Why Does YouTube Keep Pausing?

By David Nield

Your Internet connection must be at least 500+ Kbps for a smooth YouTube viewing experience.
i Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

If you're experiencing issues with constant pausing of YouTube videos, the most likely explanation is that your Internet connection isn't fast enough to keep up with the demands of streaming video at the selected quality. Other potential causes include a technical fault with YouTube's servers, a conflict with another program on your system, or an issue with your browser or one of its extensions.

Internet Speed

If your Internet connection cannot stream YouTube video to your computer fast enough, the clip will pause while the next section is buffered. To maximize the bandwidth available to YouTube, shut down other open browser tabs and other software that may be using the Web. You can also try adjusting the quality of the video playback using the gray gear icon on the navigation bar. By running a speed test on your connection (via the aptly named Speedtest.net, for example) you can assess whether your current download speeds are close to those promised by your Internet Service Provider.

Browser Problems

If your Internet connection isn't causing YouTube to pause regularly, your browser might be. Testing YouTube in another browser can help determine whether or not this is the case. Clearing your browser's cookies and temporary file cache effectively gives the program a clean slate and may be enough to get YouTube working again. You should also examine the extensions and add-ons running on top of your browser and disable any that might be interfering with YouTube (this could include video codec extensions or streaming file managers). As a general rule, keep your browser and its plugins updated with the latest versions -- this ensures maximum compatibility with YouTube and the technology that underpins it.

Other Software

Another possibility is that a third-party program on your system is interfering with YouTube's operation. This could be an automatic backup tool trying to download files from the cloud, a security application mistakenly identifying YouTube as a threat, or a torrenting program monopolizing the available bandwidth. If you have any other software running in the background while viewing YouTube, shut down these programs one-by-one to see if there is any improvement in the smoothness of the video playback.

YouTube Faults

The YouTube platform occasionally experiences technical faults and bugs that cause problems with video playback. Waiting a few moments and then playing the video again may be enough to watch it without any problems. Check the known issues page in the YouTube Help Center online to find details of any current problems being dealt with by the YouTube engineers.