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The Best VPNs to Unblock YouTube & YouTube TV

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Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent
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Callum Tennent oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his VPN advice has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society.

Our Verdict

The best VPNs for YouTube unblock geo-restricted videos by changing your IP location. In this guide we'll recommend the best VPNs for unblocking YouTube videos and YouTube TV. We'll also show you how to get YouTube Premium at a discount using a VPN.

How To Unblock YouTube

Not every country allows access to YouTube. Countries like China and Iran ban it, for instance.

Even in free democracies YouTube videos can be restricted or censored, particularly on copyright grounds, or if you’re at work or school.

When a YouTube video is geo-blocked, you’ll get the error message: “Video unavailable. The uploader has not made this video available in your country.”

The best VPNs for YouTube let you bypass the video platform’s geo-blocks imposed by copyright owners, governments, or network administrators.

Based on our unblocking tests, the best VPNs for YouTube & YouTube TV are:

  1. ExpressVPN – Overall Best VPN for YouTube
  2. Surfshark – Best Cheap VPN for YouTube
  3. CyberGhost – Best VPN Free Trial for YouTube

The three VPNs above are the most effective and reliable VPNs to unblock YouTube videos from anywhere. They also easily unblock YouTube TV from outside USA.

Comparison of the Best YouTube VPNs

The table below compares the best VPNs for YouTube and YouTube TV side by side. You can compare their international speeds, number of US servers, and cheapest monthly price.

The Best YouTube VPNs: Summary Test Ratings

The table below shows how the best YouTube VPNs performed in our key testing categories:

Why Trust Top10VPN.com?

Unlike many review websites, we’re completely independent and focused on VPN software. We’ve spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing VPNs for YouTube using our YouTube VPN testing methodology to recommend the best ones.

Here’s an overview of our key YouTube VPN testing statistics:

  • VPN Services Reviewed: 56
  • Test Platforms/Devices: Windows, Mac, Fire TV, iPhone, Android, Apple TV & PS5
  • YouTube Unblocking Tests: 10,000+
  • Weekly Speed Tests: 3,000+

The Best VPNs for YouTube & YouTube TV

While most VPNs unblock YouTube, not all of them are fast, unlimited, and with thousands of servers located around the world.

And if you’re in a country with strict internet censorship, only VPNs with stealth encryption and obfuscation tools will work.

The VPNs we recommend below unblock YouTube on most devices at high speed. ExpressVPN can even do so from highly-censored countries like China and Iran.

1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for YouTube

PROS CONS
  • Unblocks YouTube on all VPN servers
  • Fast and consistent streaming speeds
  • 3,000 servers in 94 countries
  • 16 US city server locations
  • Excellent Fire TV Stick app
  • Smart DNS tool for Apple TV, Roku and games consoles
  • The best Chrome & Firefox extensions we’ve tested
  • Pricier than rival VPNs
  • Browser extensions require desktop client to run

ExpressVPN Test Ratings

Overall YouTube Rating: 9.6/109.6

Unblocks YouTube: 9.9/109.9

Unblocks YouTube TV: 9.9/109.9

International Speeds: 9.8/109.8

No. of US Servers: 9.6/109.6

Fire TV Stick: 8.9/108.9

Smart DNS: 9.6/109.6

ExpressVPN is our most highly-rated streaming VPN and is the best for unblocking YouTube.

In our streaming tests, the VPN always unblocked YouTube on any of the 3,000 servers we connected to.

ExpressVPN's server locations list

ExpressVPN’s server locations list.

ExpressVPN also worked smoothly with YouTube TV on its 16 US city server locations.

We tested a number of server locations including New Jersey, Washington, and Los Angeles, which all streamed live American television.

ExpressVPN unblocking YouTube TV

We unblocked ESPN on YouTube TV with ExpressVPN.

Regardless of the device we tested ExpressVPN on, we were able to stream with excellent video picture quality.

In fact, ExpressVPN is highly compatible with most devices. For instance, you can use ExpressVPN with Apple TV through the service’s Smart DNS tool called MediaStreamer.

You can also unblock YouTube using ExpressVPN on a Fire TV Stick, thanks to its user-friendly native Fire OS app.

The VPN service is highly effective at beating aggressive web censorship in authoritarian countries, as evidenced by our ExpressVPN China tests.

ExpressVPN’s main downside is its higher-than-average subscription price. Its best monthly price is $6.67 on a 15-month plan, compared to Surfshark’s $1.99 per month on a two-year deal.

2. Surfshark: Best Cheap VPN for YouTube

PROS CONS
  • Very affordable on a two-year plan
  • 3,200+ servers in 100 countries
  • 25 US city-specific servers
  • Effective Firestick app, Smart DNS & browser extensions
  • Good speeds locally and internationally
  • Unlimited device policy
  • Some servers are slow to connect
  • Slower than ExpressVPN and CyberGhost
  • Kill switch not enabled by default
  • Doesn’t always beat web censorship

Surfshark Test Ratings

Overall YouTube Rating: 9.5/109.5

Unblocks YouTube: 9.9/109.9

Unblocks YouTube TV: 9.8/109.8

International Speeds: 9.1/109.1

No. of US Servers: 9.8/109.8

Fire TV Stick: 8.8/108.8

Smart DNS: 9.6/109.6

Surfshark is also very effective at unblocking YouTube videos and YouTube TV. It’s also considerably cheaper than ExpressVPN.

