Video hosting services allows individuals to upload video clips to a website. The video host stores the video on its server, providing many benefits such as saving on bandwidth costs, creating a common place, and providing a hassle-free experience where uploading and streaming is accomplished with little or no programming experience.

There are several free or fee-based video hosting services available including YouTube, Vimeo, and most recently Flickr. A full listing can be found on Wikipedia.

The majority of state agencies are using YouTube, so this section of WebTools is primarily focused on that service. State agencies are encouraged to use services such as YouTube when that service enables them to further reach your constituents.

Departments Using YouTube

Let us know about your YouTube account. It should be included on the master list on the website.

Getting Started


Please note that YouTube is constantly changing. If you find something working differently than described here, please let us know.

  • Account: You can create a free YouTube account at
  • Channel: A channel is a user’s page. It contains a user’s profile information, videos, favorites, etc.
  • Friends: You can invite other users to be your friends. This allows you to share private videos with each other.
  • Playlist: You can add videos to playlists to play them in order or share the list of videos with your friends.


  1. Create a YouTube account at Your username will be your channel name. For example, our user name is californiagovernment, and our channel is
  2. Upload videos using supported YouTube File Formats.
  3. Customize your channel’s appearance.
  4. Review YouTube for Government 101.
  5. Let us know what your channel is. California’s channel is the “portal” to all of the State YouTube channels, and we want to make sure we link to all of them.

According to the YouTube site, all YouTube users can upload videos up to 15 minutes each in duration. Users who have a good track record of complying with the site’s Community Guidelines may be offered the ability to upload videos up to 12 hours in length, which requires verifying the account, normally through a mobile phone.


It is a best practice to authenticate your site, providing reassurance to users that your YouTube channel is official (i.e., it is not a spoofed account). Here are ways to do this:

  • Provide reciprocal links: Link to your YouTube account from your site, and to your from your YouTube account.
  • Link to your site in your profile section.
  • Use a recognized, official logo or brand mark as your profile picture.
  • Use a custom background image to provide information about your authenticity (e.g., DMV).
  • Include a link in the video description section to your site.
  • Subscribe to California’s channel.
  • Ensure your channel is listed in the State agency directory.

Embed a YouTube Channel

  • Embedded Videos – This is the easiest way to place your videos on your agency website. YouTube provides instructions on their developer page.
    • Eliminating Suggested Videos – A tutorial on how to remove “suggested videos” from Youtube videos embedded on your agency website:
  • RSS feeds – YouTube outputs RSS feeds, so these feeds can be used throughout your website and other services in creative ways. For example, the state is using YouTube RSS feeds in the portal. Read about YouTube’s RSS feeds.

Good Practices to Follow

Each department should:

  • Regularly monitor comments received on videos for appropriateness.
  • Obey copyright laws.
  • Ensure employees who have access to services like YouTube have read and follow the department’s Acceptable Use policy.
  • Provide alternate content for users who cannot view the videos (e.g., captioning, transcript).
  • Ensure videos are good quality and value to the user (i.e., don’t post videos just because you have them).
  • Ensure that videos include department branding.

All planning and implementation should be consistent with existing policies and align with any applicable laws, regulations, codes, or requirements.


Get Help

For assistance, please contact us.


Submit a Comment