The best iPlayer VPN in 2020

Oct 28, 2020
Top ranking of ExpressVPN when it doesn't currently access iPlayer, how does that work?

A year ago I subscribed to ExpressVPN in order to access iPlayer.

When it works, it works well and is good fast connection. Also, for anonymization purposes in the US, it's quick. However, over the past 12-months service with iPlayer has been spotty at best. It gets blocked by the Beeb frequently.

When ExpressVPN has been blocked in the past we usually fall back to the slow but steady NordVPN as an alternative. It's ok'ish for caching downloaded content, but not so good for watching live streams (it's just too slow).

Usually ExpressVPN is able to open up BBC iPlayer access again within a week or so of being unable to connect. However, we've been unable to access iPlayer to cache (download) programs via ExpressVPN for over a month this time around despite me trying all of the UK server locations multiple times.

It's shocking that you rate ExpressVPN as the best possible option when it hasn't worked for iPlayer for the last several weeks--and this is a known issue on ExpressVPN's part.

The latest support email I received from ExpressVPN (the fourth in a series as I continued to work with them towards a solution) suggested that we log in to a server based in Switzerland so we can create an account on so we can watch BBC or, as a helpful alternative, we could subscribe to here in the US. Useless waste of time.

Neither of those are useful or viable solutions. I've cancelled our account and then turned to Tom's Guide to find an alternative service, but if your top recommendation is so untested (naming it the best when it doesn't work at all), that makes me wonder how valid any of the other reviews are.

FWIW here is ExpressVPN's latest support email text:


Thanks for contacting ExpressVPN Support.

We understand that you're experiencing an issue when accessing BBC iPlayer. We are aware of the issue, and our engineers are currently working on a fix.

We still wish to try troubleshooting as it may work for you. Please try connecting to all of our UK server locations. Instructions in changing server locations can be found here.

If you still encounter issues when connected to East London, there are great alternatives for watching both BBC live TV and VOD.

Live TV
: Connect to any of our Switzerland locations and visit in your browser. Zattoo requires you to register, but it's completely free, and once registered you'll be able to access BBC live TV channels, along with many additional channels. See supported devices here:

: Connect to any of our Switzerland locations and visit in your browser. You can register to Zattoo for free, enabling you to record up to 20 shows (including BBC programming) and store these for 20 days each. You can delete recordings to reset the quota. Their paid service costs 10 CHF per month and allows up to 500 recordings and the ability to watch on demand all shows from the past 7 days, regardless of the recordings you set.
2. : Connect to any of our US locations and visit in your browser. Britbox is a paid VOD subscription service that carries most BBC content and is available in the United States. Britbox is operated by BBC themselves, costs about 7 USD per month, and does not require a US credit card to sign up (only a US IP address).

We hope that you find this information useful and can continue to enjoy the BBC programming you love, using the above methods. ExpressVPN continues to unblock other British programming sites like ITV Hub, Channel 4/5, etc.

To compensate for the issue, I've added another 2 weeks to your account.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your understanding. Please let us know if we can provide any additional assistance.
ExpressVPN Support

Can you explain how you gave this non-operative service your highest ranking?
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Nov 27, 2020
Yup .
Exactly what I have experienced i.e. what used to be quite a reliable service is now total pants .
Unfortunately the only conclusion is that cynical comercial interests overide factual content , where it comes to which providers are being reccomended .
This is not an issue restricted to this site , clearly Express invest more in 'advertorials' than they do in their technology .
Mar 7, 2021
Agree entirely: ExpressVPN sometimes works, but often doesn't. It WAS great a few years ago, but after sending me the same emails shown above, not much else was done...


Oct 25, 2017
Worse than all above, the Feb 8th 2022 "The best iPlayer VPN in 2022" links back to this article with "only the best VPN will do" in clickbait fashion. I've had on and off success with SharkVPN, maybe "runner ups" should be included? The fact is the BBC has been very aggressive, and no VPN service has been 100% successful. I'm not sure why the latest success(or failures) of ExpressVPN aren't explained more clearly, nor if BBC broadcast of the Superbowl will be with fewer ads (or different commentators possibly?). If not than why bother with the BBC for that particular broadcast at all? I've been pleasantly surprised that PBS (my local PBS "Passport" streaming service and Masterpiece channel via Amazon) has BBC content enough for me to give up on struggling with VPNs, including some good Scandinavian murder mystery series.