YouTube Video Process Time: All You Need to Know

If you ever posted a video on YouTube you know that, in order to be uploaded to the platform, your video has to go through an action called “processing”. 

The duration of the processing of your video depends on many aspects and it can take quite some time in some situations, and little to no time on other occasions. 

Nevertheless, every single video posted on YouTube has to go through this and is it’s important to know a little bit more about what this procedure means, how long could it take and what you can do to shorten it and save yourself some time.

What Does it Mean When Your Video is “Processing”?       

Essentially, the processing procedure means that YouTube is re-encoding your video. But, hey, what the hell is that? Don’t sweat it, we’ll explain it.

All videos have some sort of encoding (H.264 and MPEG-2 are types of encoding, for example). Encoding is what offers a standard for PCs (and other devices) to decode and then play your video. To say YouTube re-encodes the videos you post on the platform means that they actually conform every video to the same encoding standard.

If you’re familiar with YouTube video editors —they are simple video editing tools that let you trim an uploaded video and add soundtracks and transitions, including the ability to easily trim and combine video clips, add music and sound effects, and apply basic color correction and image stabilization—, you’ve probably noticed that they also give you the option to choose the encoding of your video. Some examples of such tools are FlexClip Video Editor, Movavi YouTube Video Editor, and Video Editor by Kizoa.

This action reduces video size considerably (at the cost of some video quality) but it also helps the platform to present all videos to viewers quickly while providing a format that is compatible with all computers. 

During the processing, YouTube also creates several versions of the same video, enabling playback at different resolutions (480p, 720p, 1080p, etc).

How Long Does it Take YouTube to Process 1080p Resolution?

First, it’s important to talk about the many factors that can have a portion of influence when answering this question. Here are some of them:

Internet Speed

It is recommended that you have an upload speed of at least 20 Mbps so that you don’t have to wait an absurd amount of time for your video to be completely processed. 

A slower than that or an unstable internet connection will surely be a problem if your intention is to post high-resolution videos regularly. 

File Size and Video Duration 

Uploading a video in a naturally heavier format or with a long duration can also directly influence the processing time. The recommended format for YouTube is MP4.

You can try to cut out any unnecessary parts of your video in order to save some time. You can do that through an editing software (before posting it) or on YouTube itself, with the Trim tool. You don’t need to re-upload your video in order to trim it through the platform.

You can also convert the video format to a similar but lighter format, in a way that your video maintains most of the quality but reduces file size. There are some websites and specific programs that could help you with that. 

FPS and Bitrate

The more fps your video has, the more time it will take to be processed. 48fps takes longer than 30fps, 60 fps takes longer than 48fps, and so on. 

And regarding the bitrate, the recommended video bitrate for a 1080p resolution is between 8 and 12 Mbps. 

Assuming that your video fits the bitrate and format recommended for YouTube and your internet upload speed is 20 Mbps, the estimated time your video should take to be fully processed is of:

  • 1 Minute 1080p Video (30fps): 30 seconds
  • 1 Minute 1080p Video (60 fps): 30 to 45 seconds

Obviously, if your video is longer than 1 minute, just follow a proportional line of thinking to get an estimated time.

If it’s 5 minutes long, then the 1080p 30fps video should take between 2-3 minutes and the 1080p 60fps videos should take 3-4 minutes, and so on.

Obviously, if your video is at a different bitrate than recommended and your internet is slower than 20 Mbps, the processing will take longer than the estimated time stated above.

How Long Does it Take to Process a 4K Video?

(All the estimated periods of time provided here will be assuming a 20Mbps internet upload speed, with the recommended video format and video bitrate)

  • 1 Minute 2160p/4K (30fps) Video: 1 to 2 minutes
  • 1 Minute 2160p/4K (60fps) Video: 2 to 4 minutes

How Long Does a 20-minute Video Take to Process on YouTube?

  • 360p: a few seconds
  • 480p: a few seconds
  • 720p (30fps): 6 to 10 minutes
  • 720p (60fps): 8 to 15 minutes
  • 1080p (30fps): 8 to 15 minutes
  • 1080p (60fps):12 to 20 minutes
  • 1440p (30fps):12 to 20 minutes
  • 1440p (60fps): 16 to 24 minutes
  • 2160p/4K (30fps): 16 to 20 minutes
  • 2160p/4K (60fps): 40 to 80 minutes

How Long Does a 40-minute Video Take to Process on YouTube?

