It doesn’t happen all that often, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating when it does. Just occasionally, you’ll click on a YouTube video from a list of search results and on a link from a friend, only to see the most annoying message: ‘The uploader has not made this video available in your country’.
It’s a common mistake to assume that all YouTube videos are available everywhere in the world, but it doesn’t quite work like that. YouTube isn’t only populated with user-created content: it also hosts licensed content including movies and TV shows. There are also YouTube Originals, which are like Netflix Originals – shows created exclusively to be shown on YouTube. However, they’re in a different category to region-blocked videos: you’ll need a YouTube Premium subscription to watch those.
What’s really irritating is when there’s a video that you have to rent or buy in your country, but is free to watch in another country. That really seems unfair.
It’s also frustrating when all you want to do is watch a film trailer or music video, and don’t want complex licensing nonsense to get in between you and the content. Luckily, there are ways to bypass YouTube’s regional filter and watch videos that are blocked in your country. Here’s how to do it.
Watch region-blocked YouTube videos with a VPN
The most reliable way to get around the region filter is simply to use a VPN. This is a service which lets you browse the web as if you were in a different country. You can try this with a free VPN, though we recommend a paid service such as NordVPN which currently sits at the top of our best VPN ranking.
A paid-for VPN like Nord offers fast connection speeds, more server options than a free one and doesn’t place limits on how much data you can stream via the service.
Simply install the app from your VPN provider of choice on the device where you’re watching YouTube. There are typically apps for PC, Mac, Android and iPhone/iPad as well as Android TVs, and streaming gadgets such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Sign up to your chosen VPN service (it’s easier to do this on a laptop than your TV) and – obviously – make sure you choose one that has servers in the country you want to pretend to be in.
Then launch the VPN app, log in with the details you entered during the signup process and look through the location / country list and pick a server that’s in the correct region to access the video in question. That’s normally the location of the video’s creator or uploader.
Then all you have to do is head back to the YouTube app – or the website in a web browser – and go back to the video you want to watch. YouTube should now think that you’re located in the right region and play the video.
This is usually the quickest and easiest way to get past the region block on YouTube videos, especially if it’s a problem you run into repeatedly. But, there are other options…
Use a proxy to unblock YouTube
If you don’t want to use a VPN, the next best thing is a proxy server. This has a similar effect to a VPN – allowing you to browse as if in a different country – but is less secure and doesn’t encrypt your traffic, which is why we normally recommend a VPN over a proxy.
If you just want to watch music videos on YouTube, encryption and security might not be your biggest concerns, but if you’re trying to access YouTube from a country with a repressive government that bans certain videos, a VPN is definitely the better option.
As with VPNs, there are free proxy servers around, but they’re often so limited that a paid service is worth it, especially if you can find one with a free trial. You’ll typically have to access the server through a web browser extension, and once again make sure to select a server located in a country you think will have access to the video in question. Then load up YouTube and start watching.
Download the YouTube video
If all else fails, you might be able to download the YouTube video and thus get around the region-blocking entirely. We have an entire article dedicated to how to download YouTube videos to your phone, PC, tablet, or anything else, so we won’t run through the specifics here.
Do bear in mind that while it isn’t illegal to download videos from YouTube, it is technically against Google’s terms of service, and is arguably immoral since you’re circumventing the adverts that help fund the site and – more importantly – the content creators.