It's hard quite to imagine a world without YouTube these days. With an estimated 1.3 billion users and 30 million visitors every single day, it isn't so much an internet phenomenon as it is an integral part of everyday life.
But not everybody has the freedom to watch YouTube at their leisure and if you've landed on this page then it's probably because you've discovered that wherever you are blocks YouTube. Some offices and colleges implement a blanket YouTube ban (together with social media platforms), while it has also been completely censored by countries like China, Iran and Syria.
It's certainly annoying, but it's not insurmountable. By downloading a VPN, you can fool your computer or mobile phone's IP address into thinking you're logging in from somewhere else altogether - even a different country.
That means you can unblock YouTube and watch as many cat videos, football highlights and the latest Drake hit without a problem.
And the best bit is that it's ridiculously easy - and affordable - to do. So keep reading and we'll take you through the steps to follow to unblock YouTube with a VPN.
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Why do I need to unblock YouTube?
There are a number of reasons why somebody may have spoiled all the fun and put a block on YouTube. Two places where it's prevalent are in offices and schools, where bosses and principals are fed up of employees and students wasting time watching YouTube videos. They can then enact a blanket blockage at an IP address level so that YouTube just doesn't show.
Perhaps more malevolently, YouTube is no stranger from being completely censored in certain countries around the world, too. This can be done in part - where only certain content is prevented from being viewed - or entirely, which is what the likes of China, North Korea, Iran and Turkmenistan have done (hence why VPNs for China have become so popular).
In some cases, live streaming videos on YouTube are blocked due to rights reasons. For example, one country may be showing a certain event for free on YouTube (like the Champions League football final in the UK), but in another country a particular broadcaster has paid for the rights. In cases like that, YouTube will be stopped from broadcasting the live stream in the country where the broadcaster had bought the rights.
How to unblock YouTube with a VPN
First thing's first, you need to select the best VPN for the job. Luckily, YouTube has proven to be one of the easiest sites for virtual private networks to unblock, so pretty much all of the premium services out there should do the job.
But you'll still want a VPN that's fast, easy to use and won't cost you the Earth. ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the finest providers out there according to our rigorous testing. And because they use encrypted tunnels for all the data you share, your YouTube watching activities will be completely anonymous and unseen by prying eyes.
Once you've downloaded and installed your choice of VPN to your computer or mobile device, unblocking YouTube is an absolute doddle.
Simply open the VPN app, choose your location - going for one in your country of residence makes most sense, so that you don't mess with anything else - and then turn the VPN on.
That effectively simulates a completely different IP address to the one that your workplace, school or college uses and so you will no longer be bound by the restrictions they have put in place.
(Note that this will only work if you have administrator privileges on your laptop - meaning you can install any software you like - so this may not work on some employer or college-provided computers.)