How YouTube works

How YouTube works

Would you like to understand how to make the most of YouTube’s potential? Are you thinking of opening your own channel, uploading your creations and maybe making some money? Would you like to access YouTube from your mobile devices, wherever you are, but you do not know how? Do not worry, you are going to find all the answers you are looking for. With today’s guide, in fact, I’ll show you how YouTube works and I’ll explain how to best use the famous video portal owned by Google.

YouTube not only allows you to watch all kinds of movies, including movies, live sporting events, series designed for the Web and much more, but also allows you to show the world their skills: are you a singer? An amateur director? A novice comedian or simply a private citizen with something to say? On the Google platform you can upload your videos, create an audience and, in time, even do a job.

For the moment, however, we remain with our feet on the ground and go step by step. Start by getting comfortable and reading the next paragraphs carefully, where you will find directions on how to best use YouTube, how to open a channel and upload videos. Are you ready to start? Well, I can only wish you good reading and, above all, have fun!

How YouTube works – Watch videos on YouTube

How YouTube works

YouTube is the Google video sharing and viewing platform that collects billions of videos of all kinds, uploaded by users from all over the world. You can watch videos on YouTube for free, without limitations and without registration.

To start watching movies on YouTube, linked to the main page of the latter, in which you can find an overview of the most viewed videos collected under the heading Trends, a number of recommended channels and some categories (Music, Sport , Games, Movies, News, Live etc) that collect the best videos by genre, also visible in the menu on the left, under the heading The best of YouTube.

To watch a video, click on the title of one of the movies on the main page or search for a video using the search bar at the top. To use the search function, type what you want to look in the Search field and press on the magnifying glass icon to start the search, then find the video you prefer among the proposed results and press on its title to start playback. To learn more about this topic you can read my guide on how to search on YouTube.

Now, you can control the player using the common commands: presses the Pause button to stop the video and press the Play button to resume it; you can start playing the next video by pressing the Forward button (identified by a triangle and a line); press the Volume key to turn off the volume of the video or move the cursor left or right to decrease or increase it; at the bottom right of the player, you can press the gear wheel to access the Settings and choose the Video Speed ​​(0.25, 0.5, 0.75, Normal, 1.25, 1.5, 2), the Quality (240p, 480p, 720p HD, 1080p HD etc) and whether or not to activate the Automatic playback; you can increase the player size in Cinema Mode by pressing the square icon or in Full Screen mode by clicking on the open square icon and you can activate, if required, the Subtitle function by pressing on the keyboard icon.

The YouTube player can also be controlled via the keyboard. For example, by pressing the space bar you can pause or resume playback by pressing the left and right directional arrows you can go forward or backward for 5 seconds, while pressing the up and down directional arrows you can increase and decrease the volume.

How YouTube works

Below the player, you can view all the information on the video being played, such as the title, the views, the name of the channel on which it is loaded, the description and the date of publication. If the video was to your liking, you can share it on social networks by pressing on the voice Share that also allows you to copy the URL address or embed code of the video, by clicking on the Copy or Embed entries.

After signing in on YouTube, as I’ll show you in the next few paragraphs, you can access many other features reserved for registered users.

  • I like it or I do not like it: using the buttons Like (the thumbs up) and I do not like (the thumbs down) you can give a positive or negative rating to the video.


  • Playlist: with the Add to button, identified by three horizontal lines and a +, you can add the video to a playlist.


  • Subscription to the channel: by pressing the red Subscribe button you can keep track of the activities of the channel, with the possibility to receive notifications for each new video uploaded.


  • Comments: registered users also have the possibility to leave a comment on the video, by typing some text in the Add a public comment field. If there is written in the comments space Comments are disabled for this video, it means that the channel does not allow commenting.

In addition, on the right side you can see a list of related videos and you can move the lever from OFF to ON next to the Auto Play item to enable automatic switching to the next video after the current video has finished playing.

