Youku Toudu, usually shortened to Youku, is the largest video hosting site in China and also one of the most visited websites in that country. Whether you’re a Chinese expat living outside mainland China or an American who loves Chinese movies and videos, Youku is a great place to get all the entertainment you want.
However, watching this content is not so straightforward because access to Youku is restricted and will deny you if you log in from anywhere outside of the Middle Kingdom. However, unlike the Netflix VPN ban, the Youku restrictions can be easily bypassed (something it shares with India’s Hotstar).
In this article, we’ll show you how to get around this geographical restriction, so you can enjoy Youku content from anywhere.
Unblock Youku with Firefox
A popular way to unblock Youku is to use a tool called “Unblock Youku,” especially if you plan to access Youku from your PC or Mac. The app add-on flavors for Firefox and Chrome both and will work on mobile versions of both (if you decide to skip using an app, like we describe below).
If you’re using Firefox browser, go to “https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/unblock-youku/,” download the add-on and install it on your browser.
- Go to “tools” > “options” > “advanced” > “network” > “connection settings”
- Choose “automatic proxy configuration URL”
- Type “http://yo.uku.im/proxy.pac” and click “ok”
Alternately, use an extension called “Come2China” to bypass the China geo-restriction.This extension uses a China proxy server to give you access to Youku.
Unblock Youku with Google Chrome
Getting Unblock Youku for Chrome is much like the process for Firefox.
Go to “https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/unblock-youku/pdnfnkhpgegpcingjbfihlkjeighnddk?hl=en” and follow the installation instructions.
- Open the browser and navigate to this add-on
- Click on the “add to Chrome” option located on the top right hand corner and agree to the terms
- After the installation, you can see a green tick in the address bar
- Now, go to “www.youku.com” and enjoy its extensive video collection
This installation process is fairly simple in all browsers. Still, you may experience some problems at times. For starters, if you have any problems with installing Unblock Youku, check to see whether the PAC-proxy configuration settings were successful.
Don’t worry, it’s simple to check this setting. Go to “www.uku.im/check” to check if your IP is masked to pretend that it’s from mainland China. The browser should return a value of “true” for Youku to work. Otherwise try reinstalling the add-on or extension again.
Sometimes, videos in Youku may not play even if the settings are correct. When this happens, click on the right-hand corner icon in Chrome and this’ll open a dialog box for you. Change the operation mode from normal to redirect and everything should work fine. You won’t have to do this step when you use the Unblock Youku extension from Github.
Installing the Unblock Youku App
“Unblock Youku” app is your best bet for smartphones.
Go to “http://unblcok-youku.en.aptoide.com/?store_name=derzero&app_id=4704740” from your Android phone, download the app and install it on your phone.
For iPads and iPhones, download the app from “https://free.com.tw/unblock-youku-for-ie-firefox-iphone-ipad/.”
If you’re using iOS devices, you’ll have to do some additional steps.
- Turn on WiFi
- Change “HTTP proxy” option to “auto”
- Paste http://yo.uku.im/proxy.pac” into the URL text field
Accessing Youku with a VPN
In addition to these apps and add-ons, you can also use a VPN to access the site using a Chinese IP address. Though this is a bit of a twist considering that we mostly advise using a VPN to avoid the Great Firewall (like in our best VPN for China article), it is a perfectly good way of accessing Youku content.
As more people want to use a VPN to dodge Chinese censorship rather than subject themselves to it, none of our best VPN services have servers there; however, another service we like, PureVPN, does (read our full PureVPN review for more details).
Using a VPN won’t just allow you to access geoblocked content at will (like our best VPN for Netflix), but will also protect you from NSA snooping and ISP spying. We always recommend that people use a VPN to secure their Internet connection or risk being spied on or become a victim of cybercriminals.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can use a VPN service to watch Youku on your smartphone.
- Choose a VPN provider and subscribe to it.
- Download the VPN app from Google play store or from the VPN’s website
- Login with your credentials
- Select servers based in China and click on “connect”
- Open the Youku app to view your favorite Chinese movies and shows
Watching Youku from outside of China is a simple matter of deciding which manner of accessing the service suits you best; as described above each way of doing so is pretty easy.
Let us know in the comments below which method has your preference or if you have figured out something we missed. Thank you for reading.