Chrome Not Playing Videos? How to Fix It

Troubleshoot Chrome and get your videos playing again

When videos stop working, it can be frustrating. If your version of Chrome is not playing videos from sites like YouTube or Vimeo, here's how to troubleshoot it, starting with the simplest and most common methods.

Happy audience enjoying watching entertaining video on website using computer as movie theatre
Elly Walton / Getty Images

This guide is for desktop Chrome users who are using the most up to date version of the browser. If you're not sure if you're using the current version, see the first troubleshooting tip below.

  1. Check if you need to update Chrome. The browser gets regular updates, and often video websites will update in tandem to comply with Chrome's new standards.

    Updating Chrome will generally require restarting the browser, so save any work you've been doing before you start the update.

  2. See if the video is publicly available. If you've been sent a link by a friend to a video, that video may have restrictions regarding who views it, or there may be tools such as an “age gate” in place, which requests your birth date in order to see the content.

    Enter the name of the video into Google or the hosting website's search bar and see if a result comes up. If you don't find it, it's likely only available to a select few people.

  3. Enable JavaScript. For security, Chrome or external software may sometimes disable plug-ins like JavaScript. This is especially true if you've been subject to an attempted hack or a malicious website.

    To re-enable JavaScript:

    1. Click the three-dotted menu button in the top right of the Chrome browser.
    2. Select Settings.
    3. Select Privacy and security from the left pane.
    4. Choose Site Settings from the right side.
    5. Scroll down a bit and select JavaScript
    6. Select the button next to Blocked so that JavaScript is enabled. The text will change to Allowed.
    7. Restart Chrome and try loading the video again.
  4. Enable Adobe Flash in Chrome. Google and other browser developers have phased Adobe Flash out since it's a legacy program with some security issues. However, some websites haven't updated their videos. If Flash isn't working, there a few fixes you can try.

    Flash can be risky and has multiple security issues. You should only enable it for websites you trust.

  5. Run a speed test. Videos are broadband intensive and if your connection has slowed down for some reason, it can leave videos endlessly loading. There are several sites that can do this, and should tell you if there's a problem with your internet speed

  6. Clear your cache. Doing so can solve a lot of problems. Before you clear the cache, you can try using an incognito window to verify that's the issue.

    To test this:

    1. Copy the web address of the video you'd like to view.
    2. Select the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner, then select New incognito window. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+Shift+N.
    3. Paste the web address into the browser bar and see if the video works.
  7. Disable your extensions and plug-ins one-by-one. If clearing your cache didn't work, and the video functions in incognito mode, an extension may be the culprit.

  8. Disable hardware acceleration. Chrome will sometimes use your computer's graphics processing unit, or GPU, to help render web pages. If your GPU is being used for other tasks, if its drivers need to be updated, or if it's simply incompatible with the video format, it may struggle to play videos on the web.

    Disabling hardware acceleration might affect how quickly Chrome loads resource intensive webpages. You may want to consider re-enabling hardware acceleration after you watch the video.

    If disabling hardware acceleration works, use a free driver updater tool o see if a new driver is available for your graphics card. It may resolve the issue.

  9. Reset your Chrome browser. If all else fails, you can completely reset Chrome. This may be necessary if programs or extensions have changed settings and you can't easily reach them.