  • 360p: a few seconds
  • 480p: a few seconds
  • 720p (30fps): 10 to 20 minutes 
  • 720p (60fps): 16 to 30 minutes
  • 1080p (30fps): 16 to 30 minutes
  • 1080p (60fps): 20 to 40 minutes
  • 1440p (30fps): 20 to 40 minutes
  • 1440p (60fps): 30 to 50 minutes
  • 2160p/4K (30fps): 30 to 60 minutes
  • 2160p/4K (60fps): 1 to 3 hours

How Long Does a 1-hour Video Take to Process on YouTube?

  • 360p: a few seconds
  • 480p: under a minute
  • 720p (30fps): 20 to 30 minutes
  • 720p (60fps): 25 to 45 minutes
  • 1080p (30fps): 25 to 45 minutes
  • 1080p (60fps): 40 to 60 minutes
  • 1440p (30fps): 40 to 60 minutes
  • 1440p (60fps): 45 to 72 minutes
  • 2160p/4K (30fps): 45 to 80 minutes
  • 2160p/4K (60fps): 2 to 4 hours

How Long Does a 2-hour Video Take to Process on YouTube?

  • 360p: under a minute
  • 480p: 2 to 5 minutes
  • 720p (30fps): 40 to 60 minutes
  • 720p (60fps): 50 to 90 minutes
  • 1080p (30fps): 50 to 90 minutes
  • 1080p (60fps): 1 to 2 hours
  • 1440p (30fps): 1 to 2 hours
  • 1440p (60fps): 2 to 3 hours
  • 2160p/4K (30fps): 2 to 4 hours
  • 2160p/4K (60fps): 3 to 5 hours 

Is it Worth Uploading 4K Videos to YouTube? 

It depends. Some factors have to be taken into account, such as:

Do You Have the Means to Shoot in 4K?

Does 4K shooting fit your budget? If not, are you willing to spend a little extra to upgrade the quality of your videos to such a high level? Those are questions you should definitely ask yourself before pursuing 4K production. 

Is Your Internet Suitable for Uploading 4K videos?

Do you have an upload speed of at least 20 Mbps? If not, uploading your 4K videos on YouTube can become quite the nightmare, taking you an absurd amount of time and slowing you down in other online tasks considerably. 

Do 4K Videos Have Better Ranking on YouTube?

Yes, they have. 4K videos usually come on top when users are searching for content. However, you have to ask yourself the question: is it sustainable for me to upload constantly in 4K? 

It’s a big investment, and probably won’t take long to pay itself off, but you have to consider your circumstances and budget as a content creator before moving on to this niche of video production and analyze if it’s favorable for you at the moment.

Why Is it Taking So Long to Process My Video on YouTube?

That are many things that can get in the way of your video being processed faster, such as:

  • Trying to upload the video in a heavier format (AVI, MOV, etc.) instead of the recommended MP4.
  • Your video is too long.
  • Doing other tasks online while your video is processing, such as downloading content, watching videos online, or using programs/softwares that use up too much of your PC capability.
  • Your hard drive is full. Remove any non-essential programs and files that could be occupying precious space in your computer. More free space means a faster system with faster operations being executed.

How Do I Fix the Processing of My Youtube Video?

Sometimes you can end up in a very strange situation as well: a long time has passed and the processing of your video didn’t pass the 0% mark. There’s no actual explanation of why this happens, the truth is: it can be many things at once. But let’s get to the point: if this happens, what could you do about it?

  • Refresh the page. Your video could’ve been processed already, but due to a glitch in the platform, it appears that the action didn’t even start yet.
  • Delete the video and start the upload process again. Yes, that seems tiring, but is definitely worth a try, especially if you can spend an indefinite amount of time staring at that processing screen that doesn’t go anywhere.

Do You Need to Keep YouTube Open While processing?

No. It’s necessary to keep the YouTube window open only for the upload of the video. Once it starts processing, you can exit the window.

How Do I Know If My YouTube Video is Processing?

Just go to the “Channel Videos” section of your account on YouTube, if there’s not a “processing” notification right beside your video, then it’s already fully processed.

Why is My YouTube Video Processing Stuck at 99%, 95%, or 0%?

There can be many causes to this problem but the most common ones would be an unstable internet connection or trying to upload a video in a format that YouTube doesn’t accept.

You can try to convert your video to the MP4 format or restart your internet connection and try it again.