BBC iPlayer VPN Workaround – How You Can Watch BBC Abroad In 2021

Updated May 2021

Many people use VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) for security reasons, primarily because they create a secure, encrypted tunnel across the open architecture of the internet. Many firms use them as a secure method of allowing remote users to access corporate file servers and email systems from anywhere in the world. It has to be said that if you travel for any length of time, it’s probably one of the smartest moves you can make for keeping your data secure.

bbc blocking VPN

However there is another use of VPNs and it’s arguably becoming the primary reason and that’s to bypass internet censorship and filtering. This is a huge problem and one that you will find exists on many levels. At a country level – filtering used to be relatively rare, with only places like China, Iran and North Korea who did any serious censorship.

BBC iPlayer not working with VPN? Here’s the fix!

However now there’s rarely a country in the world that doesn’t censor their internet feeds to some extent. In many countries there are literally hundreds of thousands of web pages that are not accessible due to some sort of filtering. Countries like Turkey enforce their religious beliefs by blocking all sorts of sites including women and gay rights web sites.

On another level companies and corporations are increasingly blocking access mainly as a profit maximization technique. What happens in this case is that access is selectively restricted based on your physical location. This means you might find that parts of a web site are only accessible in particular countries and you’ll be blocked if you’re actually outside those locations. So if you’ve tried to watch Hulu from outside the US then you’ll have seen these blocks and similarly try and access the BBC from outside the UK and the same thing will happen.

In this post we’re going to focus on using a VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer although the principles apply to almost any blocked content online. Once you’re comfortable using a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer you’ll find yourself using it more and more to access other sites and TV shows.

The BBC iPlayer VPN Workaround Still Works in 2021

What’s more they’re becoming very easy to use. A simple VPN program in your task bar allows you to bypass pretty much all blocks online, whenever you need. That includes both commercial and political filtering and lets you watch most entertainment channels including British TV. This is because the website you visit only sees the IP address and location of the VPN server not your real one. So if you’re connected to a VPN in the right country you can access whatever you like including allowing you to access BBC iPlayer anywhere in the world.

Indeed, millions watch the BBC from all over the world using a simple VPN to hide their location. If you go to any expat community you’ll find lots of VPNs which still work with BBC iPlayer. Indeed the BBC iPlayer VPN workaround is well known. Unfortunately things are beginning to change and the technology war between the web site and the VPN service providers has started to escalate.

Over the last few months for example the BBC have started blocking VPN connections from accessing the BBC iPlayer application outside the UK.

This is significant as up until this point, the BBC have made very minimal effort to restrict the use of these programs. Many millions used them routinely, connecting to UK servers to watch British TV online wherever they happened to be. It’s no understatement that there was some element of panic when it was initially discovered BBC iPlayer not working! Many people had been using their favorite VPNs for lots of streaming services. It affected lots of people using all sorts of VPN providers. A friend of mine was upset when he found Express VPN had stopped being able to stream BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and other UK TV channels too.

We’re Still Watching BBC iPlayer Abroad, You Can Too

There is still some hope though, mainly because it is still extremely difficult to completely block access to VPNs completely. Also companies involved in this tactic tend to make aggressive noises initially then stop, it looks like BBC iPlayer blocking VPN might be one of them, simply because of the cost and effort it involves.

The Chinese after all have not yet succeeded in completely blocking them through their infamous firewall. The reality is that although many of these media companies can block access through VPNs it is actually quite a difficult process which involves a lot of manual intervention. The best VPNs actually still work fine for unblocking BBC iPlayer.

There are potentially ways that VPNs could be completely blocked for example by restricting access based on the classification of IP addresses. This has already been implemented once and stopped the Netflix VPN workaround for some time. However as Netflix discovered there is inevitably some impact on other users too. The problem for the companies trying to block these workarounds is that people watch media streams on all sorts of different devices from lots of locations.

How Does BBC Know I Am Using VPN?

