Let's face it – we all spend too much time on YouTube! But on certain restricted networks like schools and work, you might find that the video platform is blocked. In these situations, using the best VPN for YouTube is the only solution.
Plus, we’ve all seen that message – This content is not available in your country. If you want to watch content that's blocked in your region, changing your location with a YouTube VPN is a simple trick that can get you watching whatever you want, wherever you are.
What makes a great YouTube VPN?
First things first, a YouTube VPN has to be able to access blocked content. Thankfully that’s not a huge task, as YouTube’s geo-blocking tech is weak compared to providers like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Next, though, you’ll want to ensure you can get great speeds for HD and 4K content.
However, there are plenty of options out there that might be a better fit for you – the only question is which YouTube VPN to pick. So, below we’ve rounded up our top five, starting with ExpressVPN. Just keep scrolling to find the best one for you.
- Save some cash by checking out the best cheap VPN
- No good for streaming, but there are decent free VPN services out there
- PC users should get a Windows VPN, and Apple users need a Mac VPN
1. ExpressVPN – the very best YouTube VPN
When it comes to unblocking YouTube and accessing content worldwide, no VPN comes close to ExpressVPN. With searing speeds, over 3,000 servers in 94 countries and class-leading support, it's the best YouTube VPN. You'll also have a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you can now claim three months free.
2. Surfshark – the best-value VPN on the market
If you don't want to break the bank, at just $2.49/mo Surfshark is the cheapest YouTube VPN we'd recommend. With great speeds and serious security, it's reliable and effective. Plus, you'll be covered by a 30-day guarantee and be able to use the VPN on as many devices as you want.
3. NordVPN – big name is great for streaming anything
If you want the security a big name can bring, we'd recommend checking out NordVPN. With blistering speeds and excellent YouTube VPN performance (not to mention Netflix and the rest), it's a seriously potent contender – and it's great value too.
The best YouTube VPNs today
If you’re looking for a YouTube VPN that you can trust and rely on, look no further than ExpressVPN. With excellent speeds, great streaming capabilities and intuitive apps, it should be your first port of call when searching for a VPN to unblock YouTube.
However, that’s no good if the apps are confusing to use, but thankfully Express’s clients – both desktop and mobile – are incredibly simple, even for the most inexperienced VPN user. You can get going in a single click and not worry about any settings, or you can open the hood and change things up a little.
One of the few downsides to ExpressVPN is that it only offers five simultaneous connections. But, while that means you can only have it active on five devices at once, you can install it on any number and pick your five at any one time.
Overall, Express is the best YouTube VPN available today – and with great support and a 30-day money-back guarantee backing you up, you’ll be able to test out the service and make sure it’s the right choice for you before you commit.
Get three months free of the best YouTube VPN
Tom's Guide readers can claim three months of ExpressVPN absolutely FREE when they sign up to a 12-month plan – that's 15 months for the price of 12. Plus, with the 30-day money-back guarantee, you can test out the service for a whole month without any commitment.
If you’re looking to spend as little as possible on a YouTube VPN but don’t want to sacrifice usability, Surfshark could be the right option for you. For less than $2.50 a month you can get one of the best services on the market without breaking the bank.
We’re not going to pretend Surfshark’s as powerful as ExpressVPN, but for YouTube unblocking and the vast majority of users it’s quite powerful enough, and it isn’t as bare-bones as you might expect. For example, you’ll get full AES-256 encryption, all the protocols you’ll need, and great streaming performance outside of YouTube, too.
One of the best things about Surfshark is its unlimited connections, which means you can cover every single device in your household with one policy. That adds serious value to an already excellent package.
However, unlike some of the competition, Surfshark hasn’t undertaken an external audit of its servers or clients – only its browser extensions. While this might not be an issue if you’re just looking to unblock YouTube, the privacy conscious might not be entirely happy.
However, for the price, Surfshark is a great option as a YouTube VPN, and certainly worth checking out.
As one of the most popular VPNs on the market, NordVPN has made a name for itself as a go-to provider for unblocking streaming media, not least YouTube.
With a VPN server count currently standing at over 5,000, you can be sure of finding a quick connection in a location you need. Plus, with its top-notch encryption and useful kill switch, you’ll be in safe hands when it comes to your personal privacy.
You’ll also be able to stream BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu and more, and torrenting is also enabled on tons of servers so Nord’s a one-stop-shop for all of your VPN needs.
