How long does it take to upload a video to YouTube?

In a nutshell

  • Importing a video to YouTube is dependent upon a lot of elements, together with connection velocity, video format, high quality and backbone
  • YouTube’s file dimension and period restrict is 256 GB or 12 hours
  • Relying in your video file dimension and web velocity, importing a video may take wherever from 40 seconds to 45 minutes or extra

The time it takes to add a video to YouTube is dependent upon a number of elements, together with web connection velocity, video format, high quality and backbone. This text goes into element and find out how to optimize every stage.

YouTube processing

Processing refers back to the work that takes place behind the scenes following a person add. This retains YouTube’s platform from imploding underneath the sheer quantity of uploads and streams by standardizing them.

How does processing work?

A number of occasions happen when importing a video to YouTube.

  • Encoding the video to YouTube’s VP9 codec
  • Combining (muxing) the audio and video streams into the WebM container format
  • Making a model of the video for every decision

That is the present state of YouTube encoders and containers and largely displays the shift away from the VP8 codec and older containers like FLV and 3GP used for lower-resolution movies.

How lengthy does it take?

The primary elements that affect video add and processing instances are high quality, decision, bitrate, file dimension and web bandwidth.

YouTube’s file dimension and period restrict is 256 GB or 12 hours. See the advisable export settings within the subsequent part.

Decision Approximate File dimension per minute: 30 fps Processing Time per minute
2160p (4K) – 3840 x 2160 337 MB at 45 Mbps 60-240 seconds
1440p – 2560 x 1440 135 MB at 16 Mbps 45-180 seconds
1080p – 1920 x 1080 54 MB at 8 Mbps 30-60 seconds
720p – 1280 x 720 36 MB at 5 Mbps ~30 seconds
480p – 854 x 480 18 MB 2.5 Mbps ~ 15 seconds
Approximate YouTube processing instances per minute of video.

The way forward for processing

Why has there been no point out of H.264 and H.265 (HEVC) codecs to this point? Close to H.264, YouTube did closely use the codec and shows as AVC1 within the “stats for nerds” menu if you wish to evaluate utilization. The main causes for the shift away from H.264 come all the way down to effectivity and royalty funds. VP9, by comparability, is a royalty-free codec that Google developed in-house and supplied higher efficiency.

The fee of royalties is a giant driver as to why YouTube by no means adopted the extra environment friendly H.265 codec. The apply of utilizing royalty-free applied sciences is a big a part of YouTube’s working mannequin, which makes complete sense when you think about a footprint of billions of movies and the rising pressures of internet hosting and distributing an ever-increasing quantity of 4K content material.

Although the platform does generate billions of {dollars} in income, profitability is extra elusive, particularly within the context of the latest trials round placing 4K streams behind the premium paywall and including extra advertisements to the free tier.

AV1 is a next-generation, royalty-free codec that has been round since 2019 and is in line to exchange VP9. The enhancements AV1 affords embody higher picture high quality at decrease bitrates, making it extra environment friendly than even H.265. The present GPU launches, together with Intel’s ARC, Nvidia’s 4000 collection and AMD’s 7000 playing cards, all provide AV1 encoding and decoding capabilities. For anybody after sturdy AV1 encoding efficiency on a finances, look no additional than the Intel ARC A380 graphics card.

Optimizing your add

A great add expertise begins by matching the advisable add specification and offering content material at a excessive supply decision. The suggestions on this article concentrate on SDR movies because the state and help of HDR on YouTube is considerably doubtful. Nevertheless, there are some indicators this can be addressed sooner or later.

Most video enhancing software program has export presets, amongst them presets for YouTube at completely different resolutions.

YouTube’s advisable add settings for video can be found right here and are properly value taking a look at for a whole abstract.

This can be a abstract of YouTube’s advisable export settings:

  • Container: MP4
  • Audio: AAC
    • Pattern charge: 48 KHz or 96 KHz
    • Bitrate: 192 KHz
    • Channels: Stereo or Stereo and 5.1
  • Codec: H.264
    • Progressive scan
    • Excessive profile
  • Video bitrate
    • 4K: 35-45 Mbps
    • 1440: 16 Mbps
    • 1080p: 8 Mbps


A part of YouTube’s processing contains creating a number of variations of the video at completely different resolutions. Due to this fact the first purpose of an add ought to be to offer the very best high quality that makes sensible sense given your workflow and viewers.

Excessive-resolution 4K content material is now extra broadly obtainable than ever, however whenever you think about that 40 p.c of YouTube content material is streamed on cellular gadgets importing at 4K would possibly make much less sense relying in your viewers.

Enhancing 4K content material is the simplest it has ever been, owing to the latest jumps in computing energy. Apple’s transition to its personal silicon designs has been significantly efficient due to the highly effective laptop and graphics included even within the base fashions. Intel and AMD have additionally simply launched their newest era of CPUs.

Compute energy is just one think about enhancing in excessive resolutions since storing and enhancing 4K video nonetheless consumes loads of space for storing. It’s best to decide on our battles by consciously selecting what decision we need to movie and edit in. 

4K or bust?

To that finish, 1440p and 1080p each make for extra than simply an appropriate compromise. Each resolutions are considerably much less demanding by way of computing and storage sources and really a lot nonetheless excessive resolutions that upscale properly on 4K shows. There are nonetheless loads of channels on the market with high-quality content material at 1080p.


