BBC iPlayer Not Working with VPN in Ireland?

Wednesday, July 24, 2024


BBC iPlayer is one of the leading streaming services in the UK, where you can watch popular shows like Killing Eve, Happy Valley, Great Expectations, Doctor Who etc. The streaming service also offers movies, documentaries, talk shows and animated movies from various genres.

The service is unavailable in Ireland and only people living in the United Kingdom can enjoy it due to licensing restrictions. The only way to watch BBC iPlayer in Ireland is through a VPN.

If you encounter an error while streaming BBC iPlayer with a VPN, chances are your VPN has been blocked by BBC iPlayer’s security. BBC’s security continuously looks for suspicious IP addresses and blocks them at every opportunity.

In this article, we will tell you how to resolve the issue of BBC iPlayer not working with VPN in Ireland in simple steps, such as upgrading to a better VPN, changing servers, switching your device and changing your time zones.

Reasons Why Your VPN Can’t Unblock BBC iPlayer

It is sometimes possible that you won’t be able to access BBC iPlayer in Ireland even with a VPN; the following could be one of the reasons why.

  • Your cookie or cache stored on your streaming device indicates that you are outside the UK.
  • The VPN or server you use may be on BBC iPlayer’s blacklist.
  • BBC iPlayer has noticed your streaming traffic patterns that relate to VPN usage.
  • The locations indicated by your IP address and the device’s GPS differ.
  • Your actual location is being leaked as your real IP address is being leaked by the VPN you use.
  • Your VPN server must be more efficient to bypass BBC iPlayer’s geo-restrictions.
  • BBC iPlayer has detected your virtual server because its location isn’t in the UK.

How to Resolve the Issue of BBC iPlayer Not Working with VPN in Ireland

Since there is no clear indication of what’s causing your VPN to deviate, it’s important to try streaming BBC iPlayer after each measure to understand the issue.

The following are some steps that you can take to resolve the issue of BBC iPlayer not working with VPN in Ireland:

1. Restart Your Browser


Before taking any extreme measures, try restarting your browser. First, make sure your browser is updated. Close all tabs and all windows on your browser. Go to the desktop page and relaunch your browser.

After restarting the browser, connect to your VPN and try accessing the BBC iPlayer website. If the issue was with the browser, you could stream the iPlayer. Otherwise, move on to the next step.

2. Use Premium VPN Because Your IP Might be Blocked


Always use a premium VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer in Ireland or other regions. Premium VPNs like ExpressVPN provide reliable IP addresses that BBC iPlayer cannot track.

Using a free VPN to access BBC iPlayer is not a good idea, as it has already blacklisted most free VPNs’ IP addresses. Also, free VPNs cannot carry a load of users’ influx as they do not have enough working servers. 

The security features on BBC iPlayer are advanced and can easily detect users using VPNs due to free VPNs’ inadequate security measures. Therefore, we recommend investing in premium VPNs to watch BBC iPlayer in Ireland.

3. Switch to Different Devices


You may not be able to watch BBC iPlayer in Ireland on Smart TV even with a premium VPN because your VPN needs stronger SmartDNS technology. Download the VPN on your desktop and then try accessing the service.

We suggest you switch from Smart TV to HTML5-capable devices, such as iPhones, laptops, Android phones, PCs, etc.

4. Try Different Time Zones


BBC iPlayer may detect VPN usage if your time zone differs from your connected UK server. Try changing the time zone on your streaming device by navigating to the device’s settings.

You can choose Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0) or British Summer Time (UTC+1), depending on the time of the year.

5. Switch to a Different UK Server


Even if you use a premium VPN, you may occasionally encounter an error when playing BBC iPlayer. This can raise questions about VPN’s effectiveness. But don’t worry; it happens because BBC iPlayer continuously checks for VPN connections.

You can always try switching to a different UK server to stream BBC iPlayer which resolves the issue most of the time. 

6. Enable Leak Protection


BBC iPlayer can detect your IP address if your VPN leaks your data. To ensure it does not happen, you must enable leak protection or IPV6 leak protection

You should also activate the automatic kill switch to ensure your online activity cannot be detected by BBC iPlayer. We recommend using ExpressVPN which provides all these features.

7. Delete Cookies and Caches


Another reason your VPN might not work is that BBC iPlayer can see your actual location from your Cookies and Cache. Cookies are a type of small data files that your device uses to improve your online experience. 

Similarly, Cache stores the user’s data so the hardware or software can work faster. These files frequently download unintentionally and run in the background

They are intended to be beneficial and do not cause any harm to the device. However, they interfere with VPNs as they have the user’s location. 

If the location from the Cookies or Cache differs from the one your VPN gave, BBC iPlayer will notice the disparity and know you’re using a VPN and block your IP address.  

Delete your Cookies and clear your Cache to ensure this isn’t causing any problems. You can delete cookies from your web browser’s settings.  You can delete the cache from your app’s settings by clicking storage and selecting clear cache.

8. Get a Dedicated IP Address


Getting a dedicated IP address might be the solution to all your problems. A dedicated IP address is the virtual IP address given by a VPN provider to only one user

You will have to pay extra to get a dedicated IP address, but it’s the best solution as only you are able to stream BBC iPlayer using this server. 

BBC iPlayer only blocks the IP address if it notices many users on a single server. Since only you’ll be using this server, it probably won’t get blocked by BBC iPlayer.

How Does BBC iPlayer Detect a VPN?

You can watch BBC iPlayer only in the United Kingdom as it owns the licensing rights to stream the content there. BBC performs its duty to block any VPN, foreign IP address, WebTRC, and DNS from accessing the service from anywhere in the world.

BBC iPlayer detects the use of a VPN based on the number of users streaming the service from a single IP address. If more than a hundred users watch the service from the same IP address round the clock, BBC is bound to detect and blacklist the IP address. 

Also, free VPNs and Smart DNS servers leak out their original IP address and are easily caught by BBC iPlayer security. 

How Does a VPN Unblocks BBC iPlayer from Outside the UK?

Your location on the Internet is identifiable through your device’s IP address, a unique collection of numbers. This number tells the BBC iPlayer your geographical location, such as the UK or Ireland.

As the service is geo-restricted in Ireland, you cannot access it in the country without changing your location virtually.

A VPN assigns you a new UK IP address by connecting you to a UK server. This way, when you try to access the BBC iPlayer, it will identify your location as the UK and grant you access to stream its content.

A VPN also encrypts your data, allowing a seamless streaming experience without compromising security and privacy. 

What are the 3 Best VPNs to Unblock BBC iPlayer in Ireland? 

We’ve tested over 35 premium VPN services and found that only three could unblock BBC iPlayer from Ireland on the first attempt. You can switch to any of these VPNs to resolve BBC iPlayer not working with VPN in Ireland issue. 

Here’s a list of the top 3 VPNs that works to unblock BBC iPlayer in Ireland:

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. Surfshark
  3. NordVPN

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is our #1 choice to unblock and access BBC iPlayer in Ireland. ExpressVPN offers 3,000+ servers located in 94 countries. It has four servers in the UK in locations including London, the Midlands, and Docklands.

ExpressVPN offers advanced security features with 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leak protection. Unlimited bandwidth, unbelievably fast speeds (84 Mbps out of 100 Mbps), and buffer-free video are also included. 

You can stream content on five devices simultaneously with ExpressVPN and stream services like ITVX, Sling TV, and Pluto TV. At €6.91/month, you can get all the top features with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try ExpressVPN

2. Surfshark

Another of our recommended VPNs is Surfshark, with total servers of over 3200 in 100 countries, including the UK. The UK servers are in cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, and London, 

It offers 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, IPv6 leak protection, and DNS for data security. With top-notch security, it provides an average speed of 81 Mbps out of 100 Mbps. With Surfshark, you can watch other UK content on Channel 4 and UKTV Play.

Surfshark provides maximum security to users with a no-log policy, which guards their data and privacy. The subscription to Surfshark costs just €1.99 a month and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN is the last on our list. It has about 440 servers in the UK and 5,400 servers in 60 locations worldwide.

It can easily unblock BBC iPlayer in Ireland because of its exceptionally fast server speeds. NordVPN allows you to stream without lag or buffering (an average download speed of 82 Mbps in our tests).

It offers WebRTC leak protection, 256-bit AES encryption, IPv6, DNS, a no-logs policy, and a unique kill switch. You can connect up to 6 different devices if you pay €5.99/month for a subscription.

FAQs – BBC iPlayer Not Working with VPN in Ireland

Can I get a dedicated NordVPN server to watch BBC iPlayer?

Yes, NordVPN offers a dedicated IP address to watch BBC iPlayer. You can purchase your dedicated IP address at the checkout when purchasing the VPN subscription.

Can I watch BBC iPlayer using a free VPN?

We do not recommend using a free VPN to stream BBC iPlayer because of security concerns. Free VPNs also lack enough working servers and are bound to be detected and blocked by BBC iPlayer.

What devices support BBC iPlayer?

You can watch BBC iPlayer on the following compatible devices:

  • Desktop (Windows 7 and above, Mac OS 10.10 and above, and Linux)
  • Mobile (Android 5.0 or above, iOS 7 or above, Blackberry 10, Windows 10)
  • Browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari)
  • Set-top boxes (Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku)
  • Games consoles (Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5)

Why does BBC iPlayer block VPN?

Because BBC iPlayer is only available to users in the UK, BBC iPlayer does not allow access in any other country using a VPN. It checks your location to ensure you are in the UK and aren’t using any virtual IP address.


BBC iPlayer is a leading streaming service in the United Kingdom with consumers worldwide. If you want to watch BBC iPlayer in Ireland, using a premium VPN is your best bet, as the service is geo-restricted.

But often, BBC iPlayer does not work in Ireland even with a VPN. The reasons for BBC iPlayer not working with VPN in Ireland are various. 

You can resolve the issue by restarting your browser, upgrading to a better VPN (such as ExpressVPN and others discussed in the guide), changing to a different server, or switching your device.

But, if you still fail to access BBC iPlayer, delete your Cookies and Cache, as your location might leak through them, or try changing your time zone. If none of the steps solve the issue, get a dedicated IP address

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