How Long Does It Take to Upload a YouTube Video? A Step-by-Step Guide (with Photos)

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How Long Does It Take to Upload a YouTube Video? A Step-by-Step Guide (with Photos)

Content creation is painstaking work that takes up a lot of time and effort. You require several gadgets like a smartphone, a laptop, and a camera, among others, to shoot high-quality videos. The same is true for uploading a video on YouTube.

Many content viewers have no idea how much work creatives put into posting a video on platforms like YouTube. If they did, they would gladly show more appreciation for the wealth of content generated every day.

Below is a breakdown of how much time one needs to upload a video to YouTube, factors that influence YouTube video upload time, and a guide on how to upload videos on YouTube. Let’s jump in!

Factors that Affect YouTube Video Upload Time

If you are trying to upload a video to YouTube and feel it is taking longer than expected, you should check the following factors to ensure they align with YouTube’s upload policy.

Video Resolution 

YouTube accepts uploads with 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, 1440p (or 2K), 2160p, and 4320p (or 4K) resolutions. The higher the resolution, the better the pixel quality, which results in a sharper image. Therefore, the higher your video’s resolution, the longer the YouTube video upload time.

Video Format and Size

Like many other video hosting sites, YouTube recommends videos have specific formats. That means you may experience issues uploading your videos with the wrong formats. Moreover, the size of your videos will influence the upload time. The larger the video file, the longer it will take to upload.

Internet Speed

A slow and unreliable internet connection frustrates and delays all online activity, including uploading videos to YouTube. Thus, a fast internet connection is one of the solutions to ensure you minimize the time it takes to upload your content to YouTube.

Time of Upload

YouTube hosts millions, if not billions, of videos. Moreover, thousands more videos get uploaded every minute. Hence, upload speeds may be slow should you do it during peak upload times when YouTube servers are overworked.

Average YouTube Video Upload Time

For a One-Minute Clip

A one-minute video of 1080p resolution shot at 60 frames per second (FPS) will take about 55 to 70 seconds to upload and process. It will likely longer to upload the same video at a higher resolution. In contrast, lower-quality videos have shorter upload times. For instance, a 360p one-minute video uploaded using an internet speed of 20 megabits per second (Mbps) will upload within five seconds.

For a Five-Minute Clip

It will take a few minutes to upload a high-quality video if it meets YouTube’s requirements for uploading videos, including format, aspect ratio, and bitrate. With a reliable internet connection of 20 Mbps speed, a five-minute 1080p video shot at 30 FPS will upload in two to three minutes, while a 1080p video shot at 60 FPS will take about twice the upload time.

Videos Longer Than 20 Minutes

As you may have noticed, the longer the clip, the longer the YouTube video upload file. That is because longer videos have larger file sizes, requiring some processing time before the upload process ends.

For example, a 20-minute 1080p video can take about ten minutes to upload to YouTube. Concerning 30-minute, one-hour, and two-hour videos, depending on the resolution and internet speeds, a video can take anywhere from several minutes to a few hours to upload to YouTube.

How to Upload A Video to YouTube on a Computer or Laptop

The process of uploading a video to YouTube is relatively straightforward. You only need to follow the simple steps below.

Step 1: Log in to your account

Go to YouTube, then on the top right of your computer or laptop screen, tap Sign in. Select the YouTube account you want to access and key in the password.

If you do not have an account, you can create one. On the sign-in page, there is an option to Create an account at the bottom left of the dialogue box. 

When you tap Create an account, specify whether it is for a child, personal use, or a business. Proceed to provide your details, including your first and last names and email account, and type in your desired login details, like a password. Click Next. You can then set account preferences and upload a profile picture and a banner. 

Log into your account.
Sign in if you have an account.
Sign into Google account.
If you don’t have an account, click Create Account and follow the prompts.

Step 2: Tap the Video Icon

Click on the video camera icon on the top right-hand corner of the screen next to the account’s profile picture and notifications icon. Then, select Upload video.

Tap the video icon.
Click on the video icon in the top right-hand corner.

Step 3: Select Files

Tap Select Files to find the video you intend to upload within your computer’s saved files, then click Open. Alternatively, drag and drop the file you want to upload to the middle of the page.

YouTube has made it easy to upload short videos of up to 15 minutes long as the process is pretty straightforward. However, longer videos of up to 12 hours long require verification prior to uploading the file. 

Similarly, you cannot upload audio files like MP3 and WAV to YouTube. The video file formats supported include MOV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG4, MP4, MPG, 3GPP, WebM, DNxHR, ProRes, CineForm, and HEVC (h265).

Select files.
Click Select Files.

Step 4: Input Video Title and Description

Before publishing the video, you will need to give it a title that will make it identifiable by users, easy to search, and relevant to its content. YouTube restricts title length to at least 100 characters long.

Next, provide a short description of the video, which is optional. For instance, suppose you upload a music video; you can write the song lyrics in the song’s description section. You can also give additional information that will promote the video, like keywords that will make it easy to find in the search bar. You can also promote your channel, for example, by providing information about yourself or linking to your website.

Enter title and description.
Enter your video’s title and description.

Step 5: Select a Thumbnail

A thumbnail is an image that makes the video identifiable within your channel or the search results. You can use the suggested thumbnails provided by YouTube or upload a thumbnail that best suits the video from your computer files. 

