Everyone knows YouTube. It is the world’s most visited website after Google.com, even beating Facebook in number of visitors. It has gone from a basic video-sharing website to a full-on mini-internet where communities flourish. Yet not everyone always has access to it, which is why we’ve put together this quick and simple guide on how to unblock YouTube.
YouTube can be blocked for any number of reasons. Maybe you’re in a country that censors the internet or your boss is frustrated that you’re wasting time watching videos while you should be updating spreadsheets. Some record companies only make part of their selection available in some countries, for example, which can get annoying.
No matter the reason, if YouTube is blocked, we have the fix below. Before we get to that, though, let’s have a look at the reasons behind YouTube blocks.
Why Is YouTube Blocked?
Currently, only three countries block YouTube completely (the number varies): China, Iran and North Korea. In all three, the object is to make sure their populations are protected against foreign influences that may make people think that poisoned water and regular authoritarian oppression aren’t the norm everywhere.
However, most of the world’s population lives in a place where the internet is (relatively) free — at least, for now — and the reason they can’t watch videos is simply because someone put a block on the site. Webmasters in large corporations, as well as small businesses and universities, often have standing orders to block all access to YouTube.
The most brutal and unfair regimes are often found in families, of course, where tech-savvy parents have put parental controls on what websites homework-avoiding teens and curious elementary-school kids have access to (read our guide on how to protect your kids online for more on that).
YouTube isn’t blocked just to make sure people’s lives are the worst possible — though it may seem that way — it could also be a way to keep bandwidth usage low or ensure that people are working rather than goofing off (says the writer who’s listening to a YouTube playlist while belting out this piece). Nor should children be looking at videos concerning subjects beyond their ken.
Since YouTube couldn’t care less who uses it and when, getting past these blocks, be they governmental, corporate or parental, is easy as pie. This includes the blocks YouTube itself places that are based on geography. Let’s take a look at the easiest fix first.
Unblock YouTube with a VPN
The best and easiest way to get past any block is to use a virtual private network. The linked article has more information, but a VPN basically sends your connection through another location, meaning you can fool a receiving website into thinking you’re accessing it from another device, house or country. It can bypass geoblocks and is a foolproof way to unblock YouTube.
Any of our best VPN picks will breeze through parental controls or admin permissions like they were made of digital paper. Good VPNs cost money, though, so that may be an obstacle for some. We have put together a list of the best free VPNs, but all of them have some kind of bandwidth cap.
Whatever you do, never, ever go with any of the services we talk about in our worst free VPN article, with special mention going to the botnet Hola. Each of those providers will sell your data, which, by our reckoning, is too high a price to pay for YouTube access.
If you just want a quick idea of which services may be best, we recommend you check out our ExpressVPN review for speed, our NordVPN review for the best value for your money over the long term and our PIA review if you want to spend as little as possible in the short term.
All three are excellent services with good track records of getting into YouTube and keeping your data private. Plus, all three are quick to install and among the best VPNs for Chrome thanks to their user-friendly browser extensions, making them easy to use, as well.
Other Ways to Unblock YouTube
VPNs aren’t a cure-all that always works. Some people balk at the cost, while others cannot install the necessary software because an admin has limited permission to do so. Let’s take a look at two other ways to get to the content you want.
Note that those suffering from governmental control should, under no circumstances, access YouTube using the following tricks. Your only option in these cases is to check out our articles on the best VPN for China or the best VPN for Iran and pick a service from there.
The first trick is the easiest, but you’d be surprised how often it works. Many places that block websites do so by entering the website’s address into a program, usually leaving the address as “http://.” In the address field, change that to read “https://www.youtube.com” (note that extra “S”) and you may be able to ignore the block altogether, with additional security to boot.
Change DNS Server
Another super simple trick is to change the DNS address of your server. Many blocks run your request to their own server, so, by bypassing that, you’re bypassing the block. Each flavor of operating system is a little different, but all work more or less like this.
- Go to “network settings” (sometimes, you’ll have to find a label for “adapters”)
- Find a “network connection properties” (or similarly named)
- Under “IPv4,” you should find a tab or label called “DNS server”
- Change the server to “188.8.131.52” or “184.108.40.206” and restart the computer
You can also do this in some web browsers instead of in your computer. Just search for the name of your browser and “change DNS settings” and that should do the trick.
There are several handy ways to unblock YouTube, with our favorite being using a VPN because a few clicks and a few bucks don’t just get you into it, but around other geoblocks, such as the Netflix VPN ban, as well. Other methods are more hit-or-miss, but that’s no reason not to try.
Check out our VPN reviews if you’d like to learn more about your options, or give the rest of our site a read for the latest and greatest in cloud applications. We have, of course, a wonderful Cloudwards.net YouTube channel you can follow, too, once you’ve used our tips to unblock the site.
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What do you think of our ways to unblock YouTube? Do you know any others? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.