How to Unblock UK Content Like a Pro

Tired of not being able to watch programs like BBC iPlayer and Absolute Radio? Learn how to unblock geo-restricted UK content like a pro

By Claudio Pires
Updated on November 13, 2023
How to Unblock UK Content Like a Pro

Bummed out you can’t watch your favorite series wherever you go abroad? I know the feeling, so learn how to unblock geo-restricted UK content like a pro anywhere in the world.

Wait – Isn’t UK Entertainment Available Abroad?

Not exactly. Some platforms might offer limited access to certain content, but – most of the time – you won’t get popular content if you’re not physically in the UK.

Here are some good examples:

  • BBC iPlayer – Right now, BBC iPlayer doesn’t let you stream and download content outside the country. You can only download programs in the UK and watch them offline abroad.
  • NOW TV – You can watch NOW TV outside the UK, but only in specific EU countries. Also, you can only do it for up to 30 days at a time, which is a bad deal for serious travelers, ex-pats, and UK residents working abroad.
  • Sky Go – The content works abroad, but only in the EU, and you need to stream Sky Go content every 37 days in the UK or the Republic of Ireland.
  • ITV Player – You can only enjoy content outside the UK if you have ITV Hub+. But even that doesn’t come without its limitations.
  • STV Player – You can’t even watch STV Player outside Scotland, let alone outside the UK.
  • Absolute Radio – A great platform where you can listen to awesome music, but only if you’re in the UK.

Those websites can block or limit your access because they can see your real IP address, which contains information that reveals your current geo-location.

Why Do Geo-Blocks Have to Get in the Way?

Usually, it’s due to copyright and licensing regulations. Most content platforms don’t own all the shows and movies they have on display. As a result, they can’t decide to make them available worldwide all on their own – they need the copyright holders’ permission first.

Since they would need to pay high licensing fees in every country to broadcast content worldwide, it’s not hard to see why copyright holders are against it. Plus, in the case of UK entertainment, there’s also the fact that a lot of BBC content receives funding from TV license taxes. Because of that, websites that stream said content need to make it available only in the UK to comply with the law.

Oh, and there’s also the fact that many UK content platforms get most of their money from advertisers in the country. So, from a financial perspective, it wouldn’t make much sense for them to make the content available worldwide.

Here’s What You Can Do to Unblock Geo-Restricted UK Content

Overall, you have three easy options:

1. Use a VPN to Unblock UK Content Like a Pro

VPNs are the best tool for this job. They are online services that can hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic. Basically, you run the VPN and connect to a server. When you do that, it replaces your IP address with the server’s address.

So, all you need to do is connect to a UK VPN server, and you’re good to go. Plus, since the VPN hides your IP address, you can unblock platforms like BBC iPlayer and NOW TV at work and school, where firewalls might block them.

And that’s not all – by encrypting your traffic, VPNs ensure your ISP can’t spy on it anymore. Thanks to that, they can’t intentionally throttle your bandwidth when you binge your favorite shows. Just keep in mind that a VPN can cause some speed drops. But if you pick a reliable and well-optimized service like CyberGhost, you don’t need to worry about that. It has great pricing, thousands of servers, and pretty decent speeds. Overall, CyberGhost reviews pretty well with plenty of perks when using its service, like special Cyberghost coupons and similar.

2. Use a Smart DNS

Unlike a VPN, a Smart DNS is an online service that hides your DNS address. It does that because your original DNS address can leak geo-data that reveals your geographical location to websites. Moreover, a Smart DNS will reroute your traffic through different proxy servers in the UK. That and the service will intercept all your requests and replace any data that can further leak your geo-location with new info that points to a place in the UK.

The cool thing about Smart DNS services is that they don’t cause any speed slowdowns, so you can unblock UK Geo-Restricted content with your original ISP speeds. But that does come at a cost – your privacy. Smart DNS providers can offer those high speeds because they don’t offer encryption. So, your ISP can still throttle your bandwidth if they want to. Also, a Smart DNS doesn’t hide your IP address, which can’t help bypass firewalls.

3. Use a Proxy Server to Unblock UK Content Like a Pro

I’m saving this for last because it isn’t the most efficient method. I’ll start with the pros, though.  A proxy acts like a VPN, hiding your IP address and masking your geo-location. Besides that, it can also use its local cache to archive previously requested content. So, if you want to access UK content already saved on the proxy’s local cache, it can retrieve the results faster.

However, that does come with a drawback – the fact that the content isn’t exactly up-to-date. Also, proxy servers are often overcrowded, resulting in slower speeds. That and they don’t offer proper security as VPNs do.

Final Words

UK entertainment is amazing, but not without flaws – geo-restrictions, in particular. If you have trouble accessing your favorite UK website abroad, try using a VPN like CyberGhost. Alternatively, give a proxy server or a Smart DNS a try. If you have any other good unblocking tips, share them with the rest of us.

Claudio Pires

Claudio Pires is the co-founder of Visualmodo, a renowned company in web development and design. With over 15 years of experience, Claudio has honed his skills in content creation, web development support, and senior web designer. A trilingual expert fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, he brings a global perspective to his work. Beyond his professional endeavors, Claudio is an active YouTuber, sharing his insights and expertise with a broader audience. Based in Brazil, Claudio continues to push the boundaries of web design and digital content, making him a pivotal figure in the industry.