If you’re looking for a free VPN to help you watch BBC iPlayer content from abroad, you’re almost out of luck.
The BBC has long been considered one of the best broadcasting services in the world. Understandably, the iPlayer streaming service is just as popular, offering some of the best movies, series, and even live sports available online!
But BBC iPlayer gets its income through UK TV license fees – so if you’re not in the UK, you need a VPN to get around their geolocation blocks. And unfortunately, there aren’t many free VPNs up to the task.
Don’t despair, however – because we have a few tricks up our sleeve!
What to Look For in a BBC iPlayer VPN
Before we take a look at our best BBC iPlayer VPN recommendations (and the reasons you should be avoiding free VPNs if possible), let’s talk about the things you should be looking for when choosing a VPN:
- The provider is not based in a 5/9/14 Eyes country
- Strict no-logs policy
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Automatic kill switch
- IP and DNS leak protection
- Lots of servers
- High-speed connection
- Able to unblock streaming services
- Unlimited bandwidth
- OpenVPN protocol
- 24/7 customer support (live chat is best)
Unfortunately, expecting any free VPN to tick all of these boxes is highly unrealistic.
But there are 2 that come as close as possible!
The Best Free VPN for BBC iPlayer
Our guidelines for finding the best free VPNs you can trust are:
- Be wary of fake or compromised VPN review sites, but don’t let them stop you from doing plenty of research
- Use a freemium service, where the provider offers a limited free version as well as an unlimited premium upgrade
Using these criteria, the only 2 free VPNs we could find that work with BBC iPlayer are:
- Windscribe offers one of the best freemium services, where paid accounts subsidize the cost of providing free accounts. This means the free version is limited in comparison: you’ll have access to fewer servers (including 2 in the UK) and a 10GB/month bandwidth cap. But other than that, the free and premium versions are practically identical! You can also get an extra 5GB for the month if you Tweet about Windscribe – and for every friend you refer, you’ll get an extra 1GB!
- Speedify only gives you 2GB for free every month before they start charging you, which severely limits how much content you’ll be able to stream for free. The provider also has a few privacy issues – and their encryption is only 128-bit AES, not the 256-bit AES we strongly recommend. On the plus side, you’ll have access to 6 UK servers, though only 2 of them currently work with BBC iPlayer.
Why You Shouldn’t Rely on a Free VPN for BBC iPlayer
Some review sites in the VPN comparison industry have longer lists. You might be looking at ours and thinking we’re cheating you out of other viable options!
But the 2 VPNs we listed above really are the only free BBC iPlayer VPNs you can actually trust. And that’s already 1 more than we were able to confirm previously!
Other free VPNs – including those other review sites are pushing – have at least one, usually more, of the following issues:
- Completely fake
- Logs your data and sells it to the highest bidder
- Are actually a government honeypot (or is otherwise known to give user data to the government)
- Has poor or nonexistent security
- Has major malware issues
Ultimately, if you’re going to use a free VPN at all, it should be considered a short-term solution.
The Better Option…
If you live in the UK but are looking for a short-term solution, then a far better option is to take advantage of free trials and money-back guarantees. But this will only work if you need a VPN short-term, as you’ll run out of reliable providers eventually!
If your plan is to upgrade to a premium VPN at a later stage anyway, then we recommend the following best VPNs for iPlayer:
- CyberGhost VPN – 14-day money-back guarantee (45-day guarantee on longer subscription terms)
- ExpressVPN – 30-day money-back guarantee
- Mullvad VPN – 30-day money-back guarantee
- NordVPN – 30-day money-back guarantee
- Surfshark VPN – 30-day money-back guarantee
However, if you’re really only in it for the short-term, bear in mind these money-back guarantees come with some limitations.
For example, some are only valid if you’ve stayed under the bandwidth limit. Others require you to discuss any technical issues you’ve experienced with the provider’s support team.
The ones we’ve recommended, however, aren’t only the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer – they also have fair money-back guarantee terms and conditions!
But remember to read through those ts&cs first to make sure you don’t lose any money you need refunded.
Hopefully, you understand why we don’t really recommend using a free VPN. But every rule has its exception – and for us, it’s using free VPNs as a short-term solution!
Ultimately, the Windscribe freemium option is our best recommendation. But you’ll still want to opt for one of the best VPN services with a money-back guarantee if you can.
Be sure to use our free VPN comparison tool to find the right VPN to match your needs!