Solved: 10 Things To Do When YouTube Video Loads But Doesn't Play

YouTube won't play

We've all been there, haven't we? We hook up our headphones, grab some snacks, and fire up YouTube to watch some stuff.

The video page opens up, but the never-ending "loading" swirl doesn't seem to end.

The frustration sounds familiar, doesn't it? Well, there are a few things you could try before losing your head in anger.

So here are 10 things to try when a YouTube video loads up but doesn't play.

1. Clear the browser/app cache

Clear Browser Cache Data

If you're on a PC, go to the browser's settings and clear the data. This will clear all cookies, history and browser cache.

Close your browser and disconnect your system from the internet.

Reconnect it and fire up the browser again. It will work most of the time.

If you're watching it on the YouTube app on your phone, go to the app info page and clear the cached data. Then fire it up again and try to play something.

2. Switch browser applications/ website versions

Check for Updates or Switch Browsers

This one is pretty obvious. If for some reason, your daily browser app doesn't play YouTube anymore, switch to another one.

If you're positive that your browser is great, load up the mobile version of YouTube and then load back the Desktop version again. This usually gets you back in the game.

3. Reboot your device and try again

Restart the browser and then the Device itself

This is pretty straightforward. Just close all running apps and restart your system. It should work of it was a minor compilation issue with your browser software.

4. Enable JavaScript from your browser settings

Usually only on older browsers like IE

This will fix the trouble when playing embedded videos on pages like blog posts and social media sites.

Go into your respective browser settings are looking for a section called "JavaScript". Simply tick the 'enable JavaScript' box, and you should be ready to roll.

5. Disable all of your browser extensions/plugins

Firefox extensions

Sometimes, an ad block or some other plugin might mess around with the videos on any website, even YouTube. So first, disable all the plugins from your browser and refresh the page once again.

If it fixes the problem, then it was probably an issue with one of your plugin software. My guess is that it could be the Adblock extension. Remove it or replace it with a better variant that you'll find out there.

6. Reduce the video quality to something like 480p

If the interface is available but there is no play button, maybe your internet or your GPU is having a hard time processing the video at its current resolution. Click on the gear icon of the player and dial down the quality a bit.

I recommend you keep it at 480p in critical conditions with slow internet. Usually, even on an average internet, videos will play at 480p and the quality won't be too bad.

If you're on an unstable network, 480p may not work. You'll have to dial down even lower. Sorry, welcome to the 240p club!

7. Install/update your Adobe flash player

Reinstall Adobe Flash player

If YouTube videos embedded into other websites are not playing upon loading, then you might have to update your flash player plugin.

If you don't have it on your browser, you'll obviously be notified when you try to play it. Just make sure you get the latest version of the same.

8. Try restarting the browser application

You've probably already thought of this. If you haven't tried it yet, go ahead! Close all tabs, clear everything and close the browser. Then fire it back up again. See if it fixes the issue.

9. Skip the optimized version of the website

Sometimes, if you use some browsers like Chrome, it will automatically detect slow internet and load an optimized version of any website. This optimized version will have basic text and images, but not HTML5 formatted data and flash scripts.

This might handicap your browser from handling YouTube videos. Actually, your browser is handicapping itself, to load the page faster.

All you need to do in this case is to load the full version of the optimized website. It might take a while because there has to be a reason why your browser chose to fire up the 80% reduced version of the site. But once it is loaded, your embedded video or even directly from YouTube will be available to play.

10. Use a TFC: Temp File Cleaner

Temporary files cleaner

Use a cleaner tool called TFC to clear put some temporary files generated through your browser and the links that you visit.

Sometimes, these temp files force video streaming pages like YouTube to get stuck on a single thumbnail and only play audio, sometimes neither.

So just search for TFC and download the one that you find convenient. I have found a link here:

On clearing out the temp files, I recommend you restart the browser application once and attempt to play videos. It should work fine.

These were some things you could try and do if you find that your YouTube videos are loading up, but aren't playing.

Did any of this work for you? Or are you still stuck?!

Let me know on Twitter, I'm @thehopelessgeek. Come hang out with me, let's chat!


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