A well configured VPN is still pretty much undetectable, so they instead focus on identifying IP addresses with multiple concurrent connections. This is very time consuming and also unreliable as often legitimate proxies in various establishments will look pretty much identical. It’s even harder to identify people accessing through other methods like the BBC iPlayer app too. They still actively do block though, and you’ll find BBC iPlayer only works with the better VPNs who are able to rotate addresses and don’t stick everyone on a few dedicated IP addresses which never change.

After all if a single IP address has 5000 connections streaming different programmes from the BBC, then it’s not hard to suspect that a proxy or VPN is being used.

If a VPN provider has plenty of servers in the UK and ensures that the IP addresses are rotated regularly then you won’t have a problem. For instance Nord VPN have created a set of servers specifically for being able to stream BBC iPlayer.

It’s worth checking the latest servers but currently these are the BBC optimized VPN servers to use – UK# 1840-1847, 1850-1863, 1865, 1869, 1873, 1875-1878, 1880-1881, 1900-1901, 1903-1904, 1911, 1913, 1917, 1919-1920.

The VPN is still one of the most useful internet tools especially for travelers, holiday makers and expats. The only company which has managed to block the majority of access is the media streaming giant Netflix. What this company has done is to restrict access from any server with a commercially registered IP address. This blocked a huge proportion (over 95%) of VPN services with only a few having the ability to use residential addresses. You can read about one company that has bypassed this issue here – supplying Netflix IP addresses. It is unclear whether other companies will follow suit to this method or they are simply evaluating the success of the method.

We Use NORDVPN in 2021

Give it a try and watch the BBC iPlayer from Anywhere

Some Further BBC iPlayer VPN FAQS

We try and keep this page updated as the situation changes quite often. Here are a couple we’ve received in 2021 and willl attempt to briefly answer them below. Hopefully this will help other people too.

Is BBC iPlayer Not Working with your VPN ?

Although the VPN workaround is fine in 2021, there’s many VPNs which won’t work anymore. If the company has too many users on each IP address or overloads it’s servers then they’ll get blocked. Not all VPN companies monitor these things, so you should move if your provider doesn’t support sites like the BBC.

The Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer (2021)

This changes all the time but there are a few who actively try to ensure access to BBC iPlayer. NordVPN are one of the biggest, and as long as you use their BBC optimized servers should work fine. If you’re unsure just email support, no decent VPN will openly advertise this functionality but many do.

Is there a Free VPN for BBC iPlayer ?

There are free VPNs but unfortunately none that will currently work for accessing the BBC iPlayer from abroad. The problem is that the servers are usually overloaded and the IP addresses already blacklisted. If you don’t mind letting others use your internet connection, the Hola VPN might work occasionally.

How to Watch Match of the Day Abroad on BBC iPlayer

So you love Football, you crave the Premiership but you’re stuck in a country which doesn’t share your interest.  They all seem obsessed with different games, where you don’t even understand the rules!  What can you do?  Where can you keep up to date with all the football action? Well one solution may appear to be the BBC iPlayer, which streams all it’s shows live and archives them to watch later too.   Sure the BBC doesn’t have as many of the bigger sports live any more, due to the ridiculous costs involved but there’s usually lots of coverage and highlight shows.

match of the day live stream

Indeed if you’re a football fan of a lower league club, then BBC radio is a veritable goldmine of entertainment. Almost every game is covered by experienced local broadcasters where you can follow your club’s progress (or lack in the case of mine!).  It’s  a great fix if you’re feeling a little homesick, live coverage of a dour non-league football game on a dark night in February!  Ok so it’s not live TV but the radio broadcasts can be surprisingly atmospheric.

Higher up the football pyramid in the Premier League, there are other options and you can of course, get your fix from Gary Lineker. The BBC has one of the best highlight shows on TV for football and it’s called Match of the Day Streamed live on Saturday night and then usually on Sunday night too with Match of the Day 2, you can actually see every Premiership goal and many hours of coverage.   They don’t get many live games apart from usually the FA Cup matches, but it’s a decent option.  The solution below can also be used to gain access to live matches from Sky and BT but you’ll also need a subscription too.

 Watch Match of the Day Abroad

So can you watch football like this, is it possible to stream MotD all over the planet?

