How to Unblock YouTube – 2 quick methods and 2 you need to avoid

Updated on: 21 February 2020
Updated on:21 February 2020

Unblock YouTube in five minutes

If you want to get started right away, simply follow these instructions to unblock YouTube in about five minutes:

  • Click here to get ExpressVPN
  • Download and install the app from the ExpressVPN website
  • Open the software and choose USA from the map or list
  • Go to YouTube
  • Enjoy full access to all unblocked YouTube videos

ExpressVPN works perfectly at unblocking YouTube and does a whole lot more, including protecting your privacy whenever you’re online, so for as little as $8.32/month you really do get a sweet set of features.

ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee too, which is loads of time to learn how to get the most out of the service and make sure it does what you want it to.

Like so many video platforms, YouTube conforms to strict licensing agreements that mean many countries experience heavy geo-blocking, resulting in millions of users experiencing the dreaded message: “The uploader has not made this video available in your country”.

I for one believe that the internet should not be restricted based on your national borders, and that content should be available to everyone.

So for everyone who hates not being able to access the content they want, I’m going to show you how to unblock YouTube videos so you can bypass country restrictions, access blocked YouTube videos from school, work, or even countries such as China where YouTube is blocked entirely.

Why does YouTube block content?

If you’ve ever tried to access a video on YouTube, only to be faced with a message such as this:

The uploader has not made this video available in your country

Then you’ll know how annoying it is to be among those not chosen to enjoy this content. It’s usually not a matter of the content creator simply not wanting people from your country to enjoy their content, but rather because of complicated licensing agreements made with broadcasters in varying countries.

Just as different TV stations have the rights to show different sports matches, YouTube has licenses to show content in specific countries. The name given to this is geo-blocking because it blocks access based on geographical location, usually determined by IP address. If a TV network posts a popular preview that only holds licensing within the US, YouTube will also restrict the viewing of that content outside of the area where it is licensed to be viewed.

Some countries such as China actually block the entire website as a form of censorship, which is done with a firewall that stops all access to the YouTube servers from within the country.

Another situation when you might find your access to YouTube has been taken away is at school, college, university, and even some workplaces. If this is the case then an access policy is in place that has determined that you’re not allowed to access YouTube. This may be for the simple reason that your school or employer simply don’t want you to be distracted while you’re supposed to working, but could also be due to the network resources it uses. If too many people try to stream content simultaneously, the network can slow down massively for people who need the internet to work or teach.

So with this understanding of why YouTube videos are being blocked, let’s get down to actually unblocking them so we can enjoy full access to every video.

There are four main methods to unblock YouTube that I’ll cover in this article, however two of them are definitely not recommended.

  • VPN (recommended)
  • Direct download
  • Web proxy (not recommended)
  • TOR (not recommended)

Unblock YouTube with a VPN (recommended)

I’m starting with this solution as it’s by far the easiest and most reliable, and doesn’t require any further research or messing with your internet settings. A VPN is also an amazing security product that protects you from people trying to steal your personal information online.

A VPN is a secure network that encrypts the data you send and receive through the internet and re-routes it from your normal ISP to a remote server. This is how it unblocks YouTube and any other service such as Netflix. A VPN actually makes it appear as though your computer is physically located in a country of your choosing, so the geo-blocking simply doesn’t work.

What’s more, because all the information you transfer is encrypted, your Internet Service Provider will not be able to detect or track any websites you visit.

Where anonymity and the unblocking of content are concerned, a VPN is the safest way to access all content from YouTube. It works anywhere in the world and can help you access content globally, without worrying about firewalls, geo-blocking or censorship.

Using a VPN to unblock content is so simple even my technophobe parents can handle it. Simply start your VPN software, choose the region that you want to appear to be in, and click connect.

That’s it, you’ve unblocked YouTube!

I highly recommend ExpressVPN as it’s easy to use but has some excellent advanced features, and works with every online service we’ve tried it with. You can get massive discounts for signing up for a longer period of time, and all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee so if you find it’s just not what you wanted, you can simply get a refund.

If you’re looking for the an excellent all-round VPN for a specific device check out our other articles such as VPNs for Android or Mac.

Direct Download

This is another option that works but isn’t ideal. Due to the space the content can take up on a device, the time it takes to download, the hassle of the entire process, and the potential of downloading viruses.

Finding the right site to help you find and download the video you want is often a process of trial and error. If there is a specific video you want to watch offline, it could be a good option. But you must download it fully before you attempt to watch it.

In order to do a direct download from YouTube, you will need to perform a quick search online for a suitable YouTube download site. Once you have found the most suitable service for you, you will then need to search for the file you want to view.

It’s usually easy to find a video without actually visiting YouTube as Google now lists videos in search results (Google owns YouTube). Once you have found the video you want, copy the target URL, which will typically appear directly underneath the title of the video in the search engine results. Copy the URL and paste into the download site.

Now, while this is the slowest method of all of the points listed in this post, and it might not always be possible depending on the available storage on your device, it does work and requires very little technical know-how.

The problem is that you end up with loads of videos stored locally on your laptop or phone, rather than being able to access them online.

Web proxy (not recommended)

There are many services out there that allow you to type in a website website and they will make a copy of the site that you can access from anywhere. This can be fine if you just want to quickly watch something important and won’t need to do it very often, but these sites can be dangerous. For several reasons.

Proxy websites are usually filled with adverts, often popups, that can be really annoying to close and often actually pose as other popular websites such as Facebook or Gmail to try to trick you into entering your password.

Another danger with proxy websites is that you have no way of knowing if the content you’re seeing is what’s actually on the original page. YouTube spends millions on protecting their users from certain types of illegal, immoral, or disturbing content – stuff you really don’t want to see – as well as moderating the comments sections of videos to stop abusive, threatening, or otherwise offensive comments from being posted. The only way to be sure you’re viewing what’s on the original YouTube page is to be on the authentic YouTube website.

A proxy is quite similar to a VPN. However, it is not as stable or secure. When you use a proxy to connect, your connection request is filtered through a server that makes it look like you are located somewhere else. This tactic will enable you to pass through some firewall restrictions, but not all.

Another fundamental aspect that proxies do not offer that are considered to be essential for secure and private browsing is encryption. Proxies do not offer encryption. Meaning ISPs, Network Administrators and legal researchers could access your personal IP and trace you.

While browser extensions serve as a convenient option, there are many rogues that steal your personal information or track your internet usage. In addition to this major security concern, services and connections are limited and somewhat unstable depending on the county or location you choose to access the internet from.

If you need reliable, stable, secure connection that provides extra encryption and assurance that your data is protected and shielded from the public at all costs, then a VPN is a far better tool for this purpose.

TOR (not recommended)

There’s a good chance you already know something about TOR, probably in relation to the Deep, or Dark, Web. TOR is a highly secure internet

Tor is a highly secure network of computers that help increase anonymity when accessing the internet. Many journalists use the network to get information out of an oppressive country when they would otherwise be in danger from the authorities.

When connected to TOR, your data is encrypted on your computer and sent to a minimum of three other computers around the world, each time adding a layer of encryption, and finally connects to the regular internet. This means that it’s almost impossible to track TOR users’ activities online.

The biggest problem with TOR is that it’s slow – really slow. It’s simply not designed to replace an ordinary web browser. The encryption routing through nodes means there’s a lot of data to process and there are only a few Exit Nodes available anyway. TOR will definitely unblock YouTube, but doing so will not only mean you have to wait ages for your videos to buffer, but you’ll also be slowing down the network for people who may actually depend on it for their safety.

For this reason, I do not recommend TOR as a way to unblock YouTube.

If you really want to unblock YouTube

Go with a VPN. As I mentioned before, NordVPN (which I consider to be the best VPN for YouTube) costs as little as $2.99/ month if you sign up for a long time, and has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Visit NordVPN

For some people, trying to watch YouTube unblocked by other methods will just ruin the whole experience due to excruciatingly slow loading of videos, and thousands of ads popping up.

By far, the easiest, quickest, and most secure way to unblock content on YouTube is to use a reputable VPN service.

Written by: Joe Robinson

Connect with him:

Data privacy and cyber security expert. Joe has been working in the VPN field for over seven years, and has a passion for analysis and debate. He loves learning new technologies and software, and regularly uses everything from Kali Linux to Pro-tools. When not writing about digital security, Joe helps businesses improve their website usability and spends his free time playing guitar and reading about data science, IoT, and philosophy.

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