A behind-the-scenes look at how YouTube handles and distributes videos

By on November 18, 2013, 12:30 PM

We use YouTube all of the time to check out the hottest music videos, instructional videos or the latest viral videos but have you ever stopped and thought about what all it takes to keep the site operating as smoothly as possible? Or what happens to your video behind-the-scenes once it has been uploaded?

The YouTube clip above answers these questions and more. Heck, you may even have a newfound appreciation for the oftentimes slow site once you realize just how complex it is. For example, YouTube typically stores a couple dozen copies of each video in different formats at various data centers across the world.

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User Comments: 6

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TheBigFatClown said:

"We use YouTube all of the time to check out the hottest music videos, instructional videos or the latest viral videos but have you ever stopped and thought about what all it takes to keep the site operating as smoothly as possible? Or what happens to your video behind-the-scenes once it has been uploaded?"

It's the first thing that pops into my head each day I wake up. It eats at and eats me. It's enough to drive a person mad. Thank God for this article.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

An interesting article & video but I'd have never died wondering about that spinning wheel.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

A lot of what is being explained is pretty obvious stuff just by using the service. Different resolutions, duh, the different methods of streaming, again, something I was already aware of. Then come the excuses to why it might not be working so well, and again, unless your a total boob, you should know why your internet connection is garbage, or you have a million things running at once on your PC. It's when I'm watching a video that I have already seen, I know my PC is NOT the bottleneck, my ISP is one of the most reliable in the country, but it still seems to have trouble buffering. Do I sit there trying to figure out why? Not at all, I'll refresh the page or pause the video and do something else while it's fixing itself. I guess those of simple minds are easily amused by such obvious things. Then again most people don't have education backgrounds in network administration, they teach you a lot of this stuff.

Guest said:

YouTube's constant page freezes and buffering problems make the government's health care site look good.

IAMTHESTIG said:

Being an IT guy I already have a decent understanding as to how YT works and why the video pauses... what I can't understand is why the hell they can't simply let the viewer have a large buffer. Netflix doesn't have this issue, in fact I've had Netflix work quite well even on some really unstable connections with a fair amount of packet loss. When I pause a Netflix after it has been playing awhile, I notice it has quite a large buffer. I was able to reset my cable modem while watching a Netflix video without one interruption. So we have the tech to do it, its either that YT doesn't have the knowledge of how to do it, or is so much larger than Netflix that they have too many variables to do it effectively.

pounder said:

Thank you gizmodo as an old guy around when napster was the big game in town, most appreciate what it takes for you tube to Work as great as it does, Thank You.

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