Learn How to Unblock Geo-restricted YouTube Videos

article by Amber H. author
Many YouTube videos are geo-restricted, or blocked by Government and Corporate filters. However, do not despair! You can easily bypass these restrictions by using a VPN to fake where you are located.
In this article

Why Can’t I Watch This YouTube Video?

The YouTube regional error is widely considered to be the number one issue YouTube viewers face. YouTube is powered by cutting-edge technology and rarely, if ever, will you encounter technical issues. However, many videos on YouTube are geo-blocked and can only be viewed from specific locations. There are two reasons for just why a video may have location restrictions.

The first reason is that although many free TV networks (and even cable networks occasionally) stream their content for free on YouTube, they restrict access to viewers from outside the region. For example, BT Sport live-streamed the Europa League and Champions League finals in 2016 on YouTube, but restricted access to non-British IP addresses. Someone from outside the region attempting to view the stream will be confronted with a message stating “this video is not available in your country.”

The second, and slightly more alarming reason why YouTube videos may be blocked in your country is that international governments can block content which contains material they wish to keep censored. Certain countries, such as China, Pakistan, Syria, and Turkmenistan block YouTube outright, other countries only restrict certain videos.

For example, in May 2013, all videos which were critical of the Malaysian government were blocked in Malaysia. Also, after the Moscow Metro bombings in 2010, a video went viral in Russia claiming responsibility for the attack. The Russian government removed the video, claiming it contained “inappropriate content.” Selective censorship of individual videos is slightly more complicated than banning the service outright, but governments who don’t want to run afoul of Human Rights NGOs prefer this method as it is usually less obvious than just blocking the whole site.

Additionally, YouTube viewers may find certain videos are blocked, not by location but due to age restrictions. YouTube grants users the option of blocking any content which is deemed age-restricted, i.e. adult material which may be inappropriate for younger viewers. Family filters and school networks typically block any YouTube video which is judged to be unsavory. To bypass these local filters you can probably just use an unblock YouTube proxy, but for the more serious geo-blocks and government filters, you’ll need a VPN. Not familiar with VPN yet? go a head and read our extensive vpn for beginners guide.

How Does a VPN Unblock YouTube Videos?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a remote network which you connect to via your home or public network. Once you’re connected, you will access the web provided by the VPN, via servers which can provide IP addresses from virtually any country in the world. This helps to hide your true location and identity and to bypass geo-restrictions and government censorship. Furthermore, as well as being a great to tool to unblock YouTube videos, a good VPN service is also far more secure than a regular home network and can offer significantly better cyber security and defense against hackers and malware.

Selecting the Right VPN

In order to be a suitable VPN to unblock YouTube, the VPN service must have the following features:

  • Unlimited Bandwidth: Watching YouTube videos uses up a lot of bandwidth and if the VPN provider has a limit, you’ll use it up quickly.
  • Fast Speeds: Typically, a VPN service offers slightly slower speeds than regular internet. Make sure the VPN isn’t too slow so that you can’t enjoy HD videos.
  • Many server locations: Video content may be restricted to any country. Choose a VPN provider which offers servers in many countries so you’re never locked out.
  • Secure Encryption: This is especially pertinent if you’re trying to access YouTube from a country which has strict censorship laws and you don’t want your online activities to be traced by government agencies. Strong encryption can ensure that your privacy isn’t compromised.
  • No Data Retention: Some VPN services record their user’s activities. This too can be problematic for the above mentioned reasons.

The Best YouTube VPNs

#1 ExpressVPN – Streaming Dedicated Servers

ExpressVPN Logo

ExpressVPN is arguably the best VPN for YouTube. It uses an ultra-secure 256-bit AES encryption and doesn’t retain any logs, which ensures total anonymity online. It also offers geo-spoofing to 90+ countries, so you can enjoy the full array of YouTube videos to your heart’s content without ever getting blocked by annoying geo-restrictions.

Additional Features: ExpressVPN is compatible with all operating systems, such as Windows, iOS, and Android. It also provides fast-speeds and unlimited bandwidth so you should be able to stream as many YouTube Videos in 1080HP or even 4K Ultra-HD with no issues.

Cost per month: $12.95 with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Now ExpressVPN – Risk Free – 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

For more information on ExpressVPN features, read our extensive ExpressVPN review.

#2 NordVPN – Security First

nord-vpn

NordVPN is another great option for a VPN for YouTube. It too is extremely reliable and secure as it uses a double-encryption to prevent any third-party from intercepting your data or monitoring your online activities. It’s ideal for YouTube as it can easily bypass regional restrictions and access geo-blocked content.

Additional Features: NordVPN works great with PC, Mac, and Linux. It offers fast speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and over a 1000 servers in 60+ countries.

Cost per month: $11.95 with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Now NordVPN – Risk Free – 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

For more information on NordVPN features, read our extensive NordVPN review.

#3 Hotspot Shield – US Based VPN

hotspotshield 210x100

Hotspot Shield is a US-based VPN which uses an SSL encryption level and it doesn’t retain any user logs, so you can be sure your online identity remains hidden. It also provides ultra-high speeds and unlimited bandwidth, so if you’re looking to stream many videos, use Hotspot Shield VPN YouTube .

