2 Best VPNs for Unblocking Youku | Safe & Fast for 2023
Since YouTube is blocked in China, Youku has taken over as one of the country's most popular streaming sites. However, in the same way that you can't watch YouTube inside China, you can't watch Youku outside of China either.
Some content can still be viewed in other countries, but the majority of the videos on Youku, including its movies and TV shows, are geoblocked to anyone watching without a Chinese IP address.
Luckily, IP addresses can be geo-spoofed. A VPN can trick Youku into thinking you're watching from China, giving you access to the entire website.
Short on Time? Here Are the Best VPNs for Youku
Why You Need a VPN for Youku
China is infamous for its censorship. Content is often geoblocked — both for citizens within China and for those outside the country who want to view Chinese websites.
Youku falls under the latter category. Sometimes known as the 'Chinese YouTube', Youku actually offers a lot more than the international video hosting site.
As well as user-uploaded content, Youku now streams hundreds of TV shows and movies too. In order to comply with international streaming regulations, this content is geo-restricted to people living in China.
If you want to watch Youku from outside of China, you'll need a VPN.
The trick to streaming Youku from anywhere in the world is to make the streaming site think you're based in China. You can do this by geo-spoofing your IP address with a VPN.
A VPN redirects your traffic through one of its own servers in order to disguise your true IP address. When you connect to Youku, the streaming site will detect the VPN's IP address instead.
If you use a VPN with servers in China, Youku will think you're in China and unblock all of its content.
The difficulty is finding a VPN that has servers in China. The country has cracked down on VPN usage in recent years, so only a handful of VPNs have working servers in the region.
That's Not All a VPN Can Do
When the VPN reroutes your data, it does so through an encrypted tunnel. This means all of your traffic is encrypted and private — no one can detect or monitor your online activity.
Keeping your online behavior private in this way prevents any third parties from spying on you or intercepting your traffic in order to steal sensitive information. A VPN can stop hackers, ad companies, and government agencies in their tracks.
If you're currently traveling outside of China but are planning to return, a VPN can be particularly useful for defending your privacy against the government.
VPNs like ExpressVPN are also capable of bypassing the Great Firewall. If you connect to a server outside of China, you can access all of the geoblocked content that has been censored by the Chinese government.
Remember though, most VPNs are blocked in China, so you will need to download and install your VPN before you return.
Best VPNs for Youku
Tested February 2023 Try Risk-Free for 30 Days
- 1,800 servers in 80 countries
- 5 devices per license
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Works with: Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Youku, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more
- Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, Chrome, macOS, and more
Quick, simple, and easy-to-use, Hotspot Shield is great for streaming Youku. This VPN is one of the rare services to offer servers in China and offers unlimited bandwidth that allows you to stream as much content as you like.
Impressive speeds come courtesy of the VPN's innovative Catapult Hydra protocol. Hotspot Shield is capable of unblocking Netflix, so you should have no problem with Youku.
As you stream, you'll be protected by military-grade encryption, DNS and IP leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and a malware blocker.
You don't need to take our word for it, you can read reviews from real Hotspot Shield users first or try the service out with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
- 1,350 servers in 40 countries
- 5 devices per license
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Works with: Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Youku, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, and more
- Compatible with: Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, macOS, and more
Perhaps not as well known as some of the bigger services, FlyVPN nonetheless has servers that work in China. Its Hong Kong base means that FlyVPN offers excellent speeds in China.
Like our other recommendations, FlyVPN also gives all users unlimited bandwidth. Your privacy is taken care of by military-grade, AES 256-bit encryption. Real users particularly praise the VPN's base in Hong Kong for being outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance.
FlyVPN can be a bit more expensive than other options but it is worth it if you want Chinese servers with the best speeds. You can try out the VPN for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee as long as you pay with PayPal or AliPay.
Can I use a free VPN for Youku?
It's extremely hard to find a free VPN that offers strong enough servers to bypass the Great Firewall of China. Personally, I have yet to find one that doesn't make you pay to use the best streaming servers for China. Most limit your access to servers, throttle speeds, or set really low data caps. The worst free VPNs even spam your devices with malware or sell your personal browsing habits to third-parties for a profit.
That's why I recommend using Hotspot Shield, it can bypass tough restrictions for China and it comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Are VPNs illegal in China?
No. That said, citizens need a special license to use one and can get fines if they use a VPN to get around China's internet restrictions. No visitor has ever been fined or jailed for using one without a license though. In addition, individuals in most places in the world can use a VPN to bypass the Great Firewall and it's completely legal. For more information on where VPNs are legal, check out this guide.
What's the fastest VPN for China?
ExpressVPN offers the fastest speeds I have found for China, you hardly notice a drop in speeds when you connect for the first time and it works well for torrenting, gaming, and streaming. It also backs its service with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can buy a plan stress and commitment free.
Start Streaming Youku from Anywhere
It can be tricky to find a VPN with working servers in China but, if you stick to our recommendations, you should have no trouble unblocking Youku.
If you do live in China and only need a VPN to watch Youku temporarily, you may want to use a more secure VPN on your return. Our top recommendation is ExpressVPN but you can find a full list of the best VPNs for China here.
Interested in finding out more about unblocking Chinese websites when you're outside of the country? Here's a guide to getting a Chinese IP address from anywhere.
Or, if you want to know more about Chinese censorship, read our article on why VPNs are illegal in China.
To summarize, the Best VPNs for Youku in 2023 are:
Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!
Your IP Address:
Your Internet Provider:
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.