Enabling Switchy

Watching BBC iPlayer Outside the UK – Now Using Google Chrome


Following up from my earlier post, where I described how you could watch BBC iPlayer (or any geo-restricted content for that matter) from outside the UK. The process involved using Firefox and a plugin called FoxyProxy.

Since then, I have taken a liking to Google Chrome as my web browser, because it is so much faster than anything else out there. However, until recently, it didn’t have extensions, the very function which allows you to use FoxyProxy on Firefox.

Now that’s all changed however and Chrome has opened up its doors to extensions.

It took a bit of searching and configuring, but I’ve now found the perfect solution for getting BBC iPlayer up and running on Google Chrome, from outside the UK.

Google Extensions Menu

Google Extensions Menu

In order to do this, follow the first three steps on my earlier blog post, which will lay the foundations for being able to use the Tor network to circumvent geo-restrictions.

Then we need to tailor it for use with Chrome. In order to do this, ensure you have the latest version of Chrome running on your machine. Once you do, install the Switchy extension.

After this, you need to configure Switchy. Do this by going to your Extensions page (select Extensions from the Tools menu in the top right hand corner of your window).

Switchy Options

Switchy Options

Once you select Options for Switchy, you will see the following window.

Now, create a new profile and perform the following steps:

1. Label the Profile “BBC” or similar

2. Uncheck the “Use same proxy server for all protocols” box.

3. Delete the contents of all remaining boxes, except the Profile name.

4. Under Manual Configuration, type by SOCKS proxy and enter port 9050.

5. Save it. Now whenever you head over to iPlayer, just ensure you start up Vidalia (Tor) first and then switch your proxy profile over to BBC, using the icon shown below. Now everything should be filtered through Tor and you’ll be able to watch the iPlayer as if you were in the UK.

Enabling Switchy

Enabling Switchy

Bear in mind that you will want to remove your proxy connection when surfing other websites. The developer of Switchy has said that a future release of the extension will include URL patterns, meaning that as soon as you visit a BBC website, it will use the BBC profile and other websites will use your standard internet connection.

UPDATE: Recently, I’m not sure why, but the Flash Player in Chrome crashes every time I try to play something. For this reason, I’ve had to revert to using the FireFox method to watch BBC shows.

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Dave has been tinkering with WordPress for many years, and he now shares his WordPress knowledge here on Do It WIth WordPress to help others realise its impressive power. He can also be hired to help with your WordPress needs. Dave, who is British, is married to his best friend, Marti, with whom he has a beautiful daughter, Ellie. When he's not dabbling with WordPress, he's probably eating Triscuits or hummus, watching an indie film or British TV show, spending time with friends or family, or exploring the world.


  1. Firstly let me thank you for putting this information out there!

    I have a problem though, and I wanted to check something.
    You say to follow the first four steps from your previous post, but step four is installing foxyproxy.
    Now, I don’t have firefox on my machine so I cannot do that. Do I need to install firefox and configure foxyproxy in order to use iplayer with chrome?

    Assuming that the answer to that is “no” then perhaps you can give me a clue to where I should look for a solution…

    I have ToR up and running and the torstatus page @ http://torstatus.blutmagie.de shows me using the network. However, some BBC iplayer webpages say “not available in your area” still and I cannot download or view the programme (in particular Match of the day).
    However, I did manage to download one series (Apprentice: you’re fired) as even though I get the message as above, the download options are not greyed out as they are for MOTD.

    Any advice appreciated! THanks.

    • Hi John,

      That was my mistake – you don’t need to install Firefox, or FoxyProxy. I’ve updated the tutorial now.

      I personally do it using the Vidalia bundle. As I understand it, Vidalia is a user interface for Tor. Have you checked your URL rules, or are you switching manually? Does the page act any differently to when you try and access it without Tor? Have you tried other UK only services like 4oD?

  2. Oh, I forgot to mention that I only installed minimal ToR… not the web bundle or vidalia or anything. The client runs in a “dos box” and says it is connected.

  3. It’s good to see this information in your post, i was looking the same but there was not any proper resource, thanx now i have the link which i was looking for my research…

  4. This is the only post I have found that actually works for using Tor through chrome, so I just wanted to say thanks!

  5. It worked brilliantly, for two days….
    any thoughts why it’s not working anymore? The servers i used (3 names) seem to still be in the air (they are still on the list)

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