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Critical Requirements and the Best Video Format for YouTube

Tired of your videos being rejected on YouTube? Then, take a minute to check out these critical requirements and the best YouTube video format stated by YouTube support for hassle-free video uploads.

A whole lot has changed. In the past, YouTube only supported a handful of video formats and users are allowed to upload a max of 100 MB. Fortunately, several upgrades have been made on the platform. Now, users can upload as much as 128 GB of videos – provided they have a verified account.

And with these upgrades came some critical requirements necessary for a hassle-free experience on the platform.

In this YouTube video format guideline, we took a close look at all you need to get the best of your uploads on YouTube. Enjoy reading!

Critical requirements recommended for YouTube video uploads

The best way to avoid the frustration that comes with a repeated rejection of video upload is to strictly adhere to the guidelines laid down by the platform. For optimal video experience, YouTube typically optimizes every video uploaded for online playback. To do this, there are certain requirements that must be adhered to. These include:

  • Video Format: This has got to be the most important of them all. Your video format is essential to ensure the video upload is accepted. Although MP4 is considered the best file format for YouTube, users are also allowed to upload videos saved in any of the other 8 supported formats – FLV, MOV, AVI, 3GPP, MPEG4, WebM, MPEGS, and WMV.

  • Frame Rate: It may look insignificant, however, the frame rate of your video can make or break it. Good video quality requires a frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps) and above. You can choose to use up to 60 fps, but the difference may not be noticeable. Nonetheless, it is advisable to use nothing less than 30 fps for your videos.

  • Resolution: The resolution of your video is essential because it determines how well the video appears in searchers’ devices. This is why YouTube strictly advise YouTubers to stick with HD videos. Videos recorded in HD utilize 1080p resolutions, which offers quality playback irrespective of the device used. Low resolutions, like the one seen in most phone cameras, reduce the quality and can appear ridiculous in large screens.

  • File Size: Today, YouTubers with verified accounts are allowed to upload videos as high as 128 GB. Despite this huge degree of freedom given, it is advisable to desist from uploading videos higher than 20 GB. Video compressors come in handy when you need to compress large files. You may have to employ one if your video size is higher than 20 GB.

  • Codec: The generally accepted codecs for YouTube videos are H.264, MPEG-4 and, MPEG-2. Most modern videos are set to this default codec, so, you do not need to worry so much about this. But be sure to confirm your video was with any of the acceptable codecs.

  • Aspect Ratio: To ensure your video comes out without those annoying black bars, YouTube advises users to employ a 16:9 aspect ratio while recording their videos. The platform also made it possible for users to use portrait style [with 9:16 ratio] without having to deal with the black bars.

8 Compatible YouTube upload formats

Let’s take a look at a few popular video file extensions and learn more about their uses from how their differences are examined and explained.


MP4, an abbreviation for MPEG-4 part 14, is one of the many file formats created by Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It was designed as an upgrade of MP3 and it definitely serves that purpose. This generic video format compresses videos using the MPEG-4 encoding and it is widely supported by any native video player today. What sets MP4 apart is its ability to retain the highest quality possible even with relatively small file size. It possesses the best quality compared to any other video format and it doesn't require a large file size like AVI does. This makes it the best video format for YouTube uploads.


This video format, dubbed 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GGP), is widely known for its excellent quality in a variety of devices. The 3GGP shares a few similarities with MP4 and they were both designed to implement MPEG-4 compression. Videos saved in 3GPP formats are stored as video streams in H.263 or MPEG-4 part 2/10 and can be played on virtually all mobile devices today, including 3G, 2G, and 4G mobile phones. Hence, you do not have to worry about conversion while using this format.


Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV) is, indeed, one of the best YouTube upload formats today. The video format was born under the umbrella of Apple Computer. It is exclusively designed for Apple’s QuickTime Player to save videos and audios. However, it is also compatible with other operating systems such as Windows and Mac. This multimedia container contains the MPEG-4 encoding like MP4 and 3GPP. But it is best with QuickTime Player, serving as a drawback when compared to MP4 and 3GPP.


The Flash Video (FLV) Format is generally accepted by most online platforms due to the wide variety of Flash video players. This video format is comes encoded with Adobe Flash software, which makes it possible to play FLV files through Adobe Flash Player and web browser plugins. Further enlarging the list are third-party software which also has room for this video format. This exceptional quality makes it the ideal choice for most YouTubers. At least, you are sure searchers can play your video right from their desktop. However, it is important to note that most mobile devices, including Apple’s iOS, does not support FLV files.


MPEGS consist of MPEG 1 and MPEG 2. These file formats were developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) to help regulate the standard for compression and transmission of data. They both utilize lossy compression where the files are compressed to tiny bits so they can be easily transmitted and then decompressed to regain the initial quality. This makes them stand out from the crowd as they are able to maintain high quality at low file sizes. They are also supported by a wide variety of devices and web browsers.


This file format is somewhat excluded from the table of video format as it was initially created to cater to video streamers only. Windows Media Video (WMV) was developed by Microsoft for streaming videos online, but it was later upgraded to serve as a video format. Despite the upgrade, this file format has a major drawback which relegates it to the bottom of the food chain. WMV as a media container typically compresses the videos way too much, thus providing smaller sizes but very low video quality. Therefore, it is not ideal for YouTube but can also be uploaded on the platform. The file format is mostly used for email messaging today.


Audio Video Interleave (AVI) is one of the oldest video formats on the planet. Created by Microsoft several years ago, this video format is arguably one of the most preferred video formats today. Its major edge over most formats is that it uses less compression. With AVI, you can be sure of having your videos displayed at high quality, however, it does require a huge chunk of file size. Unlike MP4 video format, the files are usually saved with large sizes to maintain the high quality it produces. Nonetheless, you can still go for this format as it works perfectly with most devices and operating systems – e.g Mac, Linux, and Microsoft.


WebM is a video format developed by Google to expedite simple streaming on the web. This type of video format is focused on providing top-notch royalty-free open video compression for modern HTML videos. WebM was designed based on a profile of Matroska. Thus, the container house a VP8 video and Vorbis audio streams. It is a great option for streaming videos on the web, but it can also be used to save files. Such files can be played with media players such as 5KPlayer, and supported browsers such as Opera, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome.

Uploading videos on YouTube can be challenging for newbies who are yet to get familiar with the do’s and don’ts of the platform. There are specific requirements that must be met, including using the best YouTube video format. Be sure to look for a device that can export files in any of the aforementioned video formats.

To make or edit videos, try Fastreel by Movavi. It's a handy online tool that lets you create new videos in no time thanks to instant templates.

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