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How to put videos on YouTube

Andrew Stucken / 01 July 2015 ( 21 June 2018 )

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to learn how to put videos on YouTube - it's easier than you might think.

Film and video sign
Learn how to record and upload your videos to YouTube

Watching the millions of videos available on YouTube is easy enough. But would you like to upload a video of your own for people to watch and enjoy? Here’s a seven-step guide on how to put your video online on YouTube.

Step 1 – Set up YouTube Account

If you don’t already have a YouTube account you can create one at by looking for the “Sign Up” button in the top right corner. You will need to enter some personal information and choose your User Name.

Step 2 – Sign In

Sign in to your account before beginning the upload. On the YouTube home page you will see an “Upload” button at the top. Click it and choose the “Upload video” option.

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Step 3 – Check File Format

Check the file extension – the last three letters of the file name. Supported formats are: .AVI, .WMV, .MP4, .MPEGPS, .FLV (Adobe Flash), .MKV, WEBM, 3GPP or .MOV (on a Macintosh). 

If your file is not in a supported format you will need to convert it. Numerous video conversion programmes are available –SUPER and Format Factory are free and have received good reviews.

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Step 4 - Upload

Click the ‘Upload’ button. Browse to your correctly formatted video – and double click. The upload should start. It can take between a few minutes and several hours, depending on the speed of your internet connection and the file size.

Do bear in mind some of YouTube’s file restrictions: your video should be a maximum 2GB in size and no more than 15 minutes long. Be aware that certain content is not allowed and will be removed after upload if deemed unsuitable.

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Step 5 - Describe File and Select Privacy

When uploading has finished, YouTube will prompt you to enter a title, description and category. You will have the option of using Tags to help anyone using a search engine to find it.

In the same box you have the option to Select ‘Public’ – so that anyone who uses the web can find it - or ‘Private’, meaning that only your friends and family can see it. Think carefully about this. Click ‘Save Changes’.

Step 6 – Conversion

YouTube will automatically process the file and convert it to its preferred format.

Step 7 – Check Results

Once processing is complete, YouTube will show the URL – the web address. Click this to check the file plays OK. If it is too big or long, or there is some other problem, you will see an error message saying it has been removed.

If successful, you can share the link with whoever you choose or embed it in a social networking site.

Using a smartphone with built-in video camera and the YouTube app will save you transferring files onto your computer and should automatically upload videos in an acceptable format.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.