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How to Watch YouTube Without Ads

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Simon Migliano
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Simon Migliano is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times and more.

Fact-checked by JP JonesAdditional Testing by Luc Williams

Our Verdict

The best way to block YouTube ads is to subscribe to YouTube Premium. By using it, you can stream YouTube ad-free on every device, including on iPhone and Fire TV Stick. You can get YouTube Premium for cheap by using a VPN service, making it more cost-effective than all the other options.

How to watch YouTube without adverts

Quick Guide: How to Watch YouTube Without Ads

  1. Sign up for a VPN service that has servers in Turkey: We recommend ExpressVPN as it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Download the VPN app and connect to the Turkish VPN server: This will give you access to discounted YouTube Premium prices — just $16 a year.
  3. Sign up for YouTube Premium: You can use your regular payment details.
  4. Get a refund for the VPN subscription: Do this by contacting its customer service team by email.
  5. Start streaming YouTube: You won’t see any video or on-page YouTube adverts on any device.

For more in-depth instructions, see the dedicated section of this guide.

YouTube relies on advertising to fund its free service. However, YouTube displays many types of ads that often interrupt video streaming. These include in-stream ads that play before or during a video and cannot be skipped, as well as static on-page ads that appear on the page while the video is playing.

We’ve found five different ways to block all types of YouTube ads. We’ve compared each method based on its reliability, price, device compatibility, and set-up difficulty to help you decide which option is best for you.

Our favorite method is using YouTube Premium as it works on every device, including mobile and streaming devices. It also includes a range of other benefits, including background playback and offline viewing.

In this guide, we’ll show you exactly how to set up each method, including using a VPN service to work around adverts, as well as installing an ad-blocking browser extension. We’ll also show you what method works best on every device, such as Android and Roku.

5 Simple Methods to Block YouTube Ads

We found five highly-effective ways to watch YouTube without ads. We’ve focused mainly on methods that bypass non-skippable video ads, but these will also block skippable in-stream ads, bumper ads, and masthead ads.

All of these methods are 100% legal and your YouTube account won’t be suspended. The only method that violates YouTube’s Terms of Service is using a modded YouTube app, like NewPipe. However, NewPipe doesn’t let you log in to your YouTube account, so YouTube can’t ban you for using it.

In the table below, you can compare each method side-by-side:


Method Reliability Price Supported Devices Requires a VPN Set-Up Difficulty
YouTube Premium Very Reliable $16 per Year Every Device Yes Easy
VPN Server in Albania, Moldova, or Myanmar Very Reliable 100% Free Every Device Yes Easy
Ad Blocker Browser Extension Reliable 100% Free Desktop Only No Easy
Pi-hole Unreliable $15 One-Time Payment Every Device No Difficult
Modded YouTube App Unreliable 100% Free Android Only No Moderate

In the section below, we’ll evaluate each method in detail so you can decide which is best for you. We’ll also show you how to set up and use each option.

1. Get a Cheap YouTube Premium Subscription

Pros
Cons
  • Prevents every type of YouTube ad from loading
  • Works on every device
  • No impact on internet speed and streaming quality
  • Other benefits, including offline playback
  • Virtually free using a money-back guarantee
  • Requires a small annual payment of $16
  • Need to use a VPN with servers in Argentina, India, or Turkey
  • Won’t bypass adverts on other sites

The easiest way to stream YouTube without ads is by using YouTube Premium. This is a paid-for subscription that allows you to watch videos on every device without any type of ads.

As well as bypassing ads, YouTube Premium comes with other benefits, including background listening on mobile and downloads for offline playback. Unlike all the other methods in this guide, it also financially supports content creators.

Using a VPN to get a cheap YouTube Premium subscription

YouTube Premium is a lot cheaper when signing up with an India IP address.

The price for YouTube Premium changes depending on where you are in the world and is most expensive in the US. But with a VPN, you can change your IP address location and appear to be in a country where the fee for YouTube Premium is cheaper.

We found that by signing up with a Turkish or Indian IP address, you can get an annual YouTube Premium subscription for just $16. This is a $110 each discount compared to the same subscription plan in the US. That said, it isn’t 100% free like some other options in this list. If you don’t want to pay anything or don’t have access to a payment card, we recommend installing an ad blocker extension or using a modded YouTube app.

In the table below, we’ve summarized the three cheapest regions for YouTube Premium and
listed all the top VPNs that have compatible servers.

Region Cost Compatible VPNs
India $16 ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, IPVanish, PIA, Proton VPN, Surfshark
Turkey $16 ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, IPVanish, PIA, Proton VPN, Surfshark
Argentina $25 ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, IPVanish, NordVPN, PIA, Proton VPN, Surfshark

Once you’ve subscribed to YouTube Premium, you can disconnect from the VPN and use your regular internet connection.

As this is a YouTube-specific subscription, you’ll still see ads on other websites. To block ads on Twitch, Google, and other sites, you’ll have to install a DNS-based ad blocker.

