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How do you start a YouTube video at a certain time?

start a YouTube video at a certain time
Late starter: you don't have to start YouTube videos from the beginning

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You’re watching the match highlights of another massive Lewes FC victory (bear with me, I have some skin in this game). You want to share the video on Twitter, your blog or elsewhere, but you want to start the YouTube video at a certain time – just before a cracking goal, for example. How do you do it?

How to start a YouTube video at a certain time

  1. Go to the YouTube video on your computer (we’ve not found a way to do this on mobile yet, but if you know how, let us know on comments below).
  2. Scroll the video to the point you want to start at and hit the pause button – or just click on the video player to pause it.
  3. Hit the Share button beneath the video (it has the looping arrow symbol) and a small window will pop up.
  4. In that window, tick the box that says Start At – it should already be displaying the time you paused the video at.
  5. Click on one of the symbols to share to Twitter, Facebook, Reddit etc or simply copy the link. You can also choose to embed the video, which allows you to place the video in websites such as this. As you can see below, we’ve embedded the video below to start just before Lewes’s fourth goal. (Note that if you’re using WordPress’s new Gutenberg editor, you need to embed the YouTube code as Custom HTML – don’t use the embed YouTube video feature, or it won’t start at your chosen point.)

How to hack the URL to make a YouTube video start at a certain point

When you went through the process above, you may have noticed that when you reached step 4 and ticked the box, the little box displaying the URL for the video changed slightly.

Here’s what that box looks like before you tick the box:

start a YouTube video at a certain time

And here’s what it looks like after you tick the box:

start a YouTube video at a certain time

You’ll notice that ?t=348 has been added to the end of the URL.

This is basically a time code that tells the video to start playing at 348 seconds (5 mins 48 seconds).

So, if you know precisely what time you want the video to start playing from – or if you’re sharing the link from YouTube mobile without the option to specify the start time – you can simply hack the URL instead.

Now read this: Is it legal to download YouTube videos?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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