The content YouTube has to offer is massive, but there are instances where some or all YouTube content may be blocked for you. Certain countries, for example, or even your office or school. Luckily, the best VPN services allow you to circumvent any restrictions and stream to your heart's content.
A virtual private network (VPN) can step in to save the day at any time by spoofing your IP address to easily make it appear as if you're located elsewhere in the world within seconds. On top of that, a YouTube VPN even reaps all the security and privacy benefits the piece of software is known for as it encrypts all the data leaving a device.
Experts at TechRadar have 15 years of experience reviewing security software to recommend to our readers only the top services. Not all VPN services are made equal, in fact. With plenty of apps out there, we've listed the top 5 VPNs for YouTube on the market right now.
Today's top 3 best YouTube VPNs:
1. ExpressVPN is the best YouTube VPN
ExpressVPN—our overall #1 VPN—is fantastic at unblocking geo-restrictions on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+ and, you'll be pleased to hear, YouTube. It's ridiculously easy to set up and use, and it comes with a no-questions-asked 30 day money-back guarantee and 3 months extra free.
2. Surfshark - one of the cheapest VPNs available
Look no further than Surfshark if you want to grab a fully functioned YouTube VPN and an absolute bargain. It's a fantastic, premium option that's unbelievably simple to use and has become a TechRadar favorite. It offers most of the same features as the other top services, just for less money.
How to choose the best YouTube VPN
You obviously want the best of the best, right? When it comes to a solid YouTube VPN, there are plenty that get the job done. Even many cheap VPNs have no issues with YouTube, so the options are abundant.
Depending on which device(s) you'll be using, a good first step is to make sure that whichever VPN you choose is available on your platform of choice—phone, tablet, PC, smart TV, or even your game console.
As you're likely to stream lots of videos, you want a YouTube VPNs able to deliver stable and speedy internet connections. A broad range of servers located strategically across the world is also a good plus to enjoy better performances.
It's also a safe play to go for a VPN with a great support system. You're bound to run into issues, so make sure you have the tools to get things fixed quickly and easily. Many of the providers on our list offer stellar live chat, deep support docs and email options to get the help you need.
The best YouTube VPNs in 2023:
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The best YouTube VPNs in 2023:
The best overall VPN for streaming on YouTube and more
Unblocks YouTube: Yes | 24/7 customer support: Yes | Money back guarantee: 30 days | Also unlocks: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Peacock | Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox | Maximum devices supported: 5
Best YouTube VPN 2023 - Get 3 months free with an annual plan
ExpressVPN is the very best virtual private network out there, bar none. So, as you'd imagine, it takes unblocking YouTube in its stride. That's just one of many streaming services it can get you access to from anywhere, with others on the list including Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video, to name just a few.
What ExpressVPN does better than most is that it can offer you a huge number of servers, at over 3,000 across 160 locations, which work really fast. Yup, you shouldn't experience any buffering issues here, you just get the added security or anonymity plus geo-restriction evading, minus the throttling. Which is another thing this does well, getting you around YouTube throttling, as some ISP services allegedly do.
That security we mentioned? It's broad. You get DNS/IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch, split tunnelling and, of course, high-grade encryption. Plus, there are no logs kept by this VPN of activity or connections, making you super anonymous, too. No one will discover your love of Ukrainian cat videos, don't worry.
The catch? This is one of the more expensive options out there. But with a 30-day money-back guarantee, why not give it a try?
Get the best YouTube VPN with 49% off and 3 months FREE
As we say, ExpressVPN's completely quibble-free trial means you can grab it, give it a blast and delete within a month without cost if you decide you're not getting much out of it (which, to be frank, we highly doubt you'll need). But if you do sign up for an annual plan, TechRadar readers also get a meaty 3 months extra absolutely free.
One of the cheapest YouTube VPNs available
Unblocks YouTube: Yes | 24/7 customer support: Yes | Money back guarantee: 30 days | Also unlocks: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Peacock | Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
Surfshark is a relatively new player compared to the rest, but that is an excellent thing as this company, like its namesake, is hungry to prove itself. As such, it's one of the cheapest (and fastest!) options out there if you commit to a longer-term deal. That shouldn't be too hard since this offers many extra features, including YouTube unblocking.
Despite fewer servers than some (around 3,200 compared to somebody like NordVPN that has over 5,500), Surfshark has some very fast connection speeds which remain high even when connecting to more distant locations. This applies across a host of devices which this is designed for including smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, computers and more. By more, we mean as many as you like, as this has no limit on the number of simultaneous connections at once.
All that is also backed by tip-top security which includes a 256-bit encryption, a kill switch and DNS leak protection plus no logging. You even get a camouflage mode to ISPs from finding out you're using a VPN – ideal to battle that YouTube throttling that may or may not be something your ISP does. There's protection from malware and phishing to keep your browsing experience clear and clean, too (although VPNs aren't really a substitute for true antivirus).
All that comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and did we mention the super low pricing!?
