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How to create a website like YouTube

Video streaming services like Netflix or YouTube became the main form of entertainment in 2022. We watch them while sleeping, eating, exercising, relaxing, or falling asleep. The revenue and the number of users on these websites keep growing, and stats only prove that this field is very promising for young startups.

How to make a website like YouTube? Easier than you think! In this article, we will dive into the website development basics and discuss what functionality video streaming service has, what the development process looks like, and answer the question, “How much does it cost to develop a site?” Let’s go!

Reading time: 13 minutes

how to make a website like youtube
Table of contents

What is a video streaming website?

It is an online platform loaded with movies, news, shows, documentaries, and clips. There are several types of such apps depending on who created the content:

    • Original content;
    • User-made videos;
    • TV programs.
Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video — it is just a small part of the long list of video streaming websites. If you used any of those, you have already had first-hand experience with such platforms.

YouTube is one of the biggest streaming platforms with user-generated content, which means users can upload their own videos and watch clips created by others. 

how to make a website like youtube

Interface of the main page

If you’re looking to find out how to make a website like YouTube, it is worth reading their story. Here is a recap. The video-sharing tech startup was founded in 2005 by three guys who worked at PayPal: Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. The first money they got from venture capitalists. The service quickly became popular, hit millions of views, and in 2006, was bought by Google. By that time YouTube had only 65 employees. After that, the corporation invested a lot into the website development: they started Partner Program for creators, adapted interfaces to other countries, and added paid content like movies and TV shows. With that, YouTube started rapidly growing and became one of the main video streaming platforms globally.

Why YouTube is so popular

Our grandparents couldn’t tear themselves away from the TV; now the same scenario repeats with video hosting sites. You don’t have to watch what’s on now — the choice is yours. And this isn’t the only perk of YouTube. 

Billions of videos for free

YouTube viewers don’t pay any subscription fees to enjoy video content. You watch everything you want for free. However, on most channels, YouTubers integrate paid promotions, and there are also ads promoted by the video website itself. It offers just one premium subscription option for viewing the content ad-free on offline mode and listening to music. 

Engaging recommendations

When users open the main page of YouTube, they see a mixture of personalized recommendations, subscriptions, news, and posts. This is a huge advantage if we speak of video hosting that can baffle you with huge amounts of content. Based on trends, watch, and search history, YouTube algorithms try to predict what one particular user wants to make the interaction as engaging as possible. 

Communities with multi-format content 

In 2024, YouTube went beyond being a video sharing website only. You can post short videos, text messages, gifs, polls, and images. The site still primarily remains a hosting platform for video content, but its ability to support multi-formatted messages enabled YouTubers to run communities and build stronger bonds with viewers.  

Suitable for multi-purpose use 

You are almost free to exploit video hosting websites as you wish, like for fun, studying, self-development, sports, or communication. YouTube offers a broad variety of vlogs, tutorials, entertaining and educational content. Instead of switching between different websites or TV channels, users watch all of it on one platform.

Interesting facts about YouTube

Now, probably everyone knows how big and popular YouTube is. But we are used to dealing with facts and numbers, therefore we found and collected impressive and jaw-dropping statistics for YouTube. 

    • In 2024, YouTube remained as the second most visited website after Google. The average time users spend on the platform is 21 minutes.
    • The first money YouTube received from venture capitalists, the largest sums were $11.5 million and $8 million during the early rounds.
    • In 2006, Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion.
    • In March 2013, YouTube registered 1 billion monthly active users (1/7 of the world’s population!).
    • YouTube is available in 80 different languages.
    • Every minute, around 500 hours of video is uploaded on the platform.
    • The first video uploaded to YouTube was called “Me at the zoo” and is still available on the website:

As you can see, YouTube went from a small startup to one of the largest websites in the world. How to make a website like YouTube that will attract investors and users? Let’s break website development down!

See also  Ultimate Video Marketplace With Indexing of Private Pages in 3 months. Contentplace Case
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Features for video streaming sites like YouTube

Now it is hard to believe, but YouTube was not the first video streaming website — Vimeo was founded a year earlier in 2004. But something about YouTube made investors see the potential and invest millions during the first year. What was so promising about the website? The answer is in its functionality.

Here are 4 essential features of YouTube:

Search

How to make a website like YouTube without the search and navigation tools? Impossible! At the top of every page, the platform has a search bar with predictions.To find a video, users type in their request and then can filter results based on lengths, number of views, upload date, and others.

how to make a website like youtube

Search prediction function

Of course, every creator wants their video to be #1 in the search results. For that, YouTube has its own Search Engine — a program that predicts what people are looking for based on keywords and ranks the videos. For a video to be in the top results of a search, it needs the right description and title — just like on Google. 

Creators have access to the Search Insights — this section gathers data about what words their followers and general audience are searching for. 

Developing your own search engine software can cost a fortune and is not essential for early-stage startups, but search functionality is a must. Talk to your development team to learn how to make a website like YouTube with a search bar, predictions, and filters.

