How to Unblock YouTube in 2021: Video Streaming for Everyone

YouTube can be a distraction at work and a negative influence for school-going teens. While institutions cite that as the reason to block it, it’s unfair for people who want to use YouTube for purely educational purposes. If you’re one of them, read on to learn how to unblock YouTube.

Samson Max
By Samson Max (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2021-08-22T19:37:04+00:00 Facts checked by Elisabeth Ivey

In addition to cat videos and the like, YouTube has a vast collection of excellent, free knowledge. Students use the platform to boost classroom lessons, and high performers at work use it to up-skill. Yet despite YouTube’s educational merits, some learning institutions and workplaces still block it. We’ve put together this guide on how to unblock YouTube to help you get around these restrictions.

Key Takeaways:

  • A VPN is the best way to unblock YouTube at school, work or in countries with strict internet censorship.
  • Google Translate is also an excellent way to unblock YouTube, but it doesn’t provide the security and privacy of a VPN.
  • Proxy servers work, but they don’t encrypt your traffic and are not safe. 
  • Tor will get you into YouTube with ease, but because it sends your traffic through multiple relay nodes, it can be slow. 

Of course, office and school network administrators are justified in blocking YouTube. The entertainment and music videos can be a distraction and productivity killer at work. Plus, it may expose students to inappropriate content, in addition to inflating data costs.

No matter the reason, if YouTube is blocked, our guide has five fixes to get you in. We’ll show you how to unblock YouTube at your workplace or school to easily access the videos you want to watch. If you’re in a country that censors the internet, there’s a solution for you too.

  • 08/16/2021

    Cloudwards updated this article to include five ways to unblock YouTube and added step-by-step instructions using a VPN.

  • The best way to unblock YouTube at school is to use a VPN. If that’s banned, Google Translate is a good way to watch any blocked YouTube video.

  • Install a VPN add-on to your Chrome browser. Open the extension and connect to a country of choice. Lastly, open YouTube on your browser and enjoy watching your favorite videos.

  • If you can’t install a VPN on a corporate or school device, Google Translate is the best solution for you. It gets you into YouTube without slowing down your connection speeds like Tor.

  • Yes, you can, but we strongly advise that you don’t. YouTube unblockers are very often scam websites that try to inject your computer with viruses, or get your personal data, which is why we recommend sticking to a VPN for YouTube.

How to Unblock YouTube at School & Work: 5 Easy Ways

There are several ways to unblock YouTube at school and work, including using:

  • A VPN
  • Google Translate
  • A proxy server
  • Browser extensions
  • Tor

Although all of these applications get you into YouTube, they work differently and some are better suited for certain situations. We’ll show you how to use each tool, starting with a virtual private network (VPN).

1. Watch Blocked YouTube Videos Using a VPN

Using a VPN to skirt YouTube restrictions is as easy as these following three steps. For this example, we used our favorite VPN for YouTube, ExpressVPN.

  1. Download and Install a VPN App

    Head over to your VPN provider’s download page and download an app for your computer. If you’re in school, check out our list of the best VPNs for school. Double-click on the download file and follow along with the installation wizard to complete the setup.

    install vpn software
  2. Connect to a Server

    Once the VPN app is up and running, select a server location and hit the “connect” button. If you’re in a country that bans YouTube entirely, be sure to connect to a server location where YouTube isn’t blocked.

    ExpressVPN app
  3. Open YouTube

    Open YouTube on your browser and search for the video you want to watch. A VPN encrypts your web traffic and changes your IP address, making your location look different from reality. Doing so enables you to access websites blocked at the local network (like school and work) and internet service provider (ISP) levels.

    Enjoy unlimited YouTube streaming

The Best YouTube VPN: Watch Any Video You Want to Watch

We’ve narrowed the options down to three VPN services, so it should be easy for you to pick one with the VPN features you need.

1. ExpressVPN

expressvpn desktop
ExpressVPN lets you connect to over 94 countries to bypass YouTube restrictions to access the videos you want. 

ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, so YouTube videos will load faster and stream without buffering. It’s also secure and gets you around the school firewall with ease. Plus, with more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries, you have a pool of IP addresses to stream most YouTube videos. The only downside is that it’s expensive, but it does come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Read our ExpressVPN review for more information.

2. NordVPN

nordvpn ui us
NordVPN maintains top-notch online security and privacy, allowing you to stream YouTube videos despite blocks.