Upload thumbnail.
Click on Upload thumbnail to choose the thumbnail.

Step 6: Select a Playlist

You can include the video in your playlist if it is part of an ongoing series of related videos. Tap Select, then choose from the list of playlists where you want to place the video. 

Alternatively, suppose the video is part of a new series; you can create a new playlist by selecting Create Playlist in the bottom left corner.

Select playlist.
Tap Select.
Click on create a playlist.
Click on Create Playlist.

Step 7: Specify if the Video is Appropriate for Children

Given YouTube’s widespread use, the platform has strict guidelines to ensure content creators do not expose children to adult-rated content. Some examples include explicit or violent videos. The guidelines also ensure videos comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Thus, you must specify if the video you are about to upload is appropriate for children under 13.

If the video is strictly for audiences above 18 years, there is an option to add an age restriction. 

Add age restriction if necessary.
Add an age restriction if necessary.

Step 8: Make Additional Settings

The bottom section has a button for more options written in blue as Show More. Click the button to make more changes to your preferences. We’ll break them down below.

Paid Promotion

This option allows creators to notify YouTube they received payment to make the video. YouTube will then inform viewers if the video contains paid promotions or sponsorships.

You can select if your video includes any paid promotions, and it will notify users.
You can select if your video includes any paid promotions, and it will notify users.

Add Tags

The tags option allows content creators to add keywords related to the video that can make it easily identifiable in the search results.

Add any tags.
Add any tags.

Language and Caption Certification

It allows users to specify your video’s language. Selecting Video Language releases a drop-down menu with a list of languages. 

Recording Date and Location

When you tap Recording Date, a calendar will pop up from which you can select the day you recorded the content. You can also specify the location you made the video. Tap Video Location, type in a location, and select the most appropriate location based on the availed list of locations.

Select your video's language and any captioning needs, as well as the recording date and location.
Select your video’s language and any captioning needs, as well as the recording date and location.


The License option allows you to choose the type of copyright license to attach to your videos. Moreover, Allow Embedding allows others to link your content on other websites. You also have to select Publish to subscription feed and notify subscribers to give YouTube permission to inform your subscribers when you upload a video.

Select the license.
Select the license.

Comments and Ratings

This option allows you to decide the comments you want to be seen under your video. For example, you can allow all comments or flag potentially inappropriate comments for subsequent review. You could also hold all comments for review or disable comments permanently. You can also decide how to list the comments between the newest comments and the best-rated comments. Lastly, you can decide whether to show the likes and dislikes the video receives.

Enable how to handle comments or disable them.
Enable how to handle comments or disable them.

Step 9: Add Video Elements

The video elements page enables creators that will make their content accessible to a wider audience. For instance, the Add Subtitles option allows you to upload any subtitle files related to the video to reach a bigger audience. 

On the other hand, the Add an End Screen option allows you to push related videos by providing a screen with thumbnail links to your other videos. Similarly, the Add Cards option allows you to push content while the video plays.

Add any video elements.
Add any video elements, like subtitles.

Step 10: Checking for Copyrights or Issues

In this step, YouTube checks whether your video infringes on any copyrights or has issues that can limit its visibility and allows you to make changes. 

Step 11: Set Visibility

YouTube provides three visibility options, namely:

  • Private: Only you and the people you choose can watch the video.
  • Unlisted: Provides access to anyone with a link to the video.
  • Public: Anyone on YouTube can watch the video.
Set visibility.
Choose your desired visibility from public, unlisted, and private.

Step 12: Schedule the Upload (Optional)

You can schedule an upload if you do not want YouTube to publish the video immediately. Click Schedule, then select a date and time to upload the video.

Schedule your upload if you want to schedule it to be posted on a specific day and time.
You have the option to schedule your video if you don’t want it published immediately.

Step 13: Click Save 

If you choose Save and Publish on the visibility page, once you complete setting the visibility level, tap Save at the bottom right corner to upload the video immediately. 

However, if you scheduled (from step 12) an upload, the option will read Schedule instead.

Click publish.
Click Publish.
Click schedule if you want to schedule your video.
Alternatively, you can schedule your video for publishing.

Here is a brief, step-by-step video that can show you how to upload a video to Youtube from your computer and from your mobile device:

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do my YouTube videos upload slowly?

Your videos could be uploading slower than you expect because of the following reasons:

  • You have a slow internet connection
  • The video file size is too big for your internet bandwidth
  • The file is larger than YouTube supports
  • YouTube does not support the video’s format

How frequently should I upload videos as a beginner to grow my channel?

If you are new to creating YouTube videos, upload a video at least three times a week to help improve your visibility and gain subscribers quickly.

How can I get more views on my videos?

The first step is creating unique content that captivates viewers and creating a playlist to keep viewers engaged with your channel. Lastly, use YouTube’s tools to promote your content, like end screens, cards, and embedding.

What type of content is most popular on YouTube?

Music videos and kids’ content are the most popular videos on the platforms. At the end of every year, the top ten most watched videos mainly consist of music videos and content for kids.

What type of content do subscribers like?

People who subscribe to YouTube channels mostly subscribe to product review content, video tutorials, vlogs, and interviews.

How much do YouTubers earn per 1,000 views?

The amount content creators earn for 1,000 views on YouTube varies significantly based on the target audience and location. However, most creators earn about 0.5 dollars for 1,000 views while the top tier creators can earn more.

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