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YouTube Data API - Uploading a Video

This guide provides and explains a Python script that uploads a YouTube video using the YouTube Data API. The code uses the Google APIs Client Library for Python. (Client libraries for other popular programming languages are also available.)

This guide contains the following sections:

  • The Requirements section identifies prerequisites for running the sample code in this guide.

  • The Sample request section provides an example that demonstrates how to upload a video using the script.

  • The Calling the script section defines the command-line arguments that you use to call the script.

  • The Sample code section provides the script's code.

Note: The sample script does not do error handling.


  • Python 2.5 or higher

  • Install the Google APIs Client Library for Python (google-api-python-client)

  • Register your application with Google so that it can use the OAuth 2.0 protocol to authorize access to user data.

  • To use OAuth 2.0 steps with this script, you'll need to create a client_secrets.json file that contains information from the APIs Console. The file should be in the same directory as the script.

      "web": {
        "client_id": "[[INSERT CLIENT ID HERE]]",
        "client_secret": "[[INSERT CLIENT SECRET HERE]]",
        "redirect_uris": [],
        "auth_uri": "",
        "token_uri": ""

Sample requests

This request uploads a video and sets various metadata fields for the video, including its title, description, keywords, and category. The command-line arguments are all defined in detail in the following section.

python --file="/tmp/test_video_file.flv"
                       --title="Summer vacation in California"
                       --description="Had a great time surfing in Santa Cruz"
                       --keywords="surfing,Santa Cruz"

In this example, the script would build and insert the following video resource for the video:

  "snippet": {
    "title": "Summer vacation in California",
    "description": "Had a great time surfing in Santa Cruz",
    "tags": ["surfing", "Santa Cruz"],
    "categoryId": "22"
  "status": {
    "privacyStatus": "private"

Calling the script

The list below defines the script's command-line arguments:

  • --file – This argument identifies the location of the video file that you are uploading.

  • --title – The title of the video that you are uploading. The default value is Test title.

    --title="Summer vacation in ____"
  • --description – The description of the video that you're uploading. The default value is Test description.

    --description="Had a great time ____ in ____."
  • --category – The category ID for the YouTube video category associated with the video. The default value is 22, which refers to the People & Blogs category.

  • --keywords – A comma-separated list of keywords associated with the video. The default value is an empty string.

    --keywords="summer vacation,parasailing,crazy hippies"
  • --privacyStatus – The privacy status of the video. The default behavior is for an uploaded video to be publicly visible (public). When uploading test videos, you may want to specify a --privacyStatus argument value to ensure that those videos are private or unlisted. Valid values are public, private, and unlisted.


Sample code

The complete working sample for the script is listed below:


import httplib
import httplib2
import os
import random
import sys
import time

from apiclient.discovery import build
from apiclient.errors import HttpError
from apiclient.http import MediaFileUpload
from oauth2client.file import Storage
from oauth2client.client import flow_from_clientsecrets
from import run
from optparse import OptionParser

# Explicitly tell the underlying HTTP transport library not to retry, since
# we are handling retry logic ourselves.
httplib2.RETRIES = 1

# Maximum number of times to retry before giving up.

# Always retry when these exceptions are raised.
RETRIABLE_EXCEPTIONS = (httplib2.HttpLib2Error, IOError, httplib.NotConnected,
  httplib.IncompleteRead, httplib.ImproperConnectionState,
  httplib.CannotSendRequest, httplib.CannotSendHeader,
  httplib.ResponseNotReady, httplib.BadStatusLine)

# Always retry when an apiclient.errors.HttpError with one of these status
# codes is raised.
RETRIABLE_STATUS_CODES = [500, 502, 503, 504]

# CLIENT_SECRETS_FILE, name of a file containing the OAuth 2.0 information for
# this application, including client_id and client_secret. You can acquire an
# ID/secret pair from the API Access tab on the Google APIs Console
# For more information about using OAuth2 to access Google APIs, please visit:
# For more information about the client_secrets.json file format, please visit:
# Please ensure that you have enabled the YouTube Data API for your project.
CLIENT_SECRETS_FILE = "client_secrets.json"

# A limited OAuth 2 access scope that allows for uploading files, but not other
# types of account access.

# Helpful message to display if the CLIENT_SECRETS_FILE is missing.
WARNING: Please configure OAuth 2.0

To make this sample run you will need to populate the client_secrets.json file
found at:


with information from the APIs Console

For more information about the client_secrets.json file format, please visit:
""" % os.path.abspath(os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__),

def get_authenticated_service():
  flow = flow_from_clientsecrets(CLIENT_SECRETS_FILE, scope=YOUTUBE_UPLOAD_SCOPE,

  storage = Storage("%s-oauth2.json" % sys.argv[0])
  credentials = storage.get()

  if credentials is None or credentials.invalid:
    credentials = run(flow, storage)


def initialize_upload(options):
  youtube = get_authenticated_service()

  tags = None
  if options.keywords:
    tags = options.keywords.split(",")

  insert_request = youtube.videos().insert(
    # chunksize=-1 means that the entire file will be uploaded in a single
    # HTTP request. (If the upload fails, it will still be retried where it
    # left off.) This is usually a best practice, but if you're using Python
    # older than 2.6 or if you're running on App Engine, you should set the
    # chunksize to something like 1024 * 1024 (1 megabyte).
    media_body=MediaFileUpload(options.file, chunksize=-1, resumable=True)


def resumable_upload(insert_request):
  response = None
  error = None
  retry = 0
  while response is None:
      print "Uploading file..."
      status, response = insert_request.next_chunk()
      if 'id' in response:
        print "'%s' (video id: %s) was successfully uploaded." % (
          options.title, response['id'])
        exit("The upload failed with an unexpected response: %s" % response)
    except HttpError, e:
      if e.resp.status in RETRIABLE_STATUS_CODES:
        error = "A retriable HTTP error %d occurred:\n%s" % (e.resp.status,
      error = "A retriable error occurred: %s" % e

    if error is not None:
      print error
      retry += 1
      if retry > MAX_RETRIES:
        exit("No longer attempting to retry.")

      max_sleep = 2 ** retry
      sleep_seconds = random.random() * max_sleep
      print "Sleeping %f seconds and then retrying..." % sleep_seconds

if __name__ == '__main__':
  parser = OptionParser()
  parser.add_option("--file", dest="file", help="Video file to upload")
  parser.add_option("--title", dest="title", help="Video title",
    default="Test Title")
  parser.add_option("--description", dest="description",
    help="Video description",
    default="Test Description")
  parser.add_option("--category", dest="category",
    help="Numeric video category. " +
  parser.add_option("--keywords", dest="keywords",
    help="Video keywords, comma separated", default="")
  parser.add_option("--privacyStatus", dest="privacyStatus",
    help="Video privacy status: public, private or unlisted",
  (options, args) = parser.parse_args()

  if options.file is None or not os.path.exists(options.file):
    exit("Please specify a valid file using the --file= parameter.")

Additional resources

  • The Authentication guide provides complete details for implementing OAuth 2.0.

  • The reference documentation explains the fields in a video resource.