You’ve just sat down at your desk, ready to check out some new videos and dive into the YouTube rabbit hole for a few hours.
Or maybe, you’re in the middle of writing an in-depth essay about sea anemones and you’ve just logged on to find a video to help boost your understanding of their feeding habits.
With millions of hours of content available, YouTube has become the world’s most popular, online platform for entertainment and education purposes. But sometimes, things can go wrong.
Just imagine that you’ve finally found the perfect video you’ve been looking for, you click on the link, but then you get the dreaded error message displayed on your screen: “Video Unavailable.”
Situations like this can rather be frustrating to say the least, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide to explain how to unblock YouTube and get around their geo-restrictions.
But first, we need to understand why some of you are getting this error message.
Why is YouTube unavailable?
Your network could be restricting or blocking YouTube for a few different reasons. For starters, many schools and workplaces block access to YouTube by using a local firewall. This is usually done to remove distractions and increase productivity.
Elsewhere, countries sometimes have rather strict censorship regulations that might unfairly block your access to sites such as YouTube. These regulations vary depending on where you are in the world.
For example, in China, YouTube is banned, but in other countries such as South Korea, only certain YouTube videos and content are blocked.
Then, in countries such as Australia, national copyright law requires that YouTube use geo-restricting software to block some videos being played by users from that region. Alternatively, YouTube might be using geo-blocking to protect various copyright owners.
This is often caused by television networks releasing footage that is only licensed to be shown in certain countries. Therefore, YouTube will make an effort to prevent users in those regions from being able to play the video.
Fortunately, just as there are several reasons as to why YouTube might be unavailable in your country, there are also several ways to be able to get around these restrictions.
Modify its URL
One simple trick to circumvent your network’s firewall wall is to modify YouTube’s URL. Most of the time, a network’s administrator will have manually blocked a website by adding its URL to a blacklist.
So, if your admin only added YouTube’s primary URL (http://www.youtube.com), then you might be able to bypass this restriction by modifying the URL and typing it in like this: https://www.youtube.com
Unfortunately, this neat little trick won’t work on content that is geo-restricted and only works to bypass local network firewalls.
Download YouTube videos directly to your device
Fortunately, there are many websites that will allow you to directly download YouTube videos to save them and watch them on your device at a later time. However, you’ll first need to try a few different sites to find one that you like.
This method works well if you’re looking to watch a specific video in particular when you’re not online. The problem is that you’ll only be able to watch videos that you’ve already downloaded, and you’ll need to know which videos you’re looking to watch before downloading them.
To download a YouTube video, you’ll first need to find it on Google. Then once you’ve found the video you’re looking for, you’ll need to copy the URL, found under the video’s title, and copy it into the YouTube download site that you’re using. From here, you’ll be able to directly download the video to your device.
This method may take a bit more time, but it does allow you to bypass the restrictions on the content you’re looking to watch.
Use a YouTube unblocking add-on or proxy
One simple way to access blocked YouTube content is to download a browser extension such Ultrasurf or ProxTube. The add-on will create a link between your IP address and a proxy server, which will enable you to bypass YouTube’s geo-restrictions.
On the other hand, you might also choose to use a proxy to access restricted content.
A proxy is similar to using a VPN, however, they are far less secure or reliable. When a user connects to a proxy, their traffic is filtered through the site’s server, which makes their IP address appear to be in a different locations and subsequently, they’re then able to bypass the site’s geo-restrictions.
Keep in mind that a proxy will not encrypt your data and keep you safe as a VPN would. Essentially, this means that although you’ll be able to access blocked content, network admins, internet service providers, and government regulators will still be able to see your online activity.
Unblock YouTube by using a VPN
The easiest and safest method to unblock YouTube and bypass their geo-restrictions is to use a virtual private network, otherwise known as a VPN.
Not only does a VPN allow you to access geo-restricted content, it is also an excellent tool to help keep you safe and anonymous while using the internet.
These secure networks work by linking your device through an encrypted connection to one of their remote servers. The server then assigns your computer a virtual IP address, which mask your original address and keeps your identity hidden while you’re browsing the internet.
So, in other words, to a firewall or to YouTube, it will look like you’re browsing the internet from an entirely different location and you’ll be able to access the site’s content no matter where you are in the world.
How to unblock YouTube with a VPN
- Select a VPN provider.
- Download and install the VPN software to your computer or device.
- Open the application and select a connection to a server outside the area that you’re trying to unblock. For example, if you’re attempting to bypass a geo-restriction in China, select a server from Canada or the USA.
- Navigate to YouTube and enjoy unlimited access to any geo-restricted content.
Because of how easy and fast it can be, a VPN is the absolute best method to unblock YouTube. And not only does offer you access to blocked content, it also keeps your connection completely anonymous. Therefore, admins and ISPs won’t be able to monitor the content that you’re accessing.