However, while it performs admirably in all areas, there’s nothing in particular that stands out when it comes to being a YouTube VPN. Although its apps are useful, it can’t quite match Express’s power and ease of use, or Surfshark’s value.
That said, if you’re after a great all-round service from the biggest name in the business, NordVPN should be on your list of considerations.
Hotspot Shield is the perfect choice for those who want a simple, fast VPN – and if you're the kind of person who streams a heck of a lot of YouTube videos at 4K, that might well be you.
By using the proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol (yes, it's as good as it sounds), Hotspot Shield can reach speeds of over 400Mbps, which is more than most people's Internet connections can support. So, in all likelihood, it won't be your VPN holding you back.
The apps are also super simple to use, on both desktop and mobile, and provide just enough configuration to make sure they do what you want. However, for the more advanced user, it all might be a little too simple – but there's nothing wrong there for the majority.
Alongside being a great YouTube VPN, Hotspot Shield is also great as a Netflix VPN and iPlayer VPN, so whatever you fancy streaming, you'll be covered.
So, if you're after seriously fast streaming in just about any service, or want to download torrents in safety as quickly as possible, Hotspot Shield is definitely one to watch.
CyberGhost is well known for being great for streaming, so it should come as no surprise that it features as one of our top YouTube VPNs. It provides pretty much all the features you’d expect from a premium VPN, but you’ll also get some interesting dedicated streaming features not found elsewhere, too.
When you open up the app, you’ll have the option to filter CyberGhost’s vast range of over 6,000 servers. That means if you want to stream, CyberGhost will shows you the best servers to use. You can also do this for P2P-optimized servers, which makes the service a great torrenting VPN, too.
If you’re streaming when you’re out and about, CyberGhost also offers a really useful data compression tool which reduces the amount of data you’ll use when connected to mobile networks. This can also be used for general web browsing, where the VPN will compress images and videos where possible to save you money and reduce loading times.
However, while it offers some really neat features, CyberGhost is let down a little by its apps and connection speeds. While by no means bad, compared to Surfshark and ExpressVPN its apps are a little dated, and connections aren’t quite as blistering.
That aside, though, CyberGhost is easily one of the best YouTube VPNs available, and should definitely be considered.
YouTube VPN FAQ
What is the best YouTube VPN?
For the best combination of YouTube unblocking, general privacy and ease of use, we recommend ExpressVPN as the best YouTube VPN available.
However, NordVPN is an excellent alternative, and if you want a cheap YouTube VPN, we also recommend Surfshark as a budget option.
Who needs a YouTube VPN?
If you're a regular YouTube user you'll have run into videos that you can't access. While a VPN can't access videos that have been taken down (either because of the uploader or due to a copyright infringement), if you can't access a video because YouTube has restricted it to a certain country, a VPN can help.
So, say a music video by a niche British artist is only available in the UK and you're in the US. If you want to watch it, the only way is to use a VPN to spoof your location to a UK server.
Things get trickier when YouTube is blocked completely, perhaps at school or on a public Wi-Fi network. The solution is just as simple though – use a VPN.
A VPN will hide your traffic from the ISP, meaning it can't tell what you're watching and subsequently can't block it. Now you can use all the great content on YouTube to research your papers and exams at school (or, you know, listen to music at lunch).
How does a YouTube VPN work?
It's pretty simple, really.
Without a VPN, all your data – or traffic – is sent to and from websites by your internet service provider (ISP) through its own servers. This means your ISP can see exactly what your traffic is, and can place restrictions on what you access.
If you use a VPN, your traffic is rerouted through one of the VPN's own servers, encrypting it at the same time and making it anonymous. That means that while your ISP will be able to see how much bandwidth you're using, it can't tell what you're viewing.
With most VPNs you'll also be able to select where the server you're using is – maybe the UK, US, Italy or Singapore. Doing that will allow you to access content usually only available to people who live in those countries – also really useful if you're looking to access Netflix.
What can a YouTube VPN do?
Other than protect your general privacy and anonymize your online activity, a VPN for YouTube can do a couple of really useful things.
Firstly, it can access videos that are blocked in your country. That means movie clips that are restricted, music videos that aren't distributed in your country and loads more.
However, you'll also be able to access YouTube on networks where the video streaming site is blocked entirely. This could mean when you're using the Wi-Fi at your school, college, or local library. That means you can access all the great content on YouTube to aid you studies – or just access to some tunes to help you while away a few hours.