September 16, 2021

How to Convert Videos for YouTube – Your Complete Upload Guide

10 min

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As an online video maker, you need to know how to effectively convert and upload your video files to YouTube on your mobile phone, Mac, or PC. Let’s walk through the information you need to convert a video for YouTube like a pro.

The top upload settings for YouTube videos (format, size, resolution)

Before you choose a YouTube video format converter program, you’ll need to know about the settings that matter most for how to convert a video to a YouTube format. Understanding the settings below will enable you to create and convert YouTube-compatible files more easily.

  • Video format
  • YouTube supports numerous file formats, but it doesn’t support everything. You’ll first want to make sure that your video converter for YouTube upload supports the file formats that you want to use – and that those formats are supported by YouTube. Current formats include:


    NOT supported

    3GP, AVI, FLV, MOV, MP4, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MPEG-PS, MPG, WebM, WMV, CineForm, DNxHR, HEVC (h.265), ProResDVD files (such as VOB, IFO, and BUP files), M4V, MKV, MP3, MXF, OGV, VEG, VEP, VPJ, WFP

  • Video length
  • If you haven’t yet verified your YouTube account, you can add videos that are up to 15 minutes long. However, if you verify your account, you’ll be allowed to log into YouTube and upload up to 12 hours. The minimum length of any YouTube video – for either registered or unregistered users – is 12 seconds.

  • File size
  • When you convert a video to YouTube format, keep file size in mind. Unregistered users can upload files up to 2 GB, but registered users can upload files as large as 128 GB.

  • Resolution
  • The higher your video’s resolution, the clearer the picture will be, but the longer your video will take to load if you have limited bandwidth. The minimum recommended resolution is 426 × 240, and the recommended resolution for HD videos is 1080p (1920 × 1080).

  • Bitrate
  • Bitrate refers to how much data a video uses per second for upload and download speeds. HD videos will have higher bitrates, which are associated with clearer images and sharper sound.



    Bitrate SDR (Standart/High)

    Bitrate HDR (Standart/High)

    2160p (4K)3840 × 216035–45 Mbps/53–68 Mbps44–56 Mbps/66–85 Mbps
    1440p (2K)2560 × 144016 Mbps24 Mbps
    1080p1920 × 10808 Mbps12 Mbps
    720p1280 × 7205 Mbps7.5 Mbps
    480p640 × 4802.5 Mbps4 Mbps
    360p480 × 3601 Mbps1.5 Mbps
    240p320 × 240400 KbpsN/A
    144p256 × 14480-100 KbpsN/A

  • Aspect ratio
  • YouTube’s standard aspect ratio is 16:9. If your video is set to a different aspect ratio (e.g., if you forgot to rotate your phone sideways when recording), it will appear with black bars on the sides and/or top and bottom of the frame.

  • Frame rate
  • YouTube recommends uploading videos in the same frame rate that they were recorded. Popular frame rates include 24, 25, 30, 48, 50, and 60 frames per second. Faster frame rates create smoother, clearer looking videos.

  • Video container
  • Video container is another term for the file format. YouTube recommends using MP4 as your video container but supports multiple formats.

  • Video codec
  • Your video codec encodes your video’s data stream, which means it governs how much quality loss occurs in file compression. The best video codec for YouTube is H.264.

  • Audio codec
  • Like your video codec, your audio codec governs the audio quality that may be lost due to compression. YouTube recommends AAC-LC.

    How to convert a video file for YouTube

    Movavi Video Converter allows you to convert any video file to a YouTube-friendly format in no time. The app supports almost all popular video formats, including AVI, MP4, FLV, 3GP, MOV, DVD, those of HD video, and many more. It also lets you do minor editing: trim and rotate video, adjust brightness, contrast, etc. Movavi Video Converter includes a set of specially tailored presets which can help you convert videos into just the right format for your purpose. The program has both a Windows and a Mac version.

    To find out how to convert and upload your video clips to YouTube, follow the steps below.

    Step 1. Download the video converter for YouTube

    Download Movavi Video Converter – a powerful and easy-to-use YouTube converter. Run the downloaded file and install the program following the on-screen instructions.

    Step 2. Launch the program and add videos for conversion

    Run the software. Click the Add Media button and then Add Video to select videos for conversion. If the original video source is a DVD, choose Add DVD to add files.

