Accessing BBC iPlayer from abroad

One of the most anyoing things with BBC iPlayer is that it's not possible to access it if you are not situated in the UK - fully understandable as UK residents pay license to watch BBC, but then again I also do, indirectly as my cable company rob me for a fair amount of money every month to allow me to watch BBC 1 & 2.

There are currently three way to get access to iPlayer if you are not in the UK;

  • Get a VPN connection, but that will cost money. Currently the price is around 7 - 11 รข‚¬ per month

  • Find a free HTTP proxy which might work, and it might not

  • Find another way, and use anonymous networks like TOR Network

I have tried the first two, and where the VPN solution works, I do not want to send all my internet traffic through a VPN tunnel, and finding a free proxy can be daunting, and they might not be up when I feel like watching TV.

Therefor TOR is probably the nicest way to get this working.

        1) Download the latest client from


        , if you use OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) you need to get


        (update 04/02/10: latest is


        (update 28/08/10: latest is

        2) Install the client, and start it

        3) After you have started it (we just need it to create some default files), stop it again.


        4) find 'torrc', on OSX it will be in ~/Library/Vidalia and add the following two lines to it:

StrictExitNodes 1
exitnodes anonion,anotherlink,colinwillsdorkyahoo

(update 28/08/10: looks like there have been some changes to the exitnodes, the ones currently working for me are):
ExitNodes F00DD00D,devasdfasdf,EverylckleBit,Unamed,


        5) create a

browser auto-proxy

        file (PAC).

function FindProxyForURL(url, host) {
if (shExpMatch(url, "**") ||
shExpMatch(url, "**")) {
return "SOCKS localhost:9050";
} else {
return "DIRECT";
} }

        Call it 'iplayer.pac' and save it somewhere on your harddrive.

        6) In your browser (OSX is differnt as it uses a system wide proxy setup) preferences change the proxy to use the file create 5).

With OSX (that is Safari, 3rd party browsers have their own settings) you need to do; System Preferences -> Network -> Advanced -> Proxies -> Check 'Automatic Proxy Configuration' -> Select the file.

        7) Point your browser to

      and it should tell you that you're connected via TOR.

Now you shold be able to access the iPlayer website...

I used most to the information from Cherie Hurwitz's blog to get this working, but instead of FoxProxy I find that a PAC file is easier to work with.

Update 28/08/2010
Looks like there have been some changes to the exitnods. The ones which are currently working for me are:
ExitNodes F00DD00D,devasdfasdf,EverylckleBit,Unamed,ben,DestroyTerrorismNow,deusexmachina

Update 04/04/2011
Currently working exitnodes: st0nerhenge,Alice,DynoTor,F00DD00D


EXCELLENT info. It can be very frustrating for people trying to access various things like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, etc. but they need not fear because there ARE solutions, like this.
Adeplume said…
I haven't the vaguest idea what you have just spent ages writing here means!
ashleywatson said…
I had doubt about the proxy file to access BBC outside ... thanks for the information.
Jason Khan said…
Hello have been connecting ok with your current exit nodes until yesterday. Are their problems with these now and how do I easily find new ones to use?


casper said…
I just checked, it works fine for me.

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