Accessing BBC iPlayer with DNS

Now on this site, we talk a lot about using VPNs, proxies to hide your IP address in order to access the BBC from outside the United Kingdom. The concept is simple, the BBC checks your IP address when you logon and if it sees a non-UK registered address you get redirected to the rather dull International version of the BBC. It’s actually not a bad site but unfortunately it lacks all the best stuff like live TV and the wonderful BBC iPlayer archive. To access the full site you need to hide your true location and pretend to be in the UK to access any British TV sites.

Proxies no longer work and indeed many VPNs have been blocked too but many still work and as long as the server you connect to has a UK IP address, then everything should be fine. However for a variety of reasons, perhaps you can’t use a VPN to access the BBC, perhaps it’s an old computer, a media device or perhaps a games console which won’t support a VPN connection. Also on very slow connections VPNs can slow down your internet speed significantly making it difficult to stream video successfully.

BBC iPlayer with DNS

So what can you do? Are there any other options for people who can’t use a VPN for whatever reason?   The basic solution is after all the same, hide your real IP address and make it look like you’re in the UK.

Using BBC iPlayer with DNS

However, there is a another method if you want to use a Smart TV, games console or are just stuck with a super slow internet connection which grinds to a halt when you attempt video over a VPN!   It’s called Smart DNS and you’ve probably seen it mentioned in expat forums or the many sites which help you access the BBC from anywhere.

The basic premise is exactly  the same, hide your IP address from the BBC web servers and pretend to be in the UK.  However there are two fundamental differences between a VPN and Smart DNS which make it a viable option for many.  Firstly to set it up you need no client software or operating system support for native VPN functionality.  Basically you need just one thing, the ability to change the DNS servers specified on the device you need.

Secondly, unlike a VPN your whole connection doesn’t need to be routed through the third server.  When you try and access a geo-restricted site like the BBC, only part of the connection is routed through a UK server – basically enough to fool the web site that you’re in the UK.   It also doesn’t encrypt the connection which can also impact the speed, although obviously if you’re concerned about privacy this may not be a good thing.

Here’s how it works –

In the example above it’s running on a computer but the beauty of Smart DNS is that you can set it up on most devices that are internet enabled. If you can get access to the network connections and manually update the DNS server addresses on a device there’s a good chance that it will work. There is one major caveat though, some devices use something called ‘transparent DNS proxy‘ which force them to use specific DNS servers. There aren’t loads of devices which use this, but the Roku and Xbox One console are two high profile examples.

You can still get Smart DNS to work on these devices but it’s much more difficult. Basically you have to map static routes on your internet router to force the devices to use the Smart DNS servers instead of the set ones (usually Google DNS servers). However it can be quite tricky and not all routers will support this functionality.

Not Recommended for Smart DNS

If you haven’t got your hardware yet, it’s worth checking you can change the DNS settings if you want to use BBC iPlayer with DNS on it. There aren’t many devices which enforce their DNS settings, but the number seems to be increasing presumably due to pressure from these media companies.

Obviously you haven’t much choice if you want to enable something like a Smart TV directly, as a VPN will be impossible to enable directly. Again though it’s worth checking the manufacturer as it could save you some anguish.  Generally if you can get access to the DNS server configuration under some network settings area then you should be ok. On the Roku for example there’s actually no proper network configuration settings accessible.   Although on these devices you may be able to assign the DNS servers using DHCP from your wireless/cable or ADSL router.

Normally though it’s pretty straight forward and most devices you can enable BBC iPlayer DNS settings very quickly in a matter of minutes.   Here’s the steps you would take on most devices –

  • Sign up for a Smart DNS Service – (free trial )
  • Check IP addresses of Smart DNS servers
  • Change Devices DNS server to the Smart DNS ones
  • Enable IP Address on Smart DNS Service

All of the steps can be completed very easily and after that Smart DNS should be enabled on that device and you should be able to access a myriad of previously blocked sites including of course BBC media iplayer and it’s associated sites. Many of the best Smart DNS app services will even allow you to configure your device to use different versions of sites – such as specifying US Netflix. This is also easier than using a VPN which will lock you into a specific country whilst it’s enabled – e.g if you use a US server you’ll be locked out of UK sites like the BBC.