Unfortunately this is where the good news stops, the BBC iPlayer is blocked in all countries outside the United Kingdom. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’re from or even if  you’ve paid for a TV licence So under normal circumstances you’ll not be able to watch Match of the Day at all as soon as you leave the country.

How to Watch Match of the Day Abroad

Don’t worry though, there is a simple method to enable you to watch Match of the Day abroad – you simply need to change your IP address.   It’s not difficult, and you don’t need to be a computer expert to do it.  There are lots of programs known as VPN services which basically do all the work for you.  You just install a simple piece of software which sits in your task bar or an app on your phone.  Then by connecting to a UK based VPN server then you’ll have full access to the BBC irrespective of your location. Just watch this video demonstrating how simple it is to watch MotD online.

Just watch the video and you’ll see how easy it is –

Since this video was created, you now do have to create a BBC iPlayer account to login with.  Don’t worry about this though, you just need an email account to create one.  You will be asked if you have a TV license, but there are no checks on this (hint just say ‘yes’).   You are also asked for your postcode, but any valid UK postcode (like a US ZIP code) will do – just pick an address of anywhere in the UK.  Again the iPlayer account is only used to record your viewing preferences and suggest options you might like, so don’t worry about creating one.

Not Just MotD Live – Watch Free TV From All Over the World

In reality you’re not actually changing IP addresses but actually hiding them. The only address which is seen belongs to the VPN server, which means as long as it’s in the right country then you’ll be able to bypass any block. For example if you connect to a UK server then all the British TV channels will be accessible. These are all free so it’s brilliant for an English speaker. Switch to a US server and you can access all the US only media sites. My favorite is an online radio station called Pandora, only available to US listeners normally. You can access pretty much anything anywhere, by just clicking on the right country.

SO give it a try, by using a simple VPN service like Nord VPN you can hide your real IP address and bypass all of the UK only blocks. As soon as you do this, all of the BBC’s online resources are accessible including Match of the Day. There are eleven live channels streaming to watch on the BBC alone, plus thousands of archived shows.

Remember though the licensing rights for Match of the Day are fairly restrictive so you’ll have to be quick.  You can watch live on the BBC when the show is being broadcast (usually around 10:40 PM Saturday).  You can also catch it on the BBC iPlayer archive a couple of days later, but only for a maximum of seven days unlike 12 months for most other content.

Do IP Addresses Change ?

Your IP address is a unique network number which forms the core of TCP/IP.  The reason that it is so important is that it’s the “language of the internet’ without TCP/IP the internet wouldn’t exist.  Although potentially many other network protocols could have been used, the reality is that TCP/IP is so deeply embedded in the infrastructure of the internet that it’s unlikely to change. Other networks use different protocols but when they connect to the outside world then everything speaks TCP/IP!

Every single device which operates on the internet requires an IP address to function.  Every computer, laptop, smart phone, internet enabled TV will all speak through a unique IP address when using the internet.  Devices in similar locations can share their addresses, so your TV, phone and computer at home can funnel their requests through a single point.  This means that your internet modem or router will have the IP address and it relays the information to whichever device requested.  This introduces another slight complication – you can have private and public IP addresses too.

  • Private Internet Address – functions only on local network, not sufficient for internet access. It’s unlikely to be a unique number.
  • Public Internet Address – functions on the internet, the address the outside world can see.  Must be a completely unique address.

So whenever you read anything about IP addresses it’s important to understand this distinction.  Although both numbers are the same format, they represent completely different scenarios.  Most online discussion about privacy, anonymity and internet access will be focused on your public IP address.  This is because it’s this address which is required to function online and the one which can be traced, logged and monitored.  Your public IP address is very much like your home address is in a physical context, it’s unique to your household and a basic for communication.

Do IP Addresses Change?

If you’re sitting at home, browsing the web or using your home through Wifi then your IP address will rarely change.  The IP address you are using has been allocated from your internet service provider usually through a modem or router connected to your telephone line or cable.   That is your public IP address and you have virtually no control over this.  Any outbound connection made through this connection will have the same IP address and can theoretically be traced back to your exact physical location.

