Embedding YouTube videos to your WordPress site is a great way to add value to your content.
It can also increase your visitors’ time on site, lower bounce rate, and give an all-around enjoyable experience. There’s some evidence that Google looks of it favorably as well – and why wouldn’t they? It puts their platform in front of your readers.
But how do you embed a YouTube video in WordPress?
It’s very simple, and there are some good plugins to help you do it as well.
How to Embed a YouTube Video in WordPress Manually
It’s easy to embed a YouTube video in WordPress and it doesn’t matter what WordPress theme you’re using.
If you’re using the Gutenberg block editor, it’s as simple as pasting the URL of the YouTube video you want to embed.
This is thanks to the Gutenberg Embed blocks.
Now you can embed tons of things into a WordPress website, not just YouTube videos.
You can embed:
- Ted videos
- Vimeo videos
- SoundCloud tracks
- and even Tweets from Twitter
Here’s how to embed a YouTube video in a WordPress post or page.
Go to the video you want to upload and copy the video URL. You can do this in two ways.
1. You can either copy it from the URL bar in your browser:
2. Or by clicking the share button under the YouTube video:
When you click it, you’ll see a popup with the URL where you can copy it:
If you want the YouTube video to start at a specific time on your page, click on the ‘Start at’ box and input the time you want the video to begin.
This will change the URL slightly:
Now, head over to your WordPress website and edit the blog post or page you want the video to be in.
Create a new line and paste the link:
You’ll see WordPress do its magic and automatically turn the URL into the video, even in the backend of WordPress.
Update your post and look at the result:
This is probably the easiest way to add videos from YouTube to your WordPress posts, but what if you’re using the classic WordPress editor?
Let’s take a closer look.
How to Embed a YouTube Video in WordPress in the Classic Editor
If you prefer using the classic editor and you have a plugin active that disables Gutenberg, then here’s how you can embed YouTube a video.
The process is like using the block editor.
Most times, you can simply paste the URL into the visual editor and it will turn into the video automatically.
However, this might not work every time.
If you’ve tried this and the video doesn’t show up, then you might need to use the YouTube embed code.
Click the Share button underneath the YouTube video as you did before. Then, in the popup, click on Embed:
You’ll see an iframe code that you’ll need to copy into WordPress:
You can adjust the Start time as before and you also have two other options, Show player controls and Enable privacy-enhanced mode.
Choose the options you want before copying the code.
Then head over to your WordPress blog. On the classic editor, click the Text tab:
Enter a new line and paste the code:
Now click back over to the Visual tab where you’ll see the embedded YouTube video.
If you want to embed a YouTube video in your footer or sidebar widgets, here’s what you do.
It’s almost the same process as using the WordPress block editor. That’s because of the updated widgets area that uses Gutenberg features.
Choose the widget area you want to embed a video and click the plus icon:
Then search youtube in the search box:
Click the YouTube block, paste the YouTube video URL into the field, and click Embed:
The video will display and you’re done. Click Update and go look at the front end of your site to see what it looks like.
5 WordPress Plugins For Embedding YouTube Videos
Using a plugin to embed YouTube videos on your WordPress site has some additional benefits over embedding them manually.
Here are 5 WordPress plugins that give you more control over how your YouTube videos show up on your site.
1. WP Social Ninja
WP Social Ninja is best for those who want to display their own YouTube videos on their WordPress site to boost user engagement, video views, and subscribers.
It gives you a ton of options to configure how YouTube videos display on your page.
There’s a channel template, playlists, pop-ups, galleries, and more. Each template makes it easy to showcase a channel or a selection of videos all in one place on your site.
Read on to learn how to do it yourself.
Install and activate the plugin and click on All Platforms under the WP Social Ninja menu.
You’ll see an option for YouTube:
Click on it to configure the YouTube settings:
Choose OAuth 2.0 from the dropdown box and click the Sign In And Get Google Access Code button.
Choose your Google account and click continue on the next page:
Copy the code and paste it in the field in the plugin settings:
Now you can create a Template with WP Social Ninja. Click Add a New Template and you’ll see the options panel on the right:
Choose Channel from the Feed Type dropdown box and then paste in the channel ID of the channel you want to display on your site.
The Channel ID is the string of characters in the URL of the YouTube channel.
Type in the number of videos you want to display and click Fetch Videos.
