How to Watch the BBC iPlayer Abroad

This post and all information has been revised fully on 05/09/2019.

How to watch the BBC abroad can be a tricky subject for some. But with a little guidance, it can be ever so easy. I'm an Expat located in Colombia between the Andes, in a fairly remote location. I do however have broadband. This is the single thing helping to keep me sane. Back in London, I never really had much time for TV and would only use the TV for catch-up programs from time to time or for viewing films and shows obtained by torrent downloads. I never in my life paid a TV license in any country and would never dream of paying it either. Mostly thanks to the BBC and their biased reportage. Enough of that for now anyway...

There was a program that I wanted to see on iPlayer (Panorama - Labour: Is the Party Over?). Clicking through to the page I get a rude message claiming that "..programs are available to play in the UK only."! Well BBC, we live in the internet age and it couldn't be easier to bypass that restriction. The theory of the internet's founding was that the network could survive a nuclear attack. The BBC, no matter how many resources it consumes, is not a nuclear attack on our self-given right to access information.

In 2015, the BBC went all out trying to block VPNs from accessing its content (BBC iPlayer Blocks UK VPN Servers Over Piracy Concerns - October 2015) and has been doing this regularly since, particularly around major events such as sports, popular shows and such. At this page is the BBC's official reasoning and explanation on why you can't access content whilst abroad. Over at this page is the BBC's plan to keep viewers updated on how they can legitimately access BBC iPlayer abroad. But it looks like any steps will involve a UK TV license. The nearest BBC permissible avenue is available to US viewers only through an endorsed service call BritBox but is expensive and has only limited content.

ibVPN is my recommended service to access everything just like back in the UK.

Here's the demo of how I did it.

Below is a video I made on my smartphone accessing content through the BBC iPlayer app. I merely enabled VPN on my phone using the simple app by the provider I am recommending here, to switch my apparent location to the UK. There's an easy app available for Windows and Mac computers too. However, the service also makes clear the actual settings so that you can configure the VPN connection from with your phone or windows/MAC network settings yourself without the need for any applications.

Now Start Streaming Unrestricted

That's it. Now just head over to watch the BBC abroad and all your other favourite channels.
  • BBC iPlayer for your Eastenders, Apprentice, BBC News, Doctor Who, Wimbledon, Match of the Day, Top Gear and all those BBC Documentaries, not to forget CBeebies too from New York to Sydney.
  • All 4 for your Gogglebox, Great British Bake Off, Formula 1, The Last Leg, Made in Chelsea and more from Cape Town to Hong Kong.
  • ITV Hub, for The X-Factor to Britain's Got Talent, I'm a Celebrity Get me out of Here, Coronation Street (not forgetting Emmerdale), Loose Woman to The Only Way is Essex, with a Tour de France (in English) from Toronto to Berlin.
  • My5, for Neighbours (and Home and Away), and your Big Brother from Benidorm to Tenerife.
  • UKTV, no live programming but has a great selection of box sets, documentaries and dramas.
Oh, and perhaps even more important access those restricted radio programs (yep, BBC restricts certain radio too).
  • iPlayer Radio for 5 Live Sports Extra, for all those 'rights restricted' sports coverage from Cricket to Formula 1 to Rugby to Football to Wimbledon live coverage. Unrestricted listening from Buenos Aires to Jerusalem.
Let's not forget about a BBC reverse restriction. Thanks to my suggestion to ibVPN and thanks to them for accepting, we now have a Colombia server to access the content that the BBC restricts from those accessing from the UK out.
  • BBC Mundo, yep, the BBC has a Spanish language arm of their World Service. Access their news, videos unrestricted this way too, from London to Glasgow.
ibVPN are the guys I've been using for Years. Never let me down and still working perfectly to this day.

I am totally independent and am really recommending this from my own experience. The links here are affiliate links and I will make some money (hopefully). So please, if you are going to do this, please sign up through my affiliate link. I used to be with Boxpn but had to get a refund as the BBC were blocking their VPN connections at peak times. They had too few numbers of servers and their support was useless.

I am very happy to hear how you get on with this service in the comments below or by sending me a message here. Once you've used up their 6-hour free trial you can ask nicely at the pop-up support chat if you could have your trail extended. They gave me a further three days for free. If you've outstretched this too you can get more by adapting your Gmail email address (if you have one). This is done by extending your address with the "+" sign. Adapting to Free trial emails will still go to your regular Gmail inbox this way. If you still do not want to sign up, ibVPN does a free VPN account here (left-hand side). You'll need to make a tweet or Facebook post about them. This free account won't support the DNS method above but will give you a UK geographic connection via standard VPN protocol. The downside is that it will be patchy and the BBC and others seem to sense when they get a large number of connections coming from the same VPN portal.

Otherwise, there are some other ways to access BBC content for free through apps, browser add-ons and a plethora of streaming websites that come and go regularly. The best free alternative to this all at the moment is an online service called Transponder which allows streaming of live UK channels only anywhere in the world (Unfortunately TVCatchup went out of service a while ago).


  1. For my fellow Brits (and anyone really) here's a program worth you trying this very guide out for: Everything in this guide still stands.

  2. Just commenting on my own article to share a free one year IbVPN Premium Plan
    "KOMPUTERSWIAT". Enter it after clicking through this link: Let me know how you get on please?

  3. I have great discount codes for anyone seriously interested in taking up this service. Try the free trial and contact me here in the comments or contact me through my contact page


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