Here’s how to get a cheap YouTube Premium subscription:

  1. Sign up for a VPN service and connect to a server in Turkey: We recommend ExpressVPN as it has a no-questions-asked refund policy.
  2. Log in to your YouTube account: Click on your profile in the top-right corner, then click Purchases and memberships.
  3. Underneath the YouTube Premium option click Learn More and choose annual, family or student plan.
  4. Click get annual plan
  5. Enter your payment details: Your regular payment card will work.
  6. You now have a YouTube Premium subscription: You won’t see ads on any video across all of your devices.

EXPERT TIP: Once you’ve created your YouTube Premium account, you won’t need the VPN anymore. Cancel your subscription from your chosen VPN service within your VPN’s money-back guarantee period to get a full refund.

2. Connect to a VPN Server in Albania, Moldova, or Myanmar

Pros
Cons
  • Blocks all types of YouTube ads
  • Easy to set up
  • Works on every device that supports VPN apps
  • Counters YouTube data profiling
  • Requires a VPN with servers in a compatible country
  • Potentially lower video quality due to internet speed loss
  • Need to connect to VPN every time using YouTube
  • Doesn’t block ads on other websites

We discovered that you can watch YouTube videos ad-free by connecting to a VPN server in Albania, Moldova, or Myanmar.

In the video below, see us connect to a VPN server in Albania to bypass an unskippable YouTube advert:

Using a VPN to bypass YouTube ads.

Here are the VPNs that allow you to get an Albania, Moldova, or Myanmar IP address:

VPN Service
Albania
Moldova
Myanmar
ExpressVPN
Surfshark
PIA
Proton VPN
NordVPN

As YouTube doesn’t run an advertising program in these countries, it won’t show you any type of ad if it thinks you’re located there. For instance, by getting an IP address from Albania, you won’t see any non-skippable in-stream ads, bumper ads, or overlay ads.

Sadly, unlike the YouTube Premium workaround, you’ll have to connect to a VPN every time you use YouTube. VPN apps can’t be installed on some devices, like Roku, so this method won’t work there.

As well, connecting to a server in one of these countries can slow your download speed by up to 50% (depending on where you are), videos might stream in lower quality than what you’re used to.

It also means that you’ll likely have to use a paid-for VPN subscription. TunnelBear is the only free VPN service with servers in one of the three countries, but we used up the 500MB data cap in just 15 minutes.

Here’s how to use a VPN to block YouTube ads:

  1. Sign up for one of the VPNs in the table above and download the app: We recommend ExpressVPN due to its fast speeds and large server network.
  2. Open the VPN app and connect to a server in Albania, Moldova, or Myanmar: Simply type the name of the country in the search bar or select the country from the server list.
  3. Open the YouTube website or app and select the video you want to watch: As long as you’re connected to the VPN, you won’t encounter any type of YouTube ad.

3. Use an Ad Blocker Browser Extension

Pros
Cons
  • 100% free and doesn’t require payment details
  • Easy to install
  • Blocks ads on other websites
  • Also blocks trackers
  • Only works on desktop
  • Some ad blockers don’t work with YouTube
  • Few options for Safari

Ad blockers are browser extensions that prevent ads from displaying on websites, including YouTube. These programs are easy to use and can block all types of YouTube ads, including non-skippable ones.

Our tests found that by far the most effective ad-blocking extension is uBlock Origin, which always worked. Other popular extensions we tested, like AdGuard and AdBlock, failed to block ads 50% of the time, and most VPN ad blockers didn’t work at all.

Blocking ads on YouTube using uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin successfully blocks YouTube adverts.

uBlock Origin is available on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. However, it is not available for Safari. A good free alternative is 1Blocker, but this isn’t open-source like uBlock Origin.

However, all of these ad blockers only work on desktop and laptop computers. Ad blockers for other platforms, like iOS, only prevent ads from loading in your web browser. You’ll still encounter all types of advertisements in the YouTube app.

You could also use a private browser with built-in ad blocking, like Brave. But we prefer installing an extension as it allows you to watch YouTube in the web browser you normally use.

Here’s how to use an ad blocker to watch YouTube without ads:

  1. Download and install the ad blocker extension: We strongly recommend uBlock Origin because it’s open-sourced and highly effective at blocking YouTube ads. Visit its website and click Get uBlock Origin to download it.
  2. Make sure the extension is enabled: In your browser toolbar, click the extension icon and check that it’s turned on. If using uBlock Origin, you’ll have to click the ‘on’ icon.
  3. Navigate to YouTube and choose the video you want to stream: If you encounter any ads, repeat Step 2.

4. Set Up Pi-hole on a Raspberry Pi

Pros
Cons
  • Works on every device, including Smart TVs
  • Effectively blocks ad trackers
  • Rarely blocks video YouTube ads
  • Only works on your home network
  • Requires a Raspberry Pi device
  • Difficult to set up

For network-wide ad and tracker blocking, you can set up Pi-hole on a Raspberry Pi. Pi-hole will set up a DNS server on your home network that’ll automatically prevent your device from connecting to domains that serve advertisements.

However, although this used to work reliably, our most recent tests have found that Pi-hole often fails to block YouTube video ads. It still works for hiding bumper and masthead adverts, though.

Setting up pi-hole

We used Pi-hole to block non-video YouTube Ads.

