How to Unblock YouTube in 2024: Complete Guide

Updated on: May 13, 2024
Fact Checked by Eric Goldstein
Raven Wu Raven Wu
Updated on: May 13, 2024

Only 3 Steps (Quick + Easy) to Unblock YouTube in 2024:

  • Download and install a reliable VPN for YouTube. I recommend ExpressVPN — it has blazing-fast speeds for a buffer-free YouTube experience and is very secure.
  • Connect to a server. Connecting to a nearby server will get you the best possible speeds. If your school or workplace blocks VPNs, you’ll have to turn on the VPN’s obfuscation feature, too.
  • Log into YouTube. You can now freely browse and watch videos on YouTube. Enjoy!

A VPN is the best way to unblock YouTube on restricted networks, like at school or your workplace. A VPN is an online app that offers servers located all over the world. When you connect to a VPN server, it encrypts your internet traffic, so the network administrator can’t see what you’re doing online and whether you’re watching videos on YouTube.

To circumvent VPNs, many networks block VPN traffic if detected. However, some VPNs offer obfuscation tools, which hide your VPN connection and make it appear as a normal connection — this way, you can still bypass the network filters.

After thorough testing and research, I found the best VPNs for unblocking YouTube — my favorite is ExpressVPN thanks to its blazing-fast speeds (for smooth streaming) and user-friendly obfuscation tool. In this article, I also discuss alternative methods to unblock YouTube, explain why YouTube videos might be blocked, and when unblocking YouTube is or isn’t legal.

TRY EXPRESSVPN NOW

Disclaimer: Using a VPN to access content on YouTube that isn’t available in your region may break its Terms of Service and constitute copyright infringement. If YouTube is banned in your location, it may be against the law to access it, including with a VPN. We at SafetyDetectives don’t condone copyright infringement or the use of a VPN to engage in illegal activities, so we urge you to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations before trying to unblock YouTube using a VPN.

Editors' Note: ExpressVPN and this site are in the same ownership group.

6 Ways to Unblock YouTube in 2024

1. Use a VPN

6 Ways to Unblock YouTube in 2024

A VPN unblocks YouTube by creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the website, which allows you to completely bypass any network restrictions at your school or office. This tunnel hides your internet activities from anyone who looks at your network traffic — your network administrator or internet service provider will only see you going into the VPN tunnel and not where or what you do when you emerge from it.

Unblocking YouTube with a VPN is easy. All you have to do is follow these 3 simple steps:

  1. Subscribe to a good VPN service. Then download and install the VPN app. ExpressVPN is my top pick due to its fast speeds and ease of use.
  2. Connect to a server. Choosing a local server will get you the fastest speeds because your data won’t have to travel as far. All of the VPNs in this guide have at least 90 servers worldwide, so virtually any user will find one near their location.
  3. Go on YouTube. The website or video will no longer be blocked, so you can start watching!

If the network blocks VPNs, you may need to enable the obfuscation feature, too, which every VPN on my list offers. Obfuscation masks your VPN traffic as regular traffic, preventing network filters from detecting the VPN connection. VPNs use different obfuscation tools, so you can find guides on how to turn the obfuscation on with your VPN on the provider’s page. It’s worth noting that a lot of the VPNs I recommend automatically obfuscate your traffic when they detect a restricted network, which is very convenient.

2. Use a Proxy

6 Ways to Unblock YouTube in 2024

A proxy works similarly to a VPN in that it hides your IP address (and your general location). However, it doesn’t encrypt your data, which means it doesn’t provide any extra security.

When you use a proxy, your request to visit YouTube is first sent to the proxy server and then forwarded to YouTube. After the proxy server fetches the content from YouTube, it sends the data back to your device. The network you’re on is only able to see that you’re connecting to the proxy (and not where you go after that), so it won’t block your traffic.

There are various types of proxies. The easiest one to use is a web proxy, which you can access through a proxy website. You can also install a proxy add-on/extension onto your browser or set up a SOCKS5 proxy through your device’s network settings.