How YouTube works – Access and open a channel on YouTube

How YouTube works

To take advantage of many features such as the ability to comment, create playlists, subscribe to channels, but also upload videos and manage a channel, you need to sign in to YouTube and all you need is a Google account.

To access YouTube, then connected to the main page of the Google platform and presses the Login button in the upper right corner. On the Choose an account screen, click on the Google account you want to use to sign in on YouTube, enter your password, press the Next button and you’re done.

If you do not have a YouTube account yet, on the Choose an account screen press the Use another account button, press the More options item and click the Create an account option. Now, enter your details in the fields Name, Surname, Username, Password, Date of birth, Sex, Mobile, Current email address, Country and click the Next step button, then press the Accept button to accept the terms of service and click on the Continue button to complete the procedure. You can get more detailed information by reading my guide on how to create a Google account.

Now you are ready to create your YouTube channel! On the homepage of the site, presses on your photo in the upper right (or on the circle with the silhouette of a little man if you have not customized your account) and press on the My channel. If you want to create a channel with your first and last name, verify that the data in the fields Name and Surname are correct and presses the button Create channel, otherwise click on the option Use a name of a company or other type, enter the name of the channel in the Name field of the brand account and presses the Create button.

How YouTube works

Created your channel, you can proceed with the personalization of the same. In the menu on the left presses the voice My channel to access the main page of your YouTube channel, then press the Customize channel button to access the editing section and choose one of the available items: Add the graphics of the channel to set the appearance of the channel ; Add channels to insert YouTube channels in the Featured Channels section and Add a section to define the layout of your channel. Then pressing on the gear wheel you can access the privacy settings, add the Discussion tabs and access the advanced settings.

How YouTube works – How to upload a video to YouTube

How YouTube works

On YouTube you can also upload your own movies to show off their qualities or to share with some friends and acquaintances some personal shots. Uploading a video to YouTube is a simple process that takes a few moments, but the loading speed of the video depends on several factors such as the length and quality of the movie and the Internet connection available.

To upload your videos, on the main YouTube page click on the Upload button at the top and identified by an arrow icon, then press on the item Select files to upload, choose the movie on your computer that you intend to upload to YouTube and the upload will start automatically. Alternatively, you can click the Import button on the right to upload a movie from your Google Photos account.

When uploading, you can add information about the video, inserting Title, Description and Tag, uploading a custom thumbnail that will appear as the cover image of the video and setting the privacy of the movie by choosing one of the available items: Public to make the video visible to everyone ; Not listed that allows you to view the movie only to those who know the URL address; Private visible only to owner and Scheduled to set a publication date. In addition, you can press the Add to playlist entry to insert the video into an existing playlist (or create one) and you can choose to share the video on Google+ and Twitter by checking the check boxes.

When uploading you can also manage translations by pressing on the Translations tab, while in the Advanced settings section you can set information such as video language, recording date, video location, choose whether to allow comments and embedding and much more. You can learn more about this by reading my guide on how to upload videos to YouTube.

How YouTube works

You must know that it is not possible to pause the upload of a video, but you can still interrupt it by closing the window (or tab) of the browser and resume at a later time, provided you do not shut down the computer, repeating the procedure described above rather. By doing so, you will resume loading from the point of interruption, but you will lose all the changes made such as the entry of title, description etc.

On YouTube, you can not only upload a video on your computer, but you can also make a video live. Press the Upload button at the top and in the Live streaming box on the right, click the Start button to prepare a live transmission. If this is the first time you try to do a live, you must first enable the feature by pressing the Start button again and starting the process of verifying your identity and your channel’s reputation.

In order to start streaming on YouTube, you need to download an encoding software (view the list of encoders verified by YouTube) and configure it with the data visible in the Encoder Configuration box and visible on the YouTube Live Stream screen, then you are ready to start direct and interact with your audience.

How YouTube works – Video management and YouTube channel

How YouTube works

On YouTube there is a section called Creator Studio that allows you to manage uploaded videos, further customize your channel, view statistics and reputation. It also enables you to activate features such as monetization, uploading videos longer than 15 minutes, and requesting a custom URL for your channel.