YouTube’s personal add pointers advocate utilizing H.264 compression on supply movies. Verify the export presets in your video software program and the way intently they align with the advisable settings above; most have YouTube-specific flavors.

Run and add check exports till there may be little to no distinction between the H.264 compression high quality and bitrate, particularly searching for artifacts and shade banding. It will assist save on export and add instances in the long term.

Convey your personal system

We extremely advocate utilizing your personal community system for extra technically savvy customers each time the Web Service Supplier (ISP) permits it. For instance, the ARRIS Surfboard modem household, previously Motorola, is a staple within the DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem world and makes a distinction in connection high quality. Bringing your personal system additionally stops the extortionate month-to-month gear rental charges ISPs wish to cost.

The identical logic applies to ditching the ISP-provided combo modem/router/entry level and choosing a greater combo unit or going for a devoted entry level and router.

Web connection

Web connectivity has solely turn out to be a much bigger issue within the lives of content material creators. Quick obtain and add speeds have turn out to be much less of a novelty and extra of a necessity in our workflows.

The flexibility to shortly add movies, push offsite backups, and host high-quality livestreams are simply a few of the instant advantages.

Begin by checking if the ISPs in your space present fiber or, on the very least, larger bandwidth packages.

Bandwidth defined

Bandwidth is the whole obtainable capability of a community connection. For dwelling and enterprise customers, that is additionally the quantity that’s allotted. Typical copper connections aren’t symmetrical and are weighted for larger obtain speeds.

Bandwidth is measured in megabits per second (Mbps); a standard mistake is to see this as Megabytes which is used to measure disk area and file dimension.

1 Mbps = 0.125 MB/s: a 100 Mbps connection will web you 12.5 MB/s

Connection varieties

This isn’t an exhaustive record, nevertheless it covers the most typical broadband web connection varieties obtainable within the North American and European markets.

Evolving requirements have been vital in optimizing and totally using each new and current infrastructure.


That is the oldest of the unique broadband requirements nonetheless in use at the moment. DSL stands for “digital subscriber line” and makes use of customary copper phone traces for information transmission. The usual has undergone a number of evolutions by means of DSL, ADSL and VDSL.

ADSL (uneven digital subscriber line) is the most typical legacy connection used within the US market and may present most obtain and add speeds of 20 Mbps and 1 Mbps, respectively. Whether or not these speeds are achievable fully is dependent upon the proximity to an change. 

VDSL (very high-speed digital subscriber line) is standard in European markets and makes use of a mix of upper frequency modulation on the sign and fiber cable to hyperlink the change to the native cupboards positioned on most blocks. Cities and municipalities additionally are likely to have their very own change and, mixed with the upper density of junctions, permit for efficient deployment. Anticipated obtain speeds are within the 70 Mbps vary, with add speeds round 20 Mbps.

Coaxial, aka cable

Cable web is, by far, the most typical kind of connection in North America. The introduction of broadband packages utilizing DOCSIS 3.0 and three.1 connections during the last 12 years has remodeled the cable web business and allowed obtain speeds north of 100 Mbps. Sadly, add speeds have lagged behind wherever between 5 to fifteen Mbps. There are actually packages in some markets providing add speeds of 35 Mbps.

A significant draw back of cable is its efficiency throughout peak hours, akin to how we may see the water strain drop by poking extra holes in a backyard hose. Whereas this has gotten higher over time, it will possibly nonetheless account for slowdowns at peak hours.


All roads finally result in fiber web. The enhancements listed above, particularly given the historic context, are really superb. If we instructed our previous selves that someday we may have a gigabit cable connection, there would certainly be some shocked expressions. This creator nonetheless remembers the ache of utilizing dial-up web and watching pages load line by line.

The important thing advantages of fiber are eradicating the restrictions of utilizing copper cabling, supporting a lot larger speeds and supporting really symmetrical add and obtain speeds.

Gigabit web is now not a legendary unicorn and is more and more obtainable — not that the majority customers would want these speeds. Extra importantly, connections providing speeds of wherever over 200 Mbps on obtain and add hyperlinks are the place we begin seeing transformative worth.

Obtain and add speeds

Obtain velocity is the speed at which information might be downloaded and is once more measured in megabits per second (Mbps). For many connections, obtain speeds make up the majority of allotted bandwidth. Until in any other case said, add speeds are often a fraction in comparison with a connection’s obtain speeds. The exceptions are fiber connections, and that also is dependent upon the ISP offering a bundle that may unlock elevated add speeds.

The chart beneath exhibits estimated add instances for a 15-minute video at three completely different resolutions and three widespread add speeds.

Video Decision Size and File Dimension Add Velocity Estimated Add Time
4K quarter-hour / 5 GB 100 Mbps 7:09 minutes
35 Mbps 20:27 minutes
15 Mbps 47:43 minutes
1080p quarter-hour / 810 MB 100 Mbps 1:07 minutes
35 Mbps 3:14 minutes
15 Mbps 7:32 minutes
720p quarter-hour / 5 GB 100 Mbps 0:45 minutes
35 Mbps 2:09 minutes
15 Mbps 5:01 minutes
Comparability of YouTube video add instances for various resolutions at a number of add speeds.

Occasions will fluctuate

There are various elements you need to contemplate when importing a video to YouTube. Use this information to present you a normal estimate of what to anticipate when importing your subsequent YouTube video.