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 can access YouTube videos, 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 YouTube videos when you should be updating spreadsheets. Perhaps you want to listen to a song online, only to find that some record companies only make part of their video content selection available in your country, which can get annoying.
No matter the reason, if YouTube is blocked, we have the fix below. Before we get to how you can unblock YouTube videos, though, let’s have a look at the reasons behind your blocked YouTube access.
Why Is YouTube Blocked?
Currently, only three countries have blocked YouTube completely (although the number varies): China, Iran and North Korea. In each country, the objective is to make sure their populations are protected against foreign internet 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, universities and school systems, often have standing orders to block all access to YouTube video content (check out our best VPN for school).
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 videos aren’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 video content that concerns subjects beyond their ken.
Since YouTube couldn’t care less about who will access 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. You basically have four options when you want to watch blocked YouTube videos. We’ll rank them real quick for you here, before going into more depth below.
How Do I Unblock YouTube?
- Use a Proxy
- Use a VPN
- Use HTTPS
- Change Your DNS server
Unblock YouTube With a Web Proxy
The easiest and cheapest way to get around a YouTube block is by using a web proxy. A proxy makes the internet server think your IP address and location are different from reality.
The best YouTube proxy will be easy to use and fast. We have put together a list of the best proxy providers, but note that you should never use a proxy except for YouTube, or bad things might happen.
This is because proxies aren’t very secure. They mask your IP address, but they don’t protect your internet connection. So if, for example, you are torrenting with a proxy, it’s pretty much the same as waving a big, red flag at copyright authorities. We talk more about web proxy security in our VPN vs proxy article.
Unblock YouTube With a VPN
A much better way than using a web proxy to get past any block is to use a virtual private network, or VPN. The linked article has more information, but using a VPN basically sends your internet connection through another location, meaning you can fool a receiving website into thinking you’re accessing it from another device, house or country. A VPN can bypass internet geoblocks, and it 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. A good VPN costs money, so that may be an obstacle for some. However, it’s not uncommon for a VPN to have at least a money-back guarantee in place. We have also 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 VPN services that we talk about in our worst free VPN article, with special mention going to the botnet Hola VPN. Each of those VPN providers will sell your data, which, by our reckoning, is too high a price to pay to unblock YouTube.
If you just want a quick idea of which VPN 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 on a VPN in the short term.
All three are excellent VPN services with good track records of providing a way to unblock your desired YouTube content and keeping your data private. Plus, all three VPN options 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 to unblock YouTube. 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 blocked YouTube content you want.
Note that those who are 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 virtual private network service from there.
Unblock YouTube With HTTPS
The first trick to unblock YouTube 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://.” Therefore, one way to unblock content from YouTube is to change the address field to read “https://www.youtube.com” (note that extra “S”). With this tweak, you may be able to ignore the block altogether, with additional internet security, to boot.
Change DNS Server
Another super simple way to unblock YouTube 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 they 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 “22.214.171.124” or “126.96.36.199” and restart the computer
You can also do this in some web browsers instead of on 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 video content. Our favorite way to unblock YouTube is using a VPN because a few clicks and a few bucks don’t just get you into YouTube video content, but also around other geoblocks, such as the Netflix VPN ban (we also have a guide for how to unblock Netflix at school). Other methods are more hit or miss, but that’s no reason not to try.
Check out our VPN articles 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.
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.
Unblock YouTube FAQ
This article has been up for a few years, and to make things easier for you, we’ve put together this list of the most frequently asked questions.
How Can I Get on YouTube at School?
Generally speaking, people still in school usually have no money, so we recommend you use a YouTube proxy to get past any blocks in place. The nice thing about using a web proxy is that it only takes a few minutes to set up, and you can unblock YouTube, Facebook and even Instagram in one fell swoop.
How Do I Unblock YouTube on Google Chrome?
We recommend using a web proxy extension for that. Most of the proxies we recommended above have a Chrome extension that will patch you through to the proxy server without any hassle.