Web Development WordPress

Embedding YouTube Videos in WordPress: Best Practices

YouTube is full of exciting videos. You might want to add one to your WordPress website, but just copying and pasting it won't do the trick. You need to embed it. Read this post to learn how you can do that.


Video content, indeed, is popular with Internet users. Consequently, adding videos to your website can benefit you a lot. In this post, we’ll look at the advantages of adding videos, why you should prefer embedding to uploading, and various ways of embedding YouTube videos to WordPress websites.

Benefits of Adding Videos to Your Page

To start, let’s mention a few main advantages of inserting video content on websites:

  • The page becomes more interactive and engaging
  • You can target both people who prefer reading and those who love watching videos to get information
  • As visitors spend more time on your website, your SEO rankings may improve

Adding high-quality background music can also enhance the video content, and you can easily download free background music from resources like Videvo.

WordPress users know that the Media Library is a tool that allows them to upload images and videos. Then, the question is, ‘Why should you embed the video instead of simply uploading it to the Media Library and adding it to the page or post?’ 

Why Shouldn’t You Upload Videos to WordPress?

Let’s look at the main reasons why you should not add videos to WordPress directly.

1. Finite Server Resources

A lot of hosting plans have shared server resources. Every time visitors play videos on your website, they use the allocated server resources. The more videos there are, and the more people watch a video simultaneously, the more server resources you need. Low bandwidth may result in making your entire site slow.

2. Low Video Speed

If your server resources are limited, visitors may also experience slow video playback and video freezing. 

3. Limited File Size and Storage

Often, WordPress and hosting providers limit the size of files you can upload. Although you can increase the WordPress upload limit and upload your file, the chances are you can run out of available storage space. To mitigate this issue, consider using a video cutter to reduce the file size before uploading.

4. Unadjusted Video Quality

As users can have a better or worse Internet connection, they should be able to choose the video quality they prefer. Laptops usually require videos of higher quality which may be a problem for mobile devices. If you want to upload videos directly to WordPress, you’ll need different versions separately with higher and lower resolutions. This is not very convenient, and it takes valuable space.

What Does Embedding a Video Mean?

Embedding a video to your website means that this video will be hosted on another location, different from your site, and ‘borrowed’ when your website visitors want to play it. During this process, it could be useful to consider techniques to enrich the video content. One such technique could be to add subtitles to your video which can convey a message or provide additional details to your viewers. So, you can incorporate YouTube videos into your website.

If you have a YouTube channel and add videos there, embedding videos on your website gives you many benefits. We have already covered the reasons why you shouldn’t upload videos. Consequently, by embedding videos instead of uploading, you will:

  • save your server’s resources and prevent slow website loading
  • guarantee better video loading (uploaded videos are more likely to freeze than embedded ones)
  • save server storage
  • make your video responsive and available for users’ different devices.

How to Embed YouTube Videos in WordPress: Simplest Ways

There are several ways of adding YouTube videos to WordPress websites. These methods are pretty straightforward, so you can choose the one that works best for you, even if you are a beginner. You have to know

  • where you want to add a video (page, blog post, sidebar, etc.)
  • what WordPress editor you are using to embed the video

Here, we’ll provide instructions on how to add videos to WordPress posts and pages if you are using a classic WordPress editor and Elementor.

oEmbed Technology

oEmbed is an API (Application Programming Interface) that allows an embedded representation of a URL on third-party sites. In other words, YouTube as a video provider lets WordPress, a consumer, display the video on the website via oEmbed.

Starting with WordPress 2.9, embedding videos became easy and user-friendly.

To add a video, you need to know its URL. You can copy the address directly from your browser.

Alternatively, you can use the ‘Share’ button under the video.

The advantage of this method is the possibility to select the time when the video should start. You have to choose the necessary time, tick the box, and copy the URL. 

Adding YouTube Videos to Posts: Classic Editor

If you are using the Classic Editor, you have to open the post and choose the content block where you want to add the YouTube video. 

When you insert the video URL in the content area, WordPress does the magic and automatically transforms the URL into the video preview.

Then, you can preview the changes and update your post.

Inserting Videos Using Blocks (Block Editor)

If you prefer to edit posts using blocks, you should use YouTube Embed Block. First, you should add a block where you want the video to appear. 

