Corporations have a bad habit of arbitrarily blocking YouTube videos in random countries. The platform has since changed its policies in favor of creators, although “claimants can still block monetization or the video itself.” As such, you may still need to use a VPN to download blocked YouTube videos.
Can’t watch your favorite music videos because of UMG and Sony copyright issues? Want to download a video for use in an offline presentation? Or maybe some weird copy strike company blocked your favorite creator’s video in your country? We bet it’s because of a five-second music clip they used.
Whatever the case is, you’ll find all the info you need below.
- Why You Need a VPN
- Great VPNs for the Job
- How to Connect to a VPN Server
- Free Tools to Download Blocked YouTube Videos (+Steps)
- Can’t I Use These Tools Without a VPN?
Why You Need a VPN
The image below probably stood out immediately if you’ve been running into a lot of blocked videos.
A VPN lets you mask your real-life location by changing your IP address to reflect the country you’re connecting to. Live somewhere in Europe and can’t watch a YouTube video from a US music artist? Just connect to a US VPN server, and you’re set.
Do note that you might need to refresh the page a few times, clear your browser cookies, or use a different browser. Cookies are small .txt files that may reveal details about your device, including your true location
As such, it’s a good idea to clear them anyway – especially if you plan to use a VPN for more than unblocking YouTube videos, such as:
- Keeping your data safe from hackers and ISPs looking to sell your data to advertisers.
- Avoid bandwidth throttling from your ISP.
- Bypassing geoblocks and accessing websites unavailable in your area.
- Get more out of your streaming subscription by accessing Netflix’s international library.
With all that out of the way, here are some VPN recommendations to get you started.
Great VPNs for the Job
They have a free plan and thankfully YouTube doesn’t really block VPNs like other streaming platforms do. What I found nice about ProtonVPN is that I didn’t need to create an extra account for it. I could just login with my ProtonMail account – a great deal for existing users.
Moreover, I got seven free days on their ProtonVPN Plus plan. This lets me access fifty different VPN server locations. Way more than the regular free plan, which only includes three: the US, the Netherlands, and Japan.
Most blocked YouTube videos I’ve encountered were the US or Japan-based, so those locations should be more than enough. No complaints about the free week of ProtonVPN Plus, though!
All in all, one of the best free VPNs you can use to download blocked YouTube videos. You might also be lucky enough to unblock Netflix with ProtonVPN, though it may take a few server switches before it works.
If you need a VPN with more consistent results, then we recommend one of the following alternatives.
One of the leading VPN providers nowadays, offering fast speeds and VPN obfuscation to get around pretty much any geo-block or Internet censorship attempt. And with over 3000 servers in 94 countries around the world, you’ll have no problem downloading blocked YouTube videos – no matter the location.
Of course, ExpressVPN is a bit on the expensive side (unsurprising, considering all the features they offer). If you’re looking for something on the cheaper end that still offers quality service, this next entry might interest you.
A newer service (2018) that’s climbed up in the ranks quite quickly due to its relatively low price (for longer subscriptions) and ability to unblock most streaming services. Its 1700+ servers in 63 countries are more than enough to download blocked YouTube videos.
What differentiates Surfshark from the competition is that they offer unlimited connections on a single subscription. You and your whole family (or set of friends) can use a VPN on all your devices for pretty cheap.
Check out four more great VPNs right here if none of the above pique your interest.
How to Connect to a VPN Server
Before using any of the YouTube video download tools below, you need to connect to a VPN server that can unblock your video(s). If you’re unsure which location that is, the US usually works. Otherwise, check the video description for info about the publisher – googling their name will let you know which country they’re based in.
In any case, these are the steps you need to follow:
- Sign up for a VPN account, then download and install the VPN client from your preferred provider’s website.
- Once the process is finished, open the VPN client (by using the desktop shortcut or other means).
- Select a VPN server from the client’s interface (most VPN apps have a list of available locations). Depending on the particular VPN you’ve installed, you may need to double-click or press “Connect” to establish a connection.
That’s all you need to do. Go to YouTube and test whether your video actually plays before moving on to the steps below.
Free Tools to Download Blocked YouTube Videos (+Steps)
YouTube has changed how it handles videos many times over the years. As such, a lot of free websites or browser extensions that let you download blocked YouTube videos have stopped working entirely.
Personally, I use YTMP3. Normally, it’s used to extract audio from YouTube videos in .mp3 format. Luckily, there’s also the option to download entire videos in .mp4 format. Here’s what you need to do:
- Copy the YouTube link for the video you want to download.
- Go to ytmp3.cc and paste the link in the box under “Please insert a valid video URL.”
- Click on “mp4” – this will allow you to download the entire video instead of just an audio .mp3 file. Leave it on “mp3” if you just want to download the audio.
- Click the “Convert” button.
Another good alternative is Y2Mate.guru, which is specifically geared towards downloading YouTube videos. The process is even simpler this time:
- Copy the YouTube video link, just as before.
- Go to y2mate.guru and paste the link where it says “Paste your video link here.”
- Click the “Start” button.
A good suggestion is to use a content blocker like uBlock Origin before accessing these websites. I’ve personally had no problems with the services, but some users have reported seeing “adware” related to them. Of course, if you look at the post itself, you’ll notice that the user mentioned the following:
I remembered that I had allowed said website to send me notifications and that is the problem, it started sending me notifications in form of ads even when I wasn’t on it.
Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to use an extension like uBlock Origin, especially with all the malicious ads and cyberattacks nowadays. Even trustworthy services like The New York Times can be hit by ransomware.
Can’t I Use These Tools Without a VPN?
Good question, and it’s something I wondered about too. Unfortunately, if you try to download blocked YouTube videos without a VPN, you get these kinds of error messages:
As you might expect, trying to download it from the alternate link didn’t work. Using Y2Mate with a blocked YouTube video didn’t yield any results, either.
No such errors occurred when I used a VPN, and I could download the videos without a hitch. I’ve tested the tools with a video blocked outside the US, and one that’s unavailable outside Japan.
Now, you can’t really look up videos blocked outside specific countries. Let us know if you’ve had any problems downloading videos from other locations and we’ll be happy to help (or update the article where applicable).