• BBC iPlayer
iPlayer Help Troubleshooting Why does BBC iPlayer think I'm outside the UK?

Why does BBC iPlayer think I'm outside the UK?

It’s most likely due to your IP address. Confused? We’ll try to explain:

Just like we need addresses to send and receive stuff in the real world, in the connected world of the internet, devices also need addresses for the same purpose. It’s known as an IP address.

When you request to watch a programme in BBC iPlayer, the programme is sent as data through the internet to the address that’s requesting it.

IP addresses are generally provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and are required to be registered in a particular country.

And because of the way BBC iPlayer is funded, only users with registered UK IP addresses can access our programmes.

So how can I make BBC iPlayer recognise me as within the UK again?

If you’re in the UK and see a message saying you’re not, it’s because BBC iPlayer is unsure you’re in the UK and there are several reasons why this might be.

If however you are outside the UK, either as a resident or on holiday you’ll need to have a look at the Why can’t I watch TV programmes on BBC iPlayer outside the UK?  FAQ.

Network Error

If the Outside UK message is a recent problem, try reopening your browser and resetting your router. If that fails, just try a little later as there could have been a network error that may resolve itself.

Private VPN (Virtual Private Network) or Web accelerator

If you are using a VPN and are in the UK, try disabling to see if that helps. If we detect you might be using a VPN, you’ll be unable to play programmes. This is because we’re unable to detect the end point of your private network; we need to be confident you’re in the UK.

And if you’re using a web accelerator try disabling to see if this helps.

Tor Networks

If you are using a Tor network, be aware that only Tor Relays nodes are able to play programmes on BBC iPlayer.

Proxy Server / Work Computer

Some companies and organisations might have an internal network which routes data outside the UK. It’s worth checking with your companies IT support to confirm.

IP address not registered in the UK

If you don’t think it’s related to any of the above suggestions, it’s possible that your IP address is not registered in the UK. Try checking other services that could be UK restricted (like programmes from other UK broadcasters for example). If you do have a problem elsewhere, raise it with your ISP. If you don’t, get in touch using the contact link below as this is something we may be able to help you with.

If after investigating we believe you are incorrectly being recognised as outside the UK, we’ll update our database. This can take up to 2 weeks.

Mobile Devices

In addition to what’s been mentioned above, check whether data reduction settings are enabled as some mobile browser route data outside the UK when data reduction features are used.

Chrome (30.0 and above)

In browser settings, select ‘Bandwidth Management’ and turn off ‘Reduce data usage’


In browser settings disable ‘Off-Road Mode’

Another option would be to use an alternative browser for accessing the BBC. And if none of these suggestions work, speak to your ISP or network provider.

Data Compression Apps

If you're using a data compression app, be aware that such services may route data outside of the UK. If that occurs playback of programmes will not be possible. To check, try disabling to see if that helps.

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