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How to watch BBC iPlayer from abroad? (updated July 2021)

Want to watch the BBC iPlayer abroad? How to avoid the error message telling that BBC is only to people in the UK and watch BBC live streams and programs for free online

BBC is one of the leading TV channels in the world, and they have a whole lot of great programs available to viewers online. We have been using it for a while now, and it works great! And, let us just say it at once, we are watching the BBC from abroad, from outside the UK!

When you try to watch BBC from outside the UK you get an error message that looks something like this:

BBC iPlayer only works in the UK
BBC iPlayer only works in the UK
Error message as you try to stream BBC abroad as of February 2018
Error message as you try to stream BBC abroad as of February 2018

To get rid of such error messages, you better make the BBC homepage believe that you reside in the United Kingdom. But, that is not enough, because since August 2016 BBC is blocking lots of VPN and SmartDNS providers changing your virtual location to the UK. Luckily there are ways to bypass such IP blocks still, and that is why we do our uttermost to keep this article up to date. As a result, you as our reader should be able to find out how to access BBC from abroad easily even after BBC blocking so many services.

Watch BBC using a VPN

We have been writing this article from central Europe and to get a UK IP address we have used the VPN services of ExpressVPN (read the review here). They have tons of servers in the UK making it easy to get a UK IP address with great speeds, so just go ahead and try it for yourself. Visit their website, make a subscription, download the client and connect to one of the many servers. Once connected just restart your browser and visit the BBC IPlayer website.

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July 2021 update
There are lots of VPN providers that are blocked from BBC, meaning that you will get error messages as you try to watch BBC from abroad using those services. An example of such a VPN provider is HideMyAss and also IPVanish. That is why we rather recommend ExpressVPN which is working 100 times better.

When you try to watch BBC online, you will first need to register a BBC account.  It is essential that you register this account with a UK ZIP code because that is necessary for you to be able to stream BBC online outside the UK. Once you have this account registered, use ExpressVPN to get a UK IP address. Following this, visit the BBC website, and stream BBC online without any error message.

Watch BBC on Android devices abroad

You can follow the same instructions to watch BBC iPlayer on your Android device. But, you will also need to download the BBC iPlayer and the BBC Media Player to your device to get it to work. You will most likely find the BBC Media Player application in Google Play Store, but you will not find the BBC iPlayer. If that is so, download the BBC iPlayer application manually from here and install it. You will then be ready to stream BBC abroad on your Android device.

Watch the BBC online on your iOS device abroad

If you own an iPad or an iPhone and want to stream BBC abroad, it might be a bit harder, but still not very hard. Download the ExpressVPN application after you have signed up. Connect to a server in the UK, and 30% of the job is done.

Now you need to create a brand new Apple ID registered in the UK. Use any random address in the UK during the process, and once your brand new ID in the UK has been made, use this ID as you visit the Apple Store. You will then find all the apps available to people in the UK, and you can download the BBC iPlayer application. When you have downloaded the needed applications, feel free to change your Apple Store ID back to your original Apple user again.

BBC - Manchester United playing
Watching Premier League summary show on BBC online from abroad
Versailles on BBC
Watching Versailles on BBC
BBC - Songs of Praise
Beautiful music at Songs of Praise on BBC IPlayer
Doctor Who on BBC
Here we are watching Doctor Who on BBC

Do not forget that with this solution you can watch programs available not only from the main BBC channel but also programs available on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC, CBeebies and quite some other channels also available from within the BBC IPlayer.

BBC - Bob The Builder
Watching Bob The Builder on BBC Children’s channel

Would you like to see in detail how this works? Would you like to see it explained how you can use ExpressVPN to stream BBC from abroad? Take a look at the video beneath and follow the steps on your own computer.

Video explainer: Watch BBC from abroad with ExpressVPN

Do you get the BBC error message, even when using a VPN?

It seems as if the BBC is trying really hard to block VPN providers, and it might be that you get the geographical error message as you try to stream BBC, even when using ExpressVPN. If that is so, you need to open a new tab in your web browser, and use the Incognito mode or the Privacy mode. If you watch the video above around the second minute you will see exactly how it is done, and it will fix your problem right away!

Do like us and watch Richard Madden in Bodyguard on BBC online
Do like us and watch Richard Madden in Bodyguard on BBC online

If you have any further comments or questions about watch BBC from abroad, write it beneath and we will do our best to help you out as soon as possible!

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  1. Ana

    OMG. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I even had the problem with the VPN, it appears that they are getting serious when it comes to assure that only people from UK can get access to the BBC, but I did what you just said in the post.

  2. Player

    Doesn’t work for me. I’m using VPN Area and since two months BBC, Channel 4 and ITV have blocked all access. I’ve tried faking the geolocation using Chrome’s developer mode, tried changing time and time zone two the UK and I’ve tried opening an incognito tab. Nothing works. Is it really working with any other VPN provider?
    (I’ve tried all this from PC and iDevices such as an iPad.)

    • Thomas Stein

      Hello Player,
      VPN Area doesn’t help you, and neither will just any other VPN provider. That is why it is important to follow the instructions here, as we have tested these instructions regularly, and we do know that the VPN provider recommended in the article actually WORKS with BBC at this very moment! So, it is probably not working for you, simply because your VPN has been blocked. In other words, you need to change your VPN to the one recommended here for this to work!

  3. Thomas Stein

    I have just updated the article with some even more detailed instructions as more and more people get the error message from BBC as they try to stream the BBC iPlayer abroad, even when using our recommended VPN service. In the bottom of the article, you will find even more detailed instructions on how to unblock BBC with a VPN… Follow the instructions, and if you should need any more help, please write a comment and we will help you out!

  4. Joseph

    What’s up Thomas? Is it possible to watch the WInter Olympics from Pyeongchang on BBC? I haven’t seen it on the BBC schedule…

    • Thomas Stein

      Everything’s great! BBC will not air all the events, but you can stream all content at their website. So, visit the BBC Olympics website and stream the entire Winter Olympics 2018 there.

  5. Arthur

    I would like to watch BBC on my Android device. Is there a way in which I can do that abroad? How can I find the BBC application in the Google Play Store, and can I use ExpressVPN on my mobile device as well?

    • Thomas Stein

      Just gave this a try, and it is absolutely possible to watch BBC on your Android device, abroad as well. If you have a UK Google account, then head to the Google PLay Store and download the BBC Iplayer and the BBC Media Player. If you do not have a UK Google account, search for the BBC Media Player in your actual store. You should be able to download that. The BBC iPlayer is however harder, and you need to manually download it to your device. You can download the BBC iPlayer APK file from here:

      Once it is downloaded you need to install it. You might be warned against installing programs from unknown sources, but just go ahead and install. Once this is done, connect to a UK server with ExpressVPN, and you can stream all content on the BBC iPlayer on your Android device, no matter where you might be in the world.

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