Updated: 12/10/2023 by Computer Hope
YouTube logo

Sometimes abbreviated as YT, YouTube is a video-sharing service that allows anyone to post an appropriate video or vlog. YouTube was founded by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim on February 14, 2005, and today is the second most-visited website in the world.

Once a video is uploaded, other YouTube users can rate or leave comments about the video and post a YouTube video response. Videos transferred to YouTube are converted to HTML5 (formerly Adobe Flash) so all users can view them without worrying about needing to install extra software or plug-ins. Below is an example of a YouTube video created by Computer Hope called "The YouTube Cast," which features over 500 still shots from YouTube videos.

On October 9, 2006, Google announced plans to purchase YouTube for $1.65 billion, a deal that was later completed.


YouTube was featured as a top term of 2005.

How do I play a YouTube video?

  1. In your browser, go to the YouTube website.
  2. Once the YouTube page is opened, enter a subject in the search bar at the top of the home page.
  3. Click or tap the video to start playing it.

If you are on a smartphone or tablet, you can also get the YouTube app to watch YouTube videos.

Play YouTube video on a loop

To set a YouTube video to play on a loop (automatically repeat) on a computer, right-click it and select the Loop option from the pop-up menu.

What was the first YouTube video?

The first YouTube video, entitled "Me at the zoo," was uploaded by Jawed Karim on April 23, 2005.

How many users does YouTube have?

According to Statistica, YouTube is the second-ranked website and social network with over 2.5 billion MAU (monthly active users).

How do people make money on YouTube?

Once approved, YouTube offers a monetization program that allows creators to earn revenue by displaying video ads. Creators can also utilize other revenue streams such as channel memberships, merchandise shelf, and Super Chats and Super Stickers during live streams.

YouTube features and services

The following list contains unique features and services available through YouTube, with additional information and links about each.

  • YouTube Kids - App and web-based version of YouTube that shows kid-friendly content on YouTube.
  • YouTube Live Streaming - A live streaming service that became available to users in May 2013, allowing all users to stream video content live to viewers who can participate in via chat in real time.
  • YouTube Movies - YouTube feature to show full movies in the YouTube service that can be purchased or shown for free with ads.
  • YouTube Music - Music and media streaming service offered by YouTube.
  • YouTube Premium - Originally known as YouTube Red, YouTube Premium is an optional subscription service to remove ads from YouTube.
  • YouTube Shorts - Short-form videos on the YouTube platform that are 15 to 60 seconds long.
  • YouTube TV - Introduced on February 28, 2017, YouTube TV is a service that allows members to get TV-related content broadcasted through YouTube.

YouTube discontinued features and services

YouTube has also had services and features that were discontinued. Below are some YouTube features and services that are no longer available.

  • Dislike counts - In November 2021, YouTube removed the dislike counts on videos.
  • YouTube Awards - Not to be confused with the YouTube Creator Award, the YouTube Awards was a YouTube promotion that ran in 2007 and 2008 to award the best YouTube videos.
  • YouTube Gaming - A service focused on only showing gaming-related content introduced in 2015 and discontinued in 2019.
  • YouTube Go - First released in September 2016, YouTube Go was a service that gave users more abilities to share and customize their video quality. YouTube Go was discontinued in August 2022.
  • YouTube Stories - Originally released as YouTube Reels in 2018, YouTube Stories was an option available to YouTube creators with more than 10,000 subscribers to show short clips to their subscribers. For those more familiar with Instagram, it was similar to Instagram Stories. The YouTube Stories were discontinued on June 26, 2023.

What are the YouTube Creator Awards?

The YouTube Creator Award is a physical award (trophy), sometimes called YouTube Play Buttons or YouTube Plaques, given to YouTubers who hit one of the following milestones.

  • Silver Creator Award = 100,000 subscribers.
  • Gold Creator Award = 1 million subscribers.
  • Diamond Creator Award = 10 million subscribers.
  • Custom Creator Award = 50 million subscribers.
  • Red Diamond Creator Award = 100 million subscribers.

What are popular videos on YouTube?

See our viral page for videos that are popular on YouTube. Our examples we list on this page were viewed millions and some of them billions of times.

What are some YouTube alternatives?

Below are some alternative services (in alphabetical order) similar to YouTube that let you post your videos online.

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