Free proxies are easy to find, but they often lack a lot of servers, leading to overcrowding, or they don’t have any servers near you, so your data has to travel further to reach its destination. All of this can make YouTube drastically slower compared to a quality paid VPN.

You should also be aware that some proxies may collect and sell your data and some browser add-ons/extensions may contain malware (so get a good antivirus if you plan to use one).

Finally, there’s nothing you can really do if your network administrator blocks proxies.

3. Use a Mobile Hotspot

6 Ways to Unblock YouTube in 2024

Creating a personal Wi-Fi network via your mobile hotspot can give you access to YouTube on restricted networks. Simply connect any devices you want to use YouTube on to this hotspot rather than to your school or workplace’s Wi-Fi.

To set up a mobile hotspot on your iPhone, go to Settings, Personal Hotspot, and then enable Allow Others to Join.

To set up a mobile hotspot on your Android phone, go to Settings, Connections, Mobile Hotspot and Tethering, and then enable Mobile Hotspot.

This method is able to bypass all network restrictions, since you’re using your own Wi-Fi. The major downside of using a mobile hotspot to unblock YouTube is that it’ll use your mobile data, which could be costly or limited.

4. Use Google Translate

6 Ways to Unblock YouTube in 2024

You can actually use Google Translate as a proxy to unblock YouTube videos.  All you have to do is enter the YouTube URL in the text box and Google will display a clickable link in the “translation” output. This link is a Google Translate proxy of the YouTube website (or specific video URL you entered).

When you click on this link, Google’s servers will request the YouTube content on your behalf and then display it to you. Since the request for YouTube comes from Google’s servers (which are unlikely to be blocked), you’ll be able to access the content even if YouTube is directly blocked on your network.

This method is extremely simple, but, like all proxies, it will negatively affect your YouTube video speeds and quality.

5. Use a Different URL

You might be able to unblock YouTube by using a different YouTube URL. If your network administrator only added the main YouTube URL (http://www.youtube.com) onto the blocklist, you should still be able to access YouTube through https://www.youtube.com (with an additional “s” after “http”). If your network administrator blocks both URLs though, you’ll need to try a different method.

6. Use Tor

6 Ways to Unblock YouTube in 2024

You can unblock YouTube by using The Onion Router (Tor), which redirects your traffic through multiple nodes, anonymizing and encrypting your data. To access the Tor network, you’ll have to download and install the Tor browser (it’s free) and use that to visit the YouTube site.

It’s unlikely that your network administrator blocks Tor, and even if they do, you can get around this by using bridges (private Tor relays).

The main downside of accessing YouTube through the Tor network is that it causes massive slowdowns. This is because Tor encrypts your data multiple times.

Why Do YouTube Videos Get Blocked?

School or Workplace Bans

Some educational institutions and companies block YouTube to minimize distractions and ensure productivity and prevent you from watching inappropriate videos on the network. Such bans are implemented through network restrictions, preventing users on the school’s or company’s internet from accessing the site during designated hours or entirely.

Age Restrictions

YouTube places age restrictions on content that may not be appropriate for all audiences, especially younger viewers. This can include videos with explicit content, violence, or mature themes. Users may need to be logged in and over a certain age to view these videos, as determined by the content’s nature and the regulatory standards of the viewer’s country.

Censorship

Governments in some countries ban YouTube to control the flow of information and prevent the spread of material deemed politically sensitive, controversial, or against social norms and values.

