How To Unblock Geo-Restricted Content on BBC iPlayer With Surfshark

Surfshark VPN can unblock geo-restrictions for the U.K. streaming service — we’ll show you how to do it and how to troubleshoot any problems.
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That scary feeling when all of the major streaming services got rid of your British comfort show just after you developed feelings for the character you didn’t like in the beginning is enough to make you want to fly to the U.K. to finish it. You search for it frantically only to find your show is on the geo-restricted BBC iPlayer.

But all is not lost. Thankfully, there’s a way to save money and catch up with the hooligans from "Peaky Blinders," the gang from "East Enders," and even the great British bakers too.

This is where a virtual private network (VPN) from Surfshark saves us all. BBC iPlayer, unfortunately, doesn’t allow anyone outside the United Kingdom to access its content due to international rights issues. But Surfshark’s VPN service makes it possible to unblock content so you can watch what you want freely.

Learn how to unblock your favorite British content with the best BBC iPlayer VPN, Surfshark, right here.

In this article
How to use Surfshark with BBC iPlayer
Why use Surfshark with BBC iPlayer?
What to do if Surfshark doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer
How to use Surfshark with BBC iPlayer FAQs
Bottom line

How to stream BBC iPlayer with Surfshark

Getting set up to watch BBC iPlayer through a Surfshark VPN is a quick process. Surfshark is available for all mainstream devices and operating systems and even provides a step-by-step process on how to get started with each system you may own.

We set up BBC iPlayer and Surfshark using Google Chrome; therefore, the following steps will reflect that specific browser.

1. First, purchase a Surfshark plan. The best plan for people who want to spend the least amount of money is the one-month Starter plan which starts at $12.95 (US) per month. Every plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so even if you only use it once, you’ll be able to get your money back.

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2. After purchasing a plan, grab the Surfshark VPN Extension from the Chrome Web Store.

3. Once the extension is added, pin it to your bar for easy access and log in with the account you made.

4. Go to the shield icon on the left-hand side. Search for the United Kingdom and choose from four different U.K. servers. For this test, we chose London. And in no time at all, our computer was connected to a London IP address.

5. Now that that’s done and you’re browsing within the U.K., go to the BBC iPlayer site and make an account.

6. The last little hurdle you might come across is if BBC iPlayer asks if you have a valid U.K. TV license, but that’s not a big problem. Just click “Yes” and you won’t have to provide proof.

7. Watch to your heart's content!

How to access BBC iPlayer without a U.K. address

If you don’t already have an account and you’re from the U.S. or Canada, there are workarounds when it prompts you to select a country and postal code during the sign-up process.

For country, select the United Kingdom, and then for postcodes (which are tricky if you don’t live there), you can use a site like Doogal.co.uk to find an active postcode that works with iPlayer. We chose a postcode from South West London, and it worked.

Why use Surfshark with BBC iPlayer?

Surfshark offers a fast and reliable way to disguise your IP address and keep hackers from gaining access to your device or network. With more than 3,200 servers in 100+ countries, you’re able to surf and take advantage of watching unblocked, region-specific content on BBC iPlayer. But that’s just one feature the VPN service provides for you to stay safe and have fun while you’re online.

Surfshark’s platform also includes tools that prevent your data from being collected by hackers, such as:

  1. No-logs policy: This means Surfshark never keeps any information about what you do and where you go on the internet. Ever.
  2. Ad blocker: This blocks annoying pop-up ads that get in the way of enjoying your chosen content.
  3. Tracker blocker: This makes it so that sites you visit are not harvesting your data to feed you more content you might favor.
  4. Malware alerts: These stop any malicious activity and alert you that there might be malware on the site.

If you’re looking for more protection, the Surfshark One plan offers the most security features the platform has to offer. You'll not only get Surfshark VPN, but its antivirus, a specialty search engine, and data breach alerts too.

  1. A private search engine allows for a smooth web-surfing experience without the worry of trackers.
  2. Antivirus, anti-spyware, webcam, and malware protection are available across your range of devices. Antivirus comes with active scanning every three hours, 24/7.
  3. Data removal gets rid of information from websites that may harbor your personal data. Surfshark Incogni makes sure that companies and sites delete any details regarding your name, your address, or your preferences so that you don’t get hammered with their marketing wherever you roam.

Having this level of protection while streaming on BBC iPlayer makes your viewing experience about engaging with content and not about hacking, tracking, or caching any personal data. It’s a comfort to know you’re watching without being watched. Surfshark gives you more options for exploration by revealing content across this and other streaming platforms that region-lock shows and movies in different countries.

An unblocked BBC iPlayer is great and free, which makes up for an often unsatisfying library of region-locked content on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.

But Surfshark’s VPN can be used to unblock content on those streaming services too. Select the country you want, say Japan, and connect to the VPN server to get access to that country’s specific regional content.

What to do if Surfshark doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer

Sometimes it’s not enough to do everything right. Sometimes a streaming service like BBC iPlayer has VPN detection built-in that blocks users from using a VPN to gain access to its library.

The biggest reason for this is the service is location-based and has tight geo-restrictions. This is why we emphasize putting a valid postal code congruent to the location of the server selected. Otherwise, the platform might recognize that your laptop or device is in a different location and will block the content you’re trying to watch.

But sometimes that doesn’t work either, so to work around this, you may have to troubleshoot using the steps provided below.

