How to access YouTube in Indonesia

Last Updated by Gray Williams on October 23, 2018

YouTube got its humble start on Valentine’s Day 2005, the brainchild of three former PayPal employees who were young men with degrees in design and computer science struggled to share videos they had taken at a dinner party.

YouTube

The first video was uploaded on April 23, 2005, and on the day of the official site launch – December 15, 2005, the site received 8 million hits. Less than a year later, it was sold to Google for $1.65 billion.

Despite its worldwide popularity, YouTube has hit snags along the way, particularly in Indonesia, where it has run afoul of that nation’s Internet censorship. If you’ve encountered problems with YouTube or any other blocked site in Indonesia, this blog will present the perfect workaround to use next time you visit the country for work or play.

Censorship of YouTube

As of 2017, China, North Korea and Iran all block YouTube. Iran was the first to do so, beginning in 2006, and other countries have followed suit, citing anti-Islamic reasons or offensive videos concerning their own leaders. These have included Thailand, Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Libya, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Russia, and Sudan.

Indonesia’s Internet Censorship

Indonesia Internet Censorship Indonesia began blocking YouTube in 2008 as a result of the website making the anti-Islamic film “Fitna” available for viewing and download. The ban was less than perfect as most customers of PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia could still access YouTube. Indonesia is 85% Muslim. Indonesia would go on to block sites including Vimeo, Reddit, and Imgur in years to come for violating its moral clauses about what can and can’t be shown on websites.

In 2017, the Indonesian government confirmed it had  blocked 800,000 websites in a year, mostly due to pornography or gambling. YouTube regained service later that year. Vimeo was blocked for less than a year in 2014 while Reddit and Imgur have each been banned for more than five year.

The VPN Workaround

With its propensity to block websites willy-nilly, travelers to Indonesia along with those who reside there must be on the lookout for the government’s strike of censorship. The best way to do this is by employing a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN is a client host that allows you to connect your computer to a remote server in a different jurisdiction and use that to access the Internet unrestricted. To do so, you must first download a VPN app and pay for at least one month of a subscription. Because countries like Indonesia have a lot of experience in censorship, they will sometimes block VPN sites. That means if you’re going to be traveling to Indonesia, you should consider investing and installing in a VPN before leaving for the trip. Once there, Indonesia might block your VPN website.

When you first open a VPN, you can start a new connection by finding a remote computer that fits your needs. This should be outside of Indonesia, but hopefully close enough to give you a low latency. Latency refers to the physical distance a signal travels from your computer to the remote server to the Internet site and back. The closer the remote computer is to yours, the quicke things will go.

Once that is established, the VPN will connect your computer to the remote server with a private security tunnel through which encrypted data travels. Let’s say you want to access YouTube from Indonesia but know that the site is blocked. After establishing your VPN, you type Youtube.com into the address bar. Under normal circumstances in Indonesia, this would result in your search being blocked and potential legal action.

Instead, your computer sends the request for Youtube.com through an encrypted tunnel so no ISPs can see what you’re really looking for. At the remote server end, the information you sent is downloaded and decrypted. The remote server assigns your traffic a new ISP and sends it on to the Internet. There you can search for your favorite files, and when you click on one to play, the information is routed to the remote computer. Once there, it’s encrypted and sent through the private tunnel back to your location. It downloads and decrypts to your computer for consumption.

There are dozens of VPN providers in the market, but some of these stand out from the rest when it comes to connecting you to censored sites in Indonesia.

1Private VPN


Private VPN is an excellent security product with a no-logs policy and 2048 bit encryption to keep your connections safe.

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2ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is the fastest product on the market and gives the best ratings for user experience, even if the price is bit higher than most.

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3NordVPN

NordVPN
NordVPN is consistent across the board with a broad proliferation of servers around the world as well as more than 4,400 servers to pick from.

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Gray Williams
Gray Williams is an experienced data and communications engineer and cross-platform copy and content writer and editor with a keen interest in cybersecurity. He has been working with and researching, VPNs and other online privacy tools for many years.