YouTube may be one of the most popular websites in the world, but that doesn’t mean you can access it in every country. Heck, even some companies and schools in the West prohibit access to YouTube.
Luckily, there are good VPN services that let you bypass all kinds of restrictions, whether they have been enacted by a government or some organization. In other words, with a VPN app running your computer, smartphone, tablet or router — you can get around those restrictions and access YouTube… and do so much more.
Speaking of “so much more,” you shouldn’t get a “one-trick pony”; instead get a VPN that will also let you surf the web anonymously, download files with BitTorrent, stream movies and TV shows, and so on.
To get the best VPN for YouTube (and other things), we suggest going through the list below. All of these services “get the job done,” but for the best experience — grab the one at the top, and let it do its magic in the background while you safely and securely access every corner of the Interwebs. It’s actually that easy. 😉
- Feature-rich yet easy to use
- One of the best VPNs around
- Strong no-logging policy
- Reliable support you can reach 24/7
- Limited number of servers in Africa and the Middle East
- Kinda pricey
There are a few other VPNs that come close — and even outshine ExpressVPN in some specific segments — but as far as the majority of users are concerned, this is the best VPN service they could get.
ExpressVPN has great desktop apps for Windows and Mac, mobile apps and browser extensions. Also, it is well suited for video streaming services such as Netflix, Disney, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others.
However, what makes it stand out is its ease of use and we can't emphasize this enough. One could tell a lot of time has been spent making sure even the advanced features are easily accessible. And we love it for that. Plus, let's not forget ExpressVPN's speed which tends to leave other services in the dust. So whether you need a VPN for YouTube or anything else - ExpressVPN won't let you down.
- Good for both torrenting and streaming
- Works in China
- Solid network with servers in 60+ countries
- Easy to use apps on multiple platforms
- Live chat isn't always available
- Fairly pricey
Astrill may not be the most affordable option on the market, but it gets the job done and that — we think — matters the most.
In addition to YouTube, Astrill will have your back whether you need it for accessing other streaming platforms or downloading files via BitTorrent — all while keeping your identity under the radar. And this is especially true if you live or work in China where the company's stealth protocols kick in to let you access all the popular sites that are by default blocked by the country's censors.
Astrill's apps are easy to use and available across platforms and devices. Nevertheless, they still manage to provide a host of advanced features tech-savvy folks are used to get. A highly recommended VPN.
- 5,000+ servers in the network
- Easy to use - install it and forget it
- One license is good for up to 6 devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Chrome extension is just a proxy
- You can't pay with PayPal
Its network includes more than 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries, which directly translates into faster connections. NordVPN is also very secure, relying on the strong 256-bit encryption combined with secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard and IKEv2/IPSec). But as a user, you get a seamless experience with all this technology "doing its thing" in the background.
NordVPN is well suited to pretty much every task you throw at it, accessing YouTube being just one of them. You can also rely on NordVPN for torrenting, video streaming services, or just to keep a low profile on the web. It also doesn't keep any logs.
We highly recommend NordVPN to anyone looking for reliable service.
- Fast download and upload speeds
- Works with Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc.
- Great for torrenting
- Advanced privacy features (i.e. Tor over VPN)
- Relatively small number of servers
- There are no browser extensions
- Live chat support is not always available
You can also rely on PrivateVPN for both torrenting and accessing other streaming platforms, without paying a premium. It is, in fact, one of the most affordable options in its league and we love it for that.
Customer support may not be on par with bigger players but it's not like you should experience many problems anyway. You will get the same level of security and privacy as with other services, and a single license will let you run PrivateVPN on up to 6 devices. Pretty cool.
- Works in China
- Many servers in Asia
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Advanced services like VyprVPN Cloud
- No browser extensions
- Torrenting could be better
The service manages to bypass restrictions in high-censorship countries and elsewhere by relying on its proprietary Chameleon protocol, which can easily slide under the radar. The same capability lets VyprVPN users access YouTube from wherever life takes them.
VyprVPN is also great for accessing video streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and so on — delivering the true buffer-free experience every single time. It will also work with BitTorrent, and consequently - Kodi.
VyprVPN has a strict zero-logs policy. Period.
Created in February 2005 by three former PayPal employees — Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim — YouTube is one of the most visited websites in the world, allowing users to upload, view, rate, share, add to playlists, report, comment on videos, and subscribe to other users.
The site offers a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media videos — including video clips, TV show clips, music videos, short and documentary films, audio recordings, movie trailers, live streams, and other content. Most content on YouTube is uploaded by individuals, but media corporations including CBS, the BBC, Vevo, and Hulu offer some of their material via YouTube as part of the YouTube partnership program.
YouTube key dates and figures
Interesting tidbits about YouTube:
- YouTube was acquired by Google in November 2006 for $1.65 billion. Today, it operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries.
- In March 2010, YouTube began free streaming of certain content, including 60 cricket matches of the Indian Premier League — which was reportedly the first worldwide free online broadcast of a major sporting event.
