How to Unblock YouTube Videos
Updated: December 11th, 2017
- Start with getting a VPN account setup
- Install the VPN software onto device(s) you want to unblock YouTube videos on
- Open VPN software and connect to server location that will unblock the blocked YouTube video
- Repeat step 3 whenever a YouTube video is blocked by connecting to a server location that will unblock the video
- Enjoy unblocked YouTube videos from anywhere in the world
How to unblock YouTube Videos in more detail:
According to Alexa YouTube is the second most popular website in the world. It has even more monthly users than Facebook. It isn’t hard to see why, as it is a great place for people to share videos.
YouTube celebrated its tenth birthday last year. Hard to believe it is so young given how it has redefined the way we use the internet and engage with our favorite entertainment. Much like Wikipedia, YouTube has swiftly developed into a seemingly bottom pit of media content. And I don’t know about you, but once I have peered over the side, it is all too easy to fall in and get stuck there for hours.
Just looking at one video see me clicking through dozens of related, and often unrelated videos, as YouTube drags my brain off at different tangents. Despite being sold to Google, YouTube still remains almost peerless as online video platforms go, and I cannot get enough of it.
I have just two problems with it. The adverts, which since Google took off have been far too frequent for my liking (everyone clicks through them YouTube, face facts!) and finally finding that video I was hunting for only to discover it is blocked. Fortunately, there is a way to ensure that you can see every YouTube video… even those that have been blocked in your area. Read on to find out how.
Why is YouTube content not Available?
There are a few reasons why you will find that some YouTube videos are blocked. Sometimes the person who uploaded the video has made it private. Sometimes the video has been subject to a complaint and YouTube have removed it, either temporarily or permanently.
By far the most common reason though, is that the video is subject to geographic restrictions. This means that it is only available to users in certain countries.
This type of blocking is known as geo-blocking and is a relatively common means of restricting access to online content.
Unfortunately, YouTube has a history of censorship. Some of the censorship policies are due to the site’s internal policies against offensive content, so controversial content may be taken down very quickly. However, some content is censored by region. This is often due to local laws against certain types of content that may not be illegal in the United States, where YouTube’s San Bruno office is headquartered.
Some countries have also banned YouTube altogether. These countries include:
- North Korea
If you are traveling to any of these countries, you will discover that all of your favorite YouTube channels are blocked. While you could try using a web proxy, Google is aware of most proxy IPs (they have to monitor them to combat click fraud with their advertising platforms and prevent people from violating their Terms of Service) and may block you if you try using them. A web proxy also won’t offer much protection from your ISP, which is a problem if you are in a country where accessing YouTube may be a crime. Given the ambiguity of the laws and the potentially harsh punishments for breaking them, I wouldn’t take the chance with a standard web proxy.
Individual users can also limit access to their videos to people in certain countries. This may be due to the sensitive nature of the videos and concerns that they may elicit negative comments from users in certain countries.
If you plan on traveling to any of these countries, YouTube may give you one of these messages:
“Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany because it may contain music for which GEMA has not granted the respective music rights.”
“The uploader has not made the video available in your country.”
These messages can be disappointing when you wanted to check out a great video on YouTube. The good news is that there is an easy way to get around it: Using a VPN.
How is YouTube blocking content?
Let me briefly explain how geo-blocking works. Every internet user emits something called an IP Address whenever they visit a website. Your IP Address include various pieces of information, including your geographic location.
Sites which employ geo-blocking technology analyze this data to see where in the world you are. If you are located outside the country or region where they have made their site available, you are automatically blocked from viewing it.
The only way to evade geo-blocking technology is by changing your IP Address. One way to do this is to travel to a country where you are allowed to view the site. Another, more practical and cost-effective method is to use something called a VPN.
A VPN reroutes your internet traffic via an external server and provides you with a new IP Address linked to that server. Most providers have servers located across the globe, meaning you just have to choose a server in the right location, and bingo. You can access the site.
If you want to find out how, all you have to do is read on.
How to Use a VPN to Get YouTube Unblocked
I have tried a lot of different VPNs and settled on ExpressVPN. There are a few reasons I prefer it over many of the alternatives:
- ExpressVPN is based out of the British Virgin Islands, which is a country with very strong privacy protections. The courts are very reluctant to respond to subpoenas.
- They have a zero logging policy, which makes it virtually impossible to identify you.
- ExpressVPN has an “internet kill switch” activated at all times. This means that if your connection ever drops, all content will stop streaming immediately. This prevents any of your personal information from leaking out of the VPN tunnel, so your personal identity won’t be compromised.
Why is this is so important if you just plan to watch YouTube videos? Well, in some countries watching YouTube is illegal. We tried researching the liability laws in China, Brazil and a couple of other countries, but they are pretty ambiguous. You don’t want to take the chance of getting in trouble for accessing the site, so you want to use VPN that safeguards your privacy.
Even if you are accessing YouTube in a country where it is legal, there are a couple things to keep in mind:
- Some content is illegal in most countries, but may still get uploaded to YouTube. Ira Isaacs uploaded obscene content to YouTube that landed him in jail for four years. While nobody viewing the content was charged in that incident, they were technically also in violation of federal obscenity laws. While you probably don’t intend to access anything illegal, you could still get in trouble if you do so accidentally.