NordVPN is a VPN with strong security and privacy, and it has an extensive network of over 5,200 servers. It also breezes through school or office firewalls and should get you into YouTube without a hitch. Although it’s not as consistent as ExpressVPN, it’s one of the best VPNs for streaming, which means it delivers excellent YouTube performance. Read our NordVPN review for more information or try it out with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. Windscribe

Windscribe app
Windscribe allows you to bypass online content restrictions and access YouTube videos free of charge. 

Windscribe is the best free VPN for good reason. Though it’s far from the fastest VPN, it’s still fast enough to support buffer-free streaming on YouTube. Its excellent free plan allows you to use 10 server locations and 10GB of data per month, which is enough to stream an occasional YouTube video. Read our Windscribe review for more information.

2. Unblocking YouTube With Google Translate

Sometimes IT administrators will limit permissions to install software on a school or corporate computer, making it difficult to use a VPN to unblock YouTube. This is where Google Translate comes in handy. Google Translate is a useful tool in schools and offices that admins will almost certainly never block within the network, plus you don’t have to install a thing to use it.

Entering a link into Google Translate will output a clickable URL with Google as the domain, not YouTube. Doing so fools the network firewall into thinking you’re accessing Translate, so it lets you watch YouTube videos in the Translate window. Here’s how to do that.

How to Access YouTube With Google Translate

Open Google Translate in your browser, making sure the input language is set to “detect language” and the output language to “English.” Then just paste “www.youtube.com” into the input box and click on the translated link, and you’ll be able to watch YouTube videos in the new window.

Google Translate for blocked video
Google Translate is a handy service that helps you unblock YouTube videos for free.

3. Use a Proxy Server to Watch Blocked YouTube Videos

A proxy server works similarly to a VPN but is less secure; it changes your IP address but doesn’t encrypt or anonymize your traffic. Although the lack of encryption means better connection speed, your personal data and information is easy to find. We do not recommend using a proxy server in most cases, but if you’re still undeterred, here’s how to use it to access YouTube.

How to Access YouTube With a Proxy 

Open the proxy server and paste the YouTube URL (www.youtube.com). YouTube will open in the guise of the proxy’s web page, making it impossible for the firewall to know you’re actually visiting a banned site.

Get YouTube unblocked
Proxy servers enable you to bypass network restrictions to access blocked content, including YouTube videos, though they aren’t safe to use. 

4. Browser Extensions That Unblock YouTube Videos

You can also use a browser extension to unblock YouTube. The add-ons work in tandem with a proxy server to sneak around content firewalls. In other words, Google Chrome extensions like YouTube Unblocker route your traffic via a proxy server. As a result, it has the same pitfalls as a proxy, not to mention some browser add-ons can contain malware. 

5. Unblocking YouTube With Tor

The Onion Router (Tor, for short) bypasses firewalls by hiding your IP address. It sends your web traffic through multiple relay nodes (servers), ensuring the YouTube server only sees the IP of the exit node. It works just like a regular browser does, so all you have to do is use it to access YouTube instead of your regular browser (if your company or school allows you to install it).

The problem with Tor is that sending web traffic through multiple servers may increase latency and decrease connection speed. YouTube videos may take a little longer to load, and buffering could ruin the experience, especially at higher resolution. The nodes are also operated by anonymous volunteers, who might not have the best intentions in mind, which ultimately makes this method not very safe.

Tor for blocked youtube video
Tor enables you to access blocked websites, but they make your connection a tad slow. 

Why Is YouTube Blocked at Work and Schools?

There are multiple reasons why your country, company, school or favorite artist might block YouTube videos, including:

  • Preventing students from viewing inappropriate content
  • Saving data costs
  • Eliminating distractions at work to improve employee productivity
  • Restricting users in certain countries from accessing content due to content rights and royalties
  • Censoring content in countries, such as China, Iran, Turkmenistan and Syria

Well, your workplace doesn’t really have a say in what’s legal or not. However, it may have a policy that forbids watching YouTube at work. Breaking that policy could get you into trouble with your bosses. In the worst-case scenario, you could get suspended or fired, especially if watching YouTube affects your productivity. 

Final Thoughts

There are several handy ways to unblock YouTube video content. Our favorite method to unblock YouTube is by using a VPN, as it delivers all-round performance in all situations. 

For example, ExpressVPN doesn’t just get you into YouTube but also around other streaming services’ geoblocks. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. Alternatively, check out our best VPN list if you’d like to learn more about your options. 

Have you ever unblocked YouTube at work or school? Which method did you use? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section below. As always, thank you for reading.