YouTube Sign-Up: How to Make an Account

Google and YouTube accounts are linked

YouTube Logo
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The YouTube account sign-up process is fairly simple, although it's complicated by the fact that Google owns YouTube and has linked the two for registration purposes. For that reason, to sign up for a YouTube account, you must have a Google ID or sign up for a new Google account.

How to Make a YouTube Account

If you already have a Google ID through Gmail or Google+, you can sign in to YouTube.com with that username and password. Signing in with a Google ID on YouTube's homepage automatically registers you for a YouTube account and links your YouTube sign-in to your Google account. No need to create a new YouTube account if you don't mind linking your existing Google username.

If you have no Google ID or are a business and don't want to link your personal Google profile to YouTube, then you should register for a new Google user ID. You can fill out one registration form, and it will create both a YouTube account and a Google account at the same time and cross-link them.

YouTube Accounts: The Basics

To start, go to the YouTube.com homepage and click the Create an Account button at the top of the screen to go to the basic Google sign-up form.

It asks you to enter your desired Google username and password, gender, birthday, country location, current email address, and mobile phone number. It won't ask for your street address or credit card information, though, and the truth is, you don't have to fork over your cellphone number or email address. While it asks for your current email and mobile phone, you can leave both fields blank and proceed. Google won't stop you from registering if you don't provide that information.

Finally, it asks you to type a few squiggly letters to prove you're not a robot.

The biggest challenge on this form is finding a Google username that isn't already taken. It will suggest adding numbers to popular phrases you may enter that are already in use, so keep trying until you find an available username that you like.

Click Next to submit the information and go to the next step.

Profile Information for Google Accounts

You'll see a page titled Create Your Profile. It's talking about your Google profile, not your YouTube profile, though the two will be linked if you create a Google profile.

One thing to remember about Google profiles is they are only for individuals, not businesses. You can't create a Google profile for a business without running the risk of having your profile suspended, because Google scans usernames on profiles to make sure they reflect people and not companies or products. If you are creating a Google account for a business, then you create what Google calls a Brand account, which is an account aimed at business use.

If you're using Google and YouTube as an individual, go ahead and create a profile. You can upload a photo from your computer if you want an image to show when you're using Google services like the social network Google+. If you add a picture of yourself to your Google profile and then like material you see on the web, your thumbnail profile pic may show to other people who view the same material.

Back to Your YouTube Account

Click Next again, and you'll see a welcoming page with a blue button at the bottom that says Back to YouTube. Click it to go to YouTube's homepage where you are now signed in. It should say You are now registered with YouTube across the green bar at the top.

Customize Your YouTube Channel

The first step you might want to take after registering is to find some YouTube video channels that appeal to you and subscribe to them. That makes it easier to find and watch them later by showing links to those channels on your YouTube homepage.

What exactly is a YouTube channel? It's a collection of videos tied to a registered user of YouTube, either an individual or an organization.

The Channel guide lists popular channel categories when you first sign in. Click the Subscribe button for any channel that you want to subscribe to. Channels shown include both broad genres like pop music and specific ones like those created by individual artists.

Browse the topical categories to find more material of interest or click on your username to go to your homepage. On the left sidebar, you'll see links to popular channels, which are ones getting a lot of views, and the trending channels, too.

Watch YouTube Videos

Figuring out how to watch YouTube videos is easy. Click on the name of any video you want to watch to go to that video's page with player controls.

By default, it starts playing in a small window, but you can click the full-screen button at the lower right corner to fill your entire computer screen with the video. You can also click the middle large-screen button to enlarge the video viewing box but not make it take up your entire screen.

Often, a short video commercial plays first before your chosen video shows, but you can usually click the X button or Skip to move past the commercial. Many of the commercials become skippable after five seconds of play time.