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The 10 Best VPNs for Unblocking YouTube in 2023

YouTube is one of the most popular websites globally, with over 2 billion monthly active users. However, many countries block or restrict access to YouTube due to censorship laws. Fortunately, a VPN allows you to bypass these restrictions and access YouTube from anywhere.

But with hundreds of VPN services out there, how do you pick the best YouTube VPN? I extensively tested and compared the top 10 VPNs for unblocking YouTube based on factors like speed, reliability, pricing, and features.

Here are the best VPNs for watching YouTube in 2023:

1. ExpressVPN – The Fastest VPN for YouTube

ExpressVPN tops my list for the best YouTube VPN due to its excellent speeds and reliability. With 3,000+ servers in 94 countries, I never had buffering issues or slow streaming, even at 4K quality.

While slightly more expensive than competitors at $8.32/month, ExpressVPN offers best-in-class speeds and support. The easy-to-use apps make it simple to connect to a server and start watching geo-restricted YouTube videos within seconds.

With features like split-tunneling, a kill switch, and top-grade encryption, ExpressVPN keeps your identity hidden from prying eyes. The company also has a strict no-logs policy audited for proof.

Pros

  • Blazing fast speeds for 4K and 1080p YouTube streaming
  • Simple and user-friendly desktop & mobile apps
  • Works reliably in censoring countries like China

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than some VPNs

2. NordVPN – Most Servers for Bypassing Restrictions

With over 5,500 servers worldwide, NordVPN makes it easy to bypass YouTube geo-restrictions. I never had an issue finding a working server, even in tightly censored regions.

NordVPN uses fast WireGuard protocol connections for secure 4K and 1080p YouTube streaming. There are also useful extras like an ad blocker, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch to stop data leaks if your connection drops.

While not the fastest, NordVPN provides reliable connections for uninterrupted YouTube streaming. And at just $3.71/month for their 2-year plan, it‘s an affordable choice.

Pros

  • 5,500+ servers makes bypassing restrictions easy
  • Good value at less than $4/month for 2 years
  • Extra features like a built-in ad blocker

Cons

  • Speeds can be slightly slower than rivals during peak times

3. Surfshark – Best for Unlimited Devices

Surfshark is the perfect YouTube VPN option for households with its industry-leading unlimited device connections policy. You can protect all phones, laptops, smart TVs, and more with one account without worrying about device limits.

Speeds are fast enough for smooth 1080p YouTube streaming with minimal buffering in my experience across its 3,200+ servers. The CleanWeb ad-blocker also removes annoying video ads.

Surfshark typically costs around $3/month during their frequent sales if you grab their 2-year plan. Combined with its unlimited connections and strong performance, that makes Surfshark a top VPN for YouTube at home.

Pros

  • Unlimited device connections on one account
  • Integrated ad-blocker for removing YouTube ads
  • Affordable pricing with frequent discounts

Cons

  • 4K video streaming can struggle at peak periods

4. Hotspot Shield – Simple Free Option

While the free plan only allows 500MB per day, Hotspot Shield makes it very easy to access YouTube for some casual viewing. Just download their app, connect to a server, and you‘re all set.

Paid plans unlock unlimited streaming at reasonable rates. Performance is quick for streaming YouTube videos without major buffering or quality dips in most cases.

The company advertises itself as the "world‘s fastest VPN," and while speed tests don‘t fully validate that claim, connections are generally snappy for video in my testing.

Pros

  • Limited but free plan available
  • Decent performance for video
  • User-friendly apps

Cons

  • 500MB free limit gets used quickly
  • Pricier than alternatives

5. ProtonVPN – Best Free Choice

ProtonVPN stands out by offering an unlimited free plan with decent speeds for YouTube streaming. There are only 3 locations available (United States, Japan, Netherlands), but that covers the most commonly geo-blocked sites.

Of course, paying unlocks more features like faster speeds and more server locations. But the free plan works fine if you just need to occasionally access some blocked YouTube videos.

Paid users also benefit from excellent privacy protections from the Swiss-based company like perfect forward secrecy and Tor over VPN options.

Pros

  • Free unlimited plan with 3 countries
  • Leading privacy and security features
  • Tor over VPN capability included

Cons

  • Fewer countries on free plan
  • Paid plans more limited than rivals

6. TunnelBear – Easy for Beginners

TunnelBear is one of the simplest VPNs to use for accessing YouTube, making it ideal for beginners. With colorful, playful apps, connecting takes just a single click. Servers automatically pick the closest location for the fastest speeds too.

The free tier gives you 500MB of data per month, allowing some YouTube access before needing to upgrade. Paid plans give you unlimited data for $9.99/month.

TunnelBear isn‘t the most fully featured or fastest option for power users. But for easy YouTube access on-the-go, TunnelBear excels in simplicity and convenience.

Pros

  • Extremely easy to use
  • Helpful free 500MB tier
  • Automatic server selection

Cons

  • Mediocre speeds at peak times
  • Few advanced options

7. CyberGhost – Feature-Packed Choice

While not always the fastest, CyberGhost makes up for it with abundant features that enhance the YouTube experience. An integrated ad blocker removes annoying YouTube ads, for example.

Streaming performance is still reliable enough for smooth 1080p YouTube streaming most of the time. The company has over 7,400 servers available, making it easy to find an unblocked location.