When you click the ‘Add block’ button, you’ll see available blocks. YouTube is one of the most popular, so you will likely see it in the suggested blocks. If not, use the search.

Second, you should add the video URL to the block and press ‘Embed’. 

Also, the Block Editor allows you to adjust video alignment and move the block down or up (if you decide to change its position).

Adding YouTube Videos to Posts: Elementor

If you prefer editing your WordPress website with Elementor, you have to use the Video widget. Add the section and choose the Video widget. You can search for ‘YouTube’ or ‘Video’ to find it faster.

After you drag the widget to the section, you’ll see numerous settings.

You should add the link to the video you want to play. Then, you can adjust the start and end time, autoplay, muting, player controls, etc.

After choosing the necessary settings, you can preview and update your post.

Adding Videos to Pages: Elementor

Similar to inserting videos into Posts, you have to use the Video widget to add a YouTube video to the page in Elementor. Create a section, add the video widget, insert the URL, and adjust the settings.

 Afterward, you can preview and update/publish the page.

Embedding Videos via Code (Elementor)

Another way to add a YouTube video to the page is by using a code. Although it can sound scary for those who don’t have any coding skills, it’s not that bad. 

Firstly, Elementor widgets are easy to use when you want to insert a custom code. Secondly, there are different tools that can help you create an HTML code for the video with the desired settings. YouTube Embed Player Customizer is one of them. 

When you open the YouTube Embed Player Customizer, you should paste the URL of the video you wish to add.

Then, on the left sidebar, you can adjust the settings. It’s possible to set video width, height, autoplay, looping, annotations, start and end time, title, alignment, layout, etc.

Afterward, you should copy the HTML code to the clipboard.

When you open a page in Elementor, you should create a section and add an HTML widget to it.

Then, insert the code you copied into the HTML Code field on the left.

Probably, you will notice that the added code is longer than the one displayed on the YouTube Embed Player Customizer. As this is a free tool, extra code is added when copying the code to the clipboard.

You may compare the code displayed on the website with the one you inserted and delete the extra coding.

After that, remember to preview and publish/update your page.

The process of adding a custom HTML code to embed a video with the Block Editor is similar. You should find a Custom HTML block when editing the page.

After adding the block, insert the code you copied.

You can preview the changes and update/publish the page.

Adding Videos to the Sidebar

To customize the sidebar, you should open the Widgets submenu in the Appearance on your WordPress dashboard.

If you want to add a YouTube video to your sidebar, you can use the following widgets:

  • Embed
  • YouTube (Video)
  • Custom HTML

With the Embed and YouTube widgets, you should use the YouTube video URL. The Custom HTML lets you apply the adjusted code.

After adding a block and inserting the URL or code, update your widgets. You’ll see the video on your pages’ sidebar.

Pay attention to the fact that Post Sidebar is different from the main Sidebar. If necessary, you can add videos to the Post Sidebar in the same way.

How Embedding Videos Affects Page Loading Time

The page loading time depends on how much coding web browsers have to process. Thus, the more third-party scripts or coding you add, the more likely your page speed is to decrease. At the same time, as you remember, embedding videos is better than adding them via WordPress Media Library.

One of the best solutions is to apply a lazy loading effect. It instructs users’ browsers to load only that part of the screen that a visitor can see. Other page elements should load later when the user scrolls to them. In this case, the embedded video will not play if the person scrolls past it.

Plugins for Embedding YouTube Videos

Different WordPress plugins can help you embed YouTube videos into your post or page. You can use plugins if you want to get additional customization options. Also, plugins can assist in creating video galleries (if you need this function). Let’s have a look at some video embedding plugins and their functionality.

YouTube Embed

YouTube Embed by David Artiss is a free plugin that lets you effectively add YouTube videos to your site. The plugin works with WordPress 4.6 or higher, and its latest version has been tested up to 5.9.2. This plugin has several great features that are worth mentioning.

