When you start a YouTube channel, creating content may be a time-consuming process.
You eagerly wait to upload an HD video, but a low-resolution one appears on your screen, and you give up on uploading another time.
Sometimes, the situation is even worse: your video could get stuck in processing and take forever to end.
Depending on file format and size, YouTube may take a long time to process HD videos.
Factors like video length and frame rate may affect the process as well.
That’s why processing a video could take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize this time.
Keep reading to learn about the most common mistakes that might be making your video uploads take longer.
How Long Does YouTube Take to Process HD?
High-definition videos may only take up to 20 minutes to upload, but a two-hour video can take longer.
Depending on your internet speed, a standard two-hour video can take up to 2 hours to upload.
If your video is 4K (4 times larger than 1080P) and has a 30fps, it can take up to 4 hours to upload.
However, a 4k video with a 60 fps can take even longer.
What Factors Determine the Processing Time?
1. Video Quality
Most of us may be familiar with the video quality, but we just don’t know what determines it.
There are three main factors that affect video quality: resolution, bitrate, and frame rate.
Resolution is the total number of pixels of a video in each dimension, so more pixels mean higher quality and resolution.
The most common resolutions are 1440p (2K), full HD (FHD), high definition (HD), and standard definition (SD).
If YouTube takes too long to process your video, you can reduce its resolution from HD to SD and try again.
You could even aim for a lighter version of HD with a lower resolution.
The maximum standard HD quality is 1080p (Full HD), and the minimum is 720p (HD).
There’s a small difference between the two resolutions, and 1080p is displayed in a smoother and clearer image than 720p since it has more pixels.
B. Frame Rate
A video is a series of still images displayed in rapid succession.
If the images change fast enough, the human eye can’t tell the difference, and you think you are seeing a continuous stream.
Frame rate is the number of still images shown in a specific unit of time (usually one second).
The higher the frame rate, the better quality you experience.
If your video doesn’t have the right frame rate, YouTube may take longer to process it.
Bitrate is the amount of data required to encode your file in the unit of time.
It affects the size and the quality of your file, so a higher bitrate means higher quality.
Higher bitrate also increases your file size, which means more megabits per second (Mbps).
For example, if you want a 1080p file to be five Mbps, your codec applies certain compression to hit that bitrate.
2. Video Length
It may not be easy to upload a longer video in HD since it will take a lot longer to process.
Try to break your long videos into shorter chunks to make them easier to upload and increase your viewers.
A good video length for your YouTube channel is between seven and 15 minutes.
Processing longer videos in HD could take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour.
3. Video Format
YouTube supports most major file formats, including MPEG4, AVI, MOV, WMV, and FLV, but it’s better to upload videos in MP4 since this format will take less time to process.
Other than the file extension, you need to consider what codec you’re using.
Codec creates an encoded video file which makes it smaller and easier to manage.
The target software, like YouTube, decodes the video and plays it with a quality similar to the original.
A supported YouTube file is usually an MP4 video with H.264 video codec, which gives you high-quality video with a small size.
A newer codec version known as H.265 makes files even smaller, but YouTube doesn’t support it as of yet.
4. Broadband Upload Speed
Upload speed determines how fast you can send information from your device to your YouTube channel.
A poor or unstable internet connection may result in YouTube taking longer to process HD.
Before uploading a video to YouTube, make sure you have a fast connection.
You can test your connection speed and stability using speedtest.
On average, a good upload speed is five Mbps, but a lower speed can be a problem.
Each video format may require a different speed; for example, Google recommends a speed of almost 20 Mbps for playing an HD 1080p.
How to Improve YouTube’s Processing Speed
Now that you know what factors affect how long it takes to upload your video to YouTube, here are a few tips you can use to help make the process faster.
1. Close Unnecessary Tabs
Modern browsers like Google Chrome let users open multiple tabs, which take up some of your computer’s resources, especially your RAM.
You should keep in mind that uploading a video also requires RAM.
If you have too many tabs open, there might not be enough memory to quickly upload your content.
Sort the processes by memory and end the ones that are using all your RAM.
2. Stop Unnecessary Background Processes
Running multiple tasks can slow down processing speed.
If you’re on Microsoft Windows, first press Ctrl + Alt + Delete, then select Task Manager.
Take a look at the list of running processes and terminate the ones you don’t need.
If you don’t know what a process does, leave it.
You don’t want to accidentally kill a critical process and have to restart your computer.