    Step 3. Select a YouTube preset

    In the Video tab in the lower part of the program window, open the Online Video category and select the appropriate YouTube preset.

    Step 4. Convert video to YouTube format

    Click the Save to button and specify the folder where the program should place converted files. Finally, click Convert.

    Step 5. Start uploading the video to YouTube

    After the conversion is done, go to YouTube and log in. Click the Create a video or post icon in the top panel and select Upload video.

    Before uploading, you should adjust the privacy settings. Open the Privacy drop-down list and select one of the options shown:

    Public – the video will be available for viewing by all visitors to the website.
    Unlisted – the video will be available for viewing only by those who follow a specific link generated by YouTube. Choose this option if you want to show the video only to specific people.
    Private – the video will be available for viewing only by users you invite through an email invitation. Choose this option if you’re concerned that a link to your video may get into the wrong hands.
    Scheduled – the video will be available for viewing at a specific time. Before that time, only select people will be able to see the video (just as with private access). Choose this option if you want to upload the video in advance.

    Now click the icon in the center of the screen. In the window that opens, choose the files you want to upload and click Open.

    Wait for the video to upload. This time, there should be no format problems. While the video is being processed, you can edit the title, description, and tags for your video in the corresponding fields and also change other parameters in the Advanced settings tab. When everything is ready, click Publish.


    Now you should have the information you need for how to convert a video file for YouTube. Whether you’re uploading a short clip or a feature-length film, use the settings in this article to ensure that your conversion settings are appropriate and your media is properly formatted to share on YouTube. And, if you haven’t chosen the right video converter and uploader software for the job yet, why not put Movavi Video Converter on your list? With a free download option, you can take it for a test drive before you buy and see if it’s the right video converter for your needs.

    Frequently asked questions

    How do I upload a YouTube video?

    You can upload a YouTube video in just a few simple steps:

    1. Sign in to your YouTube account at the top right of the screen.
    2. Review the YouTube community guidelines to ensure that your video is appropriate for the website.
    3. At the top of your screen, click the Upload button. It should look like a gray up arrow.
    4. Browse for your file or drag and drop it into the upload box.
    5. Select the appropriate privacy setting (e.g., public, unlisted, private, etc.)
    6. Fill in all appropriate fields for title, description, and tags.
    7. Check the Advanced Settings tab to ensure that all settings are correct.
    8. Hit the blue Publish button.

    For more tips on uploading videos to YouTube, check out this video:

    How do I upload an HD video to YouTube?

    To upload an HD video to YouTube, ensure that your video is saved as a file type supported by YouTube. Once you’ve done this, simply upload the video to YouTube. In the video player, you can then select the Settings link and click on Quality. This will allow you to select between available resolutions for your video. This also allows you to upload a batch of HD videos at once, which is the fastest way to publish your videos if you have several to upload.

    How do I upload a DVD to YouTube?

    You can’t upload DVD files to YouTube. You can, however, import a DVD file, rip it, and turn it into a file format that YouTube supports. Be sure that you have all necessary permissions when turning a DVD file format into a YouTube video.

    How do I change video quality on YouTube upload?

    You can change video quality on YouTube and view HD videos at lower resolutions on YouTube by following the above steps to upload an HD video to YouTube. If your video has a lower resolution, however, you will not be able to increase its resolution on YouTube.

    How do I convert an audio file to a video for YouTube?

    When converting an audio track to a video file for YouTube, import the audio file into your video converter. You can then choose a still image to display while your audio plays throughout the video. For fast and easy publishing, ensure that you export the file in a format that works for YouTube uploads.

    How do you upload a video to YouTube from your phone?

    The best way to upload from your phone is to download and open the YouTube mobile app. Tap the + button at the bottom of the screen. Select Upload a video. Choose the video on your phone that you want to upload. Follow the prompts to edit and upload your video.

    What is the best video format for YouTube upload?

    While YouTube supports several file formats, MP4 is the recommended format for HD videos.

    Why will YouTube not upload my video?

    Your video may have failed to upload or transfer to YouTube for several reasons. As you work to determine why your video is failing to upload, make sure that your file format is supported by YouTube, the file size isn’t too big or too small, and that your internet connection is quick enough to support the upload.

    Why are my videos uploading blurry to YouTube?

    Immediately after upload, your video may appear blurry because it is still processing. Wait about 30 minutes and try again to see if the HD version of your movie has processed properly.