To access the Creator Studio, press on your photo at the top right and press on the voice Creator studio. The main screen is called Dashboard and shows some statistics of your channel such as total views, subscribers to the channel and some data from the last 28 days. In addition, you can view the latest uploaded videos and the latest comments received, but by clicking on the Add Widget item you can change the Dashboard by choosing which boxes to display. Through the menu on the left, you can take advantage of all the features of Creator Studio.

  • Live Streaming: the section to manage the live broadcast, the same mentioned in the previous paragraphs. You can also schedule live events.


  • Community: to manage the comments that the public has left to the videos of the channel. You can reply to comments, approve those awaiting review or report them as spam, view private messages, manage user blocking and much more.


  • Channel: to view the copyright status and the status of the community rules, but also to activate the many features of YouTube. In fact, it is possible to view the activation status of functions such as Monetization, Live streaming, Superchat, custom URL, longer videos and much more. For each function, the minimum enrollment threshold required for eligibility and an activation guide are indicated.


  • Analytics: the section to track the statistics of the channel, where you can view the most viewed videos and those that monetize more, but also information on the audience that displays the videos, to find out the place of viewing, sex, sources traffic and the main geographical regions. In this regard, you can read my guide on how to increase your views on YouTube.


  • Create: to create and download free music tracks for use in videos.


  • Video management: to view the complete list of uploaded videos. You can see some information such as the views, the number of comments, the number of likes and dislikes, privacy and whether the video is monetized or not.

In addition to viewing the list of uploaded videos, you can access the edit area of ​​the video in the video management section. Press the Edit button for the video you want to edit, then you can change the title, add new tags, change the video description, thumbnail and privacy status.

Through this section, you can also apply changes directly on the movie: presses on the item Improvements at the top and choose one of the functions available as Auto Correction to apply improvements in automatic or Stabilize to eliminate the vibrations from the video. In addition, you can increase or decrease the speed of the movie, adjust the colors, apply filters and blur effects. Through the Audio, Tabs and Subtitles tabs at the top you can manage the audio, add tabs and subtitles to the video. You can also cut an already loaded video: read my guide on how to cut a video from YouTube to learn more.

How YouTube works on smartphones and tablets

How YouTube works

YouTube is also available for mobile devices via the Android and iOS device app. Its operation is analogous to that described for computers, obviously with less functionality.

To watch a video, press the magnifying glass icon on the top right and in the Search field on YouTube type the video to search, then tap the preview image of the video to be played. In this case too, to be able to leave comments, subscribe to a channel or leave a video like it is necessary to log in with your Google account. Pencil on the icon of the three vertical dots on the top right, press the Sign button, tap on your Google account and you’re done. Using the menu at the bottom, you can access the various sections of the YouTube app.

  • Home: to quickly access the home screen where the recommended videos are collected.


  • Trends: to view videos of the moment, with the possibility to filter for the categories Music, Live, Games, News and Rewind.


  • Subscriptions: the screen to view the latest videos uploaded on the channels to which you are subscribed. By pressing on the item All you can view the complete list of channels followed, while tapping on the option Enable notifications you can receive a notification whenever there will be a new video on the channels followed.


  • Activities: the section to view all the activities of the channels followed.


  • Collection: to view the created playlists, access the videos uploaded to your channel and view the history.

Through the YouTube app you can not upload videos on your device, but you can make and upload recordings and make live video. Pencil on the camera icon at the top, tap the Record item to start a recording to be uploaded later, otherwise press the Send live option, then enter the name of the registration in the Create a title field, choose whether to make it public or not in the list and presses on the Forward and Transmit buttons to start the transmission.

To manage your channel from smartphones and tablets, you can download the YouTube Studio app available for Android and iOS devices. To learn more about using YouTube and Creator Studio on mobile devices, I’ll leave you to my guide to YouTube apps.

How YouTube works