YouTube isn't just one of those blocked sites in China. While at the beginning, YouTube was just used by a bunch of college kids trying to be funny and impress their friends with silly videos online, it's turned into one of the most important online tools available. After Google bought YouTube a few years back, anyone can see that the first or second result for just about any search term is a YouTube video.
You can see videos of your favorite start, you can learn new talents, you can fix you computer, and even see what's happening around the world. Any professional website has videos imbedded in the posts to give readers a clearer picture of what their article is talking about – an all of this is available for free.
When you can't access YouTube in China, it's not just that you can't go to the website and search for videos. It means that any website that has YouTube video imbedded in it, you're unable to view. It means that some web pages won't load because of keywords that may be contained in the video. It means that a large portion of your Google search results are just unavailable.
If you have a business, the you know the importance of video blogging and YouTube as a tool to get people to your site. Placing second (after the US) for number of Internet users in the country is China. When users can't access YouTube in China, they can't access your site, and you lose business.
For expats in China who want to keep up on world events, you're out of luck as well. YouTube is as much of a news site as anything else, and even written blogs feature YouTube videos of important events around the world.
This is why you need to access YouTube in China.
For smartphone users in China, it's easiest to use a web based proxy. There's no installation necessary, and to access YouTube in China you just type the YouTube URL into the secure browser and you're ready to go. It's a cheap and quick solution.
The web based proxy I use is called SecuriTales. It's only $6 a month, and it's fast. I don't thing there's a lot of options when it comes to proxies in China – I shopped around and didn't find much. SecuriTales is the way to go.
It's also possible to get a VPN for your smartphone. It's all a bit complicated because certain areas of China block PPTP and L2TP protocols, so services like 12VPN have got to get a bit creative. 12VPN uses pure IPsec to unblock sites in your iPhone, and something called L2TP IPSec PSK for Android. It's confusing, I know, but trust them – they know what they're doing. Let them know you're in China – they're based in Hong Kong and know how to get you around The GFW, whatever your device is.
For Mac, Windows, and Linux users, it's much simpler. You can use a proxy to access YouTube in China on your computer, but I'd suggest something a bit more reliable and secure. OpenVPN is the way to go. In combination with SSL encrytpion, it's pretty much indestructable,and it the best weapon you can have against The GFW. Most services have this available, but not all VPN websites in China are accessible. Many have had their main domains blocked. Some have secondary domains, which I'll provide you with here.
12VPN – (mirror site for China) http://12vpn.com
SwitchVPN – www.switchvpn.com
Panda Pow (mirror domain) – www.pandapow.net