Split tunneling support is also useful for accessing geo-restricted YouTube videos while keeping other traffic running as normal. For $2.25 a month, CyberGhost offers strong value.

Pros

  • Built-in ad blocking
  • Helpful split tunneling feature
  • Affordable multi-year pricing

Cons

  • Speeds can be slower than top rivals
  • Dated interface

8. Private Internet Access – Most Affordable

At just $2.19 per month for their 2-year plan, Private Internet Access offers the most wallet-friendly way to unblock YouTube. Despite the low cost, speeds are still snappy enough for steady 1080p streaming.

PIA has high-level encryption, a large server network (over 29,200 across 78 countries), and allows torrenting for additional downloading options.

For basic YouTube access on a tight budget, you can‘t beat PIA‘s combination of affordable long-term pricing and solid performance.

Pros

  • Incredibly affordable at $2.19/month
  • Quick speeds for video streaming
  • Allows P2P downloading

Cons

  • Few extra features like split tunneling
  • Dated interface

9. Ivacy – Cheapest Lifetime Deal

While less known than bigger brands, at just $79 for a lifetime subscription, Ivacy offers exceptional long-term value for occasional YouTube access. Connections are fast enough for smooth HD playback from their 1,000+ global servers.

Ivacy also stands out with a dedicated streaming mode to optimize performance. Unblocking YouTube along with other sites like BBC iPlayer and Netflix works very reliably in testing.

For an ultra-low one-time payment, Ivacy lets you forever bypass YouTube geo-restrictions on your travels while covering up to 5 devices.

Pros

  • $79 lifetime subscription
  • Reliable for unblocking streaming sites
  • 5 device connections

Cons

  • Smaller server network
  • Lifetime deals can get discontinued

10. Windscribe – Generous Free Tier

Windscribe has one of the most generous free VPN tiers, offering 10GB monthly across 11 countries. Performance is quite good with fast speeds for streaming HD YouTube smoothly.

Paid plans unlock unlimited data and additional features. But for simple YouTube access, Windscribe‘s free plan works great before needing to upgrade.

Pros

  • 10GB free version
  • Fast streaming speeds
  • Unlimited paid version for $9/month

Cons

  • Fewer countries than rivals (63 total)
  • Free plan has bandwidth limits

All the VPNs above allow accessing geo-restricted YouTube content. But depending on your specific needs and preferences, some options work better than others.

Here are key criteria to evaluate:

Speed – For buffer-free 4K and 1080p streaming, a fast VPN like ExpressVPN or NordVPN works best. Budget plans can struggle during busy times.

Reliability – Choose a sizable VPN like CyberGhost or Surfshark so restricted content stays unblocked even if some servers get blacklisted.

Pricing – If you‘ll use a YouTube VPN constantly, prioritize value over the long-term, like NordVPN‘s 2-year plan. Infrequent users can choose free/cheap options.

Features – Extra functionality like ad blocking (Surfshark), split tunneling (ExpressVPN), or torrent support (PIA) enhance the experience.

Ease of Use – Beginners benefit from simple options like TunnelBear, while power users often prefer more configurable open-source VPNs.

Using a VPN to access geo-blocked YouTube content takes just minutes. Follow these steps:

  1. Select a suitable VPN from the list above and create an account. ExpressVPN and NordVPN are ideal for most.

  2. Download and install the VPN app on your device – desktop, mobile, or even router.

  3. Run the app and log into your account. Then select a server location that bypasses YouTube blocks.

  4. Connect to the server, which will encrypt your traffic through an encrypted tunnel and assign you a new IP address.

  5. Once connected, you can now access previously restricted YouTube videos and channels based on your new location.

It‘s really that easy! Connecting to a VPN server makes sites like YouTube think you are in another geography, avoiding censorship filters.

Some region-specific content like music videos may still be blocked due to licensing issues. But using a VPN allows you to unblock the majority of YouTube.

Does a free VPN work for YouTube?

Free VPNs often have lower speeds or data caps that make constant YouTube streaming difficult. But options like ProtonVPN, Windscribe, and TunnelBear do offer limited free access.

Can a VPN get me in trouble for accessing YouTube?

Using a reputable no-logs VPN that protects your data is perfectly legal in most regions. Some authoritarian countries do ban VPN usage entirely, however.

Will a VPN slow down my YouTube streaming?

A good VPN adds minimal speed loss, especially if picking fast options like NordVPN and ExpressVPN. Budget VPNs often have slower peak time speeds that can buffer YouTube playback.

What is the best VPN for YouTube in 2023?

ExpressVPN is my top recommendation as the fastest and most reliable VPN for YouTube access anywhere in the world. NordVPN is another excellent choice with more server locations to avoid blocks.

Unblocking geo-restricted YouTube content is easy with the help of a virtual private network. My top picks based on extensive testing are ExpressVPN for sheer speed and NordVPN for affordability and reliability.

But I hope this detailed guide of the 10 best YouTube VPN services assists you in finding your own perfect match based on needs like cost, features, and ease of use. All the options listed above allow bypassing YouTube access limitations reliably.

Try out a recommended VPN risk-free today to enjoy YouTube without inconvenient censorship wherever you are.

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