YouTube Video Upload Stages Explained

How long does it take to upload a video to YouTube

Did you recently start a YouTube channel or upload a video to YouTube?

Or is your video upload taking too long?

If you have been in any of these situations, you might be wondering how long does a video upload on YouTube takes.

Uploading on YouTube is different for everyone, while some are almost instant, some may take a while.

This depends on a lot of factors which may include:

  • The length of your video
  • How fast your internet is
  • How big your video file is, and
  • The situation of YouTube servers at that moment

Each time you try to upload a video on YouTube, your video will have to go through 3 to 5 processes before it finally uploads.

The longest of this process is usually the HD processing which usually takes about 10 minutes to almost an hour or in rare cases, days.

Read: How To Fix YouTube Processing HD Version

In this guide, you will learn how long a video upload on YouTube takes, the stages of YouTube upload, and more.

How Long Does It Take To Upload A Video To YouTube?

The time it takes to upload a video to YouTube can depend on a lot of many factors.

How long it takes for one to upload a video to YouTube is based on the following:

  • Internet speed and,
  • Video size

These two factors although they are others are one of the most important things that affect video uploading to your YouTube channel.

So this means that the bigger the size of your video is, the longer it takes to upload.

The same goes for your internet speed, if it is slow, your video will take a longer time to become live on your YouTube channel.

For example, at 1GBps internet speed a 1-gigabyte video can upload in under 1 second and so on and so forth.

YouTube Video Upload Stages

Like I have mentioned above, uploading a video on YouTube passes through 3 to 5 stages.

All these are also dependent on the size and length of your edited YouTube video.

These upload stages include in this particular order:

  • Upload
  • Processing
  • Checks
  • HD/SD Process
  • Publish

1. The “Upload” Stage

This is always the first stage when uploading a video on YouTube.

This is when your video downloads into the YouTube server.

Depending on the frame rate and bitrate, length, internet connection, and size of your video.

This process is supposed to take 5 to 20 minutes.

Once this stage is completed, YouTube will now begin the second stage of uploading your video, which is processing.

2. The processing stage

Immediately your video uploads to the YouTube server, your video enters the second stage which is known as processing.

This second stage usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

The aim of this processing stage is for YouTube to understand what your video is about.

It is also a way in which servers will determine the quality and length of your video.

It usually doesn’t take long but if your internet is slow, it may take a while.

3. Checking stage

In this third stage of uploading a video to YouTube, where your video is checked for copyrighted materials.

This is usually the shortest stage you encounter when uploading a video to YouTube.

It takes less than 5 minutes as it doesn’t require a lot of internet connection.

Here, YouTube will try to look for any copyright music, images, or videos.

Copyrighted materials are media or files that you do not own but are included in your video.

If in the case that some items are found in your video that is not yours, you will have the option to ignore them, mute, trim, or replace them.

Just remember that you might not be able to monetize that video in the future.

4. HD or SD Processing

This is usually the second to last stage of any video upload to YouTube.

However, this HD and SD process only happens to videos with high quality up to 640p upward.

This is the longest-running and most important process of any YouTube video because, without it, your high-definition video might appear as low definition to viewers.

So a lot of patience is required for this stage as it is a way for YouTube to ensure that your video appears in the best quality to future viewers.

Hence, HD or SD will take about 10 minutes to an hour or in rare cases 24 hours to complete.

5. Publish your video

This is the final round of any video upload to YouTube.

In this stage, you will get to choose the publicity and if you want schedule your video.

By publicity, I mean it you want your video to be private, unlisted, or public.

You will also find the option to schedule your video or present your video as premier to your subscribers.


If you are uploading a video to your YouTube channel, you will need to wait an extended period of time before your video becomes live.

There is usually no way to speed up the process as a lot of factors have to be considered.

However, with a fast internet connection and good length of description and video title, your video upload will typically be completed in less than an hour.

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Brianna Bailey

Brianna is based in Minnesota in the US at the moment, and has been writing and obsessed with 'techy things" since 2017. She is currently a 4th year med' student at the time of writing this.