In my involvement in the YouTube community I'm surprised how many questions about Private YouTube videos arise.
I thought this was a straightforward feature but on closer inspection I can see how people become confused.
In this video I'll answer common questions & explain Private Videos and the options that surround them.
I'll also go into more detail on each in the post below, and answer more of your frequently asked questions.
A private video can only be viewed by those that have been given specific permission. This is granted by the uploader on that particular video's Settings page. Private videos can't be found in search results and won't come up in any Suggested feed. Subscribers to your channel won't be notified when you publish one!
An Unlisted video is available to anyone who has the video URL. So ANYONE can watch the video if they have the link, it doesn't matter where from. Unlisted videos aren't discoverable by other means such as Search or Suggested Videos though and won't appear in Subscriber's feeds.
Unlisted videos can however be embedded.
My advice would be to only make a video Unlisted if you're happy with anyone seeing it. I say this because the link can be shared as easily as with a Public video. If there's sensitive material in the video always play safe and make it Private.
Making a video private on YouTube takes just a couple of seconds and the effect is immediate.
Navigate to Creator Studio > Video Manager > Find the video you wish to make private (or Public or Unlisted) > Edit > Info and Settings > and then go to the Basic Settings tab. Here you can select the status of the video from the dropdown (on the right) before hitting Save:
Once you've set your video to Private, there's a box where you can add the email addresses of people you want to be able to see it.
Enter the addresses separated by a comma and hit OK > Share. They will then be emailed a link through which they can view the video (see answer 4 for more on this).
Luckily this share box now links to your Gmail contacts so there are some auto fill options that will become available to speed things up a little.
The Private Video function on YouTube is far from perfect and there are a few things you need to know to avoid trouble.
Even if someone has been given permission, they can only watch via the link in the email they've been sent. Sending them just the link on its own won't work.
To give someone the best chance of actually receiving the email, follow these steps:
- Try and make sure the recipient is using a Gmail based address. This shouldn't be necessary but in reality it helps.
- If the viewer is using the Tabbed Gmail layout tell them to check their Social tab for the notification.
- The notification will be sent from email@example.com so get them to add this address to their contacts to avoid it going into spam.
Simple answer - You can't - unless you have permission from the uploader!
The channel manager has set the video to Private for a reason and doesn't want you to see it. YouTube has made it impossible to bypass the Private Video function and rightly so.
If you think you've been given the permission but it's still not working contact the uploader or see point 4.
Yes it can and it will.
I see many beginners posting this question. They get a copyright strike against a Private Video and don't know how or why this happened.
Manual takedowns/disputes by copyright holders make up only a tiny fraction of copyright claims. The majority are undertaken by YouTube's automated system called Content ID.
Automated being the key word here.
The system scans all uploads - Public, Private and Unlisted - to compare against its reference files. Just because a video is not viewable by humans doesn't make it invisible to Content ID.
As always I suggest staying squeaky clean and only uploading content you don't have 100% exclusive rights to, express permission to use, or are certain you're complying with fair use requirements.
There are a number of companies that offer private video hosting for a fee and one that claims to have limited privacy options on their free account too.
However up until this point I have had no real use for a private video host, so can't give a recommendation as I only recommend the tools that I use myself.
However, I get asked about alternative platforms for private Videos all the time (especially those that can be embedded and locked to a specific URL). Because of this I need to investigate further on your behalf. I will shortly put the leading private video hosts through their paces and report back to you. Hopefully you'll fine my objective opinion on which is best and has the best private sharing features helpful.
The previous people you shared this with won't receive any kind of update.
All you are doing is sending the new recipients the viewing link.
These are usually videos that were previously public but have recently been turned private.
They are still showing in Search but will soon be removed, as by default private videos are de-indexed from search and suggested videos.
You are also quite likely to find private videos in Playlists (if they were added when public, switched to private but never removed from the playlist). Remember - if you make a video private you should remove it from your YouTube Playlists, Otherwise you'll have big gaps and some upset audience members.
Yes, you can still get the full analytics suite from private videos. Views will likely be very low however, and therefore useful data very limited.
If any further questions crop up regarding Private videos I'll be sure to add them to this list.
This is intended as a complete resource on Private YouTube videos. Please share with anyone you know who has similar questions.
If you'd like to know when I finish my report on alternative options for hosting private video sign up to be notified below.