It’s one of the reasons you should be careful about whom uses your internet connection especially if your name is on the bill.  If you let you shady neighbor have your Wifi password to use your internet then anything that he accesses will be logged to your account.  Which is probably fine if he’s using it for ‘normal’ stuff but if he starts downloading illegal pornography could be more of a concern.  It’s why company’s are so careful with their internet use policies (or at least they should do) – whoever pays for the IP address is technically liable for what it’s used for.

We should point out that the reality of the legal responsibility is actually much more complicated than that.  Indeed there are loads of different legal positions depending on where you are and where the data is accessed from.  However it’s still true that downloads and internet access can be tracked back to your specific IP address irrespective of whom using it.  There were many copyright claims made against parents for example who’s children were downloading copies of film from their bedrooms!

Having said that there are ways where you can change your IP address at least in the short term.  Imagine your browsing the internet at home and suddenly you discovered that you were blocked  on your favorite discussion forum because you’d made some comment that the moderator didn’t like.  The block would probably be instigated on two levels – your account and your IP address. Now you can probably create a new account, but you won’t get access from the same IP address if it’s blacklisted.

How can you change your IP address –

  • Reboot modem/router – switching your internet connection is sometimes enough.  Some ISPs will allocate a new IP address when you connect, however in the UK for example this will not always work.  The longer you leave your connection off the more likely it is to reset your address.
  • Connect through 3G/4G – just connect via your phone.  Just disable your Wifi access and connect through your data and you will have a new mobile IP address.
  • Leave and go use another Wifi point – your IP address is normally linked to your location.  If you go down the road and use a coffee shop or neighbors wireless you’ll have a completely different IP address.
  • Connect through a VPN or Proxy – an option many do who want to routinely stay private online.  Most proxy services allow you to change your IP address at will.

Of course for many people it’s not that important, our IP address is merely a technical requirement to access the internet.  Most people don’t get routinely blacklisted or blocked from web sites.  However there are many of us who do want to have more control over this important address.  For instance if you want any privacy at all, it’s essential you have some way of hiding your IP address.  Otherwise you’ll be logged at every website you visit plus a complete log will exist at your ISP should anyone require it.

Also many of us work online and having a single IP address is hugely restrictive in so many ways.  Many websites restrict and control what you can do based on your IP address.  For example I am unable to watch most US TV sites because I have a UK IP address.  I also can’t place adverts or manage accounts on many US based directories like Craigslist.  Yet as I use a proxy service, I can change my effective IP at will enabling me to access any ‘US only’ web site.  All I need to do is click on a US server and I am effectively a US web surfer.  It effectively unlocks other countries too, so I can switch to a UK server to proxy access to the BBC from the US too!

Not surprisingly many people use for business and marketing purposes too.  In fact it’s almost essential for many online workers to have some control of their IP address to even function in 2020.  You can increasingly even buy cheap residential IP addresses, which allow any one to exactly mimic a home user from whichever country required.  This ‘residential’ classification helps hide the fact that you’re actually using a proxy server, commercial addresses are often consider to be proxy service users unfortunately.


Why Proper Ticketing Proxies Will Bring You Ticket Success

It’s been about five years since I first tried out a beta version of a new Ticketing Bot that was doing the rounds. To be honest I was lucky to try it out as the full version was several hundred dollars, but I got to use it for a little feedback. Just to explain a Ticket Bot is a piece of software which allows you to go to specific Ticket websites, in this instance Ticketmaster, and buy multiple tickets under different aliases.   It was a very profitable experience although it did involve something of a learning curve especially about ticketing proxies and different ticketing sites.

At the moment of course, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and the entertainment and concert industry is pretty much on hold.  However there’s a lot of expectation for huge pent up demand when the industry re-opens including the ticketing sites.  This will of course mean popular tickets will be even harder to get.  When you combine this with potential social distancing measures that might be in place, the ticket sites are going to be under siege when the events start up again.  Will demand return and people want to buy tickets again, I think it’s almost certain.

Is Software like these Ticketmaster Bots Illegal ?

