You set up your computer in your hotel on your business trip to China and type “YouTube.com” into the browser in the hopes of catching up on some news and videos. But to your dismay, the site is blocked. Now what are you going to do?
YouTube is one of the biggest sites in the world. More than a billion unique visitors watch videos there every single month. Nonetheless, there are also billions of people who are left out in the cold without access to YouTube videos. There are a number of governments which censor YouTube. Additionally, many schools and employers restrict access as well.
Thankfully, there is a solution, and that is to download a VPN to use with YouTube.
Best VPNs To Unblock and Watch YouTube
Why Do You need a VPN for YouTube?
First of all, if you are not familiar with VPNs, the abbreviation “VPN” stands for “virtual private network.” A VPN is a proxy through which you access the internet. The secure encryption hides your true location, so websites think you are accessing the web from somewhere else.
In other words, you could be sitting at a laptop in China, but your VPN could tell YouTube that you are actually located in the USA, the UK, or another country of your choice.
That means that using a VPN, you can access YouTube from any network anywhere in the world.
But Why Is YouTube Blocked in the First Place?
There are a couple of reasons why YouTube can be hard to access:
1. Governments Censor Free Speech
This is a big one. Governments of closed societies want to maintain their power, and that means taking steps to ensure that members of the populace do not question their established norms.
YouTube has a lot of content which calls the leaders and governments of these autocratic nations into question. If people in these countries were able to watch this content, they could glean valuable information, perspectives and insights which might inspire them to rise up in defense of their basic human rights.
Some countries which have blocked YouTube include:
- China: YouTube has been banned in China since the country demanded that YouTube remove videos of police assaulting protestors in Tibet back in 2009.
- Iran: This is another country which has blocked YouTube multiple times. The first was in 2006, when the site was broadly declared “immoral.” The ban was reinstated three years later in 2009 following the Iranian presidential election. It was banned yet again in 2012 following the release of the film Innocence of Muslims.
- Syria: While Syria briefly unblocked YouTube in early 2011, following the start of the civil war, it has remained banned ever since.
- Pakistan: This is another country which banned YouTube when Google refused to take down the trailer for Innocence of Muslims. The ban was officially lifted in January 2016, but only because there is now a local version for YouTube in Pakistan. To access the main (uncensored) version, you still need a VPN.
- Turkmenistan: This country blocked YouTube in 2009 for “security reasons” along with a few other popular sites such as LiveJournal.
These are not the only countries which have banned YouTube repeatedly over the years. Others include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Russia, North Korea, the Sudan and South Sudan, Thailand, Tajikistan, and the United Arab Emirates.
Even countries such as Germany have blocked certain videos on YouTube as a result of music rights disputes.
2. YouTube May Be Blocked at Work or School
The other common reason for YouTube to be blocked relates to productivity. At work or school, administrators may choose to block YT access in an attempt to reduce distractions. This can happen in any country. So even if you are in the USA, you may find YouTube banned on certain networks.
Network administrators also sometimes block YouTube in order to ensure that company resources are not being chewed up by users streaming videos.
What to Look for in a VPN for YouTube
When selecting a VPN to use for YouTube videos, look for one which offers the following features:
1. Fast servers
Obviously while you are streaming video, the last thing you want to be dealing with is lag. So make sure that you pick a VPN which has a reputation for speed. That way you can enjoy your YouTube videos uninterrupted.
2. No bandwidth caps
If there are caps on your bandwidth, that may also stand in the way of a smooth YouTube viewing experience. Look for a VPN with unlimited bandwidth.
3. Many countries to choose from
Because YouTube is routinely banned in so many countries—even some unexpected ones like Germany—you should choose a VPN which allows you to access YT content from all over the world. An ample selection of European and North American servers is a must.
4. No logging
If you are accessing content your government has blocked, you could get in trouble with the authorities. For that reason, it is essential to use a VPN which has a strict no-log policy and will not be able to pass on personally identifiable information should Big Brother come calling.
Can You Use a Free VPN for YouTube?
In theory, yes. In practice, no. The problem with free VPNs is that they severely restrict your speed. Realistically, you will be dealing with a lot of lag. In many cases, you also may not be able to trust free VPN providers to protect your anonymity if it comes to pressure from the authorities. So it is strongly recommended that you choose a reputable paid VPN provider.
Best VPN Youtube Conclusion: A VPN Gives You Unrestricted Access to Watch All Of YouTube’s Video Content
Whether you live in a country where YouTube is banned, are visiting a foreign country and want to access YT, or you simply want to watch videos at work or at school, a VPN provides you with secure, unlimited access to all that YouTube has to offer. Throw off the shackles of tyranny and enter into a world of free information and diverse perspectives. Scroll back up to our table at the top of the page to view our recommended VPNs for YouTube!