Is Youtube blocked in China?

Yes, Youtube is blocked in China. The video sharing website has been blocked in China since 2009, and was among one of the first social media websites to get blocked by the Great Firewall of China. Youtube, which is owned by Google, allows users to access videos created by users from around the world. This presents a threat to the Chinese government, which tends toward blocking any content that may be critical of the Communist regime, or which may support ideas that promote democracy in China. Most of Google’s services are blocked in China, although Google’s main search is often unblocked in China at different times. 

Tip: If you want to unblock YouTube and other restricted site you will need a VPN. Most VPNs won’t work so pick one from our China VPN list.

Youtube is not the only social media website blocked in China. Facebook was also blocked in 2009, along with Twitter, Picasa, Blogspot and Vimeo. As these social media websites are based in Western countries (mostly the United States), China cannot force them to filter content for Chinese users. In that situation, China opts to block the website’s access altogether. China has only a small handful of ISPs, all of which are controlled by the government. Upon request, these ISPs will block various websites like Youtube at the ISP level, disallowing anyone using those ISPs to access those blocked websites. Blocking websites like Youtube does have some benefit for China. The country has its own versions of Youtube which are highly popular. The primary go-to for Chinese users is the site Youku, which mimics Youtube fairly well, while maintaining a very large number of users. There are 580 million Youku users, with over 150 million daily users. Still, Youtube is far larger, with over a billion users.

How to unblock Youtube in China

Accessing Youtube in China is still possible through a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, allows you to route your internet traffic through a private, encrypted connection. The service will connect you to a remote server which then allows you access to an ISP where your desired websites are not blocked. For China-based VPN users, that could mean connecting to a VPN in Europe, the Americas or anywhere that Youtube is openly available.

There are free and paid VPNs available but for use with YouTube the former are typically too slow, have limited bandwidth or won’t work in China. However, most reputable paid VPNs will offer unlimited bandwidth, strong security and no data caps. The best VPNs, particularly the ones that allow you to access content that is blocked in China, will offer their services for either a monthly or yearly subscription. 

China is well aware of the fact that many internet users are accessing blocked websites using VPNs. As such, the country has employed various methods to block VPN access behind its Great Firewall. This includes blocking VPN connections or even blocking access to VPN websites, thereby disallowing users to actually download VPN programs. The best VPN programs for use in China not only allow access to their websites, either directly or through proxy sites, but are also easy to download with applications for every device you may wish to use. This includes easily-installed mobile and desktop applications that allow you to access Youtube on any device. We recommend ExpressVPN for users in China. ExpressVPN offers applications for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Linux (command-line). Read our full ExpressVPN review for more details including how to get 3 months extra free.

You’ll find the service is highly reliable in China and extremely popular among VPN users in the country. ExpressVPN provides fast servers, a large number of security features and a friendly interface. After creating your account, you will be able to easily download and install the program. Afterward, simply load up the program, enter your information and connect to a VPN server outside of China. You will find you can connect to Youtube immediately after connecting to your desired VPN location.