How to Access YouTube in China

Ever have a vacation gone bad?

Imagine (or maybe you don’t have to imagine this, because you’ve experienced it) going on vacation and having a great time in Beijing – and you get off the plane, check into your hotel, open your laptop or iPad to watch the YouTube video of your brother’s extreme ski trip that he said he was going to post – and it’s BLOCKED! The government has decided that it’s dangerous for you to watch your brother ski??!!

Before reading this whole boring post, the answer to your problems is a beautiful website called https://anysitenow.net that helped me access Youtube while I was traveling in China. It was super easy to use and most important, it had a free trial that I used to make sure this shit really works.

So back to my story 🙂 You want a vacation, but you don’t want one off the grid – so now the pressing question (even before “Where can I get some really good beer?”) is: How do I access YouTube in China?! Just want you need right now, huh? Finding a way to unblock YouTube….

There are a few options to consider, and I’ll outline the pros and cons for you – and then tell you what worked for me.

VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It’s basically a way of putting your whole computer in different place – virtually. So if you have a VPN, your computer acts like it’s in the United States, or Canada, or England – or wherever the VPN is hosted. And so if YouTube isn’t blocked in the USA (thank heavens) – then it won’t be blocked on your computer, even if you happen to physically be in China.

Pros –

  • If it’s a decent VPN, it will work to access YouTube in China, Facebook, Twitter – whatever you want.
  • It’s secure (i.e. no spying on what you’re sending).
  • The entire computer and all programs that use internet access will work as if they are in another location.

Cons –

  • You have to install something on your computer – which can slow the computer down, especially if you have a Mac.
  • It will only work on the device you installed it on.
  • In China, it often won’t work for mobile devices.

Proxies

A proxy is basically a website which will let you type in the site you want to see, and then instead of you accessing the site directly through your browser, you access it through this site as an intermediary. So if the proxy is located in a different location than you, it will show you the site the way you can see it in that location. So if your proxy is located in France, when you view YouTube through the proxy, it will act as if you are viewing YouTube in France.

Pros –

  • Nothing to install.
  • Can access it off any device.

Cons –

  • They often don’t work well for social media because the technology is complicated (Ajax, streaming video, etc.) – so if your goal is to access and unblock YouTube videos in China, it might not work.
  • China keeps blocking them one by one.
  • They only work for your browser, not other programs – say, Skype.
  • Usually not secure.

One other option, which I’ve used and can recommend – is a type of “web-based VPN” called Proxy Center.

It is a proxy – meaning it’s effectively putting your browser somewhere else, and you don’t have to install anything on your computer – but it’s secure and whoever is responsible for the programming knows how to handle complicated technologies. YouTube worked perfectly, and I could share the important stuff with my friends on Facebook.

One big plus is that Proxy Center has a free trial, which doesn’t require ANY personal info to start (no email, no credit card) – so you can SEE that it’s going to work before you commit to anything.

So… VPN, proxy, the “web-based VPN” of Proxy Center – check them out and hopefully one will work for you to access YouTube in China – and get your vacation off to a better start.

Good luck!

How to access Netflix from outside the USA

Netflix is one of the (if not the) best media streaming services in the world. I offers millions of hours of video any day, any time.
The problem? If you don’t live in the US, you are doomed.

When a company makes a movie, it tries to sell this video to as many publishers as possible. Netflix is just one of them and when Netflix buys it, they get a license to broadcast this movie in one place only – the US of A.

Netflix itself wouldn’t mind if you watch a video from Paris, New Delhi or Barcelona.  The reason they give you a hard time is because they want to be “ok” with the company who sold them this movie.

Until recently, people used VPNs in order to access Netflix from outside the US. Not any more. Netflix blocked all VPNs from using their service and this is not possible any more.

So what can you do?

In the next post, we’ll discuss new ways of accessing the web, ways that can make your life easier and improve the quality and habits of your online engagement with services like Netflix, Hulu and others.

Stay tuned.

Facebook Access In China – What Works and What Doesn't

Once upon a time, in a land far (Far East) away, people could access Facebook.

Then it all changed. In 2009, the Chinese government banned Facebook. Goodbye, zài jiàn.

Slamming the door on Facebook appalled thousands if not millions of people who live in or visit China, and rely on Facebook to keep in touch with all their friends and share their Chinese adventures. Maybe you’re one of them.

But if you are, all is not lost. There are still ways to have Facebook access in China.

First, here’s what doesn’t work:

1) Writing a letter of complaint to the Chinese government. Bad move. I’m sure you can see why – especially if you put your name and address on it.

2) The Tor Network. This is a network run by volunteers to give users a way to surf anonymously – and it used to work. But China has gotten better and better at blocking it.

3) Free proxies. Not across the board, but in general the free stuff doesn’t have the kind of programming power behind it that will deal well with the complicated technology of Facebook. So you can try to find one, but it’s usually a waste of time.

Okay, I know you’re waiting for what DOES work to get Facebook access in China.

1) Certain paid proxies. One example I’ve used recently for Facebook access is Proxy Center. They have all the things to look for in a good proxy, so whether you’re using them or you want to try something else, here’s the list of things to look for:

a) Free trial – and hopefully you should actually be able to try it and check that it will work where you are and for what you want to do before they tell you to hand over any of your personal info.

b) Secure. Make sure there is an https:// in front of any page you ever find yourself on while using the site or the service.

c) Good support. They should be prompt and deal with any issues that come up. I had an issue come up when using the Proxy Center service, and they worked with me until they solved it.

d) It actually works. Yeah, that sounds obvious, but Facebook is tricky. Check that you can do all the things that are important to you – so that you don’t start paying and suddenly find out that you can’t access Farmville. Luckily Proxy Center is Farmville-friendly. 🙂

2) VPNs. If you decide to go with a VPN for Facebook access in China, it should have all the same qualities as a good proxy. I haven’t used VPNs – I’m happy with Proxy Center, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you want to check them out, there’s plenty of info out there – just really make sure that they have a free trial, they’re secure, they have good support, and they do what you want them to do.

You know what works, you know what doesn’t – now go and get Facebook access in China!