YouTube is not meant to be restricted. Unfortunately, sometimes it is. For whatever reason, whether it is because of a firewall or a geographic restriction preventing you from accessing YouTube at the office, at school, or when you’re traveling in another country, there is usually a very easy way to go around it. Read this guide and learn how to unblock YouTube from anywhere.
How to unblock YouTube with a VPN
A VPN, or virtual private network, is a tool that allows users to browse the web in a secure and anonymous manner. Other than providing a layer of encrypted online protection and anonymity, VPNs are also great for accessing geo-blocked websites. Here’s what you need to know about VPNs and their role in unblocking YouTube:
- Encryption method: The VPN software works in a way that it reroutes your online activity, and instead of your data going directly to the ISP, it first goes to the VPN client where it is encrypted and then goes to the ISP in a new, encrypted form. The VPN encrypts all traces of your online activity. Even if someone were to access your data, all they would see is encrypted nonsense.
- Changing your location: Geographic restrictions target a specific region or country, and this is one of the main perks that comes from using a VPN. A VPN allows you to connect to VPN servers in other countries, changing the location of your IP address. For instance, if YouTube blocks Canadians from watching some US-based content, you could use a VPN server in the USA and watch the content, eh.
- Protect your personal data: Another great perk that comes from using a VPN is the fact that your online activity is 100% safe and sound. Quality VPNs prevent hackers or other malicious users from getting their hands on your data, and that is mainly due to the strength of the encryption method.
The video below explains how you can change your location on change your location on ExpressVPN:
By using a VPN, you can unblock YouTube, and also enjoy a safe and secure online experience. Out of all of the methods that we’ll go through about unblocking YouTube in this article, I personally recommend going with this one as it brings a lot more than just mere unblocking.
How a VPN unblocks YouTube
YouTube may be restricted in the region or country you’re in, or the site can be included in a firewall’s blacklist in your school or office. Here’s how you can use a VPN to overcome these obstacles:
- Pick a quality VPN specifically good for geo-unblocking
- Install the VPN software on your device
- Pick a VPN server in a country where YouTube is not restricted
- If you’re trying to bypass a firewall at school or at work, simply choose a server near your physical location for optimal speeds
- Enjoy watching YouTube videos safely
This is, in short, how a VPN can help you unblock YouTube and enjoy a safe viewing experience. Changing the virtual location will tell your online destination that your IP address is not from your original location, but from the one that you choose in the VPN software. You’ll be able to bypass geographic restrictions and safely access YouTube.
Just remember, not all VPNs will allow you to access geo-restricted websites. Reading our reviews of the top VPNs for streaming will help you find the perfect VPN for you. Here is the one we recommend the most right now:
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How to unblock YouTube with a proxy
A proxy is similar to a VPN, except that you don’t need to download software as it is accessed through a web browser and the proxy doesn’t encrypt your data. While it does change the location of your IP address, a proxy will do very little to protect the privacy of your personal data, therefore it is a much less reliable solution than a VPN. Here’s what you need to know about proxies:
- What is a proxy: A proxy server works as an intermediary between you and the online destination. When you’re using a proxy server, your online data flows through the proxy server then to the online destination you requested. Just like a VPN, a proxy acts as a middle-person between you and the Internet.
- How is it different from a VPN: The main difference between a proxy and a VPN is the fact that the proxy limits your anonymity. The VPN is configured at the system level so that all traffic goes through the VPN in an encrypted connection, this includes downloading torrent files, streaming music, playing games, and file-sharing. With a proxy server, on the other hand, you don’t get the full treatment. This means that the proxy won’t protect all traffic coming from your device, so if you’re torrenting files, for instance, your personal data is left exposed.
Basically, the only thing that a proxy is doing is hiding your real IP address from websites so that your Internet activities appear to come from somewhere else. There is no extra encryption involved to protect your data, like with a VPN. Although, to be frank, for low-stakes tasks such as watching region-restricted YouTube videos, you wouldn’t need the extra security added by using a VPN. This could, however, not help those up against sophisticated firewalls at all.
