Updated: May 12, 2017
- Start with getting a VPN account setup
- Next, download then install the VPN software to the device(s) you want to watch BBC iPlayer in Ireland on
- Then open the software and connect to a UK-based server
- Go to BBC iPlayer and sign in to your account or create one if you don't have one yet
- Enjoy BBC iPlayer in Ireland
How to Watch BBC iPlayer in Ireland
in more detail:
Being a huge fan of BBC iPlayer and almost every TV show that the service offers, I was very keen to introduce my Irish buddies to it when I took a recent trip over to Dublin.
I quickly popped open my laptop once settled into my buddy's apartment in Ireland and navigated to the BBC iPlayer service, excited to introduce him to the amazing selection of critically acclaimed British TV shows he had not yet heard of, let alone watched.
However, once I had navigated to the website on my laptop, I was super disappointed to be presented with a message informing me that BBC iPlayer is only available within the UK.
Clearly this was incredibly frustrating, and rather than just going to third-party non-commercial streaming websites to show my buddy some of the shows only available on iPlayer -- I wanted to give him the proper HQ experience.
So I went ahead and researched exactly why and how iPlayer was managing to block me, and to find the most secure and effective solution for how to watch BBC iPlayer in Ireland.
And I did it! Thus, I decided to lay out the solution in a quick and helpful guide so that anyone else looking to find this solution can just go through the quick steps laid out herein and be watching BBC iPlayer in Ireland in less than 5 minutes.
Why is BBC iPlayer Not Available in Ireland?
Firstly, here is a little background on exactly how I reached the solution I did. So I initially wanted to figure out why BBC iPlayer was blocking access to the service in Ireland.
It didn't take me long at all to realise that this comes down to the licensing rights BBC iPlayer buys for each and every TV show they offer on the service. Specifically, that it costs BBC iPlayer a lot of money to purchase each licensing right, and that these only apply to individual countries. This means that if BBC iPlayer wanted to offer any TV show on their service to users in a country outside the UK, then an additional licensing right would need to negotiated and purchased.
When you consider multiplying this across all the TV shows iPlayer offers, then to just make the service available in one additional country (like Ireland), would cost the service a lot of cash. So it makes sense that they choose to only show their British TV show service within the UK.
How is BBC iPlayer Blocking Access in Ireland?
It was one thing to understand the reasoning behind why BBC iPlayer chooses to restrict their service to only within the UK, but the next and most important factor to figure out is exactly how the service manages to know which users to block and allow.
So after researching this for a while, I learned that a process known as "geo-blocking" is what the service uses. This process serves as a gatekeeper that essentially figures out every user's physical location when trying to access the service.
The way in which this process determines each users' location is through referencing their IP address at the time they access the service. If a user's IP address shows their location as within the UK, then the user gets access; if showing their location outside the UK (like in Ireland), then no access is given to the service.
With that in mind, I figured that the best change of watching BBC iPlayer in Ireland was by somehow managing to change my IP address to show my location as within the UK, without having to physically move to the UK of course.
After a bunch of researching on the various viable methods to changing my address, I decided that the best approach was to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network), because using one of these also adds a significant, sophisticated layer of privacy protection on my online data.
How to Use a VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer in Ireland
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
There are a large number of top quality VPN service providers around just now, so I took a few hours to personally try out and review a bunch of them, to figure out which one works best for me and my price range.
I decided on ExpressVPN, so for the purpose of this quick setup walkthrough I will reference them as the example. Firstly, go ahead and sign up for the VPN and confirm your account details:
The signup process is straightforward. Just choose the plan you want, select a preferred payment method, then confirm your account details via email.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
Once you've confirmed your account setup, you will next want to download the software onto your device and go through the installation process.
Another great point with using a VPN for this solution is that 99% of VPN service providers are compatible with every device you would ever consider watching BBC iPlayer through. So for example, I used both my Macbook and my Android smartphone to watch BBC iPlayer in Ireland once I got access. Therefore it was simply a case of downloading the software to my Macbook, then downloading the dedicated Android app to my mobile:
Installation is simple and requires no technical knowledge to complete. Just open the file when you've downloaded it, then follow the few steps to install.
Step 3: Connect to UK-based Server on VPN
With the VPN software installed on your device, go ahead and open it up. You will immediately see how simple and clear the software is to use. All you are prompted to do is choose a location to connect to the VPN through, then hit "Connect".
This is obviously the point in the setup process that you want to choose a UK-based server location on the VPN, because once you connect to it -- this will be what changes your Ireland-based IP address to a UK-based one.
Here's how clean and clear the VPN software looks on both my Macbook and Android device:
Step 4: Setup BBC iPlayer Account
If you were like me and already have a BBC iPlayer account setup but just couldn't access it from Ireland -- then once connected to your VPN, you will now have full access to BBC iPlayer. Enjoy!
However, if you are based in Ireland and are accessing BBC iPlayer for the first time, then you will need to setup your own iPlayer account. This is just a case of going to the BBC iPlayer website and signing up for it, which you will now be able to do with your UK-based VPN connection made.
So there you have it -- a fully secure, effective and quick guide on how to watch BBC iPlayer in Ireland.
I hope you found this guide simple to walkthrough and are now sitting in your Irish location happily watching a fully accessible BBC iPlayer.
If you want to check out some of the additional VPN providers I reviewed that let you watch BBC iPlayer in Ireland effectively, then here are the top five I personally reviewed for you:
Rest-assured that these VPNs are always staying ahead of BBC iPlayer's "war on VPNs", so you will always get access to the service if you use one of the aforementioned VPNs.
If you have any feedback or questions for me on this guide, go ahead and let me know in the comments section below.