Upload 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.)

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 Developers 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": "https://accounts.google.com/o/oauth2/auth",
        "token_uri": "https://accounts.google.com/o/oauth2/token"

Sample request

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 upload_video.py --file="/tmp/test_video_file.flv"
                       --title="Summer vacation in California"
                       --description="Had fun 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 fun surfing in Santa Cruz",
    "tags": ["surfing", "Santa Cruz"],
    "categoryId": "22"
  "status": {
    "privacyStatus": "private"

Call 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.

    Example: --file="/home/path/to/file.mov"
  • title: The title of the video that you are uploading. The default value is Test title.

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

    Example: --description="Had fun surfing in Santa Cruz"
  • 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.

    Example: --category="22"
  • keywords: A comma-separated list of keywords associated with the video. The default value is an empty string.

    Example: --keywords="surfing"
  • 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.

    Example: --privacyStatus="private"

Sample code

The complete working sample for the upload_video.py 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.client import flow_from_clientsecrets
from oauth2client.file import Storage
from oauth2client.tools import argparser, run_flow

# 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]

# The CLIENT_SECRETS_FILE variable specifies the name of a file that contains
# the OAuth 2.0 information for this application, including its client_id and
# client_secret. You can acquire an OAuth 2.0 client ID and client secret from
# the Google Developers Console at
# https://console.developers.google.com/.
# Please ensure that you have enabled the YouTube Data API for your project.
# For more information about using OAuth2 to access the YouTube Data API, see:
#   https://developers.google.com/youtube/v3/guides/authentication
# For more information about the client_secrets.json file format, see:
#   https://developers.google.com/api-client-library/python/guide/aaa_client_secrets
CLIENT_SECRETS_FILE = "client_secrets.json"

# This OAuth 2.0 access scope allows an application to upload files to the
# authenticated user's YouTube channel, but doesn't allow other types of access.
YOUTUBE_UPLOAD_SCOPE = "https://www.googleapis.com/auth/youtube.upload"

# This variable defines a 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 Developers Console

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

VALID_PRIVACY_STATUSES = ("public", "private", "unlisted")

def get_authenticated_service(args):
  flow = flow_from_clientsecrets(CLIENT_SECRETS_FILE,

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

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


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


  # Call the API's videos.insert method to create and upload the video.
  insert_request = youtube.videos().insert(
    # The chunksize parameter specifies the size of each chunk of data, in
    # bytes, that will be uploaded at a time. Set a higher value for
    # reliable connections as fewer chunks lead to faster uploads. Set a lower
    # value for better recovery on less reliable connections.
    # Setting "chunksize" equal to -1 in the code below 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)


# This method implements an exponential backoff strategy to resume a
# failed upload.
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 "Video id '%s' was successfully uploaded." % 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__':
  argparser.add_argument("--file", required=True, help="Video file to upload")
  argparser.add_argument("--title", help="Video title", default="Test Title")
  argparser.add_argument("--description", help="Video description",
    default="Test Description")
  argparser.add_argument("--category", default="22",
    help="Numeric video category. " +
      "See https://developers.google.com/youtube/v3/docs/videoCategories/list")
  argparser.add_argument("--keywords", help="Video keywords, comma separated",
  argparser.add_argument("--privacyStatus", choices=VALID_PRIVACY_STATUSES,
    default=VALID_PRIVACY_STATUSES[0], help="Video privacy status.")
  args = argparser.parse_args()

  if not os.path.exists(args.file):
    exit("Please specify a valid file using the --file= parameter.")

  youtube = get_authenticated_service(args)
    initialize_upload(youtube, args)
  except HttpError, e:
    print "An HTTP error %d occurred:\n%s" % (e.resp.status, e.content)

Additional resources

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

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