How to Unblock Youku

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How to Unblock Youku

Updated: August 8th, 2017

  1. To unblock Youku, start by setting up a VPN account
  2. Install the VPN software onto the device(s) you want to unblock Youku on
  3. Next, open the VPN software and connect to a China-based server
  4. Go to Youku and either signup for an account or choose to browse without logging in
  5. Enjoy Youku from anywhere in the world

How to Unblock Youku in more detail:

NOTE: The solution I describe in this quick guide includes using a VPN. There are many great VPN service providers out there today, but after researching and reviewing the best ones, I decided on ExpressVPN's service to unblock Youku. Check it out here:


If you're reading this guide then you are more than aware of how awesome Youku is -- and how massively popular it is within China. Youku is by far and away the biggest video hosting site in China, with millions of people using it every day. 

When I arrived in China for a vacation, I quickly became sort-of obsessed with Youku. I am a big YouTuber back in the western world, so discovering this wacky and massive video platform that rules over YouTube in China was super fun. 

I was excited to show my buddies back in Europe how fun this site is as soon as I returned home to the UK. However, when I tried to access just a couple of videos on Youku from outside China, I was blocked!

how to unblock youku 1


Not being the type of person to give up and never go to Youku again, I quickly researched why and how Youku was blocking me from watching all the awesome and interesting videos on the site. It wasn't long before I realised that many people had the same problem I had and also looked for ways to unblock Youku.

In fact, there are a few tools and browser add-ons created in the last few years specifically to answer the question, "how to unblock Youku". But rather than using any of these one-trick tools on my various devices, I wanted to find a solution that would work across the board -- unblocking not just Youku, but any website I wanted to access.

I quickly figured out the perfect solution for this, so figured I might as well share it with others that are looking to unblock Youku without fail from their non-China based location. So here is my quick guide on how to unblock Youku. Enjoy!


Why is Youku Blocked?

It is important to understand why Youku does not allow total access to the full website to users accessing it from outside China, like from Malaysia for example.  

The reason Youku blocks videos is because of distribution agreements made between the website and the owners of each and every video uploaded to the site. So the owner of a video that uploads it to Youku will decide on which location(s) users can watch the video from. 

So with Youku being a China-focused website, it makes sense that the vast majority of videos uploaded to the website are agreed to only be allowed access from users within China. Anyone outside China trying to access a video with such blocking agreements is instead shown the "content blocked" message I showed above.


How is Youku Blocking Videos?

Before taking you through the steps of my solution, you should understand exactly how Youku is managing to block access correctly. By understand how the website does this, you will understand how my solution targets the exact problem and solves it instantly.

So Youku uses a common type of blocking process called "geo-blocking". This is basically a gatekeeper for the website that every single user must pass before getting to watch geo-blocked videos on the website. 

This gatekeeper is able to determine your exact location by checking your IP address. Your IP address tells Youku what your location is at the time you are attempting to access a video on the site. 

Your IP address is determined by whatever internet connection you have at that moment. So if you're using your home internet, then your IP address will be different from if you're using your local cafe's WiFi internet. However, both of these will give you IP addresses that are accurate to your location. Likewise if you are located in Singapore, for example, then your IP address will reflect this accordingly. 

Therefore, what you want to do ideally is find a way to securely, legally and instantly change your IP address to an IP address within China. If you can do that, then when you go to Youku while connected to a China IP address; you will have full access to the entire site and all its glorious videos. 

Now, there are a few ways to change your IP address, but after researching this for a few hours and testing out a bunch of the tools and methods, I discovered that the very best way to change your IP address is by using what's called a Virtual Private Network -- or VPN. 

Using a VPN to do this is by far the simplest and most effective way of unblocking Youku. So let me walk you through the quick steps to do this now!

How to Use a VPN to Unblock Youku

Step 1: Sign up for VPN

For the purpose of this quick walkthrough, I will be using the VPN I decided to go with to unblock Youku. There are many VPN service providers around that offer differing levels of quality for different budgets. I list the best five VPNs I researched at the bottom of this guide.

So firstly you want to go ahead and signup to the VPN and confirm your account details. This is a super simple process and takes no more than 1 minute to complete. Here's how this process looks with ExpressVPN:

expressvpn homepage
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expressvpn pricing
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expressvpn payment options


As you can see, it's literally just a case of going to the website, selecting the plan that best suits your needs and budget then confirming payment.


