Although the BBC iPlayer is technically unavailable outside the UK millions of people have access by simply using a VPN or proxy to hide their real location. This has been the case since the BBC first introduced iPlayer from the beta version in 2007, in fact they have always had thousands of users from outside the United Kingdom. The BBC has always pretty much tolerated this, occasionally blocking the odd VPN service or proxy but on the whole not doing too much. However this has now changed as BBC iPlayer blocking VPN services across the world and in some senses as aggressively as some commercial organisations like Netflix and Hulu.
This has come as a great shock to many, as mentioned millions of people across the world watch the BBC everyday online. Their somewhat laid back approach to region locking has meant that previously pretty much every VPN service would work with BBC iPlayer.
In fact some of the free proxy services could even be used to access iPlayer. Now the majority of these services have been blocked by the BBC VPN block.
This is a typical message that greeted all those VPN users who are effected, a rather obscure ‘this doesn’t seem to be working’ message. It looks like a simple error or misconfiguration but it actually means that the BBC has actively blocked the IP address of the server you are connecting with – which means it won’t work now or in the future.
A VPN is actually extremely difficult to detect by these media companies, it is after all an encrypted connection between your computer and secure server. The web site you visit has now way of determining whether this connection is direct or relayed and so it’s impossible to simply block all VPN connections. What actually happen is that the BBC are creating a huge black list of IP addresses used by VPN servers either manually or by determining which IP addresses are being used by multiple streams. It is quite difficult to maintain these list but it is effective and the majority of VPN services now don’t work.
How to Bypass BBC iPlayer Blocking VPN Services
However fear not, BBC lovers all across the world still have an option. Although it has become more difficult a few of the better VPN services still work. The secret is to keep a low profile, a low contention rate and to frequently rotate your active IP addresses. It is time consuming but the serious VPN companies have had no option to adopt this strategy to maintain access to one of the world’s most popular media site.
The BBC will occasionally catch out an IP address even with this method but these can be filtered out and replaced with new addresses.
For example Identity Cloaker have been rotating all their UK addresses and out of about 60 when I checked this morning only one wasn’t working. It was a trivial matter for me to simply switch to a working address by clicking another server.
This should be enough to enable access to the BBC iPlayer all over the world for the time being. Which is a huge relief for all us ex-pats who would be completely lost without having access to the BBC. If your VPN has stopped working why not try the . to see a VPN the BBC cannot block!