Here are the countries where YouTube is currently banned and why:

  • China. China’s YouTube ban is part of its broader internet censorship under the “Great Firewall,” which aims to control the online environment and restrict access to content considered sensitive by the government​​.
  • Eritrea. The reasons for Eritrea’s YouTube ban are unclear, but it aligns with the country’s stringent control over media and internet access. There is also some speculation that it was banned because it consumes too much bandwidth.
  • Iran. Iran bans YouTube for ideological and political reasons and to encourage people to move to local video-sharing platforms.
  • North Korea. To control the flow of information, very few people are allowed to use the internet in North Korea. And those who do have access can only use a censored version of the internet called Kwangmyong, where most social media platforms, including YouTube, are banned.
  • Turkmenistan. Like North Korea, only a minority of citizens have access to the internet in Turkmenistan, and they can only use a censored version of the internet called the Turkmenet where YouTube is banned.
  • South Sudan. No specific reason was provided for South Sudan’s YouTube ban, but it’s likely to suppress political dissent.

Regional Restrictions

Some YouTube content may be blocked in certain countries due to licensing agreements or government regulations. For example, the video you’re looking for may be available online in a different country because the copyright holder has not authorized its distribution in that location.

YouTube also gives video creators and owners the ability to impose region-specific restrictions on their content. This means they can decide to make certain videos inaccessible in specific regions, too.

While it’s hypothetically possible to watch YouTube videos that aren’t available in your country by using a VPN to change your virtual location, this violates YouTube’s Terms of Service and could constitute copyright infringement, which isn’t something that anyone at SafetyDetectives condones. We urge you to abide by all local laws and regulations and to use a VPN responsibly.

Is It Legal to Unblock YouTube?

Whether or not it’s legal to unblock YouTube depends on the context. Unblocking YouTube in some cases may just be a breach of policy. In other cases, it could have serious legal repercussions.

Schools, workplaces, and other institutions often have policies against bypassing their network restrictions to access sites like YouTube. Doing so could be considered a violation of those policies and lead to disciplinary actions. These are internal matters rather than legal issues but are still important to consider.

However, in countries where YouTube is banned due to censorship laws, attempting to access the platform could be illegal. Plus, in a lot of these censorship-heavy countries, using VPNs and proxies may be illegal or heavily regulated — using these tools to access YouTube might be against the law.

Similarly, using tools like VPNs to access copyrighted content on YouTube that’s not available in your country may violate the platform’s terms of service. This may not be “illegal” in a criminal sense, but you could get banned from YouTube. Even worse, accessing YouTube content that’s not available in your region might constitute copyright infringement, which is a legal issue.

Neither I nor anyone else at SafetyDetectives endorses breaking any copyright laws or laws set by your country. Please educate yourself on any relevant laws or regulations in your country before attempting to unblock YouTube.

Best VPNs for Unblocking YouTube in 2024

Quick summary of the best VPNs for unblocking YouTube:

  • 🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best overall VPN for unblocking YouTube (works 100% of the time + fastest speeds).
  • 🥈2. Private Internet Access — Great VPN for bypassing YouTube network restrictions with SOCKS5 proxy support.
  • 🥉3. Surfshark — Good pick for VPN beginners with easy-to-use features for unblocking YouTube.

It’s illegal to use a VPN to access copyrighted YouTube content that isn’t available in your country or region. It may also be illegal to use a VPN to circumvent a government ban on YouTube. We at SafetyDetectives do not encourage or endorse using a VPN to engage in illegal activities and urge you to follow all relevant local laws and regulations.

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Unblocking YouTube in 2024

Approved by our experts
ExpressVPN
Approved by our experts
Most readers pick ExpressVPN
Servers in countries
105
Key Features
Industry-leading speeds
Number of devices
8
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
expressvpn.com
Editors' Note: ExpressVPN and this site are in the same ownership group.

ExpressVPN is my favorite VPN for unblocking YouTube. It works with the YouTube site and app 100% of the time and has a large server network spread across 105 countries — there’s a good reason why it’s our top VPN in 2024.

ExpressVPN is faster than all VPNs I tested, and this is thanks to its proprietary Lightway protocol, which performed better in every speed test I conducted compared to the next fastest VPN protocol, WireGuard. This means you won’t have to worry about long video load times or interruptions when watching YouTube content.

