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Google tightens its grip on the VPN loophole that gives users cheaper YouTube subscriptions

A crackdown on VPN usage could spell the end of a favored money-saving method...
Last Updated on June 21, 2024
Google tightens their grip on VPN loophole
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For many, YouTube Premium and its many features are all but essential for using the world’s biggest video platform: ad-free videos, the ability to download content and a gamut of other features make it a worthwhile investment. While this sounds great, the Premium subscription package comes at a cost – quite a hefty cost if you live in one of the more expensive regions of this planet.

Craftily, some users have been reducing their Premium premiums by using a VPN, essentially lying about their location to get a better price. Well, they were until Google tightened its grip on the VPN loophole.

Google says no more to VPN loophole that reduces user’s YouTube subscriptions

It’s a fairly simple concept: you connect via a VPN to an IP address in a different country where the cost of a subscription is lower. Then, you subscribe. In the case of Google and YouTube Premium, the subscription carried over to your home nation whilst staying at the regional price, meaning that you were able to enjoy the benefits at a lower cost. That is, until recently.

Users who leveraged overseas YouTube Premium fees have had their subscriptions abruptly canceled over the past few days. Though there’s nothing concrete from Google confirming this, the common denominator between users appears to be those who used the VPN workaround. Not all users are having this problem, though it will be interesting to see what Google’s coverage in this alleged new policy is.

It makes sense from a corporate perspective, of course: Google’s pricing strategies are researched and deliberate, and they don’t want users to get second-best prices for their service. However, it does somewhat feel like a punishment for users who got the best price for YouTube Premium. What’s more, early reports suggest that Google aren’t listening to alternatives. Reddit users who claim to have simply relocated since subscribing have reportedly been told to simply resubscribe, meaning that they are at best unsympathetic to falsely canceled subscriptions. At worst, this could mean a blanket ban for anyone using YouTube Premium overseas.

Either way, Google are yet to release a statement regarding the recent membership withdrawals, and it could signal a shift away from VPN usage as a whole. With streaming services and other major platforms allegedly looking into VPN detection methods to prevent similar transactions, the value of VPNs is dropping whilst the price of services is rising. Consumers savvy enough to shop around for the best value from their subscriptions may not reap the benefits for much longer.

Angus Warrender is a PCGuide Writer and Editor. He's interested in a range of tech, from cameras to consoles, and has an eye for spotting the best products on the market!