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You are watching: How long does it take for a youtube video to upload
If you’ve just finished creating a great video, you’ve uploaded it to YouTube, the processing time can seem like it takes ages. But how long does YouTube take to process a video actually?
I’ve uploaded thousands of videos, from short videos that were only a couple of seconds and were only in 1080p, to videos that exceeded the hour mark and were in crisp 4K. One thing that never seems to get old is the time it takes for YouTube to process videos.
What is video processing and why does it take so long?
When you upload a video to YouTube, a number of things are happening which can take a lot of time to complete. YouTube is compressing your original video file, this is why you may notice some quality loss when you download your original file from YouTube. Here’s a great example of this from MKBHD.
Additionally, YouTube is making copies of this file in a number of different formats. If you click on the gear icon of a video, you’ll see that you can watch a video in 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p (HD), 1440p, etc. all the way up to the maximum quality that you uploaded the video in. This means that if you uploaded a standard 1080p video file, YouTube needs to make 5 different versions!
Why are my videos blurry on YouTube after uploading?
A common occurrence when you upload a video to YouTube and then immediately watch it is to find a much blurrier and lower quality version of the video you actually uploaded. Before you go and delete the video, this is normal and happens very often.
Your videos are blurry on YouTube after uploading because YouTube hasn’t finished processing the HD version of your video yet. It’s finished making the lower quality version and got them ready to distribute, which is why you see a video often in 240p, 360p, or 480p quality, even if you uploaded a 4K or HD video.
Another common problem could be that you have a poor internet connection, or had a poor internet connection at the time of watching the video. YouTube tries to cater to people all around the world, from viewers with high-speed internet to viewers who access the app on their phone with a 3G connection. To make sure videos play smoothly for all users, YouTube automatically selects the video resolution that best matches your internet speed.
If you have a slow connection, this means you will most likely be put onto a 240p or 360p resolution version of the video. If you select a higher resolution in the settings, you may suffer from video buffering as your internet cannot download the video data fast enough for it to play smoothly.
Top tip to make sure your videos are fully processed when publishing
Whenever you upload a video to YouTube, schedule your video at least an hour in advance. This should allow enough time for the high-quality version of your video to process entirely and for early viewers to get the full quality of the video and stop some complaints about poor video quality.
If you have a popular channel, this is something you can experience where people will watch your video within the first couple of minutes after uploading. Make sure they also have the best experience by scheduling your videos an hour or two (at least) in advance.
Ideally, however, you would want to schedule your video well in advance for when your viewers are most active. You can use TubeBuddy for this, the free extension will let you know the majority of your audience is active, and then you can schedule the video in advance so it is published at the best time possible so they can help push its performance initially.
(You can also find when your viewers are most active in your analytics if you don’t want to try TubeBuddy)
P.s. Another tip for reducing the processing time if you just want to publish your videos immediately is to spend the video processing time optimizing your video title, tags, descriptions, and thumbnail. This is something you should do regardless, but if you find yourself twiddling your thumbs waiting for it to finish, try improving your video optimization in the meantime.
What to do if your YouTube video processing is stuck
If your video hasn’t finished processing after a couple of hours then it may be stuck. This could be due to your internet connection, a heavy upload time period, or a complicated file format. If you find your video to be stuck processing, I recommend uploading your file again.
Do not delete the first upload as it may just be processing slowly. Once one of the uploads has finished uploading and processing, you can delete the other one. These files are all private until you publish them, so you don’t have to worry about your viewers seeing double.
If you, however, see that both uploads are stuck, then it may be time to check whether you have a good internet connection, try uploading again at a different time, or the main cause is probably the format that you’re uploading the file in.
Check out this article from YouTube for a list of the best settings for exporting video files on YouTube.