ExpressVPN includes a split-tunneling feature, too, which lets you selectively route your YouTube traffic through the VPN while your other apps use your local internet connection. This helps avoid unnecessary slowdowns on your other online activities.

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Unblocking YouTube in 2024

ExpressVPN includes obfuscation on all servers and protocols, preventing the fact that you’re using a VPN from your network administrator and ISP. This means that you’ll be able to unblock YouTube with ExpressVPN even if your network administrator blocks VPN traffic to prevent you from getting around the content filters in place.

ExpressVPN’s plans start at $6.67 / month and you can give it a try risk-free thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

ExpressVPN: Save 49% on the 12-month plan + FREE months!
Get a full 15 months (12 months + 3 free months) at a 49% discount.

Read our full ExpressVPN review

🥈2. Private Internet Access — SOCKS5 Proxy Support for Faster YouTube Speeds

Servers in countries
91
Key Features
Excellent ad blocker
Number of devices
Unlimited
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
privateinternetaccess.com
Editors' Note: Private Internet Access and this site are in the same ownership group.

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a reliable VPN for unblocking YouTube. It’s compatible with both the YouTube site and app and has a pretty big server network in 91 countries, so it’s pretty easy to find a nearby server for the best possible speeds.

PIA is the only VPN on this list that comes with a SOCKS5 proxy, which is a decent alternative for unblocking YouTube on really slow networks. A SOCKS5 proxy won’t encrypt your data, and it won’t work if your network administrator blocks proxies, but it’ll give you faster speeds than a VPN.

🥈2. Private Internet Access — SOCKS5 Proxy Support for Faster YouTube Speeds

The provider supports obfuscation via Shadowsocks on servers in 5+ countries, so you can bypass VPN blocks at your school or workplace to securely watch YouTube. I prefer ExpressVPN’s obfuscation though, because it’s automatically enabled and doesn’t limit you to specific server locations.

PIA comes with a data breach monitoring tool (called Identity Guard) which notifies you if the email linked to your YouTube account has been compromised in a data breach.

Private Internet Access is an affordable choice with plans starting as low as $2.03 / month. It backs all subscriptions with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Private Internet Access: Save 83% on the 24-month plan + FREE months!
You can save 83% if you act right now.

Read our full Private Internet Access review

🥉3. Surfshark — Beginner-Friendly VPN for Unblocking YouTube

Servers in countries
100
Key Features
User-friendly apps
Number of devices
Unlimited
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
surfshark.com

Surfshark is an easy-to-use VPN that consistently unblocks YouTube and has a vast server network in 100 countries for watching buffer-free videos on the video platform. Its apps make it simple for 1-click connections to any server, and I especially like how it lets you customize the quick-connect button to connect you to any server you want.

It comes with a great obfuscation feature, called Camouflage Mode, that’s automatically enabled on restrictive networks. This is very convenient since you don’t have to go through any extra steps in the app’s settings to get around VPN blocks and watch YouTube. Camouflage Mode is available on all of Surfshark’s servers, but it’s only available on the OpenVPN protocol, which is slower than ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol that also supports obfuscation.

🥉3. Surfshark — Beginner-Friendly VPN for Unblocking YouTube

This provider also has a really handy feature called NoBorders, which turns on automatically when it detects that you’re on a restrictive network (like a network that blocks YouTube) and provides you with a list of servers that you can connect to in order to circumvent these restrictions. Please note though that Surfshark doesn’t recommend that you use its NoBorders feature if your network blocks VPNs.

Surfshark’s plans start at $2.29 / month, and it backs all purchases with a 30 money-back guarantee.

