Surfshark not Working with BBC iPlayer? Here’s what to do

Surfshark not Working with BBC iPlayer? Here’s what to do

August 14, 2023 privacy 0

If your Surfshark VPN app isn’t working with BBC iPlayer – don’t worry. It’s usually an easy issue to solve.

In this quick guide, we’ll show you the most common fixes for issues that prevent Surfshark from accessing BBC iPlayer. And if those don’t work, we’ll give you the best alternative VPNs to switch to.

How to Stream BBC iPlayer with Surfshark

First, let’s make sure your Surfshark app is configured correctly for BBC iPlayer. 

Surfshark has apps for many devices that work with BBC iPlayer – including some smart TV brands. 

The setup process is generally the same for all of them:

  1. Sign up for Surfshark. You’ll get a 30-day money-back guarantee to try it risk-free. 
  2. Download the app onto your BBC iPlayer device.
  3. Connect to a server in the UK.
  4. Clear your browser or BBC iPlayer app cache and cookies.
  5. Open the BBC iPlayer app or sign in on your browser. 

That’s it!

Clearing your cache and cookies is crucial in case BBC iPlayer logged your location in a previous session. 

If you can’t access BBC iPlayer now, connect to a different server. Or, keep reading to find alternative VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer if Surfshark is completely blocked. 

How Well Does Surfshark Work with BBC iPlayer?

Surfshark is one of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer. It uses industry-leading privacy and IP masking tools that can trick even the toughest anti-VPN detection tools. 

Surfshark also has an extensive network of high-speed servers in the UK, so you don’t have to worry about over-crowded servers getting blocked by the streamer. 

Our team has tested Surfshark’s UK servers from Europe, Asia, and Africa and could stream BBC iPlayer in 4K HD with minimum buffering. Surfshark uses the latest server technology and lightweight VPN protocols to ensure a smooth, reliable, and fast connection from anywhere. 

However, like any technology, Surfshark can face some technical glitches and limitations. Let’s explore the most common technical issues for why it’s not working with BBC iPlayer.

Why Isn’t Surfshark Working with BBC iPlayer? 

BBC iPlayer is a UK-only streaming site. Due to its broadcast licenses, you’re not supposed to watch its content outside the country – even if you’re a UK citizen. 

So, it actively blocks anyone outside the UK from accessing its content. 

BBC iPlayer also invests heavily in detecting and blocking VPN servers, because most people use VPNs to access its content outside the UK. If you’re in the UK and using Surfshark to improve your online privacy, BBC iPlayer will still block you. 

The best BBC iPlayer VPNs constantly find ways around these blocks – but it’s not easy. They’re in a constant game of cat and mouse with the streamer. 

However, software limitations and technical glitches in Surfshark can contribute to it not working with BBC iPlayer. Here are the most common, and their solutions:

1. BBC iPlayer is reading old location data from your browser or device. Your old location will conflict with your VPN servers – causing an error on the BBC iPlayer app. 

Solution: Clear your cache and cookies, and restart BBC iPlayer.

2. BBC iPlayer has identified and blocked your Surfshark server. It won’t accept connection requests from that server’s IP address. Surfshark has many UK servers, and you can switch to another easily in the app.

Solution: Switch to another server in the UK.

3. BBC iPlayer is using GPS to establish your location. Mobile apps often log your location by reading other apps using GPS – like Google Maps. There is no way for Surfshark to hide this data. 

Solution: Access BBC iPlayer on your mobile device’s browser or use a GPS spoofing app. 

Best Alternative VPNs for Streaming BBC iPlayer

If you’ve tried everything above, and Surfshark still isn’t accessing BBC iPlayer, you might need a new VPN. 

We’ve tested countless VPNs against BBC iPlayer and every other popular streaming site (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, etc.) and found only five we recommend. 

Take a quick look at them below, or read our complete VPN reviews, to see exactly how every VPN performs in streaming, privacy, security, value, and much more. 

 [[post-object type=”summary-section” pros-cons=”true” /]]

Do Free VPNs Work with BBC iPlayer?

Most free VPNs don’t work with BBC iPlayer because the streamer easily catches their limited UK servers. 

However, that’s just one of many reasons we don’t recommend free VPNs. There are many more, including: 

1. Limited server locations. Most have servers in two to three countries that quickly get crowded with other free users and detected by streamers. 