Cost per month: $12.99 with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Hotspot Shield – Risk Free – 45 Day Money Back Guarantee

For more information on Hotspot Shield features, read our extensive Hotspot Shield review.

Setting Up Your VPN

Before you begin the set up process, get yourself a VPN client subscription. If you are a beginner, we strongly advise you to begin with ExpressVPN. It features a simple UI and friendly customer support.

To set up a VPN for YouTube, you need to first subscribe to a quality VPN service (our list below can help you choose a safe and reliable VPN). Once you’ve subscribed you should receive an email with your username, password, and a server address – these are known as your ‘account credentials’.

Then follow these steps:

For Windows 10 users:

  1. Search for and open the Network and Internet panel.
  2. Click on VPN, then select “Add a VPN connection”
  3. Enter your account credentials in the appropriate boxes.
  4. Choose what type of VPN you want to use, either SSTP, L2TP, etc. (Novice users should just select “automatic.”)
  5. Click “save”

For Mac users:

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click on “Network.”
  2. Click on the “Add” button in the list, then click on the Interface pop-up menu, then choose VPN.
  3. Click the VPN Type pop-up menu, then choose what kind of VPN connection you want, L2TP, IPSec, etc.)
  4. Choose a name for your VPN service and click Create.
  5. Enter your account credentials.
  6. Click OK, then click Connect.

After you connect, you should be able to choose your desired location in the VPN’s settings.

Why We Love YouTube So Much

YouTube is the largest video portal in the world. It was created in 2005 and was subsequently sold to Google for over $1 billion in 2006. Since then it has grown exponentially and nowadays, more 18-49 year olds watch video on YouTube than any cable TV network – on mobile alone.

Over 300 hours of video footage are uploaded every minute, and it’s estimated that 95% of the world’s population watch worldwide in 70+ languages. Over 80% of YouTube viewers come from outside the US, but the US is still ranked highest in terms of viewership per country, with India and the UK coming in at joint 2nd.

YouTube has over 1,000,000,000 per day, and people with popular YouTube Channels, such as KSI, HolaSoyGerman, and YuYa generate millions of dollars each year with their staggeringly high view counts. Newly released videos from popular channels are viewed millions of times in a couple of days, putting them on a par with top Netflix and HBO programs which have significantly higher budgets. Unfortunately, just like Netflix has geo-restrictions and regional blocks, so does YouTube.

Conclusion

If you want to access all that YouTube has to offer, then a VPN can enable you to do just that. Governments try to censor information that makes them look bad, filters prevent access to ‘unsuitable’ content and copyright laws means certain videos remain geo-blocked. A VPN can bypass all of these blocks and grant you unrestricted access to the incredible world of YouTube.

16 comments
Jordan says:

Speeds on Hotspot Shield are ok, but really liking ExpressVPN better. Important for good video quality.

Cathryn says:

Been using this also to watch BBC anonymously from Iran. Thanks.

Ed says:

Anyone know if this works for the Olympics?

Marcus P. says:

NordVPN has been great letting me get at YT broadcast of Champions League. Great!

Ellen Dyson says:

Is it only ExpressVPN that allows 4k streaming? Ideally I’m looking for a cheaper option, but I don’t want to loose the ability to watch HD.

Thanks,
Ellen

Neville P says:

How come loads of music is blocked? I’m in the UK so I can’t see why the government would block access to songs?

Eliza says:

YESS!! I’ve been looking for a way to solve this problem for SO LONG!! thanks so much!!

Jonas Pohl says:

hi, I have a problem. I like to watch YouTube when I work but I am based in Germany, so there is lots of copyright restrictions. I managed to get ExpressVPN to bypass the issues but then discovered a massive issue: it changes the rest of my web as well!!! Is there a way I can make the VPN client only work on the YouTube tab but not anywhere else?

Elizabeth says:

Thank you for this article. Geo-blocked videos on Youtube are really annoying.

Fran says:

I wish there were a free version of one of these services just for unblocking Youtube.

Tara says:

I cannot imagine living in a country that limits free speech by blocking YouTube videos!

Sheldon says:

I thought ExpressVPN did keep connection logs but not activity logs. Did this policy change?

Bucky says:

Hotspot Shield has been solid for me over the last year or so unblocking YouTube and other sites. Never have problems with speeds. Actually, I do sometimes have problems with Hulu. Some servers they catch as being VPN and others they don’t. Why is this?

Festus says:

Any of these options have a free version rather than having to pay first? I don’t want to pay $12 a month and not know for sure it works. Don’t want to go through the hassle of having to cancel.

Michael says:

Is YouTube really that big of a deal where you have to worry about unblocking it with VPN? I could see maybe Netflix, but YouTube? What about YouTube Red? Can you unblock that? It would seem that if Netflix is blocking VPNs, YouTube Red will too.

Jessie says:

I tell you, I don’t know what I would do if I weren’t able to get to YouTube or Netflix while traveling. I would be so bummed. My boss told me to signup for Nord before I went on my first business trip and so far (knock on wood), I have not been disappointed. I can’t speak for the others, but Nord is pretty awesome.