Surfshark Antivirus: Save 77% on the Surfshark Antivirus 12-month + FREE months!
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Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company

Quick Comparison Table

Starting Price Number of Countries with Servers Leak Protection Works in Restrictive Countries Obfuscation Money-Back Guarantee
🥇1. ExpressVPN $6.67 / month 105 DNS ✅

IPv6 ✅

WebRTC ✅

30 days
🥈2. Private Internet Access $2.03 / month 91 DNS ✅

IPv6 ✅

WebRTC ✅

30 days
🥉3. Surfshark $2.29 / month 100 DNS ✅

IPv6 ❌

WebRTC ❌

30 days

Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company

Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria

I followed SafetyDetectives’s proven testing methodology to find the best VPNs for unblocking YouTube. I evaluated each VPN based on multiple criteria with a focus on reliability for circumventing network restrictions and speeds for buffer-free videos, but I also considered other factors, such as each VPN’s ease of use, privacy and security features, pricing, and more. Here are the criteria I used to compile my list.

  • I looked for a VPN that works reliably with YouTube. YouTube blocks some VPN IP addresses, but all of the VPNs on my list work with YouTube consistently.
  • I tested each VPN’s speeds. All VPNs will decrease your internet speeds slightly because of the time it takes to encrypt your data and send it through its servers. But all of the VPNs I recommend maintain fast enough speeds for an uninterrupted YouTube experience.

Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria

  • I checked to see if the VPN’s apps were easy to use. All of the VPNs I recommend have easy-to-use apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS, so you can browse and watch YouTube content on any device.
  • I checked for strong security features. I only recommend VPNs with industry-standard security features, like 256-bit AES encryption (very strong encryption used by banks and militaries), an independently-audited no-logs policy, meaning a third party cybersecurity company has verified that the provider doesn’t log your online activities, and a kill switch, which disconnects you from the internet if your VPN connection drops to avoid accidental data leaks.

Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria

  • I made sure all of the VPNs provide good value. Every VPN on this list has reasonably-priced plans, allows a minimum of 7 simultaneous connections, includes useful extra features for unblocking YouTube like obfuscation and split-tunneling, and comes with a money-back guarantee, so you can try it out risk-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I unblock YouTube with a VPN?

Follow these 3 easy steps: First, get a VPN subscription. I recommend ExpressVPN because it works with YouTube 100% of the time and has blazing-fast speeds for watching videos without any slowdowns. Next, connect to a server. You should pick a local or a nearby server to get the best possible speeds. Then, all you have to do is open the YouTube site or app and start watching!

Why am I blocked from YouTube?

There are many different reasons why YouTube or a YouTube video might be blocked. Your school or workplace network administrator may have blocked the YouTube site. It could also be that the video you’re trying to watch has certain age restrictions, contains unauthorized copyrighted content, or isn’t available in your country due to licensing issues. Finally, it’s also possible that YouTube is banned by the government of the country you’re in.

How do I get YouTube unblocked at school?

There are a few different ways to get around network level blocks on YouTube. The most reliable way to unblock YouTube with minimal loss of speed is to use a VPN. But you can also consider using a web proxy, getting a YouTube unblocker extension on your browser, using a mobile hotspot, or using Google Translate.

What’s the best VPN for unblocking YouTube?

ExpressVPN is my top pick for unblocking YouTube. It works with YouTube 100% of the time, has lightning-fast speeds for buffer-free videos, has a large server network spread across 105 countries, and comes with strong privacy and security features. Additionally, it offers obfuscation on all of its servers, which disguises your VPN traffic as regular internet traffic, and works well in restrictive countries.

Best VPNs for Unblocking YouTube in 2024 — Final Score:

Our Rank
Our Score
Best Deal
1
9.8
save 49%
2
9.6
save 83%
3
9.0
save 81%
The listings featured on this site are from companies from which this site receives compensation and some are co-owned by our parent company. This influence: Rank and manner in which listings are presented. 
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About the Author
Raven Wu
Raven Wu
Writer
Updated on: May 13, 2024

About the Author

Raven Wu is a freelance writer, editor, and translator. He is a strong advocate of internet freedom and is very passionate about technology, and he’s honed his craft by researching and writing about a variety of other topics including education, literature, health, pop culture, and games. Outside of work, he's an amateur novelist and history enthusiast who enjoys hard games, spicy food, and thinking way too hard about everything.