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How to Access YouTube in China Using a VPN

YouTube, the world’s most popular video-sharing network, like many websites, has fallen victim to China’s harsh online censorship. Since 2009, YouTube has been inaccessible to users who live in or are travelling to this country, due to a controversial initiative known as The Great Firewall of China

Don’t panic though, as fortunately, we have a trick that can bypass the Chinese government’s online censorship of YouTube. All you need is a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to hide your IP address and fake your real location. VPNs are incredibly easy-to-use and cost-effective solutions that can help you circumvent geo-blocking and online restrictions. Keep reading to explore how to access YouTube in China in 2022 using a VPN. 

A phone displaying the YouTube app.

Did you know? YouTube is the most visited site in the world with over 2 billion monthly active users!

How to access YouTube in China quick guide 

  1. Get a VPN – To safely use YouTube in China, you need a VPN with advanced security features, fast connection speeds, and plenty of international servers to choose from. We highly recommend ExpressVPN!
  2. Install app or client – Install your chosen VPN on any devices you want to unblock YouTube from. After installation, open up the app/client to see a list of available servers. 
  3. Connect to a server – Connect to any server where YouTube isn’t blocked. We would suggest a US server, for the widest selection of content. Once connected, your IP address will be hidden
  4. Head to YouTube – Now you’re free to stream videos from the YouTube website and app from within China! (This handy trick works for any other country where YouTube is blocked)

Top tip – If you still can’t access YouTube, then try reconnecting to another server after clearing your browser’s cache.

Why is YouTube blocked in China?

The reason why China has blocked YouTube is often disputed. However, many argue that it’s due to the Chinese government wanting to stop their 300 million internet users from viewing content that has been deemed politically unacceptable. The Chinese government has stated that they do not fear the internet and instead believe that it should be “regulated by law in order to prevent the spread of harmful information”. By controlling foreign information sources such as the American online video sharing/social media platform, YouTube, the government can prevent young internet users in China from accessing, and possibly being influenced by western-dominated media. This online censorship is part of the country’s Great Firewall of China initiative.

What is the best VPN for unblocking YouTube in China?

If you’re travelling to or living in China and you still want to access YouTube, then you’ll need a VPN. With a VPN, you can spoof your location by hiding your IP address. Once you connect to a VPN server, your IP is hidden and temporarily replaced by the server’s. Therefore, if you connect to a server that’s located outside of China, then you can bypass the government’s censorship of this website. Here is a VPN that we believe is best suited to unblocking YouTube in China – 

ExpressVPN

This VPN is perfect for users who want to bypass government restrictions in highly censored countries such as China. If you want to stream YouTube videos in high-quality without limitations, then look no further. Additionally, there are no bandwidth caps with this VPN, so you can stream as much content on YouTube, or any other website, without limitations or throttling. 

With servers based in 94 countries and 160 locations, ExpressVPN ensures that you can safely spoof your location to unblock YouTube. These servers are well-known for being incredibly fast, so you won’t have to experience any buffering when streaming videos on the website or app. 

ExpressVPN provides the highest level of encryption, AES-256, for all users, making it impossible for hackers to intercept and steal any data that’s transmitted. This VPN provides a range of other security features such as split tunnelling support, which allows you to route just a portion of your traffic through the VPN. Users can also benefit from the included kill switch, which prevents any data leaking during an unexpected drop in the VPN connection, and private DNS, which blocks any user data from being exposed to third-parties. 

This VPN also stands by a strict no-logs policy, which means that the provider will never log sensitive user data such as IP addresses, browsing history, metadata, and DNS queries. This policy is especially important to have if you’re using this VPN in highly censored countries such as China. For added anonymity, you can pay for your VPN subscription with Bitcoin, meaning that you never have to reveal your identity to the provider.   

ExpressVPN allows up to 5 simultaneous connections, so you can connect your phone, laptop, console, and even your home router. The Express VPN app is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook PCs in addition to Android and iOS devices. The app is also supported on smart TV systems, gaming consoles, and e-reader tablets. 

For assistance, you can contact ExpressVPN’s helpful support team who are available 24/7 via email and live chat. Alternatively, you can visit the support center to troubleshoot any issues or read common FAQS. This VPN provider also has an abundance of step-by-step tutorials which demonstrate how to install and use the app on your devices. If that’s still not enough, then you can also check out the blog for the latest news and updates regarding ExpressVPN.  

All in all, ExpressVPN is a well-rounded, premium VPN that can protect your identity, secure your devices, and effortlessly unblock restricted websites such as YouTube in China. If you’re still hesitant about using ExpressVPN to stream YouTube videos in China, then you can test out the provider for 30-days for free using their risk-free trial. 

FAQS

When was YouTube first blocked in China? 

YouTube was originally blocked in China between October 16th, 2007 and March 22nd, 2008. It was then blocked again in March 2009 and has remained inaccessible ever since.


What other countries is YouTube blocked in?

YouTube is also blocked in North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Eritrea, and Tajikistan.


What other websites are blocked in China?

Other websites blocked in China include Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, Reddit, Netflix, Instagram, Twitch, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Dropbox, and SoundCloud.

Is it illegal to use a VPN in China?

The short answer is no. Although VPNs are banned in China they are still technically legal. Even though the technology is assumed to be forbidden in the country, there are very few instances where anyone in China has been punished for using a VPN.