How to access Youtube in Pakistan

Ever since Youtube was blocked in Pakistan a couple years ago, it’s become commonplace to hear people ask each other what they use to bypass the ban. The most common option seems to be to install proprietary commercial VPN software, like HotSpot Shield or Spotflux. The problem with these is that they either make you pay for it, or you have to deal with annoying ads – or worse, they install malicous junk on your computer. In addition, when you use the VPN, it slows down your Internet connection – not just while watching Youtube, but for all Internet use – because it routs all your communication through the proxy server.

In my opinion a better option is to use Tor, a Free and open source circumvention tool that you neither have to pay for, nor does it bother with annoying ads.

The easiest way to use Tor is to just download and run the Tor Browser Bundle. This will give you a new Tor-secured browser that you can use to start watching Youtube videos out-of-the box without doing anything else. In this setup, the browser also gives you a very high level of anonymity and privacy while browsing. (Read more about how Tor works here).

This is great, but the problem is that download speeds will be slightly slower in the Tor Browser. And it is annoying to have to switch back and forth between the Tor Browser when you want to watch Youtube videos, and your regular browser for all of your other browsing.

There is a solution. You can access the Tor network from within your regular Firefox browser and set it up such that your browser will only to use Tor when accessing Youtube, but not for other browsing. This way it won’t slow down your entire Internet connection while browsing.

Several people have asked how to set this up in Windows, so below are step-by-step instructions. It works best with the Firefox browser (you can do it in Chrome also, but it won’t be as seamless):

[Note: Using this method is not recommended if you want to use Tor for its privacy and anonymity features, as there may be leaks. For private and anonymous browsing, use the regular Tor Browser Bundle.]

Part I: Install the Tor Expert Bundle

1. Go to the Tor downloads page and click on the “Microsoft Windows” bar to expand it:

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2. Then scroll down until you see the Expert Bundle section and download the file to your desktop (or wherever you will remember it):

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3. The file name should be something like “tor-0.2.4.22-win32-1.exe”

4. Right-click on the file you downloaded and choose “Run as administrator“. (This is important. If you just double-click and run the file as normal, it may not install Tor properly).

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5. Follow the instruction to install Tor with the default settings. When you reach the “Choose components” section, select the “Run at startup” option also, so that you won’t have to manually start Tor every time you start your computer.

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6. Finish the installation with the default settings, and at the end of the installation it should automatically start Tor in a terminal window:

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Don’t close this window. You can minimise it, but don’t close it.

Part II: Install FoxyProxy add-on in Firefox

7. Start your Firefox browser. Once it has opened, press [CTRL + Shift + A] to show the Add-ons manager.

8. In the search box, type “foxyproxy” and hit enter. Then install the FoxyProxy Standard add-on:

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After it has installed, Firefox will ask you to restart the browser. Restart it.

9. After the restart, once again press [CTRL + Shift + A] to open the Add-ons manager. This time, click on the “Extension” tab on the left, then click on the “Options” button for FoxyProxy standard:

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10. This will open a new window. In the “File” menu of that window, click on the “Tor Wizard” item:

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11. When asked, choose “without privoxy”, and “OK” with the default port.

12. You should then see the window below. Here we will set the rules for when to use Tor. Double-click on the entry that says Google Mail to edit it:

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13: This will open a new window. Change the URL pattern to *.youtube.com/* as shown below and click on OK:

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14. Click on the “Add New Pattern” button to add a new rule, but this time set the URL pattern to *.googlevideo.com/* and click OK:

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15. Your FoxyProxy proxies setting page should now look something like this, with one entry for ‘Tor’ and one for ‘Default’. In the ‘Select mode’ bar at the top change it to: “Use proxies based on their pre-defined patterns and priorities”:

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16. Close the FoxyProxy settings window and start watching again! Note that going to the Youtube homepage at http://www.youtube.com/ doesn’t always work, but direct links to youtube videos should open up just fine.

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21 thoughts on “How to access Youtube in Pakistan

  1. @Shahrukh: The issue with Chrome is that the FoxyProxy rules don’t seem to work, so you have to turn the proxy on and off manually whenever you want to use Youtube (which isn’t really much trouble. Just a click of a button).

    But to set this up in Chrome do the following:
    1) Install the Tor Expert Bundle as shown above
    2) Install the FoxyProxy Standard extension for Chrome
    3) Go into the FoxyProxy settings. Click on the “Add New Proxy” button (which should be on the right hand side). In the ‘Proxy details’, select ‘Manual Proxy Configuration’. For the IP Address, use: 127.0.0.1 and for the port, enter 9050. Select the “SOCKS proxy?” box and select the “SOCKS v5” option.
    4) Then go into the “General” tab and enter “Tor” as the proxy name. And then save and close the FoxyProxy settings.
    5) In your Chrome browser window you should now see a fox icon to the right of the address bar. Whenever you want to use youtube, click on the fox and choose “Use proxy Tor for all URLs”. And when you are done, click on the fox again and choose “Disable FoxyProxy”.

    Hope this helps!

    • I haven’t tried it with XP, but I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work with it. Having said that, XP is no longer supported by Microsoft so you really shouldn’t be using it for your own security! Instead, try a free Linux operating system, such as Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop

  2. Some people have asked me how using the method shown in this blog post is better than using the ZenMate extension for Chrome, or using web mirrors like playit.pk and ytpak.com.

    I haven’t used ZenMate, but I don’t think it allows you to set up rules for when to use the proxy and when not to. So, you have to manually toggle it on and off and refresh whenever you watch a youtube video, otherwise it will slow down your entire connection. In contrast, with the FoxyProxy plugin you can set up a rule to use Tor only when accessing Youtube, so that the rest of your internet connection is not affected.

    Moreover, ZenMate is proprietary software (justlike SpotFlux and HotSpot shield). So there’s no way of knowing just what the software is doing on your computer; if it is installing adware or spying/tracking your activities. On the other hand both Tor and FoxyProxy are Free and Open Source, which means the source code can be scrutinised by the public.

    Youtube mirrors like playit.pk and ytpak.com are useful and easy to use, but of course don’t give you the Youtube experience. And they are also of no use if you load a page which has a youtube page embedded. On the other hand, if you use the set up I’ve described here, then embedded Youtube videos will load normally without any additional actions.

    • Please check that the Tor program is running properly. If so, you should see a terminal window as shown in step 6 of the guide, and the last line should be “Bootstrapped 100%: done”

      If you have that but you still can’t access youtube, then please try this. In your browser, click on the fox icon next to the address bar and click on “Use proxy Tor for all URLs”. Now see if any page opens (any at all, not just youtube).

      If you are able to view youtube in this mode, then it means you may have entered the pattern rules incorrectly. If it’s still not working then let me know

  3. what is the difference b/w direct instl of tor and run as administrator??? secondly what does proxy means? once i go to download adobe flash player, it gives me two options i.e. flash player (IE) and (Non-IE) ??? what is beta version?

    • In order to install or run some programs, you need to give them special privileges on your computer or they won’t work properly. You can do this in Windows by running them as administrator — but you should never do this for programs that you do not trust.

      A proxy is an intermediary between yourself and the server you are trying to communicate with (eg Youtube). Anyone who is spying on your communications will only see that you are communicating with the proxy rather than Youtube. In this case, the Tor network serves as the proxy.

      • i like it the way u tried to made my doubts clear to me. I’m so happy to join this forum where i can clear my doubts and share my internet problems being faced daily routine…….. thanx a lot

  4. i m using Tor to watch youtube and x videos (apetube), but tor is not working properly and being hanged again and again despite being opened through administrator. how can i see x videos uninterrupted????

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