See also  Top 15 minimum viable product examples and stories behind them

Profile

YouTube allows users to watch videos without sign-up, but if you want to leave comments and likes, follow channels, and get personal recommendations — please, create a profile. As we mentioned before, the website is owned by Google, therefore the sign-in process is synced up with the Google system. Basically, everyone who has a Gmail account is already registered on YouTube.

how to make a website like youtube

YouTube sign-in

If you are interested in how to make a website like YouTube with personal profiles from scratch, think about your audience and the information from them that you will need. The basic set is name, e-mail address, the age for legal restrictions in some countries, and an optional photo.

Admin panel for creators

How to make a website like YouTube self-generate content? Build a special page for creators. On YouTube, it is called YouTube Studio; this section helps users manage and grow their channels. For example, with Search Insights, Channel Dashboard, and Video Performance stats.

YouTube has the same access levels and functionality for both viewers and channel owners. Everyone can log in as a creator and start uploading videos, but to enroll in a monetization program and earn revenue from the content, bloggers need a certain number of followers and views. 

Commenting

The comments section is the way how to make a website interactive and engaging. On YouTube, registered profiles can leave their own comments, reply to others as well as like or dislike them.

how to make a website like youtube

Comments on YouTube

However, as with any post, comments need automated moderation to remove offensive messages and hate speech. YouTube is now testing a new feature — they let random bloggers set guidelines for a comment section on their channel. Definitely worth keeping an eye on the results of this experiment and using it as an inspiration for your startup idea.

Recommendation system 

Video hosting viewers often open the app to just watch something in the background, without any clue of what it could be. To engage users on the spot, YouTube offers recommendations right on the home screen.

Viewers see what’s trending, recommended, and what videos others like

Recommendations on Youtube

If you’re planning to build a hosting platform for sharing videos, make a section with recommendations a must. This increases the chances that the target audience will return to your video site soon. 

Voluntary subscription 

YouTube made lots of free content a killer feature for video hosting. Paid subscriptions discourage people, as in, “Why pay for something when you can have it elsewhere for free?” Still, you can offer optional subscriptions with some benefits to make interaction with your video website more user-friendly.

Say, Youtube Premium offers ads-free and background play along with a music app

Youtube Premium

Being already familiar with the features of your video hosting website, the audience will more likely turn into adopters. And buy the subscription you’re offering. 

Content moderation 

Let’s be honest, when it comes to user-generated content, some video content publishers step out of line. It is highly unlikely that your users will stay if they have to constantly see trash streams, adult videos, or posts with disturbing scenes when they open your app. To protect your video site from this kind of exposure, you need moderation. It traces disturbing content associated with nudity, abuse, violence, and impersonation. Say, YouTube has content guidelines and an option to flag off videos that users find disturbing. 

User-friendly advertising 

While TV ads look spammy and annoying, YouTube handles them more gently. Video hostings support analytics to launch targeted campaigns based on demographic groups, interests, placements, and similar data. As a result, advertisements seem more relevant from the viewer’s perspective. Consider it a must if you want to benefit from your product like YouTube does.  

Things to consider before starting development on your video-streaming website

With the software development of a video sharing website, startuppers have to pay much attention to fast video loading speed, the capability to survive masses of viewers, and the protection of user data. 

Video encoding and transcoding

Video sharing websites handle content of various lengths, sizes, and quality. Despite the characteristics, any publication has to be compatible with the network connection to make it possible to view. Videos that take too long to load or require reduced resolution to view discourage the audience from ever returning. To make a successful hosting platform, you have to make sure it performs well. 

Good performance is why your web development team has to do encoding or transcoding. Encoding means compressing a video file while transcoding means changing the format of this video file. Typically, both are done together to ensure the best viewer experience of a video hosting site. As a result, the audience can watch things on any device and choose the resolution they prefer. 

Content storage

Another thing to consider before building a video hosting site is where to store all the content. This matter has a close connection with encoding and transcoding. Of course, you can do everything on personal web hosting — this path gives you full control but takes away website speed and performance. We recommend another option — cloud storage. Compared to the first one, this approach offers scalability and cost-efficiency in handling large files. 

What you can use:

    • Amazon Simple Storage Service or simply Amazon S3. The web hosting service is used across enterprises of all sizes and industries for storing, managing, and protecting huge masses of data. 
    • Google Cloud Storage. Practically similar to the previous one but developed based on the Google Cloud Platform and is more fitting for enterprise businesses. 
    • Microsoft Azure Cool Blob Storage. Slightly differs from the previous from a tech perspective, but also provides a massively scalable storage service for unstructured data.

Security

The content published on a video hosting platform as well as the creators’ accounts can contain private information. It’s protected by law. Before starting your web development journey, we highly recommend taking a legal consultation to make sure the product complies with data regulations. 

Implementation of paid subscriptions obliges product owners to make security their top priority. You should cover not just password policies, collection of personal files and information for processing and analytics, but also financial matters.

To enhance the protection capabilities of your product, consider using AES encryption, which stands for Advanced Encryption Standard. It encrypts data in several steps to reduce the chances of jeopardy and keep out hackers.