This sounds trivial but it’s actually a huge time saver meaning you can set up a single device to watch US Television and UK Televisions stations without changing anything.  Before you even need to access the BBC iPlayer sign in screen – the DNS server directs you to the appropriate proxy server whenever you try and access the site, so a BBC iPlayer proxy would be in the UK and for Hulu, HBO etc you’d be redirected via a US one and so on.

After you set up your Smart DNS account it petty much all goes on in the background.  However if you change your main IP address then you’ll have to re-enable it in your account.  This can be a bit inconvenient if your address changes often and makes Smart DNS not really ideal for mobile devices if you move around a lot.   For home connections though it’s certainly the easiest BBC iPlayer proxy option that works anywhere in the world.

So if you want to learn how to watch BBC iPlayer in Canada, the USA or anywhere in the world then try it out.

Here’s the Smart DNS Free Trial Below. 

Smart DNS

The Nazis, The British Accent, and BBC News


Video Transcript

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is an institution known and respected the world over for its relative impartiality and objectivity compared to many other news sources, with numerous surveys showing that the BBC is one of the most trusted sources of news in both the UK and the US. But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about dinner jackets, Received Pronunciation, the Nazis, and what all of this has to do with the BBC News. Back when the BBC was first launched in 1922, the first General Manager of the corporation, Scottish engineer Sir John Reith, was insistent that the BBC be as formal and quintessentially British as possible, and he created a number of rules towards this end. (Fun fact: Reith had no experience with anything related to broadcasting when he applied to manage the BBC).

One thing in particular Reith stressed when he first helmed the BBC is that the newscasters spoke the “King’s English“, known today as “BBC English” or more technically “Received Pronunciation”, as he felt it was “a style or quality of English that would not be laughed at in any part of the country”. Reith was also aware that the broadcasts might be played abroad and felt that a regional accent would be difficult for non-Britain’s to understand. Reith also noted, We have made a special effort to secure in our stations men who, in the presentation of program items, the reading of news bulletins and so on, can be relied upon to employ the correct pronunciation of the English tongue… I have frequently heard that disputes as to the right pronunciation of words have been settled by reference of the manner in which they have been spoken on the wireless. No one would deny the great advantage of a standard pronunciation of the language, not only in theory but in practice.

Our responsibilities in this matter are obvious, since in talking to so vast a multitude, mistakes are likely to be promulgated to a much greater extent than was ever possible before. Further, in the 1929 BBC Handbook, it was noted that their pronunciation guidelines in this matter “[are] not to be regarded as implying that all other pronunciations are wrong: the recommendations are made in order to ensure uniformity of practice, and to protect the Announcers from the criticism to which the very peculiar nature of their work renders them liable.” As for Received Pronunciation or RP as it’s often abbreviated to, it is defined as: “The standard form of British English pronunciation”

(Though, funny enough, RP is only used by an estimated 2-3% of English people today, with the number of Scottish, Irish and Welsh users being described as “negligible”.) First defined in 1869 by linguist, A. J. Ellis, Received Pronunciation basically entails pronouncing your words “properly” as they are written in the dictionary. Although the general idea behind Received Pronunciation is to attempt to remove a person’s regional accent, it is nonetheless commonly associated with the south of England and the upper class. Meaning that although Received Pronunciation masks a person’s regional background, it says a lot about a person’s social upbringing and how they were educated. With this in mind, although one of Reith’s goals in using RP was to appeal to the widest audience possible, many listeners still felt alienated by the broadcasts being beamed into their homes because of this “upper class” accent being used.

Despite this, newscasters were required to use Received Pronunciation right up until World War 2. Why did this change during the war? The Ministry of Information was worried about the Nazis hijacking the radio waves. You see, during World War 2, Nazi Germany invested a lot of time and money in training its spies and propagandists to speak using perfect Received Pronunciation so that they could effectively pass as Brits. Thus, the Ministry of Information became quite concerned that the Nazis could potentially issue orders over the radio in a voice that would be indistinguishable from one of their own newscasters. In addition, the then Deputy Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, noted the aforementioned fact that the total monopoly newscasters with upper class sounding voices had on the news was offensive to the working class. This image of newsreaders being stuffy, upper class toffs wasn’t helped by an edict passed down in 1926 from Reith that stated any newscaster reading the news after 8PM had to wear a dinner jacket while on air, despite that no one could see them.

