
1. A Smart DNS
This online tool doesn’t hide your IP address. Instead it does the following to spoof your geo-location:
- It tweaks your DNS settings to make sure you use DNS servers in the UK.
- It routes your traffic through different proxy servers in the UK.
- Finally, it intercepts your DNS queries, and replaces data that leaks your geo-location with new information that is linked to a whitelisted region (the UK).
It sounds complex, but the service is really simple to use. All it takes is a few clicks, really.
Also, since a Smart DNS doesn’t use encryption, you don’t experience any slowdowns (but your privacy won’t be secured).
Just keep in mind that many VPNs offer built-in Smart DNS services. In our opinion, that’s a better deal than paying for two separate unblocking methods.
2. A Proxy Server
A proxy does the same thing as a VPN server – it acts as a middleman between you and BBC iPlayer to spoof your geo-location by hiding your IP address. So you just need to use a UK proxy to unblock the site.
But there are some differences:
- Proxies don’t offer powerful encryption like VPNs. Sometimes they don’t offer any at all. That means you get better speeds, but also less privacy.
- Proxies have a local caching ability. Basically, they can save requested content on a local cache, and retrieve it without forwarding user connections to the web. So if you ask for https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08qfb0y/us-series-1-episode-1, the proxy won’t have to communicate with BBC iPlayer to get that page. That means you get faster load times.
Just don’t use free proxies. They’re tempting, but not worth it. Their speeds are awful, and they often get blocked by BBC iPlayer.
Why Doesn’t BBC iPlayer Work Abroad?
You can thank geo-blocks for that. They are a form of content control technology that allows websites to refuse or redirect connection requests from specific geo-locations.
In the case of BBC iPlayer, geo-blocks allow the site to detect where you are from by checking your IP address. If your address range isn’t from the UK, the website will know to display this error message when you try to watch videos:
“BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”
Why Does BBC iPlayer Use Geo-Blocks?
Like the geo-blocking error message says, it’s due to rights issues. The tl;dr is that the site only has the right to distribute the content it hosts in the UK region. In other countries, other streaming sites or local TV networks bought the licensing rights for those shows, so only they’re legally allowed to broadcast them there.
That only applies to content the BBC doesn’t own, though – so what about its original shows?
Well, we think that BBC iPlayer still has to use geo-blocks due to the TV license tax. According to the site, that tax is used to fund BBC iPlayer. Since only people in the UK pay it, it’d be pretty unfair to let people from other countries who don’t have to pay it watch the same content.
Have You Tried Unblocking BBC iPlayer While Travelling Abroad?
If yes, what was your experience like? Were you able to easily bypass the geo-blocks, or did you encounter any issues?
Also, if you have any unblocking tips you’d like to share with us, please do so in the comments.