2. Too slow for BBC iPlayer. They either can’t deliver fast connections or throttle you, so you eventually upgrade to a paid plan. 

3. Bombard you with ads. They’re intrusive, irritating, and could be carrying malware.

4. Sell your information to advertisers and data brokers. Your privacy will be compromised, and you might get malware and trackers installed on your device.

Plenty of cheap VPNs work with BBC iPlayer without compromising your safety or delivering a bad experience. 

Save yourself a lot of headaches and avoid free VPNs altogether. 

How We Tested Surfshark and Others With BBC iPlayer

Over the last few years, we’ve tested hundreds (maybe thousands) of VPNs. We’ve developed strict criteria to check their performance across various metrics – not just streaming BBC iPlayer. 

You can use our criteria to decide on the right VPN for you, which include:

  • Server network: The best VPNs have thousands of servers in countries across the globe, including many locations in the UK. 
  • Connection speeds: We’ve only recommended VPNs fast enough to stream BBC iPlayer in HD, regardless of your location. 
  • Access to content: We checked every VPN against BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and other popular streamers. 
  • Security: Top VPNs use the latest cybersecurity to shield your data and device, including automatic kill-switches, 256-bit AES encryption, and DNS leak protections.
  • Privacy: Our top VPNs provide extra privacy tools like IP address masking, anti-tracking tools, and ad blockers that hide your location, activities, data, and identity. 
  • Value: The best VPNs offer affordable, fixed subscription plans with generous money-back guarantees to test them risk-free. 
  • Easy to use: Just because VPNs are a complicated technology, they shouldn’t be difficult to use. Our favorite VPNs are all very beginner-friendly. 
  • Customer support: Look for VPNs that offer 24/7 live chat, comprehensive video tutorials and troubleshooting guides, and active user communities. 

Read our complete VPN review process to see the full list of criteria and use it to guide you when choosing a VPN for BBC iPlayer – or anything else. 


[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Why isn’t BBC iPlayer working with VPN?” answer=”

BBC iPlayer uses advanced ‘geo-restriction’ tools to block anyone outside the UK or using a VPN from accessing its content. Whenever it detects a VPN’s server, it adds this to a “block list.” If it detects you’re using that VPN server, BBC iPlayer automatically blocks you until you turn it off. 

This helps BBC iPlayer comply with licensing agreements, as it’s a UK-only streaming site. 

Using a VPN with an extensive UK server network and advanced stealth software is the best way to go undetected by BBC iPlayer’s tools. We recommend Surfshark or NordVPN. 

” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”How do I unblock BBC iPlayer outside the UK?” answer=”

Accessing BBC iPlayer from outside the UK requires an advanced VPN, like Surfshark, that consistently bypasses its VPN restrictions. 

Once you’ve chosen a VPN for your BBC iPlayer account, the process is simple: 

  • Download the VPN to your device: We recommend Surfshark for its fast connections, industry-best privacy, and risk-free money-back guarantee. 
  • Connect to a server in the UK: This will make you appear as if you’re physically located in the country.
  • Clear your browsing data and cookies: This ensures that any old location data won’t conflict with the VPN.
  • Visit BBC iPlayer: Open BBC iPlayer via the app or browser and start streaming. If the first server doesn’t work, switch to another located in the UK.

” /]]

[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”What is the fastest VPN for BBC iPlayer?” answer=”

NordVPN is the fastest VPN for BBC iPlayer. 

It has more than 440 servers across the UK (and 5,800+ globally) that deliver stable, buffer-free HD streaming to most places on Earth. 

NordVPN’s NordLynx VPN protocol has been optimized to give you ultra-fast connections across its network without compromising your security or privacy. You’ll enjoy a smooth experience, with uninterrupted access to your favorite shows on BBC iPlayer and everywhere else. 

” /]]


Surfshark isn’t the only VPN that’s sometimes blocked by BBC iPlayer. The broadcaster is constantly developing methods to restrict VPN use on its streaming site. 

But don’t worry. VPNs are always finding ways around them.

If Surfshark isn’t working on your BBC iPlayer account, try the quick fixes suggested in this guide. If you still can’t get access, you might need an alternative BBC iPlayer VPN, like NordVPN or ExpressVPN.

Or read our top VPN reviews to find out which is best for you.

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