Many great features and services have spawned from people using online platforms in ways that the creators had either not intended or not even considered. For example, way back in the early days of Twitter, users started including the “@” symbol to signify they were speaking to someone and the “#” symbol to denote a topic long before it was ever a feature officially implemented by Twitter. Sometimes using a platform in a way the creators hadn’t intended can cause them to incorporate new features, sometimes it can just be a cool little trick to make your life easier.
YouTube is usually the first place anyone thinks of when the subject of user-generated video online comes up. Of course, the site is intended as a platform for uploading and viewing that content, but can you use YouTube to store your videos?
The short answer is yes, you can use YouTube to store your videos. As always, however, there’s plenty more to talk about with this topic.
Using YouTube To Store Your Videos
While YouTube technically is not intended for storing videos, the functionality of the platforms allows for it with absolutely no “hacking” or playing the system. When you upload a video, you have the option to have it be public, private, or unlisted.
Naturally, most YouTubers want their videos to be public, as this is how viewers get to see those videos. But when you have your videos marked as private, you are essentially just storing them on YouTube’s servers. YouTube does not presently impose any restrictions on how many videos you can upload or how long you can keep them on YouTube’s servers, regardless of whether they are public and making revenue for YouTube or private and just taking up storage space.
Technically speaking, you are using YouTube to store your videos even when those videos are public and available to view and generate revenue, since you can always get to them, and they can serve as a backup should anything happen to your original files.
Why Use YouTube To Store Videos
The most obvious reason to use YouTube to store your videos is that video files are notoriously large and YouTube is free. If you were going to store tens—even hundreds—of gigabytes of video files on a service like Dropbox, you would almost certainly end up having to pay for that service.
While YouTube reserves the right to leverage any videos you upload for promotional purposes and to display ads against, they do not charge you for the privilege. And, if you are not concerned about keeping the videos private, you could even make some money yourself. What’s more, if the videos you are uploading are videos you would be making regardless, any revenue you generate through YouTube would be truly passive income.
It should be noted that YouTube applies a lot of compression to get the bandwidth costs of streaming down and downloading a video through YouTube Studio will return that compressed video, not the original full-quality video that you uploaded. If this is an issue, you can go to takeout.google.com, which allows you to request any data YouTube has stored about you… which can be a lot. Scroll down to YouTube and request an archive of your video files. These video files will be the original uncompressed files, however, you cannot pick and choose which video files to download. If you have a lot of high-quality videos, getting a single video back this way will involve a lengthy download including every other video you uploaded.
Few good things in life are completely without risk, and this is no different. The risk in this case is that YouTube are in total control of their platform—as you would expect—and are at liberty to make changes to how things are run at any time.
YouTube has been a notorious money pit in the past, and while Google’s record for putting unprofitable ventures out to pasture would imply YouTube has at least reached a stage where it is breaking even, it would certainly not be out of character for Google to make drastic changes to balance YouTube’s books.
Now, there has been no wording, actions, or rhetoric that suggest YouTube might be about to impose restrictions on video uploads, or perhaps require any uploaded content to be public so that they can advertise on it, but they could make those changes if they wished. In using YouTube as a method for storing your videos, you run the risk of this kind of change happening.
Remember, YouTube is not intended to be used as a video storage tool, so there are no guarantees offered in that regard. In contrast, services like Dropbox and OneDrive will give certain assurances because their business model is built around offering file storage. It would be a poor offering if they said your files could go missing at any time. In contrast, YouTube’s business is providing a platform for user generated content, and their assurances will revolve around that side of things.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that, while storing a video isn’t free, it is the watching of those videos and the continual use of bandwidth that really racks up the bills for YouTube.
YouTube can certainly be used as a free tool to backup your video files, but it certainly shouldn’t be your only storage solution. If you are looking for a home for your files because you intend to delete them from your hard drive, you should absolutely seek out an additional backup, even if it is physical media, such as a DVD. Putting all of your eggs in the YouTube basket could come back to bite you in the future, and making decisions like that based on the hope that nothing bad happens is rarely a good strategy. After all, that’s why you have backups in the first place.
That being said, if the videos you are storing are also videos you are happy to have publicly viewable, you will probably be safe from such a hypothetical scenario, since any change like that would undoubtedly be driven by the need to make improve revenue.
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. Learn new skills for FREE with Skillshare
I SUCK reading books to learn, but I LOVE online video courses.
Every month I learn something new. Editing, writing, video skills, how to cook, how to run a business – even how to meditate to calm a busy mind.
I find all of these for FREE with Skillshare – Sign up, pick all the courses you want and cancel anytime you need.
5. Shutterstock helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the Shutterstock website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.