Why Does YouTube Run Slow on a Computer?

by Dean Lee

YouTube is a popular website on which users can upload their own videos as well as view videos from other individuals and companies. At times, however, the site can be slow--it is easy to identify, and remedy, the reasons for this.

Internet Connection

To a user viewing YouTube, the site will seem slow if the connection is slow. Having a "slow" connection means that the bandwidth (the amount of information that is being sent and received) is too small. This is why high-speed Internet services such as cable or DSL are so much faster than a dial-up connection. With dial-up users connect with about 56.6 kbps (kilobytes per second). By contrast, some DSL providers connect with over 10 Mbps (megabytes per second). Thus, a user connecting with a slow connection will have longer page and video loading times. This issue can be resolved by increasing the bandwidth used to connect to YouTube.

System Limitations

At times, a computer's limitations can cause YouTube to be slow. For instance, if a computer has a small amount of RAM, running several programs at once can slow the overall performance of the computer. This is really not an issue with YouTube as it is with how much RAM the Internet browser uses. Replacing, upgrading, or just adding in different components can help the system and YouTube run much smoother.

YouTube Traffic

YouTube, like all websites, is controlled by how many people are viewing the site at one time. The more people viewing YouTube at once, the slower the site will be. The only way to remedy this situation would be to try viewing YouTube at a different time. If it is consistently slow, but the computer is working properly and the connection is more than adequate, YouTube may be having server issues.

YouTube Servers

Websites are hosted on different servers. Those servers help to not only run the site, but store data that has been uploaded. With YouTube, users are able to upload their own videos up to 2 GB in size. This requires a massive amount of storage space as well as servers that are robust enough to handle that kind of processing. Thus, if a server for YouTube is not working properly or goes down, the site will slow down considerably. It would be like an airplane with four engines having to shut one engine down. The plane would still be able to go, just not as fast. YouTube would have to fix their servers to solve this problem.

YouTube Maintenance

Related to server issues are times when YouTube needs to do maintenance to the site. During these times, servers could be shut off and the site could slow down or come down completely. The only thing that can be done is to wait until the maintenance period is over.

About the Author

Dean Lee began writing in 2008, with articles appearing on various websites. Lee is currently a network technician with both Cisco Certified Network Associate and Security+ certifications. Lee graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and later completed a Master of Arts in communication at Regent University.