- In May 2010, YouTube videos were watched more than two billion times per day, which increased to three billion in May 2011, and four billion in January 2012.
- In May 2011, 48 hours of new videos were uploaded to the site every minute, which increased to 60 hours every minute in January 2012, 100 hours every minute in May 2013, 300 hours every minute in November 2014, 400 hours every minute in February 2017, and 500 hours every minute in May 2019.
- In February 2015, YouTube released the YouTube Kids app to provide an experience optimized for children with curated selections of channels featuring age-appropriate content and parental control features.
- In August 2015, YouTube launched YouTube Gaming – a video gaming-oriented vertical and app for videos and live streaming, intended to compete with the Amazon-owned Twitch. A few years later, the company began to phase YouTube Gaming and introduced a new Gaming portal within the main service, instead.
- In October 2015, YouTube announced YouTube Red — later rebranded to YouTube Premium — a new premium service that would offer ad-free access to all content on the platform. YouTube Music was also released in 2015.
- As of August 2018, YouTube is ranked as the second-most popular site in the world, according to Alexa Internet, just behind Google.
Based on reported quarterly advertising revenue, YouTube is estimated to have $15 billion in annual revenues.
Other YouTube services
In addition to its “regular”, free service – YouTube’s offering also includes:
Formerly called YouTube Red, YouTube Premium is the company’s premium subscription service — offering advertising-free streaming, access to exclusive content, background and offline video playback on mobile devices, and access to the Google Play Music “All Access” service. As of June 2017, the first season of YouTube Originals had gotten 250 million views in total.
YouTube TV is an over-the-top MVPD-style subscription service offering live streams of programming from the five major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC), as well as approximately 40 cable channels owned by the corporate parents of those networks, The Walt Disney Company, CBS Corporation, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and Turner Broadcasting System (including among others Bravo, USA Network, Syfy, Disney Channel, CNN, Cartoon Network, E!, Fox Sports 1, Freeform, FX and ESPN). Subscribers can also receive Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus as optional add-ons for an extra fee, and can access YouTube Premium original content (YouTube TV does not include a YouTube Red subscription).
YouTube Go is an Android app aimed at making YouTube easier to access on mobile devices in emerging markets. It is distinct from the main Android app and allows videos to be downloaded and shared with other users. It also allows users to preview videos, share downloaded videos through Bluetooth, and offers more options for mobile data control and video resolution.
The company’s music streaming service, YouTube Music provides a tailored interface for the service-oriented towards music streaming — allowing users to browse through songs and music videos on YouTube based on genres, playlists, and recommendations. The premium version enables ad-free playback, audio-only background playback, and the ability to download songs for offline playback. These subscription benefits are also offered to subscribers of Google Play Music and YouTube Premium.
YouTube is blocked in some countries
In some countries, YouTube is completely blocked, either through a long term standing ban or for more limited periods of time such as during periods of unrest, the run-up to an election, or in response to upcoming political anniversaries. In other countries access to the website as a whole remains open, but access to specific videos is blocked.
There are several reasons why governments block YouTube, including:
- Limiting public access and exposure to content that may ignite social or political unrest.
- Preventing criticism of a ruler, government or its actions, government officials, or religion.
- Violations of national laws – including copyright and intellectual property protection laws, violations of hate speech, ethics, or morality-based laws, and preventing access to videos judged inappropriate for youth.
- Reducing distractions at work or school (Australia).
- Reducing the amount of network bandwidth used.
The “usual suspects,” China and North Korea, permanently block accessing YouTube, while Iran blocks YouTube on one ISP (Internet Meli). Among other countries that have previously blocked access to YouTube are:
- Thailand – in April 2007 over a video said to be insulting the Thai king.
- Morocco blocked access in May 2007, possibly as a result of videos critical of Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara.
- Turkey blocked access between 2008 and 2010 after controversy over videos deemed insulting to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
- Pakistan blocked access on February 23, 2008, because of “offensive material” towards the Islamic faith, including display of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad.
- Turkmenistan blocked access on December 25, 2009, for unknown reasons. Other websites, such as LiveJournal were also blocked.
- Libya blocked access on January 24, 2010, because of videos that featured demonstrations in the city of Benghazi by families of detainees who were killed in Abu Salim prison in 1996, and videos of family members of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at parties.
- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sudan blocked access in September 2012 following controversy over a 14-minute trailer for the film Innocence of Muslims which had been posted on the site.
Like that’s the case with all other bans, you can circumvent them and get your “YouTube fix” with the help of a good VPN.
Look beyond YouTube
You need a VPN for many things, not just for accessing YouTube. A good VPN will:
- Protect your privacy from the government and big corporations
- Bypass restrictions imposed by the government or various organizations
- Change your IP address so you get unrestricted access to Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, iPlayer, and other video streaming services
- Encrypt and protect private data from cybercriminals
- Download files with BitTorrent anonymously
The top contenders that check all these boxes — while also working nicely with YouTube — include the following: