There are different types of blocks you may encounter on YouTube. Sometimes, the creator restricts channels or content access due to licensing rights. However, some countries completely block YouTube.
The most effective means of unblocking YouTube videos is using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service regardless of the block type. These tools are mainly for better privacy and security, but they also help bypass geo-blocks.
Best Method: Using a VPN to Unblock YouTube Videos
Here’s how to unblock a YouTube video in 3 simple steps:
VPNs are the most effective way to unblock YouTube videos. Because you adopt the IP address of the VPN server, YouTube will assume you’re connecting to the service from another country. The trick is simply to choose a location where it permits access.
1. Subscribe to a Reliable VPN Service
The choice of VPN for unblocking YouTube videos is essential. While all VPNs may work, the VPN can also affect the smoothness of your viewing experience. I’ve tried many VPN brands, and my favorite for streaming video content is Surfshark.
Surfshark is priced exceptionally attractively for the excellent service it provides.
2. Download and Install the App
Most VPNs offer a range of applications suitable for various platforms. The important thing is to choose one with the apps that support the platform you need. If you’re using a relatively mainstream device like a PC or smartphone, almost any VPN brand is capable.
However, if you need to unblock YouTube videos on something more niche like a Firestick, check with the brand and see if it’s supported before signing on for the service.
3. Connect to the Right Server
Choosing the correct VPN server to connect with is the crux of unblocking YouTube videos. If the content you want to unblock is within a specific country, then connect to a VPN server in that country. For example, to access US-only YouTube videos, connect to a VPN server anywhere within the US.
If you simply need to gain access to YouTube in general, you can connect to any nearby location that allows YouTube access. There are only a handful of countries to avoid in this scenario.
Countries to avoid (that actively block YouTube) include China, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Iran. Ensure you don’t connect to any servers within these countries if you’re trying to unblock YouTube.
Once you’ve connected to the VPN server, you can access YouTube using your web browser.
How to Choose the Right VPN to Unblock YouTube Videos
Not all VPN brands are equal, even if they serve the same primary purpose. If you want a VPN to unblock YouTube videos, here are the factors to look towards.
Various factors affect VPN speed, but one crucial factor is the type of communication protocol available. Today, the WireGuard protocol is simply the fastest available – yet not universally available. If possible, ensure the VPN provider you choose supports this protocol.
VPN speed is essential since it heavily affects the media streaming experience on YouTube. If the VPN connection is too slow, you’ll find yourself annoyed at the constant video buffering that will ruin the experience.
Examples: SurfShark Speed Tests
VPNs build their server networks across multiple countries. However, smaller VPN brands have more limited resources, potentially limiting their reach. Choose a VPN that has access to many locations for better unblocking potential.
To give a better idea of network coverage, here are some of the top brands:
- AtlasVPN – 750 servers in 42 countries
- SurfShark – 3,200+ servers in 65 countries
- NordVPN – 5,000+ servers in 60 countries
- CyberGhost – 8,000+ servers in 91 countries
Be cautious, though; accessibility doesn’t always equate to better performance. It simply means you can access content from more locations.
If you only need the VPN for unblocking YouTube videos, then look for one that offers better value. Surfshark, for example, comes at an excellent price while offering top-tier performance. You can generally get a better price by subscribing to a VPN for extended periods.
For example, one month on Surfshark costs $12.95, but if you subscribe to a 2-year plan, the average monthly price drops to just $2.49.
You may come across some “free” VPN services, but I don’t recommend these. The legitimate ones offer a free limited service before forcing you to upgrade to an expensive paid subscription. Others claim to be “100% free” – but will likely sell your data to a broker.
While VPNs often support multiple platforms, this isn’t universal. Not everyone views YouTube videos on a PC or an Android smartphone. Make sure you choose a VPN that works on the platform you need.
For example, NordVPN works on almost anything, from mainstream devices to more obscure platforms like Firestick, Xbox, Playstation, Raspberry Pi, etc. Your chosen VPN doesn’t have to support every platform – but keep in mind the ones you need.
Alternative Methods to Unblock YouTube Videos
Understandably, not everyone wants, can afford, or is willing to use a VPN to unblock YouTube content. If you’re seriously against the idea, some alternative methods might work in a pinch. Here are some examples.
Unblock YouTube Using a Proxy Server
Proxy servers are similar to VPNs. There are many free proxy servers you can use that may be able to unblock YouTube videos. However, the critical distinction is that free proxy servers are often dangerous.
The first point to note is that your data isn’t encrypted. That means the proxy server operator will be aware of everything you do. Free proxies will also often sell your data to earn money. Without this, there are few other ways to recover the cost of operating the servers.
If you’re determined to use a proxy server, you must sign up for such a service. Some VPNs include proxy servers as part of their service, like CyberGhost. Once you’ve signed up, follow their instructions to set up the proxy service.
Use the Tor Network
Tor, or The Onion Router is a public-run network available for free. Since your connection routes through many relays, YouTube only sees the final exit point. This method potentially allows you to access the platform.
To use Tor, you need a particular browser called the Tor Browser. It’s simply a modified version of Firefox designed to work with Tor. Download the Tor browser and install it, then simply use it as a regular web browser to try and access YouTube videos.
Incidentally, you might also be interested to know that the Tor browser allows you to access the Dark Web.
YouTube Unblocking Browser Extensions
While this method may sound convenient, most of these browser extensions simply disguise using a proxy server. A quick Google search will show you many YouTube-unblocking extensions, but not all will work.
In addition, they often have the same disadvantages as using proxy servers. That includes the lack of security and the risk of having your data stolen and sold. One YouTube unblocking browser extension available is Unblocker for YouTube if you wish to try.
This extension is for Google Chrome, so just install it from the link and follow their usage instructions.
I’ve come across this method several times while surfing the web. Admittedly, it sort of works. However, you’ll have to be desperate to resort to this since the result is far from ideal. Open the Google Translate website and type the YouTube URL you wish to access.
On the translated side will be shown a link that you can click. Often, it’s possible to click that link to open the YouTube page, but the results will vary widely. You may find it works, refuses to open, or just partially loads.
I tested this method out of curiosity, and sadly, it only partially worked 90% of the time.
Is it Legal to Unblock YouTube Videos?
As with many things about big companies, things get a little shady when you try to narrow down on some details. YouTube doesn’t expressly state you can’t access their service with a VPN, proxy server, or other methods. However, there is a blanket clause in their Terms of Service against several activities that may work against you.
The problem with clauses like this is they make it easy for YouTube to simply ban your account if it dislikes what you’re doing. Once that happens, appeals are a sometimes lengthy process that doesn’t often end up in consumers’ favor.
Final Thoughts on Unblocking YouTube Videos
There are many ways of working around blocks that YouTube and other websites place. These sites often have a reason for the blocks. However, it’s still unfair to segmentize the Internet in this manner.
Digital freedom should be a basic right, yet more countries are attempting to lock down specific parts of cyberspace. If you want to ensure your digital freedom and access all content online, use a reputable VPN service.
Aside from helping you unblock websites, a VPN can increase your digital anonymity, protect your data, and keep you safer in cyberspace.