3. Don’t Use a VPN When You’re Uploading
You may use a VPN to safely connect to the internet since it establishes a secure connection.
It hides your IP address while visiting websites and sending or receiving data.
Since a VPN adds extra filters between you and YouTube’s servers, it slows down your connection, and you may have difficulty uploading your file.
4. Optimize Your File
Sometimes your video file is unnecessarily heavy and contains lots of redundant bits.
You can try different bit rates, codecs, and file formats to get the best quality/size balance.
An excellent way to convert your video into other formats is using online video converter apps.
You can register a free account in Clipchamp, drag and drop the video file into its box and then click Convert My Video.
Alternatively, you can use Flixier.
5. Other Tips
- Upgrade your internet connection: A faster internet connection increases browsing speed and transfers files in a shorter time.
- Use browsers that YouTube supports: YouTube directs users to upload their content using the latest versions of browsers like Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Firefox.
- Keep your browser up to date: Browser development teams keep optimizing their software to run more smoothly and take up fewer resources. Therefore, updating your browser could help you upload your videos a bit faster.
When Is the Best Time for Uploading HD Videos?
There’s nothing more frustrating than uploading your videos during heavy internet traffic.
High network traffic in your area may make it harder to upload videos.
You’re more likely to experience slower connection during the busiest times—usually from 7 to 11 p.m.
You should avoid uploading your videos when there’s high traffic.
To speed up processing, try planning your uploads before or after the internet rush hour.
Is There a Way to Calculate Upload Time?
Upload calculator is a handy tool that gives you an estimation of how long your video will take to upload, depending on your broadband speed and file size.
For example, a 550-MB video with 1080p resolution takes 15 minutes to upload.
That makes sense if you have a standard internet connection, which is about five Mbps.
How to Check YouTube Processing Status
Once YouTube starts processing HD, you will receive a message that tells you the video has finished uploading, and your video will soon be available.
If you upload multiple files simultaneously, YouTube gives you the status of each file separately.
To view your status reports on YouTube:
- Open the left-side menu and click the My Packages link under Content Delivery.
- Click on Your Packages, and you’ll find all the information about processes and errors.
- Click the download link to receive status files.
How to Troubleshoot Errors
YouTube may reject your content and display errors on your page or notify you through email.
Sometimes, your video won’t get processed because there’s an error.
1. Content Claim and Copyright
You can’t upload copyrighted content to your channel unless you own the copyright.
Even if you’re using copyrighted music or images for a video you shot yourself, you’re still infringing someone else’s copyright.
To avoid this error, you can check out YouTube Creator Studio, which helps you find the claimed or copyrighted material.
2. Duplicate Video
This error may appear when you upload a video twice because YouTube recognizes duplicate content.
To fix the error, you can remove one of the files or add more details and make small changes in the new video to make them a little different.
3. Inappropriate Content
YouTube may identify inappropriate content in your video.
For instance, content unsuitable for younger audiences causes this error to appear.
If you think there’s no problem with your content, you can address the errors in your video and try again.
4. Video Length
You’ll see a red warning icon rejecting your lengthy video because it exceeds 15 minutes.
This error shows up because you can only upload videos of up to 15 minutes without account verification.
By verifying your YouTube account, you can upload videos of different sizes.
YouTube vs. Vimeo: Which One Takes Longer to Process HD?
You can upload your videos to different platforms like YouTube or Vimeo.
A comparison between the two platforms can help you decide which one is better for you:
Some people believe that YouTube processes HD 1080p videos faster because it has fewer restrictions about the size and format.
Once you verify your account, you can extend your video uploading size to 128 GB.
YouTube can process this maximum standard size with a good speed since there’s no upload limitation.
Vimeo may take more time processing HD since it has more size limitations.
Even after processing, your video may appear blurry on Vimeo.
Although viewers can watch the videos free, uploading videos can cost you money.
Vimeo’s free version only gives you 500 MB of free storage.
How Does YouTube Process HD Videos?
YouTube supports multiple HD video formats.
However, when you upload a video, it may not display the uploaded video at full quality initially.
That’s because YouTube displays a lower-quality version of your video while it continues processing the HD version.
YouTube stores videos in multiple data centers so that it doesn’t take too long to send the best video quality to your viewers.
It creates several copies of your video at different resolutions and stores them on all of its servers.
What’s more, it compresses the files into a lower quality and decompresses them into HD via file codecs.