Household name easily unblocks YouTube
Unblocks YouTube: Yes | 24/7 customer support: Yes | Money back guarantee: 30 days | Also unlocks: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Peacock | Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox | Maximum devices supported: 6
If NordVPN can swoop in and penetrate the walls of the likes of Netflix and BBC iPlayer, it's fair to assume it can bypass geo-restricted YouTube content—and your assumption would be correct, making it a great YouTube VPN.
Second only to ExpressVPN in our ranking of the over-aching top-dog of VPN services, NordVPN is perhaps one of the most well-known virtual private networks on the market. It boasts over 5,400 servers across 59 countries and a superb overall functionality across both security and its speed performance.
The latter is particularly good news for those looking to use NordVPN for unblocking YouTube—or just about any video streaming, really. Streaming uses up a fair bit of bandwidth, so the last thing you want is a VPN that slows down your internet connection.
With security being a key attribute of any VPN, NordVPN comes all guns glazing with AES-256-GCM encryption, Double VPN, a dedicated kill switch, and CyberSec tools for blocking ads and malicious malware. A great all-rounded, NordVPN is perfect for those searching for a YouTube VPN and much more.
4. Proton VPN
A trusty YouTube VPN for speed and unblocking
Unblocks YouTube: Yes | 24/7 customer support: No | Money back guarantee: 30 days pro rata | Also unlocks: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Peacock | Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux | Maximum devices supported: 10
Proton VPN maintains an impressive performance overall, from speed to unblocking, making it an excellent option as a YouTube VPN.
While it has yet to branch out beyond apps for the essential Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux operating systems, it's ensured these are finely tuned with a boatload of features, with serious power behind each of them. Offering an excellent kill switch, P2P support, and its new VPN Accelerator technology, its WireGuard protocol is also new to Proton this time around. And what an introduction it has made.
Proton VPN impresses in its performance, maintaining reliably consistent speeds, though the low end of its range were a touch lower this time around, peaking at 360-670Mbps. Still, this is plenty fast enough for the average user, and sees it ahead of ExpressVPN in terms of speed at its height.
Proton VPN is also a pro when it comes to bypassing geo-restrictions and unblocking top streaming services. As well as gaining access to YouTube, Proton also gains access to Netflix, Disney Plus, Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
Data compression makes CyberGhost a strong YouTube companion
Unblocks YouTube: Yes | 24/7 customer support: Yes | Money back guarantee: 45 days | Also unlocks: Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Peacock | Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox | Maximum devices supported: 7
CyberGhost has some of the most servers at over 7,900 in some 91 countries, meaning you can get access anywhere you need, and you'll still have the security of this solid VPN. That means the usual encryption and kill switch protections, too.
One particularly useful feature for YouTube unblocking is this VPN's ability to offer data compression. This will offer better performance and means you can save your data, which is ideal if you're watching from your smartphone on a network connection.
Its speeds weren't so memorable last time we checked, dropping from 830-850Mbps to 540-730Mbps when using the WireGuard protocol. Yet, our expert assures it can still provide excellent connection stability for those looking to stream without a hint of buffering.
This works across the likes of iOS, Android, Mac and PC with up to seven devices supported simultaneously. Grab a 45-day money-back guarantee before you commit, then save more by going for a longer plan option.
YouTube VPN: FAQ
How to use a VPN with YouTube
You've chosen your provider, but how do you actually unblock YouTube? It's actually really straightforward – once downloaded and installed on the device you want to use, make sure the VPN is open and running. Select a location that isn't where you are, and is where the video allows access. So keep in mind if it's that Ukrainian cat video you're after, you might want to select a server in or near Ukraine.
If you find that your connection is slow, or you still don't have access, simply hop to another server location and try reloading the video. In the case of services like ExpressVPN you could take advantage of its 24/7 live chat service and ask for what you need, and you'll be more than likely directed to the best server for your needs.
Is a free VPN good enough for YouTube?
There are some free VPN options that will allow you to select from a limited number of server locations, although many are locked to auto-select. But that's not really the issue, in most cases the problem will be data. Since there is often a cap on free providers, you may find you don't get very far into your trip down the YouTube trapdoor, as you end up out of data. Or if it's free data, then speed may be the problem.
A free virtual private network may do the job for you, so it's worth a try. But without the support, security and server selection of the paid versions, it's more than likely you'll find yourself wasting time trying to get access.
Is YouTube banned in China?
YouTube has been inaccessible in China since 2009 following a five-month ban the previous year. It can still be accessed in Hong Kong, Macau, and Shanghai's Free Trade Zone; otherwise you'll need a VPN to get on YouTube while within the borders of China as the video platform finds itself behind the Great Firewall, alongside Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and many more.
Where else is YouTube banned?
If you happen to be travelling, you'll find that YouTube is banned not only in China, but also Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Tajikstan, and Turkmenistan. Luckily, a YouTube VPN will allow you to connect to a server outside any of these countries, so you can stream content from YouTube like you would back home.
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Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.