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Unblock YouTube Videos From Anywhere in 2023 [FAST]

You finally find the video you're looking for, click the title, and receive the dreaded error message: Video unavailable: The uploader has not made this video available in your country.

screenshot of YouTube error messageSome YouTube videos are unavailable in certain countries

If this has you yelling at your computer screen in frustration, I have some good news for you. There are many ways to access your YouTube account, and I have compiled a quick and simple guide to save you some time.

Why is YouTube Blocked?

There are many reasons that YouTube might be restricted or blocked on your network. If you're at school or work, a network administrator may have blocked access to YouTube on the company or school network using a firewall. Many workplaces and schools implement these restrictions to remove distractions and increase productivity. These rules are important and should be observed, but we also believe in open access to information and freedom online.

If you live in a country with strict online censorship, you might find that authorities have blocked your access to YouTube. Online censorship can vary in its severity. For example, all of YouTube is blocked in China (though there's still a way to use it there), but in South Korea, only some videos have been barred. Turkey on the other hand seems like it’s blocking YouTube on a case-by-case basis. It has done so after a deadly explosion in Istanbul in November 2022.

Even in countries where YouTube is not censored, like Australia, copyright laws mean that YouTube uses geoblocking software to block some videos from being played by users in that region. For example, a television network might post a preview that is licensed to be shown only in the US, so YouTube will prevent users in other countries from playing it in line with copyright laws.

Just like there are many reasons YouTube might be blocked, there are many different ways to access it.

5 Easy Ways to Unblock YouTube

1. Use a VPN to Access YouTube

Using a VPN (a virtual private network) is the easiest and most secure way to unblock YouTube.

VPNs are a great option for online security, privacy, and unblocking content that has been restricted by firewalls, censorship, or geoblocking technology. It’s a simple app that masks your real IP address and assigns you a new one from the country of your choice. To YouTube and the firewall, it will look like you are accessing the internet from a different location.

VPNs encrypt all of the data that is transmitted over your connection, so your network administrators and ISP will not be able to see the content that you're accessing.

Quick Guide: How to Unblock YouTube From Anywhere in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN because it offers obfuscated servers for added security, fast speeds for HD streaming, and easy-to-use apps.
  2. Connect to a server. Choose a server in a country where YouTube or that particular video isn’t blocked. If you're simply trying to bypass a firewall at school or work, select a server close to your physical location.
  3. Start watching YouTube. Log in to your YouTube account and start watching your favorite videos as you would normally.

Watch YouTube With ExpressVPN

2. Unblock YouTube by Modifying its URL

Modifying a website's URL is a simple way to trick the firewall on your network. Most network administrators manually block websites by adding their URLs to a blacklist. If your network administrator has only added YouTube's main URL, http://www.youtube.com, to the blacklist you may be able to bypass this by typing https://www.youtube.com into your address bar instead. Note that this can help you access the site only if the HTTPS URL isn’t blacklisted as well.

Unfortunately, this trick will only work on local network firewalls and won't work on content that is censored or geoblocked in your region.

3. Use a YouTube Proxy or Add-On to Access YouTube

A proxy works similarly to a VPN but is far less reliable and secure. When you connect to a proxy, your traffic is filtered through its server to make it appear as though you're in a different location. This allows you to access YouTube on your school/work network or watch that particular YouTube video that isn’t available in your country. However, proxies aren’t designed to bypass censorship.

Unlike a VPN, proxies do not encrypt your data. This means that network administrators, ISPs, and internet censorship bodies will be able to see what sites you visit. It also leaves your personal data open to malicious attacks.

There are three main ways to connect to a proxy: using a proxy website, manually connecting through your browser, and using a browser add-on.

You can find many proxy websites online, and they are relatively easy to connect to. However, you will generally need to refresh the proxy every time you load a new page which can be very time-consuming and frustrating.

Alternatively, you may choose to configure a proxy of your own. This requires some technical know-how, but once you are set up, you will be able to access content without refreshing the proxy each time you load a page.

An easier alternative to setting up a manual proxy is to use a browser add-on such as Ultrasurf or ProxTube. These add-ons create a link between your device and a proxy server, but your choice of service will be limited depending on your device and browser.

All of these options have certain limitations and cons, so I recommend using a VPN instead. It works in a similar way, but it’s much more secure and reliable than a proxy.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free

4. Download YouTube Videos Directly Without Unblocking YouTube

There are several websites that allow you to download YouTube videos to watch locally on your device, but it may take some trial and error to find one that is right for you. This method may be a good solution if you want to watch a particular video. However, you'll only be able to watch the videos that you downloaded and you'll need to know which one you want to watch before you download it.

