YouTube Signup: How to Make an Account

Google and YouTube accounts are linked

YouTube Logo
Creating a YouTube Account.

YouTube account signup is fairly simple, though 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 fork over a Google ID or sign up for a new Google account. To repeat, to register for YouTube you need a Google account – and it can be tricky figuring out how your Google ID and YouTube credentials work together.

How to Make a YouTube Account

If you already have a Google ID through, say, Gmail or Google+, then you can simply sign into with that username and password. Signing in with a Google ID on YouTube's home page will automatically register you for a YouTube account and link 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.

But 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 homepage and click the "Create an Account" button at the top far right, as shown in the image above. You'll be taken to the basic Google signup form.

It asks you to enter your desired Google username and password, gender, birthday, country location, current email address (find your email address if you don't know it) 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 cell phone number or email address. While it asks for your current email and mobile phone, you can leave both fields blank and proceed anyway. Google won't stop you from registering if you don't provide that information.

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

The biggest challenge on this form typically 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 info and go to the next step.

Profile Info for Google Accounts

You'll see a page titled, Create Your Profile, and it's talking about your Google profile, not your YouTube profile per se, 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 since Google scans user names on profiles to make sure they reflect people and not companies or products. If you are creating a Google account for a business and want the equivalent of a profile or Google+ page, then use Google pages which are aimed at business use.

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

Back to Your YouTube Account

Now click "next" again and you'll see a welcoming page with a blue button at the bottom that says "Back to YouTube." Click it, and you'll be taken back to Youtube's homepage where you will now be signed in. It should say, "You are now registered with YouTube" across the green bar at the top.

Cross-Linking YouTube and Google Accounts

If you already have an older YouTube and also a separate Gmail account, you can tie them together at the "link upgrade" page. Fill out the info, and look for the message saying, "Please link your YouTube and Google accounts?" Then click "yes" to confirm.

Customize Your YouTube Channel

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

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

The Channel guide will list popular channel categories when you first sign in. You can click the gray "+Subscribe" for any channel that you want to subscribe to. Channels shown will include broad genres like pop music and more specific ones, like those created by individual artists and companies.

You can browse topical categories to find more material of interest. Or you can click on your username to go to your home page, and on the left sidebar, you'll see links to the more "popular" channels, which are ones getting a lot of views, and the "trending" channels, too. Those are ones whose growth in views suggests they are gaining in popularity right now.

Watch YouTube Videos

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

By default, it will start playing in a small box, but you can click the "full screen" button at lower right to make the video fill your entire computer screen. 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 will play first before your chosen video shows, but you can usually click the "X" button or "skip" at upper right to skip past the commercial. Many of these commercials will show the "X" button and become skippable after 5 seconds of play time.

See how easy it is to sign up for YouTube?