Currently one of the best cheap VPN you can get, Surfshark costs only $1.99 per month on a two-year subscription plan.

The VPN service works with YouTube on all its 3,200+ secure servers covering 100 countries.

Surfshark also unblocked YouTube TV on most of its 25 US server locations. Not all servers like ExpressVPN, however.

Moreover, Surfshark even unblocked YouTube in our latest China VPN tests. Keep in mind that the VPN only works 33% of the time there, though.

Surfshark Unblocking YouTube in China

We accessed YouTube from China using Surfshark.

Thanks to its unlimited device policy, Surfshark is particularly suitable to users in large households with many different devices connected to the internet.

Since YouTube doesn’t enforce device limits, you can streaming videos using Surfshark VPN on as many devices as you want.

Although it isn’t as fast as ExpressVPN or CyberGhost internationally, Surfshark remains a very good VPN aimed at price sensitive streaming fans.

3. CyberGhost: Best VPN Free Trial for YouTube

PROS CONS
  • Free VPN browser extension for Chrome and Firefox
  • 8,800 servers in 91 countries
  • 24-hour free trial for PC & Mac
  • Seven-day iOS and three-day Android free trials
  • Generous 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Not as many US city server locations
  • Smart DNS isn’t as reliable as ExpressVPN’s or Surfshark’s
  • Doesn’t unblock YouTube in highly-censored countries
  • Browser extension only has 8 servers in 4 countries
  • Browser extension doesn’t work with YouTube TV

CyberGhost Test Ratings

Overall YouTube Rating: 9.0/109.0

Unblocks YouTube: 9.9/109.9

Unblocks YouTube TV: 9.5/109.5

International Speeds: 9.3/109.3

No. of US Servers: 8.5/108.5

Fire TV Stick: 9.0/109.0

Smart DNS: 6.0/106.0

CyberGhost is the best VPN free trial for YouTube thanks to its 24-hour free trial on PC and Mac, and its other VPN free trial options.

The CyberGhost 24-hour trial via desktop/laptop doesn’t require any payment details.

On Android devices, you can trial CyberGhost completely free for seven days. On iOS, the free trial period is three days, however.

All free trial options give you access to the VPN’s 8,800 servers, which unblock YouTube in 91 countries.

In our most recent tests, CyberGhost unblocked all region-restricted videos we’re aware of, as well as YouTube TV on it’s 11 US server locations.

CyberGhost unblocking YouTube TV

CyberGhost unblocked TNT in our YouTube TV tests.

In the past, CyberGhost’s free Chrome and Firefox browser extension also worked with YouTube TV. Sadly, this is no longer the case as YouTube detects the VPN connection.

At least, the free browser extension still bypasses network blocks in schools and workplaces. Video quality is restricted to 720p, though.

Like ExpressVPN and Surfshark, CyberGhost comes with a well-designed Fire TV Stick application to unblock YouTube and YouTube TV on your TV.

However, the VPN’s Smart DNS service isn’t as reliable as its rivals. It works with YouTube, but certainly not as well with streaming apps like Netflix and HBO Max.

Overall, CyberGhost is highly compatible with most devices and platforms.

Other YouTube VPNs We've Considered

We’ve tested 56 VPN services with YouTube and YouTube TV, with most beating the streaming platform’s geo-restrictions.

However, not all performed as well as the three YouTube VPNs we recommend above. Below are some of the more renowned VPNs that fell short of the mark:

NordVPN

What we don’t like: NordVPN works with YouTube however its international speeds have slowed down recently, and its free trial options are limited.

IPVanish

What we don’t like: IPVanish isn’t as compatible as other YouTube VPNs. It doesn’t come with a Smart DNS service, or web browser extensions.

Proton VPN

What we don’t like: Like IPVanish, Proton VPN isn’t compatible with many streaming devices. It lacks Smart DNS functionality, and offers no browser plugins.

Hola VPN

What we don’t like: Hola is a very insecure VPN. It logs your internet activity, and allows other Hola subscribers to use your unused internet bandwidth.

The table below includes the test results of a selection of the VPNs we tested with YouTube:

How We Test VPNs for YouTube

We test VPN services following a specific YouTube VPN review methodology.

The best VPNs for YouTube are the ones that not only access geo-restricted or blocked videos, but also unblock YouTube TV, which is exclusive to the United States.

The top YouTube VPNs we recommend achieve both, thanks to thousands of fast servers worldwide, including many in the US.

Being able to use a VPN on a variety of streaming devices is also a key factor in our assessment. A YouTube VPN must work well on many devices including Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, and games consoles.