  1. You can create video playlists and add them to your posts, pages, or sidebars.
  2. The plugin has dynamic video sizing for responsive sites.
  3. It’s possible to create multiple profiles and use them for better customization options.
  4. There is an opportunity to set video sizes, autoplay, looping, video annotation and caption options.
  5. You may display related videos from the same or different channels.
  6. There is an option to allow rich metadata to be added to code, so that you can improve the way search engines ‘see’ your videos.

After installing and activating the plugin, you may set profiles and create video lists. Then, using shortcodes, you can add single videos or video lists where you wish.

Plugin developers provide a detailed description of all the features and peculiarities on the plugin WordPress page, so you can read and take advantage of the numerous functions available.

Embed Plus Plugin for YouTube

Embed Plus Plugin for YouTube is suitable for WordPress 4.5 or higher. Its latest updates (March 2022) have been tested up to WordPress 5.9.2. With more than 200.000 active installations, this is one of the most popular WordPress plugins for adding a video. Let’s see what distinguishes this plugin and makes it so popular. 

First, it’s necessary to mention that the plugin is user-friendly. After installing and activating it, you’ll see a setup wizard guiding you, so you can select the necessary options.

Second, this plugin works well with the default WordPress editor. You’ll see a YouTube button while editing your post or page.

When you click the button, you’ll see various options of what it’s possible to embed (a single video, a playlist, a channel, or a live stream).

After adding the URL to the wizard, you can copy the code (if you need it) or simply press the ‘Insert’ button to embed the desired video. Afterward, you can preview and update/publish the page.

This plugin has a free and pro version. The free version offers plenty of customization options some of which are:

autoplay, annotations, looping, modest branding, related videos, fullscreen button, width and height, responsive video sizing, and many more.

The pro versions can also provide:

  • full visual customization wizard
  • advanced gallery customization (list and slider layouts, popup/lightbox player, wizard sizing, thumbnail hiding for text only paging, etc.)
  • embedded caching to speed up your page loads
  • eye-catching special lazy loading effects
  • included YouTube live chatbox as part of each live stream embed
  • automatic Google, Bing, and Yahoo friendly video SEO markup
  • mobile compatibility check
  • analytics dashboard to analyze visitors’ watching behavior
  • deleted video alerts

You can choose from three pricing plans for 1 site: Core ($49.99 with a discounted price of $39.99), Popular ($59.99 or $45.99 with a discount), and Best Deal ($69.99 or $49.99 of a reduced price). There are also bulk prices for 5 sites ($99.99) and 15 sites ($149.99).

Video Player for YouTube

Video Player for YouTube by bPlugins is suitable for WordPress 3.0 or higher and has been tested up to 5.9.2. This plugin lets you add videos via shortcodes.

After installing and activating the plugin, you can create video players for each video you want to add. Then, you’ll see a shortcode that you can apply where necessary.

The free plugin version lets you enable/disable such controls as fullscreen playing, progress bar, duration, volume control, mute button, etc.

With the Pro version, you’ll also get:

  • control over every button and element of the player
  • color customization options,
  • enabling/disabling the context menu to prevent download
  • fast forward, rewind, and restart buttons

The cost of the Video Player for YouTube is $2.92/month, billed annually, (or $99 of one-time payment) for a single site license.

Conclusion: How to Add Video to WordPress

Video content, undoubtedly, makes your website more engaging and helps to target different users. While it’s possible to upload video files to your WordPress media library and add them without embedding, this is not a perfect solution. It’s better to use third-party sources, such as YouTube, to show videos on your site.

Adding YouTube videos is quite easy in WordPress. Indeed, basic functions and widgets allow you to embed video content without installing any plugins. Due to the oEmbed technology, WordPress will automatically transform YouTube URLs inserted in text blocks. Additionally, you can insert URLs via specialized widgets and blocks.
If you need additional customization options, you can take advantage of various video embedding plugins. There are both free and paid versions that differ in functionality. For instance, such plugins can support live streaming and embedding playlists. Thus, you have to decide what types of video you need to add and how much customization you require.

WordPress Development Services from GetDevDone

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Dmytro Mashchenko

Dmytro is the CEO of GetDevDone, an experienced web developer, and a prolific author of in-depth technology and business-related posts. He is always eager to share his years-long expertise with everyone who wants to succeed in the web development field.

For more professional insights from Dmytro, connect with him on LinkedIn.