Though YouTube remains the premier video site on the web, you probably don’t think much about customizing it. But whether you’re a casual user or watch online videos every day, there are all sorts of ways to tweak YouTube.
A major category of these are special YouTube link tricks. Let’s look at some YouTube URL tricks to help you get more out of the service, like turning videos into GIFs.
1. Link to Any Part of a Video
Normally, when you copy a link to a YouTube video and open it, it starts from the beginning. But if you want to show someone a certain section of a video or skip a lengthy intro, you can append a timestamp to the URL to start it at that time.
You can do this in a couple of ways. By manually adding &t=YmXXs to the end of a video URL, you’ll set it to start Y minutes and XX seconds into the video. You can omit minutes, or use only seconds, such as 90s for a minute and a half.
So for example, this video:
Can be shared at two minutes into the video using this URL:
If you don’t want to use the manual method, pause the video at the time you’d like to share it at, then right-click and choose Copy video URL at current time.
2. Loop a Video Infinitely
YouTube is a great place for listening to music that you can’t find elsewhere, such as video game soundtracks for studying. If you’re into a song and want to listen to it over and over, you can add repeater after youtube in the URL.
This will open the video at YouTubeRepeater.com, which loops the video for you.
So change this URL:
To this to loop it:
Using the options below the video on the new page, you can change the start or end times for the video, if desired.
While we wanted to highlight the URL hack method, you can also do this natively on YouTube. Just right-click on YouTube video and toggle Loop on to keep playing it.
3. Bypass Age Restrictions
YouTube has age restrictions on certain videos flagged as containing mature content. Whether you don’t have a YouTube account or don’t feel like signing in to watch one, you can perform a little trick to bypass signing in.
Take a YouTube URL for a restricted video like this:
Now, add nsfw in front of the youtube part of the link, as shown here:
The video will open on a new site that features no age restriction. In case you still see the message about age restriction, click the here to try another method text at the top of the page. This will load it on a new page that will hopefully play the video successfully.
4. Skip a Certain Amount of the Intro
Similar to the URL trick that lets you pick the start time of a video, you can also choose to skip a certain number of seconds at the start of the video. You can’t specify minutes with this one, so use 90 (seconds) for a minute and a half.
So to skip the first 30 seconds of this video:
Add &start=30 to the end of the URL and get this:
This is similar to the timing one, but is a bit faster to type and doesn’t require you to remember a certain timestamp.
5. Claim a Custom YouTube Channel URL
If you have your own YouTube channel and meet certain requirements, you can set a vanity URL for your page. This is much easier to remember than the default random string of characters, so it’s worth doing for easier linking on social media and other sites.
To get a custom URL, your channel needs to meet the following criteria:
- Have at least 100 subscribers
- Be at least 30 days old
- Have an uploaded profile photo and channel art
If you satisfy these, head to YouTube Studio by clicking your profile picture at the top-right of YouTube and choosing YouTube Studio. On the left menu, click Customization, followed by Basic info at the top.
On this page, under Channel URL, you’ll see your channel’s normal URL as well as the field to set a Custom URL, if you’re eligible. Use this to pick your channel’s vanity URL.
You can only have one custom URL at a time. If you already have one, you can’t change it, but you’re allowed to remove your current URL and create a new one, if it’s available. This is only an option three times per year, so don’t change it too often.
Once your custom URL is set up, anyone can head to youtube.com/[YourCustomURL] to visit your channel.
6. Jump Straight to Your YouTube Subscriptions
Many times, the suggestions offered by YouTube aren’t useful. Whether your recommendations are filled with strange content or the home page contains videos you don’t care about, you can set a better YouTube landing page.
When you’re signed in, try changing your YouTube bookmark from the main homepage to your subscriptions page using this URL:
This lets you see the newest videos from channels you subscribe to, so you don’t miss any of their new content. Thus, you’re in control of what you see, instead of YouTube deciding for you.
7. Grab the Thumbnail of Any Video
It’s common when searching Google for images to see pictures from YouTube videos, usually titled maxresdefault. With a URL tweak, you can easily view a high-quality thumbnail for any YouTube video (if it has one) by visiting the following:
Replace the [VideoID] with the text after the v= at the end of a YouTube video. So to view the thumbnail for this video:
Visit this link:
8. Make a GIF from a YouTube Video
Found a YouTube video that has a GIF-worthy moment? You can easily create an animated GIF from any part of a video by adding gif before the YouTube link.
So to edit this video into a GIF:
Change the URL to this:
You’ll be brought to gifs.com, where you can add a variety of effects and crop the GIF to your liking. Once done, share the GIF to social networks with an easy link or download it for safekeeping.
Note that exceptionally long videos won’t work with this service.
9. Mix Music From YouTube Videos
This one isn’t a true URL hack, as you can’t visit it right from YouTube. However, it still uses YouTube URLs, so we’re including it. Visit YouTube DJ and you can add two YouTube URLs to mix their music together. Use the controls to set shortcut points to different parts of the songs, and adjust the fading and speed as you see fit.
If you’ve ever thought two music tracks would go together pretty well, this is the site for you!
Have More Fun With YouTube URL Tricks
These tricks will let you get even more out of YouTube. Some are built into YouTube itself, while others rely on outside services. It’s possible that any of these could stop working in the future, so your mileage may vary as time passes.