Every factor we consider is weighted in terms of importance, and allows us to calculate a YouTube-specific VPN rating. These are the categories we test for:

  • Reliable access to YouTube: 25%
  • Reliable access to YouTube TV: 20%
  • International speeds: 15%
  • Number of US Servers (for YouTube TV): 15%
  • Quality of Fire TV Stick app: 15%
  • Smart DNS effectiveness: 10%

Why Are YouTube Videos Blocked?

The three main reasons why YouTube videos get blocked are:

YouTube Blocked Due to Censorship

Internet shutdowns are becoming increasingly frequent. On any given day, countries like India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, and Uganda impose new internet blocks. YouTube is very often targeted.

Even worse, YouTube is fully banned in a number of countries, including China, Iran, Syria, and Turkmenistan.

Even countries like Germany and Denmark have introduced temporary blocks or have censored certain video content.

Whether you’re in a country with a permanent ban or a temporary block, you can beat this by using a VPN for YouTube.

However, if you’re in a highly-censored country, we specifically recommend using an anti-censorship VPN like Astrill, or ExpressVPN.

Some YouTube video geo-blocks are due to copyright and licensing agreements, which trigger the error message: “The uploader has not made this video unavailable in your country.”

Bypassing these geo-restrictions is easier than beating web censorship. Again, you can use one of our recommended YouTube VPNs, or you can use a proxy.

EXPERT ADVICE: Use a YouTube region restriction checker to see where certain videos are available or unavailable by copyright laws.

Videos Blocked at School or Work

School and workplace network administrators often block YouTube completely to improve student/worker productivity.

These administrators, following orders from the school principal or company management, block many websites considered non-essential to studying or working.

Of the legal websites banned, social media and video content platforms are the most blocked on school and workplace WiFi, due to their popularity.

Again, using a VPN or a web proxy are the most effective ways to unblock websites at school, or in the workplace.

Can YouTube Detect VPNs?

Even if YouTube can detect VPNs, it doesn’t seem to care much as most VPNs work almost all the time to unblock the video platform.

It’s another story when it comes to the premium YouTube TV, though. It uses an algorithm to track IP addresses and detect VPNs. This is why you might get an error message that reads: “YouTube TV VPN Proxy Server Detected.”

So while YouTube can detect VPNs when it comes to its premium services it doesn’t care as much when it comes to unblocking georestricted content that is otherwise free.

Can VPNs Help with Sitewide Removals?

Sometimes YouTube censors content by removing videos entirely from the platform.

Following a policy update in 2019, YouTube terminated 25,000 accounts on hate speech grounds and, more famously, former US President Donald Trump for “inciting violence.”

However, no VPN can get around these blanket bans. These videos are completely taken offline.

Also, following a policy update in 2019, YouTube terminated 25,000 accounts on hate speech grounds and, more famously, President Donald Trump for “inciting violence.”

No VPN can get around these blanket bans. These videos are completely taken offline and unavailable on YouTube.

Unblocking YouTube is entirely legal in the vast majority of countries across the world.

There are, however, a few countries that have made using VPNs illegal, whether it’s for YouTube or anything else.

VPNs are illegal in the following countries:

  • Belarus (banned since 2015)
  • Iraq (banned since 2014)
  • North Korea (operates national intranet)
  • Turkmenistan (banned since 2015)

Outside of these countries it’s legal to unblock YouTube. Even in China where YouTube is banned and VPNs are restricted, it’s not illegal to unblock it.

As well as that, there is nothing specific in the YouTube terms of service that says you cannot use a VPN or proxy.

One section forbids you to “circumvent, disable, fraudulently engage, or otherwise interfere with the service,” but it’s highly unlikely this can be used to justify kicking you off the service. We’ve never known a case of someone being penalized for using a YouTube VPN.

Unblocking YouTube at school or work is not illegal, either. But there’s no guarantee that you won’t get told off for doing it if discovered. Network administrators can detect the use of VPNs even if they don’t know what websites you’re visiting.

Can I Use a Web Proxy for YouTube?

Two people choosing between a VPN and a proxy.

Web proxies can be just as effective at unblocking YouTube videos.

If you don’t want to use a VPN (free or premium) to unblock YouTube, you can also use a web proxy.

That’s because YouTube geo-restrictions are than premium streaming services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

A proxy gets around firewalls by visiting the website on your behalf and relaying the content back to you. You never actually visit the website and so the block never takes effect.

However, proxies don’t provide the same level of privacy and reliability as a VPN.

Since proxies don’t encrypt data like VPNs do, ISPs, school network administrators, and governments can see what YouTube videos you watch.

Moreover, web proxies may also be logging and selling your web data. For this reason, they’re not as safe or private as VPNs.

Rather than using a potentially unsafe web proxy, consider using a trusted free VPN browser extension, like CyberGhost’s.

Is There a YouTube Premium VPN Ban?

Readers often ask us if they’ll get banned from YouTube for using a VPN to buy YouTube Premium at a lower subscription cost.

The answer is no, there is no YouTube Premium VPN ban and your account won’t be deactivated for signing up to YouTube Premium using a VPN.

Additional research by David Hughes