www.makeuseof.com How to Watch BBC iPlayer With a VPN or UK Proxy

These days, watching TV on your computer is a cinch. It is so easy that many people eschew a regular TV altogether and exclusively use online services. Sadly, geo-restrictions limit some of the best content to certain countries.

BBC iPlayer is one such service. The BBC's video streaming service is only available to viewers in the UK. Attempting to access BBC iPlayer from outside the UK displays an error message. However, there are ways to circumvent these location-based restrictions.

Here's how you can watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN or UK proxy.

1. Watch BBC iPlayer Using a VPN

Your first option is using a virtual private network (VPN). You can use a VPN to make your web traffic appear as if it originates in the UK. Thus, when you attempt to access BBC iPlayer from another country, the service will show the content.

The BBC is no stranger to VPNs. At times, some VPNs struggle to maintain their connections to BBC iPlayer as the BBC blacklists known VPN server addresses. However, all is not lost; there are several excellent VPN providers that keep ahead of the blacklisting.

Are you new to the idea of VPNs? Then first read our explanation of what a VPN is and how a VPN works.

There are three VPN providers you should check out:

In our experience, these three VPNs consistently allow you access to the BBC iPlayer streaming service from another country. While traveling, I use ExpressVPN to make sure I don't miss my favorite programs. You can grab a special MakeUseOf discount on an ExpressVPN subscription using this link!

Once you subscribe to a VPN provider, download and install the VPN software. Open the VPN software, input your user credentials, and then select a UK-based VPN server. After the connection establishes, you can watch BBC iPlayer.

2. Watch BBC iPlayer Using a Browser Extension

Unfortunately, the number of free UK proxy services able to access BBC iPlayer has fallen dramatically since the BBC stepped up enforcement against known proxy servers. It is a similar situation to the VPN services above, and the Tor exit nodes in the section below.

The BBC actively monitors known proxy server addresses for incoming data, and as such, it makes using a free UK proxy to watch BBC iPlayer incredibly difficult. Difficult, but not impossible.

Beebs

One of the best proxy options at the time of writing is a Chrome extension called Beebs. Beebs is a simple proxy extension for Google Chrome that allows you to access BBC iPlayer, as well as ITV Player and 4oD (two other UK broadcast channels with similar geo-restrictions). You will achieve the best results using Beebs with a single browser window open.

Download: Beebs for Google Chrome (Free)

Wachee

Another handy UK proxy option is Wachee. Wachee is also a Google Chrome browser extension that allows you to watch BBC iPlayer. Furthermore, Wachee enables you to view Netflix and Hulu, depending on your country of origin.

www.makeuseof.com How to Watch BBC iPlayer With a VPN or UK Proxy

Download: Wachee for Google Chrome (Free)

3. Set Your Browser to Use a UK Proxy Server

Of course, you don't have to rely on a browser extension. You can tell your browser to use a UK proxy server at all times. Sending all of your traffic through a UK proxy will allow you to watch BBC iPlayer. But if you are in a different country, any services and apps that rely on your location will cease to work.

That's where a proxy switcher comes into play. With a proxy switcher installed, you can load up several different proxy servers to cycle through until you find one that works. After you finish watching your BBC iPlayer program, turn the proxy switcher off, and your settings return to normal.

Download: Proxy Switcher and Manager for Google Chrome (Free) | Opera (Free)

Download: FoxyProxy Standard for Mozilla Firefox (Free)

Then head to Xroxy and check out their massive list of UK proxy servers. You can copy and paste the details of the proxies into your proxy switcher of choice, then access BBC iPlayer.

4. Use a UK Tor Exit Node to Watch BBC iPlayer

As you can see above, the availability of free UK proxy services to watch BBC iPlayer is low. There is an alternative to a UK proxy server, though. You can attempt to use the Tor browser and the Tor network to access BBC iPlayer.

Please note that connections through Tor are slow. It isn't like the regular internet, and as such, there is a strong chance you will struggle to watch a live stream. See other ways to unblock live TV streams while traveling for better methods.

Tor works by bouncing your data through different nodes around the globe. The process makes your data untraceable. If someone were to trace your data, they would find the IP address of the Tor network exit node, not your originating IP address. An exit node is where Tor network data re-joins the regular internet.

Here's our unofficial guide to Tor. Read through it and set your Tor browser up.

Most of the time, you should leave your Tor settings well alone. A poorly configured Tor browser can expose your data. However, you can specify the exit node country. In this case, changing it to the UK (or, GB, as you will see) gives you a chance of watching BBC iPlayer.

After you first open and configure the Tor browser, it creates the "torrc" file. The torrc file contains configuration information, and you find it in the Tor installation folder. For instance, my torrc file is found at: "C:\Users\Gavin\Tor Browser\Browser\TorBrowser\Data\Tor." You can edit the torrc file using a text editor, like Notepad or Notepad++. Right-click the torrc file and select Open with > Notepad. (Or your text editor of choice; I'm using Notepad++, but the process is the same.)

Now, you need to add the following lines to the torrc file:

You can find your country entry code using the Tor country codes list.

Save the file, overwriting the existing file. When you open Tor, your exit node preferences will update, and you should be able to access BBC iPlayer.

Yes, You Can Watch BBC iPlayer in the US!

As you can see, you can watch the fantastic range of programming from the BBC from wherever you are in the world, including the US.

The BBC is making it increasingly difficult to watch iPlayer, with geo-restrictions, limitations on programming, and known proxy and VPN server blocks standing in your way. However, by using one of the methods outlined above you will be able to unlock BBC iPlayer.

It isn't just BBC iPlayer that comes loaded with geo-restrictions, mind. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and a heap of other video-on-demand services struggle with geo-licensing restrictions. In all honesty, a VPN is the best option to skirt those restrictions.

With that in mind, here is our guide to the best VPN services to get you started.

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Read NextShareTweetEmailRelated TopicsAbout The AuthorGavin Phillips(1018 Articles Published)

Gavin is the Junior Editor for Technology Explained, a regular contributor to the Really Useful Podcast, and a frequent product reviewer. He has a degree in Contemporary Writing pillaged from the hills of Devon, and more than a decade of professional writing experience. He enjoys copious amounts of tea, board games, and football.

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