YouTube issues in South Africa? Here’s 3 ways to get better playback

For the past few weeks YouTube has been almost unusable in South Africa, a problem that is being worked on externally, but there are some things you can do right now to continue enjoying content.

Before we get into that it’s important to remember that this is not an issue on your end, but on the part of the internet service providers (ISPs) and YouTube’s owner, Google / Alphabet.

This has been confirmed from various sources with one ISP, Webafrica, providing this message to its clients:

“Some customers might be experiencing poor YouTube streaming quality and buffering at the moment. Google and YouTube engineers are aware of the issue, which they have stated is due to capacity constraints on their end. We are in constant talks with them and are trying to push them to resolve this soonest. We apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing.”

No ETA has been provided just yet, but we have three methods that may help you continue watching without buffering and in a decently high resolution.

1. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

We have had success remedying the problems with YouTube by using a VPN.

Sometimes connecting to a VPN server in South Africa will do the trick, while sometimes an overseas one will serve you better.

It’s recommended that you first try the local servers to see if YouTube playback improves, and after that moving to other countries and continents to experiment.

We’ve personally tried NordVPN and had good experiences in this regard, but it’s a paid service. Whatever VPN you have access to (and can afford) is worth trying.

2. Download your videos instead of streaming them

Many are still unaware that, in South Africa, YouTube allows you to download videos to watch offline both on the mobile app and on desktop.

By downloading a video in advance you can watch it back at the highest resolution without worrying about the current buffering problems and other YouTube problems.

The download option on desktop is to the right of the share button, and on mobile it’s to the right of the create button.

It’s worth noting that the download on desktop function is still relatively new and you may not have the option just yet. It may also not be there if you’re not a YouTube Premium subscriber. Either way the download option should appear for all on mobile, although the 720p and 1080p options are locked to Premium.

Finally download speed varies greatly because of these problems. Sometimes streaming on YouTube will not work at all while downloads work just fine and happen fast, and other times the situations are reversed. Other times still everything works as intended. Thankfully you can leave a download while you do other things, regardless of how fast it is.

3. Reload YouTube and try again later

As stated right at the top the core of the issues with YouTube seem to be linked to capacity. Because of this it seems that certain times of the day there is less load and things work as intended, while other times more people are on and performance suffers.

Anecdotally we have experienced the worst performance right after the working day has finished, between 17:00 and 19:00. This makes sense as people finish work and watch some videos to unwind.

If the other two options above don’t help you it may be best to try and watch YouTube at odd hours, or to simply keep reloading the page until playback is better, a method that also sometimes works.

For those still having problems after trying all these steps all you can do is wait until Google fixes the issues.


About Author


Related News