Internet in China is heavily restricted and some of the websites that are visited by millions of users everyday in other parts of the world, such YouTube are blocked by the Great Firewall. That doesn’t mean that users in China don’t have other options to enjoy a good selection of online entertainment. Youku is the most popular video streaming website in China and it offers such a vast variety of free content, that even users outside the country would have good reasons for wanting to get access to this platform.
Owned by the mighty Alibaba Group, Youku allows users to legally stream videos that cover different categories and it is possible to find international movies and TV shows that are usually only available for a paid subscription in the West. Youku has streaming rights in China for popular US TV shows and although policies are in place to tackle copyright infringement, there is a large selection of full movies available. In addition, Youku’s catalog includes licensed content from over 1,000 film and TV production companies and distributors.
Why do you need a VPN for Youku?
While there are videos available in English (with Chinese subtitles) users outside China who try to watch licensed content will often come across a message advising that the video is only available within mainland China. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean that people in other countries can’t take advantage of the free streaming service that Youku offers. Since a VPN allows you to disguise your IP address, you will be able to trick Youku into thinking that you are indeed in China. You just need to connect to a server in that country to unlock the content in Youku that is subject to geo-restrictions.
Once you are running a VPN, simply connect to a server in China and then navigate to Youku’s website (www.youku.com) to start enjoying a versatile streaming experience. You can search for movies and TV shows using their English title, but in some cases you may have to look for the title in Chinese. A way to find this is by going to Baidu (China’s answer to Google) and entering the name in English. This will give you results that display the Chinese version of the original title.
It is important to keep in mind that since Youku implemented blocks that prevent access to licensed content for those who connect from Hong Kong and Taiwan, it is important to choose a VPN that has servers in mainland China. Due to the costs and risks associated to running a server in China, not many VPN providers offer that option. However, there are good options that not only allow you to connect to servers in China, but that also offer a fast and effective service so that you can stream content from Youku seamlessly.
Below are the best VPN providers to make the most out of Youku.
PureVPN is a fantastic option to get access to all the content available in Youku. They operate in Hong Kong and offer advanced technology that ensures that you can enjoy internet with security and flexibility. Apart from adding high encryption to protect sensitive data, PureVPN is also designed to support great speeds. They have servers in over 141 countries, including China. It is not only a great solution for those who want to enjoy Youku from outside China, but also for Chinese users who wish to bypass the Great Firewall to access international content.
HideMyAss has managed to keep a leading place in the industry and it still is one of the most popular solutions available. With HideMyAss, you can enjoy remarkable speeds to browse, download and stream content. They have servers in over 190 countries, including of course, China, where they have three servers (In Beijing, Shenzhen and Chengdu) and over 400 IPs to choose from. HideMyAss also offers reasonably priced plans and free options like a proxy and anonymous email address.
TorGuard supports a good set of features that will ensure that you can bypass geo-location restrictions in order to access the content that you want. Thanks to its stealth servers, TorGuard is a convenient option for users who are in China and want to bypass cencroship. At the same time, it offers users in other countries the chance to access Youku because it has servers in China. Their plans include Viscosity software and they offer high level of encryption for your data.
EarthVPN (Read our Review)
Based in North Cyprus, EarthVPN supports advanced technology that will allow you to bypass restrictions and stream content without hassle. They offer strong encryption to keep your online traffic secure and their basic plans are quite affordable. At the moment, they have servers in 54 countries including China, where they have servers in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Astrill has been in the market since 2009 and its dedication to privacy and security have allowed it to become a favorite among many VPN fans. They offer good speeds to enjoy streaming and online gaming and also support additional features like dedicated IPs. Astrill has servers in 49 countries, including China and their plans are conveniently priced.