Youtube is by far the most popular video streaming service on the internet. It is available in more than 100 countries and is full of content in roughly the same amount of languages. Although all videos are hosted on the same platform, many of them are limited to specific regions.
But not even Google can’t stop the flow of information so easily as there are many ways to bypass video restrictions. Continue reading to learn how to watch blocked YouTube videos and why you need to take these extra measures.
Reasons for blocked videos
It is not always clear why YouTube videos are restricted, but we can highlight one scenario from the start. Your network administrator can block YouTube in its entirety or specific pages of it.
Workplaces or schools tend to block distracting websites with the aim of increasing productivity. They filter web addresses when connecting, and if the URL is on the blacklist, you won’t be able to access the website. Such restrictions are not our primary aim here but they are worth mentioning as the same solutions help work around them.
The most daunting of all video blocks come with the message:
This video is not available in your country. Although it is widespread and many users see it often, the reasons behind it vary.
Government-imposed restrictions on online content are one of the main reasons. Any video can be flagged as inappropriate or as spreading misinformation. The criteria differ by country, so even if the video is already on the platform, YouTube might be obliged to restrict it.
Governments set these rules, and YouTube only enforces them according to geographical location. Most of the time, government censorship isn’t significant, but it can be harsher if you live in a country like North Korea.
Copyright issues on Youtube are usually solved before uploading a video to the platform. They use an advanced copyright match tool for this task. If the copyright rules vary by country, the video is restricted accordingly. For example, YouTube often restricts music videos because uploaders have limited reproduction rights.
The uploader’s intent to restrict his own videos might seem unintuitive at first. After all, everyone on the platform seeks to get more views. However, there are scenarios where YouTubers want to avoid spam in comments or negative feedback if the content is sensitive in some particular regions.
Geo-restriction and geo-blockage
Geo-restriction is the process of filtering content based on the requester’s geographical location. It is what happens when videos are blocked on YouTube. When you connect to a website or use an online service through an app, your device provides an IP address to the server.
An IP address is like a digital passport – you need to show it to the server before gaining access. Numbers in the IP address provide the website with the name of your internet service provider (ISP) and your approximate location.
Based on IP-related information, the website or government can also block whole websites, effectively isolating populations from access to the World Wide Web. When the government does it, it’s called geo-blocking, and it’s a more extreme version of geo-restriction.
How to bypass the blockage
No matter why Youtube videos are blocked for you, the solution is the same. YouTube imposes video access restrictions based on your IP address, so blocked videos wouldn’t be a problem if you could avoid showing the IP.
Unfortunately, you cannot avoid showing your IP address. Internet infrastructure works in such a way that you cannot establish a connection without an IP address. Instead, you can hide your IP by using an intermediary server from a needed location. That’s what the most common ways to watch blocked YouTube videos achieve.
A VPN (or virtual private network) changes your IP address by creating a secure “tunnel” from your network to all outside networks you visit. Such a tunnel means your connection will go through one or more servers before reaching the destination website.
These websites, including Youtube, will only see the IP address of the last server your connection was routed from, leaving your original IP address unknown. Since that server can be located anywhere else on the planet, you can change location to avoid geo-restrictions.
Unfortunately, watching YouTube requires downloading loads of data and VPNs tend to slow down the connection speed. To minimize this drawback, you will want a premium VPN which can cost a fortune. That is why some prefer to use other alternatives.
Tor browser or similar services use onion routing technology, routing your request through a layered network of volunteer computers. Every device linked has only a part of the request, so it changes your IP address and encrypts the data.
Tor browser is a completely free service, but performance isn’t a top priority for volunteer devices. Tor is not convenient for switching locations frequently, and video quality on YouTube is low unless you want to sit around all day buffering videos.
Although VPNs and the Tor browser have their benefits, proxies are superior to both when it comes to bypassing YouTube video blocks. They are intermediary servers that can route your connection while changing the IP address. You first connect to the proxy server and only then to the needed website.
Proxies are generally cheaper than VPNs. They are a bit less popular and do not require separate software to be developed for using them. At the same time, they are way faster than the Tor browser. Even the most legitimate residential proxy servers are optimized for traffic-intensive tasks.
The only drawback of using proxies might be convenience because the provider only gives you an IP address and port number. However, there are methods to ease the usage of proxies, and using a browser extension is one of the most straightforward. Check this guide on how to watch blocked youtube videos using proxies.
Youtube videos can be blocked by the government or the uploader. Whatever the reason, proxies are the best way to bypass the blocks and access content without interruptions.