Former BBC radio personality Stuart Hibberd noted of this, Personally, I have always thought it only right and proper that announcers should wear evening dress on duty… There are, of course, certain disadvantages. It is not ideal kit in which to read the News- I myself hate having anything tight around my neck when broadcasting- and I remember that more than once the engineers said that my shirt-front creaked during the reading of the bulletin. (This- is London, 1950) In any event, as a result of the concerns of Attlee and the Ministry of Information, the BBC hired several newscasters possessing broad regional accents that would be more difficult for Nazis to perfectly copy and would hopefully appeal to the “common man”.

The first person to read the news on the BBC possessing a regional accent was one Wilfred Pickles, who spoke with a broad Yorkshire accent. Far from being a popular move, when Pickles was hired by the BBC in 1941, his accent offended many listeners so much that they wrote letters to the BBC, blasting them for having the audacity to sully the news with the (smooth, sensual sounds of the amazing and superior) Yorkshireman’s voice. (Fun fact: The author of this piece has the same accent… No big deal.) In fact, by 1949, Pickles himself noted that because of his accent, he had become the “central feature in a heated national controversy”, during which Pickles was frequently made fun of by various London cartoonists and in other forms of popular media. Nonetheless, after the end of World War 2, the BBC continued to loosen its guidelines and with the advent of more localised news, began to hire more people who spoke with the respective accent of the region they were being broadcast. That said, the BBC does continue to generally use newscasters with more mild accents in international broadcasts to make sure they are as understandable as possible to those audiences.

Additional: Using Smart DNS to Access BBC iPlayer Abroad

Why You Should Unlock US Netflix DNS

Now although the main focus of this website is UK television and ways you watch it online from anywhere in the world.  There are also other opportunities out there for watching some fantastic movies and TV shows that exist outside the UK.  The majority of my viewing is the BBC, with some occasional forays into ITV and Channel 4 yet for movies it has to be the big online media companies like Amazon and Netflix.

Yet after watching far too much Netflix for a couple of years, I started to run out of things I wanted to watch.  Sure there’s loads of new TV shows being released all the time, but less so for films.  Anyway it was suggested that I look at some of the other versions of Netflix which came as a surprise to me.

US Netflix DNS

It turns out that every version of Netflix is completely different!  Although you can use your Netflix account in most countries in the world.  The number of films and TV shows you see will vary wildly depending on your location – so the Mexican Netflix is different to the French Netflix and so on.

How to Unblock US Netflix

Now some of this difference is related to different language variants which is understandable.  Yet there is a much bigger difference which seems to be related to how valuable the local market is.  To explain, the US version of Netflix has literally thousands more movies and TV shows than any other version.  A startling example is that the latest Star Wars film – The Last Jedi appeared on the US version of Netflix a few months after the cinema, it has yet to appear in any of the European locales yet.

This video explains it – How to Get Netflix America in UK, it’s also hosted on YouTube if you want to view it there.

It’s incredible really to think  that just by logging in from a different country then you could get access to thousands more movies.   It makes sense from a commercial sense, after all the US market is potentially by far the largest compared to other countries so it makes sense spending more on content.  Doesn’t stop the ordinary Netflix subscriber feel a little cheated though especially as the subscription cost is usually at least the same or more!

As the video demonstrates though it’s actually fairly easy to switch the version you get to the US version.  All you need to do is to hide your location before you login and make it look like you’re in the USA.   It’s exactly the same method as getting access to the BBC from outside the UK, except you’re getting access to a specific version i.e US Netflix.   The best method I’ve found by far to unblock websites like this though is Smart DNS which is the cut down version of a VPN.

Hard to Find – American Netflix DNS 2018

Although you can find a few Smart DNS solutions that work with the BBC and other channels there are very, very few which work with Netflix. This is because the company block access from all commercially registered IP addresses which is what most companies use to host their servers with. Residential IP addresses are expensive and difficult to obtain hence why it’s hard to find a provider that supports US Netflix.   Certainly there are no free ones, Netflix DNS codes 2018 are all going to be paid I’m afraid, simply because they’re expensive to set up now.

