Getting the “this video is unavailable in your country” error message is frustrating. For various reasons, YouTube videos aren’t always available everywhere. Here’s how to get past this annoying block whether from home or while traveling abroad.
YouTube may be a global phenomenon, but that doesn’t mean all of its content is available worldwide. Most people have come across that irritating error message that says they can’t watch a trailer, a music video, or their favorite creator’s latest upload. This phenomenon is called geo-blocking, and just refreshing the page over and over again isn’t going to change it. But there are a couple of ways to get around the issue, including using YouTube proxies, VPNs, and other tools.
What is Geo-Blocking
Geo-blocking (also called geo-restrictions) limits access to online content in specific countries. What type of content gets blocked and where is determined by licensing agreements, copyright restrictions, and, sometimes, local laws. Workplaces and schools also often block YouTube so no one can access the website at all.
Companies like Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube, need to abide by these rules and so they restrict certain content in some places. Geo-blocking is based on a device’s or network’s IP address, which contains the region it’s located in. There’s no way for someone to manually change the location their IP address shows since it’s automatically assigned by their ISP. However, there are ways to replace an IP address with another one to get around those irritating licensing agreements.
The methods below work from anywhere and can be used when traveling to a different state or country.
Setting Up a YouTube Proxy
A proxy server acts as a go-between when connecting to the internet. The connection travels through it, and it masks the IP address of the connected device with its own. Any website or service looking at the IP address will think the request is coming from the proxy location. This way, people can access US-only content by going through a US proxy server even if they are in another country.
After signing up for a proxy, people will typically have to use a browser extension to choose a server to connect through. There are both free and paid proxy services out there, though the paid ones are arguably better.
Free proxy servers are typically limited in how much bandwidth they can handle. They end up slowing the connection down considerably, and when it comes to streaming, that’s a problem. So if money is tight then look for a paid proxy with a free trial instead.
Installing a VPN
VPNs are a reliable way to get around geo- restrictions. They basically employ the same type of system a proxy server does, allowing people to browse as if they’re in a different country. The biggest difference between a YouTube proxy and a VPN is security. VPN services use strong encryption software to create a secure tunnel around a connection. This protects people from being spied on by their ISP, government, or outsiders.
Generally, using a proxy should be enough for watching normal YouTube videos. But VPNs can be a better option for people who like to use public WiFi while traveling since they often get hacked.
Just like with proxies, there are also both free and paid VPN services. Free VPNs tend to be unreliable, so, once again, it’s usually better to go with the paid option. Just sign up and install the VPN (they work on computers, mobile phones, and tablets) then turn it on and select a server. Make sure to select a server in a country where the video will most likely be accessible.
Then open up YouTube and start watching. The video might load slower if the VPN service is cheap or unreliable. Or if the server is very far away from the person’s actual location. Try out some free trials to see whether a service works well or not.
Downloading the Video
If push comes to shove, it is possible to download the video that’s being blocked using a YouTube video download site or app. This isn’t a perfect method since it’s time-consuming and takes up storage space. A proxy server or VPN is a much better option if geo-blocked videos are a regular problem. But this still gets the job done if it’s a one-time thing.
Dealing with blocked YouTube videos might be frustrating, but luckily there are ways around that. Try out some of the options listed above and don’t let geo-restrictions keep the good stuff out of reach.