One of the most annoying things is when you see a YouTube video pop up in search results, or you're sent a link from a friend only to find that you can't watch it because 'The uploader has not made this video available in your country'.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that all YouTube videos are available everywhere in the world, but it doesn't quite work like that. Even more 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.
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.
Unblock 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 based in a different country. You can try this with a free VPN, though we recommend a paid service such as NordVPN which currently sits proudly at the top of our best VPN ranking.
A paid-for VPN like Nord offers faster connection speeds, more server options and doesn't place limits on how much data (such as video) you can stream via the service.
Simply install the app from your VPN provider of choice - many offer apps for PC, Mac, Android and iOS as well as TVs, and streaming gadgets such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Sign up to the service (it's easier to do this on a laptop) and - obviously - make sure you choose one that lets you pick the country you want to connect to. Head into the VPN app, login with your details and look through the location / country list and pick a server that's in the correct region to access the video in question - normally the location of the video's creator or uploader is a safe bet.
Then all you have to do is head to the YouTube app - or the website in your web browser - and find that video you want to watch. YouTube should now think that you're located within the other country and load the video. Depending on your choice of VPN the video might load slightly slower or in lower quality - again, part of why a paid service is normally worth the cost - but either way the video should play and not be blocked.
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.
Use a proxy
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 might not be your biggest concern, 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 video
If all else fails, you might be able to simply 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 its content.