Like pretty much every legal issue online it’s somewhat of a grey area and largely depends on where you live.  The software itself is certainly not illegal in any way by itself.  However there’s an increasing chance that using Ticket Bots or any piece of software to purchase large numbers of tickets for resale from a ticket site could well be illegal.  Much of it probably depends on scale, if you buy tickets and sell a few on to cover your costs is unlikely to be very risky.  However you never know when the ticketing sites will start to clamp down on this practice – although there’s some evidence that they’re complicit in the reseller market anyway.

Anyway here’s some of the legislation which has been designed to target using a ticket bot- 

There are other examples of other legislation in the pipeline although of arguably much more limited scope.  The surprising thing is that is that most of the Bots are still around, still working and making lots of people an awful lot of money.  The problem is, like many internet relating laws is simply that of enforcing these laws and regulations.   It’s extremely difficult to track down these offences and very expensive to bring a case to court especially if the offences are committed across geographical boundaries.  What’s more the extensive use of proxies means that it’s even harder to trace down these transactions in any case.   

ticketing proxies

Bottom line is that the rewards are potentially huge, and the chance of being caught while using sites like Ticketmaster to but tickets very small.  However depending on where you are based you should be aware of these legal restrictions.   It’s difficult to give a definitive answer but many want these Bots to be declared illegal, but there’s little sign of people stop using them yet.  The reality is that anyone doing this is already using private proxies and specialized residential proxies to hide themselves when purchasing so it’s virtually impossible to trace people at this stage. 

Selling them though is more difficult but again perfectly possible as large brokers operate without issue. You should be aware of the risks though, as they’re definitely increasing depending on where you live.  Many of the people making money out of the ticket industry have switched their skills to other areas while the market recovers.  Many online ticket scalpers made a fortune using Bots to buy up PS5 and X Box Series X consoles too.  The mark up on these just before Christmas 2020 was 100% plus and much more for a short period.

Using a Ticket or Ticketmaster Proxy Server for Anonymous Ticket Scalping

The idea is that for highly demanded events using software would be much more effective than sitting at home waiting to press the buttons manually. Especially because many of these events literally sell out in minutes and you had to be very lucky to get any tickets at all.  Even with unlimited bandwidth and a fast connection, using e commerce sites manually for high demand purchases is always going to be something of a lottery.

In such events the limit is normally set at two or three tickets, at the very most four so that you can’t pick up any for your friends either. In reality it doesn’t matter as trying it manually from a remote location it’s almost impossible. Which is what normally happens to me, when a ticket release happens then I’m nearly always somewhere obscure at the end of a painfully slow internet connection.

ticket proxies

There are many problems, sometimes it’s the location – you’ll rarely get a chance at a US concert if your IP address says you’re somewhere in Asia or Africa for example. Ticketmaster tries to check you’re a genuine customer and it presumes you’re up to no good if you try from a foreign country! Also simply the distance means you’ll be at a huge disadvantage anyway as those Boss tickets time out while you’re putting them in your basket! Frustrating, you bet !!!

The software circumvents a lot of this, optimizing the responses and allowing you to have multiple tries at getting some tickets. Or more interestingly giving you the chance to score a load of tickets with which you can make a tidy profit. Yes a little bit scalper like but when you see the money you can make it’s awfully tempting!

Why Ticket Proxies Are Essential

The problem is that although most ticket bots are fast and efficient. Plus it can try multiple times but most of them do nothing about hiding/obscuring your IP address. Even if it is in the right place you cannot make multiple applications using the same address or you’ll get blacklisted or blocked.  Without hiding this all your purchases can be linked to the same IP, in fact you won’t even get that far as they’ll be blocked and blacklisted automatically.  

This is why people buy proxies, simply because giving you the ability to hide your real location/identity and use a false IP address instead. Not only can you have a completely optimized location and connection, you can have lots of them too! Nowadays there are even specialist Ticketmaster proxies which are located near their servers and are specially designed for speed and to get passed all the blocks.  There aren’t many proxy providers who offer this level of geographical targeting especially for a residential proxy (one that looks like a standard hone user connection – one of the few is called IP Burger who many eBay users swear by.  It does require more advanced proxies than those people use to watch TV abroad for example

