One of the most frustrating things is having restrictions placed on one’s internet access. It is a rising trend and a threat to the so-called E-democracy. But, ethical considerations aside, it can also be a hassle when you’re trying to watch a video on YouTube. YouTube is one of the most frequent targets of restrictions around the world due to the broad range of content it offers. The most straightforward way to get around such restrictions is to use a proxy server. But there are a lot of reasons you might not want to use this tool, so let’s explore some other tools that can help.
Why block content?
Websites are blocked for a variety of reasons and on many different levels. Institutions may use network-level blocking based on management policies or distracting content. US sites often block access citing security concerns or copyright infringement. In the case of YouTube, there have also been scandals that sparked massive ideological conflicts in certain parts of the world.
Having said all this, YouTube is much more than just an entertainment provider. Sure, most people just want to watch a music video or the latest episode of their web series, but YouTube has also become a very important educational resource. From Instructional videos to how-to’s and complete college courses, YouTube is a great source of informative content.
Why not use a proxy?
As we stated above, using a proxy server is a very simple workaround for content blocks, but they have their drawbacks as well. These basically route your connection through an outside server to mask your identity online.
Proxy servers are relatively safe, but they don’t encrypt your outgoing data. The proxy provider would have access to that data. While most providers are honest, this could constitute a security risk. Another potential issue is that a proxy server only filters data from your browser, not your wider network, which could be less than you need.
Use a modified URL
This is an extremely simple method, and as such may not work in many cases. It involves accessing the unsecured version of YouTube. To do this, you’ll just replace the “https” in your URL with “http” to end up with http://www.youtube.com/. You may have to remove any cookies associated with YouTube for this method to work.
This will ask your browser to access a different, unsecured port. If it was left unblocked by your network’s administrator, happy viewing. If this port was also blocked, this method will not work.
Download videos directly
Exactly like it sounds, instead of streaming videos online you’ll download them to your device first. To find videos, you can do a custom Google search and instead of left-clicking on the link, right-click it and select “Copy URL.” Once you have the video’s URL, simply paste it into a website or application that lets you download videos. A good free option is y2mate .
This method is a bit tedious but pretty much guaranteed to work. There are many applications and websites that can help you download YouTube videos. Keep in mind that since they’re not streaming, they will take up storage space on your device.
Use a VPN
A great option that works in a similar way to a proxy server is a Virtual Private Network. This tool reroutes your internet traffic to an outside server but encrypts it on the way out, adding an important security layer. Another benefit of using a VPN  is that it applies to all outgoing data on your network, so it isn’t limited to just your web browser. VPNs aren’t generally free but there are some very inexpensive options.
To use a VPN , you will choose a VPN  provider, and one of the most popular is ExpressVPN . Once you’ve selected your provider, it’s a simple process to download their software and follow the instructions to choose a server near you.
Use Tor browser
The Onion Router or Tor for short is a browser developed specifically to mask its users’ identities. It does this in a similar way to how proxies work. To use this method, simply download the Tor browser and use it as you would any other. Your data will be sent through the Tor network, allowing you access to YouTube.
You could experience slower access to the internet as your data will be bounced around the Tor network but this remains an elegant and fast solution.
To be clear, if you access restricted content you will be in violation of acceptable use policy of your present internet access point. None of these methods will make you completely anonymous, which is true of anything online. Use your discretion when accessing restricted content.
These are the methods that seemed to have the best success rates, but there are many others out there. Tell us which one worked for you.