How to Upload Videos to YouTube

A walkthrough of how to upload a video to YouTube

YouTube gives creators the opportunity to reach an audience of millions. Whether you're a teen who wants to start vlogging as a hobby or a marketing director who needs to develop a clever ad campaign, YouTube makes it free for anyone to upload almost any type of video.

The following tutorial will walk you through the steps to upload a video through your PC or the YouTube mobile app.

How to Upload a Video to YouTube

Before you can upload videos to YouTube, you must have a YouTube account. If you have a Google account, that's all you need to create your YouTube account (also known as a channel). If you don't have a Google account, create a Google account before moving forward.

  1. Sign in to your YouTube account.

    On a laptop or desktop computer, use your preferred web browser to navigate to the YouTube website. Select Sign In in the upper-right corner. You're taken to a new page where you can sign in to your existing Google account.

    On the YouTube mobile app, select the profile icon in the upper-right corner. A pop-up appears with a few options. Select Sign In to enter your Google account details.

    YouTube - sign in on PC
  2. On the browser version of YouTube, select the camcorder icon in the upper-right corner, then select Upload video. On the mobile app, select the camcorder icon.

    Youtube - camcorder icon and upload video highlighted
  3. Upload your video. On a PC, choose Select Files to locate the video you want to upload. On the mobile app, select a video (or record a new one).

    YouTube Studio - Select File

When uploading videos from the YouTube mobile app, you have two options:

  • Scroll through the thumbnails of your device's most recently recorded videos to choose one to upload.
  • Record a new video directly through the mobile app.

The built-in recording feature is great for casual video bloggers. However, it may not be the best option if you need to use additional apps or other software to edit your video before posting. These instructions focus on uploading a recorded video to YouTube. Consult your device's instructions for recording a video.

Mobile app - select a video

Adding Details About Your Video: Web Version

As you wait for your video to upload, enter the video details and customize the video settings. A progress bar displays at the top of the page to give you an idea of the video processing wait time, which depends on how large the video file is and the internet connection speed.

YouTube Studio - enter video details

Title (required): By default, YouTube names your video "VID XXXXXXXX XXXXXX" using a combination of numbers. Erase this field, and title your video whatever you like. If you want your video to appear in search results, include relevant keywords in the title.

Description: You can include a more detailed description of the video in this field, along with additional information such as links to social profiles or websites. Adding keywords in this section helps your video show up in search results.

Thumbnail: Choose a portion of your YouTube video to display as the thumbnail for your video, or upload a different picture. If you don't choose a thumbnail, YouTube automatically selects a portion of the video as the thumbnail.

Playlists: As you upload, you can add the video to one of your current YouTube playlists, or you can create a new playlist for the video.

Audience (required): YouTube requires that you indicate if the video is made for children or not.

Age restriction (advanced): In this section, you can configure a number of additional settings for the video to make it easier for people to find and view it. Although this section is named age restriction (advance), you can also do the following:

  • Make a declaration about sponsorships or endorsements.
  • Create tags.
  • Select a language for the video.
  • Select your caption certification.
  • Set a recording date.
  • Specify the video's location.
  • Set the licensing restrictions.
  • Select a distribution option.
  • Select a category for the video.
  • Sort your comments.
  • Disable comments.
  • Allow the community to make contributions to your video.
  • Make the video statistics public or private.

Adding Details About Your Video: App Version

Uploading videos to YouTube using the mobile app is slightly different than uploading from a PC. Similar to other popular video sharing apps like Instagram, you first get a few quick editing tools to play around with, followed by a tab where you can fill in the video details.

After you select a video from your device, you're taken to the editing feature of the app, which has two tools you can access from the bottom menu.

  • Trim: Cut the video down to select the portion that you want to upload.
  • Add filters: Apply fun filter effects to your video to change the colors or enhance the look of the video.
YouTube Mobile app - Upload and edit

When you're happy with your editing, select Next in the upper-right corner to move to the video details.

  • Title: Enter a title for the video, using descriptive keywords if you want to increase your chances of showing up in search results.
  • Description: Add an optional video description with additional information such as a call to action and links. Use keywords to increase your chances of ranking well in search results.
  • Privacy: Select whether you want your video listed as Public, Unlisted, or Private. In this section, select Scheduled to set the video privacy settings to change to Public at a certain date and time automatically.
  • Location: Add your exact physical location.
  • Add to playlists: You can create a new playlist as you upload the video, or you can add the video to a playlist you created.

After you fill in the video details, select Upload in the upper-right corner. Your video uploads, and you'll see a progress bar showing how long you'll wait before it is finished uploading.

Use YouTube Studio for Insights About Your Video

Once your video has finished uploading, check out YouTube Studio for insights on the video, including views, channel subscribers, comments, and more.

To access the YouTube Studio on a PC or the mobile app, select your profile icon in the upper-right corner, then choose YouTube Studio.

YouTube Studio - select

The YouTube Studio Dashboard shows a summary of your channel information, such as your most recently uploaded videos and your video analytics. Use the dashboard to see how viewers watch and interact with your videos. This spots trends to help you improve your content and uploading habits.