We’ve got bad news and good news for anyone looking to watch BBC iPlayer abroad for free.
First, the bad news: BBC iPlayer doesn’t want you to access their streaming library from outside the UK.
After all, the service earns revenue through the fees paid for a UK TV license. And even if you are a UK citizen with a valid license, you won’t be able to access BBC iPlayer while traveling abroad.
Even using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service isn’t guaranteed to help you watch BBC iPlayer from abroad.
Similar to Netflix, the streaming service uses proxy detection software to identify the use of a VPN to get around their geoblocks.
The good news is there are still some VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer – though most free VPNs don’t.
Don’t worry: we have a couple tricks up our sleeve to help you out!
1. Free Trials
If you’re just looking for a temporary solution, then finding a premium VPN service offering a free trial is one of the best ways to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.
It’s not the best, mind you, because many free trials are limited.
Some will put a cap on how much bandwidth you can use, which usually ends up making them wholly unsuitable for streaming.
Others don’t have the same encryption standards as their premium counterpart versions or are missing important safety features, like a kill switch.
But there are still some providers offering quality free trials that work with BBC iPlayer.
Here are our two recommendations:
ProtonVPN is brought to you by the same people (read: CERN scientists and Harvard Physics Ph.D. holders) who gave us ProtonMail, an encrypted email network.
The free one doesn’t let you connect to a UK server, unfortunately, but you can still use it to watch BBC iPlayer for free.
Well, once you connect to a VPN server for the first time, you’ll get a pop-up saying you’ve been upgraded to ProtonVPN Plus for a free 7-day trial.
VPNhub is a surprise entry – it was developed by the same people responsible for Pornhub (hence the name). If that scares you a little, don’t worry: the two services are totally separate.
It’s also a very, very recently debuted VPN service, having only been launched in 2018.
The free trial only lasts 7 days (and you’re limited to the Android or iOS app version), but if you’re only going to be abroad for a week, it’s a worthy solution.
Just remember to cancel your subscription before the free trial runs out, or you’ll be charged $13.99 for your first month.
1. 30-Day Money-Back Guarantees
If you’re traveling abroad for longer than a week, you can take advantage of a premium VPN provider’s money-back guarantee.
We found two providers (who are also on our list of the Best BBC iPlayer VPNs) offering 30-day money-back guarantees on their 1 Month plans.
Here they are:
ExpressVPN offers a limited free trial “available for certain mobile devices,” but you’re better off taking advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee instead.
Granted, this means you’ll need to temporarily part with $12.95, but you’ll be able to watch BBC iPlayer without any hassles.
Read our full ExpressVPN Review if you want to know more about this zero-logs provider.
NordVPN is another favorable VPN provider (check out our full NordVPN Review to find out why).
There isn’t a free trial anymore, but even the 1 Month premium plan is covered by a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee.
You’ll need to fork out $11.95 to get started, but as long as your account remains in good standing, you’ll get it back when you cancel.
2. A Free VPN
If you live abroad, then free trials and money-back guarantees aren’t going to give you access for the length of time you’re probably hoping for.
Sure, you could theoretically jump from one VPN provider to the next, but you’ll run out of reliable options pretty fast.
Instead, you need to find a reliable free VPN that works with BBC iPlayer.
The bad news? We only found 1 – and even that comes with a huge caveat.
Speedify is the only free VPN we could find that lets you watch BBC iPlayer from abroad. However, like most free VPNs, we don’t recommend you use their service as anything other than a last resort.
For starters, there’s a strict 5GB bandwidth cap.
So if you’re watching BBC iPlayer a lot, you’ll need to be careful not to go over that limit – otherwise, you might end up getting a proxy detection error halfway through an episode or movie.
And that also means you won’t be able to use Speedify for anything else, so the rest of your internet usage won’t be protected.
More to the point, Speedify isn’t a true no-logs VPN. They say they are, but like almost all free VPNs, there is some logging involved.
While Speedify promises not to log any information about the sites you visit while using their service, they do record:
- Original IP address, device type, operating system, location, and pages visited when accessing their website
- Network location, approximate physical location, connection start time and duration, and bandwidth usage while connected to their VPN server
That’s pretty invasive.
Even though that information can’t directly be used to identify you, if someone cross-references site-visitation times with the data logged by Speedify, they can be reasonably certain of your online activities.
So, if you’re going to use Speedify to watch BBC iPlayer abroad for free, we strongly recommend you do so on a device you use only for that purpose.