What's your favorite VPN/proxy server for getting UK content in the US?
October 17, 2019 6:36 AM   Subscribe

Trying to watch BBC iplayer, C4, and ITV from the US. I've tried various proxy servers in the past, none of which have been entirely satisfactory. Tunnel Bear was very glitchy. NordVPN was sporadically glitchy. FoxyProxy sucked. What has worked for you recently? Is there anything else I should try that is reliable?

It seems when I get a new one it works ok for a while and then goes through a few months of sucking. I'm happy to pay* for a decent service, so don't necessarily need something free. I'm using a mac if that helps. The iplayer is my highest priority -- in the past I've had no luck getting shows with adverts (ie C4 and ITV) to work properly via a VPN.

Bonus question: can you get BBC sounds to work outside the UK? I'm worried I won't be able to listen to the radio on my phone if they do go ahead and shut off the iplayer radio app.

(*I really wish I could just subscribe to the BBC iplayer from overseas. I would pay a lot of money for that.)
posted by EllaEm to Technology (10 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I use ExpressVPN and it's been working for me consistently for this purpose for a couple of years.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:05 AM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding ExpressVPN. Just discovered it a few weeks ago, but it's worked very well, so far.
posted by jenny76 at 7:27 AM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

BBC Sounds does work for me in the USA.

Channel 4 blocks all VPNs — that is what TunnelBear told me.
posted by vickyverky at 7:29 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

One thing I've found about watching BBC iplayer through a VPN is that they seem to try to track your origin using cookies as well, so sometimes I have to use a new incognito/private window that I open after the VPN has connected for to it to work (but I haven't looked into it in detail yet).

Channel 4 works fine with mine VPN, but I set it up myself on my server that is hosted in the UK on a VPS provider that I guess is not used enough for VPNs to be blacklisted. But that's mostly an option for people who know how to setup their own VPN server.
posted by rpn at 8:40 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I switched to ExpressVPN after TunnelBear grew increasingly unreliable, and it’s given me trouble free service for over a year.

I read somewhere that Channel 4 had recently started querying browser clocks and/or region settings in an attempt to winnow-out overseas VPN users. Could be anecdotal, but if a provider is rejecting you, you might have luck setting your system clock to GMT and language to UK English.
posted by mumkin at 9:04 AM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

I use Private Internet Access/PIA VPN, which isn't free, but (a) They don't keep user logs, so I feel like it's more private, and (b) they have VPN servers all over the world so you can select one in the UK (or anywhere else) to connect to.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:17 AM on October 17, 2019

I've used NordVPN without issues, but will not be renewing my subscription in favor of switching to ExpressVPN. Friends of mine like ExpressVPN the best for Netflix UK streaming in the US.
posted by Everydayville at 11:18 AM on October 17, 2019

Adding my voice to the express vpn choir
posted by WeekendJen at 12:31 PM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

By far the best VPN I know is Astrill.

I use it mostly in China and it is one of the very few that works. I has DNS leaks from time to time and support seems to ignore this. Besides this, they have tons of servers world wide and it will work on most devices. From mac to android to linux. It may even work on your router.

I made bad experience with nordvpn but they gave me my money back with no questions asked. Astrill is not the cheapest but after the experience with nordvpn I don't care so much anymore.

For the best and neutral overview over VPNs please look here.

Not asked but still mentioned: I never tried rapidvpn but it is the only one that I am aware that works with softether.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 7:55 PM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

NordVPN works for iPlayer, but you need to jump through some hoops.

Only certain exit points are guaranteed for iPlayer, and you'll need to find a new one about once a year, from my experience. I had a couple of weeks recently where access was spotty after the BBC found a new way to ferret them out.

Second, I use get_iplayer to download shows and Handbrake to convert them, after my "PS4 iPlayer client and DNS service" solution got blocked, and I still wanted to watch on the PS4. I'm not sure what get_iplayer would pass back if it was asked for browser clock settings.
posted by Kreiger at 12:46 PM on October 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

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