Updated: January 1st, 2018
** 100% working solution to Unblock Youku outside China **
- Begin by setting up a VPN account
- Install the VPN application onto all the device(s) you want to unblock and access Youku on
- Open the VPN app and connect to a server geo-location wherein Youku is not blocked (i.e. a China-based server)
- Once you are connected, you will have successfully unblocked Youku.
Time to complete this solution: 5 minutes
The VPN I recommend using is ExpressVPN. Check it out by clicking here.
How to Unblock Youku in more detail:
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!
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 .
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 get their Youku unblock achieved 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
Before we dive into the super quick setup steps to get a VPN up and running on whichever devices you want to be unblocking youku on -- it helps to understand exactly how a VPN functions to achieve this, and more importantly specifically why using a VPN (over other IP address-changing methods) is what we recommend most for this solution.
A Virtual Private Network service provider (VPN for short) is a very simple yet at the same time very sophisticated service that allows you full control over what your device IP address is - this is true. However, it is not the fundamental purpose of a VPN. This handy little piece of software is used by internet users all around the world primarily for the purpose of protecting the privacy of their online data (bank details, logins, passwords, messages, photos, etc) and activity (websites they visit, media they watch, files they upload and download, etc) in an easy yet powerful way.
You see, when you connect to a VPN, you are not only changing your IP address to make your location "appear" from whichever server location you chose to connect to; you are also placing incredibly high "military grade" level encryption on your internet connection in doing so.
This is what separates a VPN from other popular IP address-changing solutions, like a SmartDNS service provider, for example. A VPN is the only service that delivers the IP address control while simultaneously protecting your online privacy.
Now I know you landed on this guide just to find a simple and fast solution to unblock Youku from your current non-China based location. I get that. However, it just makes sense to understand and take control of your privacy when surfing the web, especially in today's web environment, don't you agree?
Countless cases have arisen in the world press exposing governmental mass nationwide surveillance of their own citizens (without consent or knowledge of said citizens) as well as other countries, with the US's NSA being a prime example. Not only this, but individual hackers around the globe are only increasing their warfare of capitalising on online users' data vulnerabilities and bad habits of almost zero privacy protection.
So -- with that said -- let's get on with the actual steps to show how you can easily and quickly setup, install, download and connect to a VPN to effectively unblock Youku outside China.
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 get the Youku unblock setup. There are many VPN service providers around that offer differing levels of quality for different budgets. I list the best three 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:
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.
Should you be downloading the VPN especially for the privacy protection it gives you, then you will be happy to know that ExpressVPN accept anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin.
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. If you're looking for an "unblock Youku iPad style" solution, then you are all good! Check out ExpressVPN's list of compatible 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:
As you can see, the software is super intuitive and clean, with zero "technical" expertise required to navigate. Simply choose the China-based server and hit "Connect".
Since I wanted to also get Youku unblocked on my mobile devices too, I went ahead and downloaded the software onto my iPhone.
If like me you're trying to unblock youku iPad, iPhone, or other iOS device this is what ExpressVPN's application looks like:
As you can see the software stays consistently easy to use regardless of what device you want to be unblocking Youku on.
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.
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, NordVPN is number two, and IPVanish is number three. So here's a quick Pros-vs-Cons overview of these providers to give you an idea of each's strengths and weaknesses:
#1: (My Top Recommendation) ExpressVPN ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
- Incredibly fast speeds across practically every server location offered.
- Encryption levels are secure and some of the highest standard available with a VPN.
- The number of server locations offered is one of the largest of any VPN provider, which allows for many IP address options and thus access to all manner of geo-restricted content.
- A 30-day money back guarantee is provided to every first time user of the VPN service.
- The actual software/app is by far the most easy-to-setup and user friendly of any VPN software around.
- Only downside to mention with ExpressVPN is the pricing is a little higher than some other providers. However, you absolutely get what you pay for.
- Some of the fastest speeds you can get from a VPN provider on a few of their servers.
- Encryption level is solid.
- Money back guarantee also comes as standard to new users.
- Simple setup and fairly intuitive software.
- Very competitive price point.
- Although offering some of the fastest speeds, the speed can suffer a lot on other servers tested, due to the high level of encryption being placed on the connection by this VPN.
- Customer service is good but takes a little time to get a response at times.
- Solid server speeds. Very respectable.
- Great customer support is provided around the clock.
- One of the high library of server locations from any VPN provider available.
- As with ExpressVPN and NordVPN, zero-logging is ensured.
- Not the most intuitive, nor user-friendly software to interact with on your devices.
- Although having good encryption and keeping zero-logs, the company is US-based and thus is legally tied to the less-than-ideal data laws under that jurisdiction.
Of course, all three of these VPN providers have China-based server locations (I check this regularly and update this guide accordingly should this change at all) so all are successful at unblocking Youku in all locations outside China.
This concludes my quick guide. I hope you found it useful and are now enjoying watching Youku from wherever you are in the world!
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.