How it works
There are three main ways you can connect to a proxy: using a proxy website, manually connecting to a browser, and installing proxy browser add-ons. Here’s how you can unblock YouTube by using a proxy:
- Find a good YouTube proxy
- Set up the YouTube proxy
- Type in the blocked website address
- Enjoy your access to YouTube
Once you’re connected to the proxy server, the proxy will filter all your outgoing data and instead of reaching the ISP and online destination right away, it will first go through the proxy where the data is tweaked and then reach the online destination. Keep in mind that a proxy can have a difficult time getting past most blocks you’ll find at school/work.
How to unblock YouTube by tweaking the URL
Most of the time, when YouTube is restricted in your area it is because of a firewall set to block the website on your network. Most network admins usually block YouTube manually by adding its URL to a blacklist. While this effectively prevents users on that network from having access to the forbidden website, there is a very simple solution to bypass the restriction.
How it works
If you are certain that YouTube has been restricted in the network of your school or office, here’s how you can quickly overcome that:
- How: Instead of writing http://www.youtube.com, try typing https://www.youtube.com and see if the website is unblocked.
- Local networks: Know that this method only works on local network firewalls and can’t unblock content that is geographically blocked in your region.
If you’re certain that the network administrator has added YouTube to the blacklist, this is how in just a few simple steps you can go around it… Unless they already thought of blocking that as well.
How to unblock YouTube by using a Tor browser
Tor is a secure Internet browser that allows users to anonymously access the web. However, given that streaming is one of its main weaknesses, it’s better to use a good VPN. Anyway, if you choose Tor as your main YouTube-unlocking tool, here’s what you need to know about it:
- What is Tor: Tor is a volunteer-based software developed by the Tor Project as free and open-source software which enables anonymous communication. The purpose of Tor is to protect the privacy of users by hiding their online activities. Using Tor makes it difficult for anyone to trace your Internet activity.
- How it works: Tor creates a randomly-assigned path by using specific nodes which the data follows before it reaches the server. For every website you visit, the path toward the online destination is randomly generated, your original IP address is masked, and your data is completely secured.
Tor uses a special method called the onion router (thus the name, Tor) which makes all its users look exactly the same and confuses potential observers and allows users to enjoy full anonymity. Adding the Tor browser as another layer of online protection is a great way to make sure that your online traces can never be found.
How it works
Here’s how you can unblock YouTube with Tor browser in a few simple steps:
- Go to the official website of Tor and download the Tor browser. It is completely free and it operates on most major operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Once it is installed, click on the downloaded file to successfully install the Tor browser.
- Connect to the Tor network.
- Once it is connected, Tor will open a browser similar to Firefox.
- Through the Tor browser you will enjoy free access to YouTube.
However, given that Tor does very little to protect your personal data, for extra protection I recommend you use VPN and Tor simultaneously. When you start the VPN client make sure to browse the web by using Tor, and you will be able to access YouTube and also browse the web in a private and secure manner. This will allow you to enjoy total online protection while watching YouTube.
Be aware that:
- Tor is very slow, and it’s actually not very good for streaming anything over 360p.
- You likely will get a funny look and a talking to from the IT guy at work if you download a private browser onto your work computer.
Tor is not an ideal solution for unblocking YouTube, but it is an option you can try.
How to unblock YouTube by using browser add-ons
You can download various plugins that will allow you to access YouTube even when it is restricted. You can simply turn them on before accessing YouTube and you’ll be good to go. Here’s what you need to know about using browser add-ons to unblock YouTube:
- Similar to proxies: Browser add-ons or extensions work in the same way as proxies. They simply hide your original IP address and provide an anonymous one in a different country.
- No encryption: The downside of using browser add-ons to unblock YouTube is that they don’t use encryption methods to protect your data and only hide your IP address.
In all practical senses, they’re a proxy but with a fancy add-on. They share the same features with a VPN and a proxy, but without the encryption which allows you to boost your online protection.
These extensions are always hot or miss, and are frequently found to be up to no good. If you’re serious about protecting your personal information while watching YouTube videos, read our reviews of the top VPN providers to find a suitable VPN to unblock YouTube. Here’s are the twp we most recommend right now.
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