Please remember that using just Smart DNS provides no additional security at all, but the advantage is that it doesn’t slow down your connection either. Our recommendation has both, a US Netflix DNS account plus a VPN.  So please use the VPN client when you need security and leave Smart DNS to unblock US Netflix.

You can try it out for 14 days entirely free of charge here – Free Trial Offer

How Can I Watch BBC News Abroad ?

Those of us of a certain age can probably remember dashing around on holiday searching for a three day old British newspaper so we could catch up with the news. There were usually a few about but normally at hugely inflated prices and worse still it was often just the Daily Mirror available.

Of course, this has now changed completely in the digital age. Anyone with a phone, tablet or laptop can keep up to date with all the local news easily while travelling. Even in the most remote locations, there’s likely to be an internet or wireless connection available somewhere. This is all you need to access most of the UK’s News media which is available online.

How Can I Watch BBC News Abroad

However it’s not all plain sailing, you can access most of the online newspapers it’s true although some do require subscriptions. This is not the case for all the online radio and TV news broadcasts though. Most broadcast online through portals like the BBC iPlayer and the ITV Hub, yet they are all restricted from access outside the UK.

Each time any connection is made to the BBC website for example, then the IP address is recorded and checked. If the address is registered to a country other than the UK (and that includes the Republic of Ireland) then you’ll get redirected to the International version of the site which has no BBC TV and radio streams. If you try and bypass by going directly to the BBC iPlayer site, then you’ll find that none of the video streams including all the BBC live TV and News ones will work.

It’s kind of annoying, if you’re on holiday and want to keep in touch. It’s even worse for ex-pats most of whom probably expected to be able to watch UK television online without restrictions before they moved abroad. Fortunately there is a solution and you can watch BBC News abroad as we can see in the following video –

How Can I Watch BBC News Abroad

It’s a relatively simple solution and one used by literally millions of people across the world to access things like the BBC iPlayer from outside the United Kingdom.    Indeed it was estimated that there were over three million connections from outside the UK watching England’s first World Cup game!  This of course, should have been technically impossible.

The BBC is well aware that many people use these VPN services to bypass the country restrictions and to some extent accept this.   However they do actively try and block these connections in specific ways;

  • Target services which openly advertise and market themselves as TV watching services, then get them closed down.
  • Monitor number of concurrent connections from individual IP addresses and block those with the most.

The problem that most of the media companies face, including the BBC is that it takes a huge amount of resources to keep tracking and blocking these connections.  Which is why they only go after the obvious targets, for example by threatening legal action against hosting services they can bring down thousands of outside users instantly.   If you search online you’ll come across lots of stories about a BBC iPlayer VPN not working.

It is also why you should be wary of the cheapest VPN services and those with free trials.  They will always be the ones with overloaded servers which at best will make streaming video painful and slow, at worst will be the first blocked because of the number of concurrent connections.  You won’t enjoy the BBC news headlines with constant pauses and buffering.

Our suggestion is the one demonstrated in the video, it’s called Identity Cloaker. It’s very simple to use, and you can test the short trial first to see how it works.  You’re sure to be impressed and remember it enables all the other British UK channels too like ITV, Channel 4 and 5. Even use it to watch Sky Go abroad and UK Netflix, although you’ll need subscriptions to those.

Try it here – Identity Cloaker Trial

Best VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer

The BBC has one of the most popular websites in the world.  If you’ve ever browsed the programmes that are on it then you’ll not be surprised – world class news, comedy, drama, sports and current affairs shows broadcast live directly to the site and then archived for thirty days after.  In any month you can easily watch hundreds of dollars of content all for nothing.   Remember shows like Blue Planet 2 took years to complete and millions to produce and you could watch it all for nothing on the BBC website.

All nine of the BBC’s TV channels broadcast online indeed one of the BBC four is only available online now anyway.   Here’s the list of what’s broadcasting live at the moment –

Best VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer

That’s nine channels mostly broadcasting twenty four hours a day, packed with fantastic programmes for anyone to enjoy.  In reality if you like British TV, you can forget Amazon Prime, Netflix or Hulu – the BBC has everything you need online anyway for nothing.

