How to get BBC iPlayer working abroad

Created 14 years ago by Matt,
Last updated February 27th 2018, 1:51:55 pm

I live in Ireland, I pay for and get BBC channels with my Cable subscription, and was a licence payer in the UK when I lived there, but want to watch some of the online material that BBC iPlayer provides, and found that I was not able to access it from my location.

I have access to a server in the UK, and figured I could use it as a proxy serve, but found an easier way to do it using an SSH tunnel.

You will need an account on a server in the UK that supports SSH connections. (See here)

For Windows you will need - PuTTY (easiest bet is to download the windows installer), and a web browser that supports proxies, for this example, firefox.

Open putty, and put the address of your remote server (e.g, then click on Connection->SSH->Tunnels, where you should add '1080' in source port (it can be any unused port number you like, but remember which one as you will need this later), then select 'Dynamic' from the radio buttons below and click 'ADD'. You can then save the session if you like, then/or just click open. Optionally you can also select 'Local ports accept connections from other hosts'.

You will then be connected to your SSH server where you will need to login. Keep the putty window open for as long as you want to use it.

This sets up an SSH tunnel connection to the server, which can be accessed using local port number '1080'. This means that you can connect to the local port and make it act like a local proxy server, making any host/site you connect to think that you are connecting from your server.

In Firefox, select Tools->Options->Advanced->Network->(Connection) Settings, then select manual proxy configuration, under SOCKS add localhost, and port number '1080', then 'OK', 'OK'.

In Chrome, go to spanner icon->Options->Under The Bonnet Tab->Change proxy settings (under network)->Connections Tab->LAN Settings

You may need to de-select Automatically detect settings. Select Use proxy server for your LAN... Click Advanced. Where it says 'Socks' put localhost, or and put port 1080 in (or whichever port you used).

You should now be able to access BBC iPlayer!

For linux, to open an SSH tunnel, you simply need to run the following command in a terminal.

ssh -D 1080

If you want to get a UK SSH account (at a very reasonable rate! around £5 per month) please See here.


  1. Ooh, look what you were watching on iPlayer :) Hope you liked it. - Darren Stephens on Wed Jan 21 2009 00:55:15 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
  2. I had missed it on the telly which was very annoying, so I did enjoy iPlaying it! :) - Matt on Wed Jan 21 2009 12:08:50 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
  3. Hi, I was wondering whether you had found a way to make this work just for BBC radio? RealPlayer seems to trickier to tunnel and it's needed to listen to some live sport events. Funnily, if the radio broadcast is dressed up with some video scorecard, as you get for the cricket coverage, then it works fine. Not for plain radio though! Cheers, Paul - paul smyth on Tue Feb 24 2009 21:19:37 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
  4. I used a similar setup while I was working in Moscow through a friends PC in the UK. However it relied on their PC being on etc (though if they had a decent router which supported hardware VPN we could have done it that way). Anyway in the end I changed to a paid for private proxy, and have used that ever since. - Rob on Tue Jun 30 2009 10:31:56 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
  5. Awesome post, you are a lifesaver. For people using command line stuff, the command: ssh -D 1080 user@host will do the same thing as the putty bit above. Thanks again! - ponginator on Fri Jun 11 2010 17:35:13 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
  6. The service enables you to access US Tv wherever you are in US or Overseas. It includes a proxy service so no fiddling around - Martin on Mon Sep 20 2010 11:22:06 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
  7. Excellent. Thanks so much. Live TV doesn't work, but that doesn't bother me. No more funding the BBC by a licence fee, and then not being able to watch it when in the US (which is most of the time)... - Nigel Horne on Wed Feb 09 2011 18:22:43 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
  8. This is brilliant. It seems to work seamlessly, great work. - iplayer abroad on Sat Feb 19 2011 07:27:44 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)