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How to Upload a Video to YouTube Made Simple

How to Upload a Video to YouTube

RevBlogClosed CaptionsHow to Upload a Video to YouTube Made Simple

There’s a reason why YouTube is the second-most popular website in the world: Video is the future of the Internet. Whether you’re a company, a musician, an influencer, a simply a creative individual, there’s no avoiding YouTube as the number one platform to upload your videos for free.

There are many ways to upload a video to YouTube. This article will show you how to upload a video from a web browser, from your smartphone, and from other platforms, such as iMovie. Finally, we will briefly talk about the importance of closed captions and how you can add them to your YouTube videos.

How to Upload a Video to YouTube Using a Web Browser

1. Sign in to the Right Google Account

Firstly, you want to make sure that you’re signed in to the right Google account on YouTube. You can check this by clicking the profile icon on the top right of the YouTube website. This will show the email address that you’re signed in with on YouTube.

Pro tip: if you have multiple Google accounts, make sure that you choose profile pics that are easily distinguishable. It will make it much easier to tell which Google account you’re signed in with.

2. Upload Your Video Using YouTube’s New Interface

Next, click the camera icon in the top right corner and click “upload video”.  YouTube is currently in the process of rolling out a new way to upload videos. If you see a notification that says “Go to upload video (beta)” at the top of your screen, go ahead and click it. If you don’t see a notification, it means you’re already using the new interface.

The new interface will show you a popup window where you can either select your video file or drag and drop it into the popup. Once you’ve selected your video file, YouTube will start the uploading process. Depending on the size of the video file and the speed of your Internet connection, this process can take a few seconds or a few hours.

Pro tip: the best video file format for YouTube is MP4 with the H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec. This format gives you a video of high quality while keeping the video file size small. Video files should be in their native frame rate and have a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio for the best viewing experience.

3. Fill Out Your Video’s Details

While the video is uploading, you’ll need to add a title and a description. Both are great opportunities to enter the keywords that you want to target. Choose the keywords that your audience usually searches for! You’ll also be able to add a thumbnail. You can choose one that YouTube auto-generates from your video or you can upload a custom thumbnail. 

Pro tip: it’s almost always better to upload a custom thumbnail for your video. A custom thumbnail is usually sharper and more relevant than an auto-generated thumbnail from your video.

There are many other options you can explore in the popup. For example, you can add your video to a playlist to make it easier for your viewers to navigate your YouTube channel. You’ll also need to indicate whether your video is or isn’t made for kids (to comply with the US’ Child Online Protection Act). You can add tags here too, and upload the appropriate closed captions.

When you click next, and once your video has finished uploading, you’ll be able to add an end screen or cards to promote related video content. This is slightly more advanced and it’s not required. Finally, as the final step of the uploading process, you can choose the visibility of your content. There are four options:

  • Public: the video goes live immediately. You can also premiere the video, which will set a countdown and allow your viewers to watch the video while interacting with one another.
  • Unlisted: the video is live, but can only be found by people with the link. It won’t show up in the search results just yet.
  • Private: only you and the people you select can view this video.
  • Schedule: set a date and a time when your video will go live.

Pro tip: set your video’s visibility to unlisted or private when you publish it. This way, you can make sure it’s exactly as you want it before you share it with a broader audience. Just make sure you change its visibility to public when you start promoting it.

How to Upload a Video With the YouTube Mobile App

Nowadays, most smartphones pack a powerful enough camera to create high-quality YouTube videos. Combine this with native video editing software in smartphones and it’s no surprise that more and more people upload videos to YouTube through their mobile. Here’s how you can upload videos to YouTube with your phone too.

1. Open the YouTube App and Sign In

Firstly, open the YouTube app. Again, make sure you’re logged into the right Google account (look in the top right corner). Next, click the camera icon next to the search icon. You’ll be taken to a screen where you have two big buttons (“record” and “go live”) as well as all your videos underneath. The YouTube app immediately picks up all the video files on your phone and neatly presents them to you. Select the video file you wish to upload.

2. Edit Your Video and Fill Out Its Details

On the video file, you’ll be able to add music by clicking the musical note icon in the top left corner. You can also add a video filter by clicking the wand in the top right corner, and you can trim the video by moving the left or right slider underneath the video.

Underneath these options, you can add a title, a description, a location, and the video’s visibility. When you click next, the video will start uploading and you’ll be taken to the video manager of your YouTube channel.

How to Upload a Video to YouTube With Other Software

Many professional video editing tools, such as iMovie, will give you the possibility to upload to YouTube directly from the tool itself. It’s up to you whether you want to do this. If the tool gives you the same possibilities to edit your video and it helps you stay focused, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t upload your video through the tool you’re using.

However, most tools won’t give you the same options to customize your video. In this scenario, it’s preferable to export your video to the right format and upload it directly to YouTube as per the instructions above.

How to Add Captions to YouTube

Not everyone will be able to watch your video with sound on. Some people might have forgotten their headphones or they might be on a noisy train. That’s why it’s always worth adding closed captions to your video. 

While YouTube can auto-generate closed captions, you’re better off using a service like Rev.com if you want accurate closed captions that aren’t embarrassing. Rev gets you the most accurate closed captions at a very affordable price. Find out here how to add closed captions to your YouTube video and how to use our YouTube integration.

Note: Rev is now a preferred captioning vendor of YouTube. As a part of this partnership, anyone using the Rev YouTube integration gets a 12% discount on all caption orders.


In this article, we’ve shown you how to upload videos to YouTube for free through your web browser or your phone. In addition, we’ve talked about the importance of closed captions and pointed you to the places where you can learn how to upload closed captions and subtitles to your video.

We hope this is the start of an exciting journey for you on YouTube.