Unfortunately though there is an issue if you’re based outside of the UK – simply put, you won’t be able to access any of these shows due to a system called geo-blocking.   This is the rather mean concept of blocking access based on their physical location.  Which in effect means that the BBC website will restrict access to anyone who is trying to access from anywhere outside the UK.   Indeed if you try and visit the BBC website from another country, you’ll actually see a completely different version of the site one created specifically for international audiences (but without all the video and TV streaming functionality).

Here’s what it look likes, the international versions of the BBC:

The site is similar but has more internationally based news content however crucially you’ll also notice that the BBC iPlayer and the ‘TV’ link are both missing from the top of the menu bar. There is no online media streaming facilities available on the international version at all.  Basically it’s nowhere near as good as the domestic site, yet this is the version you will find yourself at if your IP address is registered in any country other than the UK.

Which is why people have been using various services to hide their real IP address and location for many years.   It’s known as the BBC iPlayer VPN workaround and it’s used by millions of people across the world.  It’s not just used for British TV for expats either, all sorts of people use this method to access the BBC.

By pretending to be in the UK then you can get full access to the BBC website including BBC iPlayer irrespective of their real location.   The basic method involves routing your internet connection through something called a VPN (virtual private network) server based in the United Kingdom.  When you connect to the BBC it only sees the IP address of Confused about trying to access the BBC from abroad. Here’s the best VPN to watch BBC iPlayer available.the BBC and therefore everything works perfectly.

What’s the Best VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer ?

Although there are lots of these secure VPN services around which you can use to access the BBC from anywhere, there are a couple of important points to consider. Firstly during 2016/2017 the BBC has clamped down on the use of these services and started to block the most obvious and badly configured of these.   If you look online you’ll probably see lots of reports and posts about BBC iPlayer blocking VPN services.  Although this is true, to be honest all the best ones still work fine.

The ones which openly advertised or flooded their servers with too many users where easy to detect and the BBC blocked hundreds of them. So obviously it’s important to choose a service that still works! Here’s one of them in action.

As you can see it’s not actually difficult to use particularly on a PC or laptop. You basically just click on the country you need, e.g. UK for the BBC, which then routes all your internet traffic through that server. While you are connected to the UK VPN then you will appear to every website as a UK based internet user. Which means that you can also access all the other UK websites which are also normally blocked like ITV, Channels 4 and 5 plus Sky if you have an active subscription. Indeed people also use these VPN services to access other sites while travelling – for example you can access betting sites like Betfair which are normally restricted to the UK too.

The second most important factor for any VPN service if you’re going to use it for watching TV online is not surprisingly speed.  In fact this is one of the biggest variants between the decent VPN services and all the others.  There  are many really cheap VPN providers who keep their prices low by overloading their servers with thousands of concurrent users.  Not only does this make them more likely to be blocked by companies like the BBC it also make streaming video a very painful process indeed.

What happens if the VPN server is too slow is that the video stream will constantly buffer, that is stall while it tries to download the next frames.    It’s incredibly irritating to watch and you should steer clear of these cheap VPN services unless you’re prepared to download all the shows you need and watch them offline later.  This is of course one option if you’re prepared to plan your viewing in advance, be careful though that not all the BBC programmes are available for offline viewing and the other UK TV channels don’t currently offer this facility.

In our experience over the last decade, then there’s one VPN service which offers speed, security and works perfectly with all online UK TV channels plus it doesn’t cost a fortune and it’s called Identity Cloaker. In our opinion it’s the best VPN to watch BBC iPlayer so if you want to watch UK TV channels from anywhere in the world then give it a try.

It’s best to try the short trial first to see if it works well for you.

Click here to try the cheap trial of Identity Cloaker

There’s no contract or sneaky recurring subscription and it’s perfect for using on a short holiday or business trip. I’m confident you’ll love it, I’ve used it for nearly a decade in countries all across the world. It’s certainly the best VPN to watch BBC iPlayer if you’re outside the UK.