To download a video, you will first need to search for it on Google. A URL will appear under the video's title in your search results, and you'll need to copy this and paste it into the YouTube download site that you've chosen. From there, you'll be able to download it to your device. Although this method is slow and cumbersome, it does allow you to store videos on your device to watch later or offline.

5. Use Tor to Unblock YouTube Videos

Tor is a secure internet browser that hides users' IP addresses to allow them to access and share online content anonymously. You can download it for free, but you'll need administrative privileges on the device you're using to install it.

When you use Tor, your data is routed through its network of servers where data packs will jump through several relays and exit the network at their destination. This security measure prevents network administrators, ISPs, and hackers from tracking your online activity. The relays (aka nodes) can be voluntarily provided by any Tor user’s network. But this means that even though your data is encrypted, some of it is still vulnerable when it reaches the entry and exit nodes.

However, using Tor with a compatible VPN can be a powerful security tool. A VPN will encrypt your data end-to-end and it will not be visible even after it leaves the network, ensuring that your data is protected even if Tor is hacked or otherwise compromised.

Tor was designed to keep access to information free in the face of authoritarian and malevolent governments. It wasn't designed for streaming, and due to its relatively slow speeds and low bandwidth, videos are likely to load very slowly. So if you decide on the Tor + VPN combo, you need to make sure that your VPN provides fast and consistent speeds in order to minimize the drop.

Try ExpressVPN With Tor

Best VPNs for Accessing YouTube From Anywhere in 2023

1. ExpressVPN — Top-Notch Security to Safely Access YouTube on Any Network

  • Advanced security features that keep your data safe and private
  • 3,000+ obfuscated servers to help you change your IP address
  • Fast and consistent speeds for streaming
  • 5 simultaneous connections to watch YouTube on your devices
  • Can unblock: YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
ExpressVPN Offer February 2023: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers in 94 countries. All its servers are obfuscated if you choose the automatic protocol option. Obfuscation gives you another layer of security and helps the VPN avoid being detected by any network. This is because it makes your VPN connection look like regular traffic.

During testing, my speeds were fast on all servers no matter the distance. I could watch YouTube videos in HD without any issues since my speeds were always above 26 Mbps. Only 5 Mbps are required for HD streaming.

Lightway is ExpressVPN's proprietary protocol, and can actually help increase speeds for streaming. It also offers the industry-standard OpenVPN protocol, which is still fast for streaming but a bit more secure. To protect your data, it features military-grade encryption, perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch, and private DNS on every server.

ExpressVPN only uses RAM, which means not even temporary, unidentifiable data is ever stored on an HDD. All files are immediately deleted after each session, for a truly no-logs experience.

It also features a Smart DNS called MediaStreamer if you want to watch YouTube on devices that don’t support VPNs, like gaming consoles. This feature is optimized for streaming US and UK content, so you’ll be able to access YouTube TV as well. ExpressVPN can unblock more than YouTube though, it's strong enough to bypass anti-VPN technologies for major streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and more.

Even though it’s a bit expensive, with a lowest price of $6.67/month for a long-term plan, ExpressVPN is worth every penny with the security and convenience it provides.

It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free with YouTube. If you’re not completely satisfied, you can get a full refund by contacting support through the 24/7 live chat.

Watch YouTube With ExpressVPN

2. CyberGhost — Servers Optimized for Streaming YouTube Reliably

  • YouTube-optimized servers for easy access
  • Fast speeds for streaming
  • 7 simultaneous device connections with 1 account
  • Can unblock: YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
February 2023 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 84% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost has 9,753 servers in 91 countries, including some optimized servers for YouTube and YouTube TV. These dedicated servers are regularly maintained to make sure their IPs work to unblock YouTube. They were almost always faster than the regular servers during my tests.

The speeds are fast for downloading YouTube videos too since it offers P2P-optimized servers too. It’s not as consistent as ExpressVPN on long distances, but I could still watch videos without buffering. Plus you get up to 7 simultaneous connections per license.

CyberGhost offers split tunneling, military-grade AES encryption, a no-logs policy, and even public WiFi protection for watching content on the go. That means you can safely browse YouTube channels from your favorite coffee shop without worrying about tracking, hackers, or malware.