Sadly, it’s unlikely this will be fixed because of the way DNS-based ad blockers work. YouTube now delivers adverts from the same domain as its videos, so Pi-hole can’t know what to block and what to bypass.

As the DNS server is set up on your home network, you’ll still see ads whenever you’re on a different network. To bypass ads on cellular or different WiFi networks, you’ll have to upgrade to YouTube Premium or change your IP address to Albania, Moldova, or Myanmar.

Pi-hole is also difficult to set up and not recommended for beginners. It took us over 30 minutes to configure and we had to troubleshoot many of the commands before it worked correctly.

Here’s how to set up Pi-hole on a Raspberry Pi:

  1. Download Raspbian onto your Raspberry Pi.
  2. Burn Raspbian to your SD card: The easiest way to do this is by using Etcher.
  3. Power on the Raspberry Pi and log in.
  4. Install Pi-hole to the Raspberry Pi: The easiest way to do this is to run the following command: curl -sSL https://install.pi-hole.net | bash
  5. Use Pi-hole as your network’s DNS server: Turn the Pi-hole’s DHCP server on in the device’s settings. Choose 192.168.1.0/24 for your local network and leave the DHCP range at the default value.
  6. Disable DHCP on your router and restart it: You’ll now see fewer ads on YouTube.

5. Use a Modded YouTube App

Pros
Cons
  • Blocks all types of YouTube ads
  • Safe & open-sourced application
  • Free
  • Other benefits, like background playback
  • Works intermittently
  • Only available on Android
  • Requires sideloading
  • Violates YouTube’s Terms of Service

Modded YouTube apps differ from the regular app as they block all types of YouTube ads by default. The best modded YouTube app we’ve used is NewPipe, which is free and open-sourced.

However, unlike all the other ad-blocking methods listed above, this is only available on Android devices. You’ll also have to use the NewPipe client, which has fewer features and is more difficult to use than the official YouTube app.

Bypassing YouTube ads using the modded NewPipe YouTube app

NewPipe is a modded YouTube app with a built-in ad blocker.

The NewPipe app doesn’t allow you to log in to your YouTube account, so you won’t have access to your likes and video history. The video quality also defaults to 720p, so you’ll have to manually toggle it to 1080p every time you want to watch a video in full HD.

As NewPipe is an unofficial third-party client, YouTube often intentionally breaks its functionality. When this happened, we had to wait for NewPipe to release updates to fix the issues, which sometimes took over a week.

Still, NewPipe is by far the best third-party YouTube app we’ve used. YouTube Vanced is no longer available following a DMCA notice from Google and Revanced is facing the same issues. SkyTube is a good alternative, but it’s targeted by YouTube more often as it uses official YouTube APIs.

Here’s how to download and use NewPipe to avoid YouTube ads:

  1. Allow sideloading on your Android phone or tablet: Go to your device’s settings and search Install unknown apps. Select your web browser and tap the toggle.
  2. Download and install NewPipe: Visit its website on your Android device and scroll down. Tap the download link underneath Android 5+. Once it’s downloaded, tap the file to complete the installation.
  3. Open the NewPipe app: You’ll now have access to YouTube videos without any adverts.

EXPERT TIP: Only download NewPipe from its official website or a trusted source, like F-Droid. Other versions may contain malware.

How to Watch YouTube Without Adverts (Device Instructions)

The most effective way to block YouTube ads depends on the device you’re using. For example, modded YouTube apps are only available on Android, and you can’t download a VPN app on Roku.

Here’s our recommended method to stream YouTube with no ads on every device:

Desktop or Laptop (Windows & Mac)

Best YouTube ad-blocking method: Ad Blocker Browser Extension.
Reason: Ad blocking extensions are a free and reliable way to watch YouTube without ads in a web browser. Our favorite, uBlock Origin, is available on Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. The main weakness is that they aren’t compatible with mobile and streaming devices, but this won’t matter if you’re only streaming on desktop.

Android

Best YouTube ad-blocking method: Modded YouTube app.
Reason: NewPipe is a safe and functional way to bypass YouTube ads on Android. Unlike other methods, it is 100% free and doesn’t require any payment details. It’s only available on Android, though, so you won’t be able to use it on any other device.

iPhone & iPad

Best YouTube ad-blocking method: YouTube Premium.
Reason: YouTube Premium is the only 100% effective way to block YouTube ads on a mobile device. Ad-blocking extensions don’t work in the iOS YouTube app. Other methods, like connecting to an Albania VPN server, impact video quality and ease of use.

Fire TV & Android TV

Best YouTube ad-blocking method: Connect to a VPN Server in Albania, Moldova, or Myanmar.
Reason: VPN apps can be easily downloaded on Firestick and Android TV devices. Although you might experience a reduction in video quality, this method doesn’t cost anything if you use a free VPN service.

Roku, Smart TV, Chromecast, Apple TV & Games Consoles

Best YouTube ad-blocking method: YouTube Premium.
Reason: These streaming devices don’t support VPN software, nor do they allow modded YouTube apps, like NewPipe. With a YouTube Premium subscription, you’ll automatically bypass all ads without any extra configuration.