Step 2: Download & Install VPN

Once you have confirmed your VPN account, you will be automatically directed to the download link to download your VPN software. 

A great benefit of using a VPN to unblock Youku is that you can use a VPN on literally every device you would possibly use to watch Youku on. Check out ExpressVPN's list of compatible devices:

expressvpn-all-devices


So go ahead and select the download link for the device you are using right now, and it will prompt you to go through the super easy installation process. 

You don't need any technical expertise at all to get your VPN setup. Just follow the installation steps and you're ready. 

Step 3: Connect to China-based Server on VPN

With the VPN installed on your device, the only thing left for you to do is open it up and get familiar with the interface. Let me tell you right now that it is probably the most simple piece of software you have every used before -- seriously! 

All you need to do is choose which location you want to connect to the VPN through, and then hit the big "Connect" button. Of course this is the point where you want to make sure you choose a China-based location, since this is what will change your IP address to appear within China, giving you full access to Youku.

If you're trying to unblock youku on a Mac OSX device this is how ExpressVPN looks:

ipvanish macbook example


If you're trying to unblock youku on an iPad, iPhone, or other iOS device this is what ExpressVPN's application looks like:

unblock youku ipad iphone
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unblock youku ipad iphone


Step 4: Watch Unblocked Youku

​When the VPN connects after a few seconds, you are now connected to a completely secure, private and China-based server. 

So go ahead and go back to that video that was blocked on Youku from you just 5 minutes before you went through this process, and you will have full access to it -- and every other video on Youku. Awesome!

Should you want to change your IP address back to your normal "true" one, then all you have to do is disconnect from your VPN. That's all. You can connect and disconnect as many times as you want at any moment you desire; you have completely control over you IP address and online privacy/security. Good job!

How To Unblock Youku In US

As you may have noticed, a large amount of the videos uploaded to Youku are unavailable in the US. Youku is the Chinese version of YouTube and has geographic restrictions based on the content uploaded. Luckily, Youku can still be fully enjoyed in the United States of America with a VPN service like ExpressVPN. Simply connect to express VPN, select a mainland China server location, and you'll be able to enjoy Youku like a resident of China. 

How To Unblock Youku In Taiwan

Taiwanese residents are not able to access all the content on Youku as internet users in Taiwan don't have Chinese IP addresses. Geographic restrictions imposed by Youku thus make it difficult to access Content. ExpressVPN offers residents of Taiwan the ability to connect to Chinese servers and unblock Youku content.

How To Unblock Youku In Japan

Japanese residents looking to use Youku will also find it difficult to unblock content on Youku without a VPN service. Much of Youku's content is restricted in Japan and requires a Chinese IP address to access. This is possible with ExpressVPN's location picker which is pictured in the image on the right. By connecting to a mainland China server, Youku can be unblocked in Japan. 

How To Unblock Youku In Malaysia

Many Malaysians find it frustrating that much of Youku is blocked from within Malaysia. This is because Malaysia ISPs and IP addresses are restricted from accesses the Chinese content uploaded to Youku. Youku can still be unblocked from Malaysia with ExpressVPN's service. 

How To Unblock Youku In Hong Kong

The close proximity of Hong Kong to mainland China might lead you to believe that Hong Kong residents can freely access Youku. You'd be wrong to think this though. Hong Kong internet users will find that their Hong Kong IP addresses may allow them to access many western services but the Beijing Based Youku site is largely blocked in Hong Kong. Unblocking Youku in Hong Kong requires a VPN service. We recommend ExpressVPN which is conveniently headquartered in Hong Kong.

Conclusion

Well done! You have just figured out how to unblock Youku whenever you want, from wherever you are. 

I did mention earlier in this guide that there are many VPN service providers available today that offer differing levels of service at various prices. So to give you some more variety, I personally reviewed the "best of the best" out there, and narrowed down the three absolute best VPNs to unblock Youku. ExpressVPN is number one, IPVanish is number two, and NordVPN is number three

Thanks for reading and going through my guide. I hope you found it useful and are happily watching unblocked videos on Youku right now. 

If you have any questions or feedback then please don't hesitate to ask me in the comments section below. I'll be happy to answer any you might have. 

Happy Youku'ing! 


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