Go through the other settings to customize your template.
When you’re done, click save and copy the shortcode. Now you can add your template to a WordPress page.
Paste the shortcode into your page and click update:
Now look at your page to see the YouTube channel template on the page:
To unlock all the options, you can upgrade to the premium version of WP Social Ninja.
With WP Social Ninja, you can also embed reviews on your site such as Google and Yelp, and other social feeds like Twitter and Instagram.
Pricing of the pro version starts at $79 per year.
2. Lazy Load for Videos
Lazy Load for Videos plugin helps speed up your pages that have YouTube videos on them by turning them into thumbnails.
This lazy loads the code of the YouTube video until someone clicks on the thumbnail.
It’s best used for people who have a lot of embedded videos on their site so that it doesn’t negatively impact the performance.
It will also work with Vimeo videos too.
Here’s how to set it up.
Install and activate Lazy Load for Videos and head over to the settings page.
Choose the General/Styling options you want.
Then choose your preferred settings on the YouTube tab:
The great thing about the settings is that you can hide some links that will take people over to YouTube.
This means more people will stay on your site.
When you view your post with YouTube videos on them, they’ll look like a normal video, but will load faster.
3. Smash Balloon YouTube Feed
Feeds for YouTube by Smash Balloon is a YouTube embed plugin specifically made for YouTube.
It lets you add a YouTube video gallery of the channel to your site. It can be your own channel or any channel you want.
- Carousel Sliders
- Video Filtering
- Smart Video Player Loading
Let’s look at how it works.
Install and activate Feeds for YouTube and click on the Feeds for YouTube link in the sidebar.
Setup is like WP Social Ninja, except you won’t need to copy and paste the OAuth code.
Click on the big button that says, Connect to YouTube to Create a Feed. Follow the steps and return to the settings page.
In the section that says Select Feed Type, past in the channel ID of the YouTube channel you want to display on your site.
Hit save and click the customize tab.
From here, you can customize the way the videos show on your website. Choose your preferred settings and save the changes.
Now all you have to do is insert the shortcode [youtube-feed] onto any page where you want to display videos of a YouTube channel.
Here’s what it looks like on the frontend:
Feeds for YouTube Pro has more features than the free version.
Pricing starts at $49 per year.
4. Embed Plus for YouTube
Embed Plus for YouTube is like WP Social Ninja and Smash Balloon YouTube Feed, but it has more display options and more settings available in its free version.
You can embed single videos, a YouTube playlist, a channel page, and live stream videos.
One downfall is that it isn’t as easy to configure all the settings as it is with the other plugins.
Because there are so many options, it can be a slightly daunting process.
If you want to use it for the basics though, like adding a playlist or single video, you can do so by pasting the URL and using the default settings:
The video will show in your post as normal, but you have the added extra of adjusting how it displays and tweaks to improve performance.
If the free version of Embed Plus wasn’t enough, the pro version takes it to another level.
It adds more advanced customization, will lazy load videos for faster page loads, even embed live stream chat on your site, and much more.
Pricing starts at $39.99 and is a onetime payment.
EmbedPress is an easy-to-use WordPress plugin to embed not only YouTube videos, but from other video platforms.
If you need to embed videos from Vimeo, Wistia, Twitch, and others, then EmbedPress is a great option.
EmbedPress is best used for inserting single videos into your articles and using the settings to improve the look and feel and performance of your pages.
Adding a video to your posts is almost the same as doing it manually, except you use a different Gutenberg block or shortcode:
The settings are really straightforward which makes this plugin great for beginners or those looking for nothing too technical.
If you want to unlock all the settings, the pro version starts at $29 per year.
You get more branding options and over 100 content providers.
The Best Way To Embed YouTube Videos
To embed a YouTube video in WordPress, you simply paste the YouTube URL into a page or blog post. However, using a plugin has extra benefits such as improvements to performance, layout, and branding.
For something simple that can embed from other video hosting platforms, look at EmbedPress.
If you want to embed reviews and things from social media platforms, try out WP Social Ninja, which includes YouTube embedding.
To simply lazy load YouTube videos, have a look at the Lazy Load for Videos plugin.
For more recommendations for WordPress sites, check out this round-up of the best WordPress plugins for Google Analytics or this list of the best Chrome extensions for SEO.