- Some content isn’t illegal, but is carefully monitored by Google and the authorities. You don’t want to draw attention for looking at sensitive material, regardless of legality.
- Many YouTube videos still use HTTP instead of HTTPs connections. This means that the material isn’t encrypted, so your ISP may see what you are viewing and can pass that information along to government officials with or without a subpoena.
- Your ISP and others trying to snoop on you can even figure our your behavior and identity by monitoring your traffic patterns.
The last point is the most surprising and concerning for some people. ExpressVPN posted an article on this risk factor back in March 2017 and discussed some of the safeguards users need to take to get around it:
“Despite being encrypted, the encoding mechanisms generate enough data for sophisticated passive observers to piece together what you’ve been watching. In the wrong hands, this data could easily be sold or otherwise used to target and discriminate against virtually anyone. Although YouTube uses encryption to secure your data, Dubin explained to ExpressVPN, anyone watching your network could determine exactly what you’re watching—but there is a way you can protect yourself. Each video has a unique, traceable signature… While YouTube theoretically could add obfuscation to their videos, Ran Dubin has advice on how you can protect yourself today: ‘You can use VPN [or] you can use Tor networks to make identification much harder.’”
This is important for any YouTube user to be aware of. Regular HTTPs encryption isn’t sufficient to protect your anonymity, but a VPN can offer a lot of extra protection. Many people are concerned about their ISP or the local country they are operating in tracing their behavior on YouYube, which is one of the reasons that VPNs are so popular these days. If you fall into this category, I wouldn’t recommend putting your faith in anything other than ExpressVPN.
Using a reliable VPN helps you avoid all of these unpleasantries. This is one of the reasons we recommend ExpressVPN – it is one of the best on the market.
Another benefit of ExpressVPN is its impressive speed. We checked out a number of different VPNs and this one seems to be one of the two fastest. Independent tests have shown that some ExpressVPN servers allow users to stream content at 122,000 kbps of faster. This is over 200 times faster than the speed needed to stream live video, so it should be very efficient even if you are planning on using YouTube Live.
There are some other benefits of using ExpressVPN that don’t get as much publicity on Reddit and other sites that share feedback on VPNs. One is the security features. This may not sound like a big deal for watching YouTube videos, but it is important. There are security risks with using YouTube:
- YouTube publishers often embed links in their videos. While these links are generally harmless and are only meant to promote their own sites, some can be used for malicious purposes. They can be download links for keyloggers or other viruses.
- Advertisers may also embed malware in their content. The Google advertising team is pretty good at vetting ads for harmful content, but things often fall through the cracks. The QA process seems to be automated and advertisers can change their links after the fact and redirect them to harmful sites. Their servers can also be hacked and directed to malicious sites.
ExpressVPN won’t offer perfect protection against these risks, but it does give you an extra layer of protection.
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
As I noted at the top, the VPN I have always used for viewing YouTube videos is ExpressVPN, and it is this one I will be illustrating this article with.
So to begin with, you will need to visit the ExpressVPN website, which you can do by clicking one of the links on this page. Once there, you will have the choice of the variety of packages.
Once you have taken your pick you will be diverted to a payment page, where you can follow the straightforward instructions to make your payment using any one of the various internationally recognized payment methods.
Don’t worry. If you’re not completely satisfied, there is a no quibbles, 30-day money back guarantee offer.
Once your payment has been completed, you will then have to confirm your account via an email.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
Once you have completed this process, you will be invited to download and install the ExpressVPN software. You will need to choose the right software for your device and operating system, but ExpressVPN is available for pretty much all of them.
Be sure to choose the right one for you, and then follow the simple download instructions.
Step 3: Connect to Desired Server Location on VPN
Once you have downloaded and installed the software, you will have the option to choose which of their wide variety of servers you want to connect to.
So, pick a server in the country needed to unblock the YouTube video you want to watch, and click connect. The connection should take just a few moments.
It is important to choose your country carefully. You obviously don’t want to connect to a server in a country where YouTube is blocked! I would generally recommend connecting to a server in the United States or Canada, unless you want to access a video that is only licensed in another country.
If you want to watch various videos which are blocked to different locations, worry not. ExpressVPN allows you to reconnect to different servers whenever you like.
Here's how ExpressVPN software looks when connecting on my Macbook:
Step 4: Watch Unblocked YouTube Videos
And once you have done that, the YouTube video you want to watch should become available. If you encounter another blocked video, all you have to do is reopen the ExpressVPN software and connect to a new server. It should take you no more than a few seconds, and give you many hours of entertainment.
This concludes my super quick guide on how to get YouTube unblocked videos on any and every device you happen to stumble across blocked videos on.
It is also good to be aware of some of the other issues that come with using YouTube. In addition to dealing with blocked content, you have to watch out for malware and be prepared for the possibility that your ISP may be snooping on you. These may be even more important reasons to use a VPN, which will offer you a much stronger protection. This is particularly important if you are looking at videos that may be highly controversial (even if totally legal), since a growing number of countries are snooping on their citizens.
While I recommend ExpressVPN, there are other VPN providers on the market worth looking into.
Should you want to check out some more VPN providers then check out the three I recommend below. These are the three providers I found most impressive for the price, so each are worth giving a try:
Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions or feedback at all definitely let me know in the comments section below.