Updated September 2020
Well it’s a tricky one for me, this. For over a decade I’ve been using Identity Cloaker when I need to use a VPN to watch my beloved BBC when I’m travelling. There’s no doubt that as a security product it’s in front of all the competitors, after all how many VPNs have options to tunnel through corporate firewalls, DNS leak protection and a built in kill switch! It still works brilliantly on my laptop for watching the BBC too, mainly because of the fast connection speeds from it’s servers which are fast and not overcrowded like many of the big players.
However for the last few months I’ve been increasingly using NordVPN because it has apps for my mobile devices like my phone and tablet and is basically easy to use. It also works very well for the BBC iPlayer as long as you choose their ‘BBC optimized servers’ and add them to your favorites. NordVPN has an ‘autoconnect’ feature which seems to always assign me on to an overcrowded server that has issues with the BBC. All my favorites work every time though, so this is what I base my opinion on.
Best UK VPN for BBC iPlayer in 2020
Anyway a quick summary appears in this video, about me choosing the best UK VPN for 2020.
There are literally hundreds of dedicated UK IP addresses which can be used to connect to BBC iPlayer. Of course a few do get blocked occasionally by the BBC but that’s certainly true of every single VPN I’ve ever used. Like any private internet access solution there’s always going to be some casualties, although the free VPN options are completely blocked by the BBC. The simple thing with Nord is that it has so many server locations and different IPs so you can just switch to another one. Since I’ve sorted through a few and added them to my favorites list I haven’t been blocked once in the last month.
Ultimately many of us now use UK VPNs to access geo restricted sites so it’s this range of IPs which are important. The technology behind them is well proven so as long as IP ranges are rotated and server loads managed then access to these sites shouldn’t be a problem. It’s also worth noting that Nord VPN is among the cheapest VPNs I’ve ever used too.
So if you’re not bothered about fancy security options and advanced configurations then it’s worth checking them out. Saying that Nord has some specialized security features for securing internet traffic and your online privacy too – double VPN encryption anyone? Yet for most of us the phrase best VPN for British TV usually means just the best way to watch geo-blocked sites like the BBC iPlayer and other UK TV stations from abroad. For this purpose, NordVPN is a great VPN provider with lots of UK based servers with almost unlimited bandwidth availability and is probably one of the most popular options. If you find it works well then invest in the longer subscriptions as you can get lots of months free of charge too.
Get a VPN with Great Server Coverage Not Just UK Servers
Now if you were only going to use your new VPN for watching the BBC iPlayer and nothing else this might not be that important. However it would be a huge waste, owning and using a VPN service is a huge opportunity to open up the internet in ways you never thought possible. Many of us have simply just got used to various sites, videos or streaming services being blocked when we try and access them. In fact we usually just move on and accept the rebuff! Yet with the right VPN you don’t have too, most of these blocks are based on your IP address – a VPN means you can change it! Using a VPN means that it doesn’t matter where you are physically located because you can choose.
Of course this largely depends on your VPN having servers in all the different countries to bypass these blocks. To unblock BBC iPlayer we just need servers in the UK, yet to access other sites we will need to switch to different locations. Even if you just speak English there are thousands of online streaming sites all over the world you can enjoy by changing your ‘digital location’. Picking a VPN with a great coverage internationally means that you can enjoy them all – from Hulu in the US, to Premier League football from an Indian TV site to watching the Discovery channel through Canadian TV for free. Being able to access BBC iPlayer should only be the start, you really need a VPN to explore the internet properly in 2020.
The large VPN companies will bundle in all these countries as part of their standard service. Don’t pay extra or spend money on a UK or US only VPN there’s really no need as the best VPNs will bundle them together.
Reliability and Speed of Connection
There’s nothing more frustrating than settling down with your favorite programme and finding it keeps stopping, or buffering the video every few minutes. This is exactly what you’ll get on overloaded and cheap or free VPNs like Hotspot Shield. That’s of course when they work at all, as usually an overloaded VPN server will be blocked before it even tries streaming BBC iPlayer.
You’ll see online many reports of how using a VPN doesn’t work anymore to access iPlayer content. They’re actually referring to these ones which don’t monitor and control the number of simultaneous connections particularly to the BBCs servers. VPN services can reduce the price to negligible levels only by stuffing more and more users onto the same servers. Which means the BBC will see thousands of connections all coming from the same IP address – the result is that the address will be blocked automatically.
The days when anyone could just install a few VPN and proxy services on semi-dedicated servers and just take people’s subscriptions are long gone. Nowadays there’s a host of professional VPN providers who provide a decent managed service. Decent customer support, live chat and a 30 day money back guarantee are standards now among the major players. In order to ensure that VPNS for BBC iPlayer function correctly then you need to carefully manage and monitor the service themselves. You can watch BBC iPlayer through a VPN but only if it’s managed properly.