Why Does YouTube Take So Long To Upload Videos? (An Easy Fix)

Youtube has become the dominating force in video hosting on the web, no other site has the same kind of reach. Google themselves says that it takes a couple of minutes to several hours for a video to upload to their site. However, Out Of The 925 gives us a much better estimation of 10-15 minutes per 20 minutes of high-definition video. 

Reasons that YouTube may take so long to upload videos are based on different factors. It could be your internet speed, ISP rules, or problems you might be having on the technical side. Or you might be using a public network and your speed has been capped by the admins.

This article will address the reasons for a slow upload speed and how you can improve it.  

The Difference Between Upload and Download

CNET has a great breakdown that teaches you all you need to know about internet speeds and how they work. For our purposes, we will be using a more straightforward definition.

Download speed is the rate at which you take content from another source. For example, if you download a playlist from Spotify, you can put the songs from their server onto your local drive. However, when you upload something, you’re putting something onto a third-party server from your local drive. 

Your download speed has no impact on how quickly you can put a video up on YouTube. The only thing that matters is that you have a greater upload rate. 

Unfortunately, ISP’s don’t want to put the money into increasing that rate, so most of us have a much slower upload than download speed. Finding out what it is might be difficult since some companies actively hide that information. 

Testing Your Upload Speed

The first step to fixing the problem is to know if your speed is causing it in the first place. A speed test is a program you run to find out the actual download and upload rates. You may find that it isn’t what was initially advertised when you signed up for service. 

Speed test websites include:

If you find that speeds are low, make sure you are running as clean a test as possible. This means shutting off anything using resources, like downloads, current uploads, or media. 

If it still shows that your rates are low, it may be time to speak to your ISP. 

Other Reasons for Slow Upload Speed

Once you have tested your upload speed and verified the rate looks fine, it is time to look at other potential culprits. We will break each one down and offer simple solutions to boost your uploads.

Common reasons for slow speeds include: 

  • Using a public network.
  • ISP imposed internet caps.
  • Technical issues are causing your video upload to become stuck.

Using a Public Network

Not everyone works at home. While many businesses, including cafes and casual eateries like McDonald’s, provide free WIFI for customers, it isn’t always a smooth connection. Public networks can be slow, especially for resource-intensive tasks like uploading high-definition video to YouTube. 

Running a speed test while on a public network can show you whether multiple users are draining it. It could also be an issue with the equipment that the connection is hosted through. 

Sadly, there is little you can do for this one. 

Public networks are run through ISP’s on the company’s account. While you may be able to ask them to do a power cycle, it is unlikely they will be willing to interrupt the internet connection for other users. They may not even have access to troubleshoot it. 

In this scenario, the best thing you can do is either go home and use your own network or somewhere like a library that might have a stronger connection. 

ISP Imposed Internet Caps

Internet caps are frustrating for everyone. 

Internet service or mobile data providers only allow you to use so much internet before imposing restrictions, slowing down your connection. If you are a content creator, especially if you stream, such as doing Let’s Plays or media reviews, you are more likely to hit this cap regularly. 

CableTV.com has a list of cap rates for different services. You will notice going down the list that some have Unlimited as the data plan. But this can be misleading, as many of these plans are only Unlimited at a lower speed. 

For instance, if you tether to a 5G plan, it will cap and bump you down to a 4G, or even 3G, speed. So you will get to a certain usage on the higher rate, only to have the rest of the month set to the lowest possible speed. 

This is even worse with upload rates, which sometimes aren’t factored in at all. So you may have Unlimited data for downloading, but the cap is set from the first day of the cycle for uploads. 

You’ll want to check with your ISP about the rules for caps on uploads. It might be a good idea to completely switch to another service that better suits your needs. 

Technical Issues Causing Your Video Upload To Become Stuck

According to Google, a video can sometimes become stuck during an upload. If you find that the progress bar just isn’t moving, or it is taking a ludicrous amount of time for a small video, there is probably a technical issue. 

For example, a 10-minute clip shouldn’t take more than an hour.

The first step to fix it is to make sure you are using one of the correct encoding formats for your video. It is always a good idea to use a format that comes out as smaller file size, even if that means converting it prior to upload. 

Second, make sure you are not uploading during a busy time of day. This can take some trial and error, but consider trying again in a few hours if you find your upload crawling along. 

Final Thoughts

Video upload will always be slower than downloads, whether on YouTube or another site. Until ISP’s start putting more focus on those speeds, we will have to slog through things. Luckily, as technology improves, it is becoming less and less of an issue. 


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