This VPN doesn’t come with obfuscated servers or a separate obfuscation feature, so it doesn’t work in China. However, it’s still reliable enough for accessing YouTube safely on work or school networks or watching videos not available in your current location.

It also has an extended 45-day money-back guarantee that allows you to test all of its features if you choose a long-term plan. If you opt to get a refund, you just need to contact its customer support.

Watch YouTube With CyberGhost

3. PrivateVPN — Stealth VPN to Watch YouTube in Restrictive Countries

  • Stealth VPN obfuscation that disguises VPN traffic into regular one
  • Fast speeds for streaming
  • 10 simultaneous connections to watch YouTube on multiple devices
  • Can unblock: YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more

PrivateVPN comes with a feature called Stealth VPN, which is designed to make the VPN work in countries like China. This means that it can give you access to YouTube in such countries. I enabled it just by toggling the switch on in the Stealth VPN menu.

Just like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost, PrivateVPN uses AES military-grade encryption, offers OpenVPN protocols, a kill switch, and private DNS servers for better data privacy. A kill switch helps prevent your true location from being tracked if the VPN server goes down unexpectedly, by cutting access to the internet for any apps running through the VPN.

The drawback is that my tests showed that its speeds aren’t always consistent. However, you can reduce the speed drop by connecting to a server that’s near your location and still have a good streaming experience.

PrivateVPN’s prices start from $2/month for a long-term plan. Its short-term plans are a good option too if you need a VPN for a limited time.

You can try it out using its risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. If it doesn’t meet your expectations, you can contact its customer service through live chat or email.

Watch YouTube With PrivateVPN

FAQs on Accessing YouTube With a VPN

Why are some YouTube videos banned or unavailable in my country?

There are a few reasons why YouTube videos may be banned or unavailable in your country, they include:

  • Government restrictions or laws that limit what type of content citizens are allowed to view.
  • Copyright, trademark, licensing, and other usage laws that prohibit content to be shown outside of a specific region.
  • The uploader has simply not made the content viewable in your region.

In the first two instances, geoblocks and even anti-VPN technologies may be used to try to prevent access from outside the contents designated region. However, there are VPNs designed specifically to get around all these restrictions. For instance, ExpressVPN reliably bypasses geoblocks by regularly maintaining its IPs and comes with obfuscated servers to avoid VPN blocking.

The third usually involves the uploader trying to (a) prevent getting in trouble regarding government or license restrictions, or (b) adhere to the restrictions placed on content by restricting viewing to the proper areas. Other uploaders may simply be trying to keep videos private or unlisted for personal reasons.

Is using a VPN to access YouTube videos illegal?

No, using a VPN to access YouTube videos isn't illegal. Using VPNs in general isn't even illegal in most places, but there are a few exceptions. For instance, North Korea bans them altogether, while China only allows government-approved VPNs. Fortunately, so far, there haven’t been cases of tourists being fined for using a VPN there. But it might be different for citizens. The team and I don’t condone any illegal activities and we recommend that you always get familiar with the laws of your country or the country you’re visiting.

Can I use a free VPN to unblock YouTube?

Yes, but they all come with some type of restriction. Whether it's speed, bandwidth, data, or server switching you're likely to be limited in a way that will make it hard to watch YouTube for too long.

Plus, they can be very unsafe and infect your device with malware. Most free VPNs also log your data and sometimes even sell it to third-party advertisers for profit. That’s why I always recommend getting a premium VPN with a money-back guarantee. With it, you avoid all limitations and dangers that free VPNs come with.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free

Final Verdict

If your access to YouTube is limited by firewalls or geoblocking, a VPN is the easiest, fastest, and most secure way to get back on your account. Additionally, a VPN will keep your connection private and secure so that network administrators, ISPs, and censorship authorities won't be able to see the content you're accessing.

Out of all the VPNs I tested, my favorite one is ExpressVPN because it was the best overall. It has obfuscated servers, fast speeds, and advanced security features. You can even try it out risk-free with YouTube for 30 days since it comes with a money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, you can easily get a full refund.

To summarize, the best VPNs for unblocking YouTube are…

Rank
Provider
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1
medal
9.8 /10
Save 49%!
2
9.8 /10
Save 84%!
3
9.6 /10
Save 84%!
Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

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The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

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About the Author

Kate is a technology researcher and human rights columnist, animal lover, and all-round TV binge-watching enthusiast.

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