“Download failed” Popping Up When Downloading BBC iPlayer Programs Abroad – FIXED!


Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Are you fed up with watching “Download Unavailable – Error Code: 3” or “Dash manifest failed” flashing over your screen whenever you try to download programs via a VPN?

Even if your VPN allows you to stream BBC iPlayer, there are chances that you’ll still get these messages. Here are two things you need to know;

  1. Random VPNs and BBC iPlayer downloads are not going to work
  2. Smart DNS is a good alternative that does work

Following is the ultimate guide on how you can use BBC iPlayer to download programs when you’re not in the UK. Even if you’re not a techie, we promise, it’s a piece of cake!

BBC iPlayer failing to download programs via a VPN? Here is why:

From encrypting your data to spoofing your location, VPNs are the best choice for all. Although VPNs work best to unblock BBC iPlayer abroad, they fail to download programs when you are outside the UK.

It might get a little irritating when you’re on your way back to the UK and you want to use BBC iPlayer downloads for your device but you see it getting failed.

On contacting ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and other VPN services, I got the same response that their servers just allow you to stream the content. They do not allow you to download anything on your device. However, Surfshark has sought out a way to fix Download Failed on BBC Player abroad.tsur

How to Fix “Download failed” Popping Up When Downloading BBC iPlayer Programs Abroad

For downloading programs from BBC iPlayer abroad, I would suggest getting a SmartDNS.

It might sound a little overwhelming, but trust us, it’s super easy and it actually works! Here’s how;

Your IP address gives out your location when you log on to a website or stream online. However, some changes in your device’s DNS settings to a SmartDNS address could make the websites getting the location data according to their area. This means that the BBC iPlayer will be provided location data from the UK.

I used the same technique while testing Smart DNS by Surfshark and it worked quite smoothly.

Here’s the best part, the speed of your local downloads won’t be disturbed since you’re spoofing your location using a DNS.

Want to download BBC iPlayer programs in foreign lands? Set up SmartDNS now!

It might seem a little intimidating to set up a Smart DNS for BBC iPlayer, but there is absolutely no need to worry. Because this guide has got your back.

It literally takes about 5 seconds to change your DNS setting. You just need to know what you’re doing.

First things first, you need to get a DNS server address before you start following the steps. Although I have only experienced using SmartDNS by Surfshark, it is confirmed that it works perfectly when used with BBC iPlayer, even for the downloads.

Other than that, ITV Hub, 4oD, Amazon Prime, and Netflix US are other perks that come along.

Setting up smart DNS for your IP address using Surfshark is a 4 steps process:

  1. Once you are logged in your Surfshark account, click on Smart DNS.smart dns
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and find the SmartDNS section.activate smart dns to fix download failed on bbc iplayer
  3. Verify your IP address. Make sure that you are disconnected from VPN or proxy servers and that it is indeed the IP address of your network. If the address is correct, select Activate.smart dns activated
  4. It will take a few seconds for smart DNS to activate. While it is processing, smart DNS will be marked as Pending. We suggest refreshing the page after activating it and it should switch to Active state!

bbc iplayer download failed fixed using surfshark smart dns

When the activation process is finished you will be notified with an email that the service has been activated on that IP address, and the status in the account tab will change to Active and you will see the assigned DNS addresses.

Setting up DNS on Windows

  1. Click on the Start Menu
  2. Type “network” and press enter
  3. Select “Network and Sharing Center”
  4. Search for your internet connection and click “Wireless Network Connection” or “Wired Network Connection”.
  5. Click “Properties”
  6. Uncheck “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)”
  7. Check “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)”
  8. Click “Properties”
  9. Select “Use the following DNS server addresses.”
  10. Enter your Smart DNS provider’s DNS server addresses
  11. Press OK

That’s all you have to do!

Make sure to force close any web browsers popped up on the screen. Now restart your PC. You can now stream and download any content from any corner of the world.

Setting up DNS on iPhone and iPad

  1. Click the Settings
  2. Select “Wi-Fi”
  3. Click “i” (on the network you’re connected to)
  4. Select “Configure DNS”
  5. Press “Manual”
  6. Click “+ Add Server”
  7. Now enter your provider’s DNS address for the UK
  8. Final step – “Save” it

That’s it. Pretty simple, right?

For the final touches, force close your BBC iPlayer application and reopen it. Now you have access to stream and download all sorts of programs from all over the world.

Setting up DNS on Android devices

  1. Click “Settings”
  2. Select “Wi-Fi & Internet”
  3. Make sure to click on the “Wi-Fi” text and not the ON/OFF switch
  4. Note your existing “IP address” and “Gateway address”
  5. Now click the Edit icon (pencil)
  6. Select “Advanced options”
  7. Change the IP settings to “Static”
  8. Now enter the IP and Gateway addresses that you noted down before
  9. Change “DNS 1” to your provider’s DNS address for the UK
  10. Change “DNS 2” to your provider’s DNS address for the UK (Optional)
  11. Lastly, Save the settings

And there you have it!

Now you need to force shut the BBC iPlayer app, open it again and voila! You can now stream and download all programs in the world.

Setting up DNS on Mac

  1. Click the Apple Icon (top left of screen)
  2. Select “System Preferences”
  3. Click on “Network”
  4. Select “Wi-Fi” in the left-hand panel
  5. Click “Advanced”
  6. Now go to the DNS tab
  7. Select “+” below the ‘How to set up DNS’ panel
  8. Enter your Smart DNS’ UK address
  9. Click OK
  10. Click Apply

That’s all!

Just force close the browser and reset your Mac. After it is switched on again, you can stream and download anything anywhere.

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