The Right Proxy Services will Bring Success

If you don’t use proxies to hide your IP address then frankly you’re wasting your time. However there are now some great deals on these proxies which us IP rotation to allow switching between lots of different addresses very simple.  You can configure the software to dip into this proxy pool as required from a central control panel. These are much more cost effective than using reserved dedicated proxies on even the smallest package.   It’s definitely worth finding a proxy provider who allows this, the most advanced is a company called Luminati but they can be expensive. Check out the other options mentioned on this site like Storm Proxies too. Remember though any proxy used to access an E-commerce site like Ticketmaster should ideally be using residential IP addresses. Any other classification such as datacenter proxies is likely to be filtered unless you’re only trying to get one or two tickets.  Some of the smaller ticketing websites places won’t have such advanced detection but Ticketmaster proxies really need residential addresses to work properly.

For commercial or larger scale then residential IP address are pretty much essential for ticketing proxies. They’ll normally be rotating as it’s actually quite difficult to buy static residential IP addresses due to their costs.  Much depends on the scale though, you can get away with fairly basic tickets proxy for very small purchases or for internet marketing.

Using these rotating proxies which are available under quite inexpensive proxy packages though works really well especially with ticket bots as you can simply plug in a single proxy address. The proxy will then rotate through different IP addresses, if you use a decent company you can configure this to maximise your chances. Some companies let you configure to a city level which can help greatly when trying to get tickets for a specific event.

What Does DNS Actually Do?

Many people get confused when we talk about DNS the problem is that although it’s often discussed there are few explanations outside technical IT books. Anyway we found this great little video which helps explains the concept in easy to understand language which hopefully some people will find useful. If you’re interested in doing anything online from playing games to working with that VPN service then knowing the basics of DNS will certainly be helpful.

Transcript below:

Hi, there! In this video, you’ll learn about a crucial part of the Internet, the domain name system, or DNS. So, what is DNS? Well, it’s a translation system that allows us humans to search the Internet using language we’re comfortable with. Without DNS, the Internet as we know it would not exist. For example, you couldn’t do your shopping online; you’d have to drive to an actual store to buy your things. There’d be no way to stream music or videos to your smartphone, and no way to video chat with a friend across the ocean, or even across the street.

But what does DNS have to do with this? The Internet is made up of computers that are set up in large networks around the world. These networks are connected by a web of underground, and in some cases, undersea wires. Computers on the Internet communicate with each other using strings of numbers called Internet Protocol, or IP addresses. IP addresses function like street addresses; they identify where a computer is located on the Internet and help guide the information traveling between computers.

Now it’s one thing for computers to communicate using strings of numbers, but imagine if we humans had to memorize these seemingly random numbers strings, for every single website we wanted to find… not very realistic, huh? Well because of DNS, we don’t have to. DNS translates the human-friendly domain names that we’re comfortable using into the IP addresses that computers need to communicate with one another. When you type a domain name into your web browser, your browser and computer to determine if one of them already has the domain’s related IP address in their memory.

If it’s a domain that you’ve recently visited, like say a newspaper you look at every day, your browser may have stored the domain name and IP address in its memory and can display the website in a split second. If the domain isn’t found in local memory, your computer takes the search out to the Internet where it asks, or queries, a series of DNS servers if they have the domain name in their memory or a database.

The first DNS server that receives the query checks its memory for the domain name. If it doesn’t find the domain name in its memory, it sends the query on to the next DNS server to see if it can help. As soon as the domain name is found on a DNS server that the server returns the domain name and its IP address to the requesting DNS server and on down the line until it arrives back at your computer. Each time a requesting DNS server receives a domain name and IP address, the server stores the information in its memory, so any future requests for the domain name can be answered more quickly.

Once your computer has the IP address for the domain name, your browser knows where to find it on the Internet. Your browser uses your computer to communicate with the server where the domain name is hosted and requests any associated files. The host server returns the files, which then display in your web browser. Our ability to use domain names to quickly and easily retrieve websites and files from the Internet is entirely dependent on this tightly integrated and tiered line of communication. So the next time you buy a pair of shoes online, listen to some music on your smartphone, or video chat with a friend on another continent; remember, it’s not magic that lets you do these things on the web, it’s DNS! .