1. Change VPN servers

The first workaround is to try out different servers in the same region you’re trying to gain access to. In the case of BBC iPlayer, Surfshark has more than one U.K. server. Searching the United Kingdom in the VPN extension app gives you more options.

Surfshark server locations in the United Kingdom

  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • London
  • Manchester

With a click of a mouse, you can visit each of these locations to try to get a better result. On the right-hand side of the app, there’s even an option to Favorite the servers so they show up outside the search function.

2. Clear your cache

At times, your computer might get in the way of watching content, and it might be a good idea to purge your browser’s memory cache. To clear cookies and cache in Chrome, go to the History tab, click Clear Recent History, and you’ll see an option to clear your cache.

3. Change your DNS server

Your network has a contact list of different servers called a DNS (Domain Name System) that’s cached based on your internet activity. This is so your browser can connect you to the website you’re trying to get to. But if your browser isn’t making the connection, you may need to find a new DNS bestie. The process is fairly simple for both Windows and Mac users — all it takes is pulling up your network settings and changing the code of the DNS server. Google has its own Public DNS, and the code is available for anyone to use.

4. Contact customer support

Surfshark offers many in-depth guides on troubleshooting streaming problems like VPN blockage. Try going through its support articles first and then, if you’re still not able to gain access to BBC iPlayer, scroll down to find an option to email or chat with the support team.

Let whoever is supporting you know that you’ve tried the troubleshooting tactics that both this article and Surfshark have also laid out — this might prepare them to take a different approach to the problem.

5. Try a different VPN service

If the situation doesn’t improve through these troubleshooting tactics, don’t worry. You can get a refund if you’re within Surfshark’s 30-day money-back guarantee time period. But if you’re still hungry for some British television, we’ve laid out other VPN providers that may be able to bypass the geo-restrictions.

Best VPN alternatives for BBC iPlayer

  • ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN is the best choice for VPN service across multiple devices, browsers, and operating systems. Along with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS apps, it also works with Linux, smart TVs, Apple TV, and routers. It unblocks BBC iPlayer as well as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+. The downside is that it’s on the pricier side, so beware of that before committing. 

    Get ExpressVPN | Read Our ExpressVPN Review
  • NordVPN: This is the best option when you want the most servers — over 5,600 worldwide — with the fastest connection speeds. Those fast speeds mean little to no buffering while you watch BBC iPlayer and every major streaming service. It’s still pricier than Surfshark, but with NordVPN you get a more emphasized focus on privacy and malware protection.

    Get NordVPN | Read Our NordVPN Review
  • CyberGhost: CyberGhost gives you the option to try out its service before asking you to commit to it. It also advertises a 45-day money-back “for subscriptions 6-months or longer” guarantee instead of the normal 30-day others provide. On top of that, it unblocks geo-restrictions on streaming services like BBC iPlayer and other geo-restricted services.

    Get CyberGhost | Read Our CyberGhost Review

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How to use Surfshark with BBC iPlayer FAQs


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Does Surfshark work with BBC iPlayer?

After setting up a BBC iPlayer account with an active U.K. postcode, we tested Surfshark, and it does work with BBC iPlayer.


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Has BBC iPlayer blocked VPNs?

Yes, and it’s important to see if your VPN service is leaking your GPS location, making it easier to tell where you are in the world. 

We tested Surfshark’s leak protection and found it leaked no data at any time. To ensure BBC iPlayer can’t detect your VPN usage, open the Surfshark extension and look for an option in VPN settings called WebRTC which, when selected, prevents sites from “being able to discover your IP and location.” 


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Can I watch BBC iPlayer in the USA with a VPN?

It is possible to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA as long as your VPN service is hiding your true IP address and you have selected a regionally correct postal code for your iPlayer account.


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Can I use a free VPN to stream BBC iPlayer content?

We don't advise using a free VPN to stream TV shows and movies since most severely limit your bandwidth. For example, PrivadoVPN gives you 10 GB of data each month. Others may limit your connection speed (Mbps) when connected to a VPN server, causing your streaming service to buffer.

Another risk of using a free VPN app is that many are known to log and sell your data. Some have even been known to infect devices with malware. 

That's a risk we don't think you should have to take. So we pulled together a list of reputable free VPNs that are safe to use.

Bottom line

Surfshark’s VPN service makes it easy and safe to watch shows and movies on BBC iPlayer for a lower cost than its competitors. It’s fast, responsive, and offers more ways to stay protected while streaming.

If, for some reason, Surfshark doesn’t work to stream your favorite British TV shows, remember you can always get a refund if you’re within the 30-day money-back guarantee period. You can also try out alternatives listed in our best VPNs for the UK guide. If there’s a will, there’s a way.

Unlimited Device Protection and Large Server Network
4.6
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Surfshark's website
VPN
Surfshark
83% off + 3 months free
  • All-in-one VPN app with 24/7 protection thanks to 3,200+ RAM-only servers in over 100 countries
  • Real-time malware defense, webcam protection, alternative ID creation, ad blocking, and more
  • One subscription covers unlimited devices for your entire household with access to 24/7 support
Author Details
Sameer M. Narain is a freelance writer with a foundation in systems, software, and hardware. With over 10 years of experience in testing various antivirus programs, data encryption programs, VPNs, and drive defragmentation software, he is adept at synthesizing information for the everyday reader and tech enthusiast. He has a special interest in staying secure for big team-related projects where confidentiality is king, therefore his writing often attempts to solve the bigger picture with easily accessible programs.