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Handy YouTube URL Tricks

Like a lot of the other tips and tricks we write about, YouTube tweaks are incredibly simple to implement, with most requiring only tiny bits of text called query string parameters. These will come in handy—we promise.

First things first

In every YouTube URL, there is a unique combination of characters that make up the video’s ID. In a simple URL, this is everything that comes after ‘watch?v=’. In the following example, the video ID is FUqjgHNcafU.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUqjgHNcafU

We’re going to refer to this part of the URL as Video_ID from now on.

Most parameters that are added to a URL begin with an ampersand (&) followed by a few letters or words. The most common one is &feature=related, which indicates that a video was reached by clicking ‘Related Video’. The resulting URL looks like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Video_ID&feature=related

HD video format

Not every YouTube video offers HD formatting, but when you link to one that does, you have the option of sending a user directly to that 720p version. Use the &hd=1 parameter, adding it to the end of the URL:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Video_ID&hd=1

Skip to a specific spot in the video

If you’d like to send your visitors to a specific spot rather than start them at the beginning, add #t=2m30s, where the number in front of the ‘m’ represents minutes and the number in front of the ‘s’ represents seconds. In the following example, the visitor would begin watching at the 2:30 mark in the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Video_ID#t=2m30s

Launch the video in a full size player

To load a large player that fills the entire browser window, replace the ‘?’ and ‘=’ in the URL with ‘/’ and delete ‘watch’.

http://www.youtube.com/v/Video_ID

Prevent the video from autoplaying

A frustration for many users, Autoplay has no unique parameter that allows users to turn it off. However, when you launch the full size player, as in the previous example, autoplay is turned off by default. Use this as a workaround to get rid of Autoplay, or opt for any of a number of browser plugins that add this functionality.

To turn autoplay back on while in the full size player, add &autoplay=1 to the end of the URL:

http://www.youtube.com/v/Video_ID&autoplay=1

Loop the video

Looping is another parameter that requires a slight workaround. While a number of websites offer this functionality—which they usually deliver by simply changing the domain name—you don’t need them. Simply use the full size player again, adding &loop=1 to the end of the URL.

http://www.youtube.com/v/Video_ID&loop=1

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