Security is also vital in case you’re planning to combine hosting videos for kids and adults at once. Content for the underage has to be limited to prevent them from watching disturbing scenes. Some platforms enable viewers to create multiple accounts for adults and kids to save parents from moderating the content manually. 

To sum it up, from a tech perspective, startuppers have to provide high performance to keep the early adopters and promote subscriptions. All the risks concerning data should be mitigated from the get-go. 

DMCA regulations for a Youtube-like website

DMCA stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This is a copyright law established in 1998 in the United States to ensure the protection of intellectual property against theft. 

Video hosting services like Youtube handle sheaves of exclusive content produced specifically for one platform. For publishers, this is a way to earn money on ads, and leaks can compromise the reputation of the software. So, don’t neglect DMCA regulations.

Hostings for video often ban content downloading to ensure the obedience of intellectual property rights. Say, YouTube forbids publishers from uploading content without the permission of the original author. Anti-piracy protection is worth implementing as it helps avoid content theft and subsequent issues with publishers.

7 steps to build a video streaming site like YouTube

Developing a video streaming website with a freelancer is nearly impossible. Platforms like YouTube are complex applications that require several specialists — front and back end developers, UX designers, and QA engineers. 

If you are wondering how to make a website like YouTube with an outsourced team and what the work process consists of, we got you. Here are 7 steps of the development if you decide to work with us, and what you need to prepare for each one. 

See also  5 reasons for outsourcing the MVP development for startup

🤔 Disclaimer: this is how the development process looks like in Purrweb. To guarantee you won’t skip any step and your project will be well-executed, get in touch with us.

1. Choose a web host and domain name

Start by making up the name you want to go under on the internet. The spelling should be easy, catchy, and short. Besides, the name should give a hint as to what the website content will be like. 

Let’s see some examples:

Do ✅ Don’t ❌
www.vimeo.com

Short, easy to remember, sounds like video 

www.videosforsharing.com

Long, hard to read, incomprehensible 

www.dailymotion.com

Easy to read and remember, the word “motion” hints at video content 

www.cinemainyourpocket.com

Long, hard to read, incomprehensible

Along with a domain name, you need web hosting for your software. Some registries, like GoDaddy, combine both services at once. Choosing a hosting is a tech issue and just in case you’re finding it hard to make up your mind, our developers can give you some advice on that. We can work with both your hosting or do everything from scratch.

2. Take care of your content

The first step is defining what content you will use — user-generated or licensed videos. If you are going to use third-party clips, make sure to properly leverage all movies and shows to avoid copyright problems. Here you will need help from a legal team, and IT specialists will join during the next step.

3. Find the developers

The question is not how to make a website, but who will do it. When choosing a team, check their reviews and portfolio to get an impression of their experience. We also recommend paying special attention to previous cases — whether the team has worked with similar projects and tech stacks that are needed for the development.

4. Provide references, discuss use case scenarios and key features

To learn about your taste and preferences, your development team will ask about references. Just gather everything you saw and liked — links, screenshots, and app names will work. Then, the team will map the user’s journey and define the key features to understand how to make a website like YouTube with a focus on usability and customer experience.

5. Approve user-oriented UI/UX design 

At this step, the team will prepare b/w wireframes to clarify the logic of the app and the visual concept to see the final result and get the UI kit assembled. It will make the future development process smooth and clear. The team will present materials to you, and you will have a final say about how to make a website.

6. Check the results every 2 weeks

Most of the teams, Purrweb included, work in sprints — basically, this means that in a short, time-boxed period, we focus on one feature, develop it from top to bottom in 2 weeks, and in the next sprint, move to another one. It helps us to define priorities and stay organized. After every sprint, our project manager will show you the intermediate results, so you can stay up to date and quickly make corrections.

7. Test the website before you launch

How to make a website that will interest the investors? First thing, make it bugless. No one will like errors on the website — they will only make users frustrated and annoyed. That is why testing before the release is a must. The QA engineers on the development team usually check everything and find any possible glitch before it even occurs on the platform.

8. Develop a marketing strategy to attract users

The guide on how to make a website like YouTube doesn’t end with the release. To constantly grow the relevant audience and strengthen the website positions, you need a solid marketing strategy. If you outsource the development to a team, you will have plenty of time to come up with the promo activities — we guarantee.

Let’s start the YouTube-like website development process today!
We look forward to hearing from you. Contact us for a free project estimate within 48 hours.
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Timelines and costs

If you got to this part of an article, you’re probably wondering, “How much does it cost to develop a site?” Our team prepared a detailed breakdown of price and timeframe:

Stage What are we doing Estimation in hours Estimation in weeks Approximate costs
Initial meeting Discuss the idea of your app 1 day no costs
UI/UX design Map users’ journey, come up with design concepts for each step, and present them to you 180 hours 6 weeks 7200$
Development Work on architecture and the interface on both client and server-side 1600 hours 18 weeks 64000$
Administration tools Create features for an administrator to manage profiles, edit in-app texts, recover passwords, etc. 200 hours in parallel with the dev 8000$
QA Testing Look for any possible bug and fix it before it even occurs 450 hours in parallel with the dev 8100$
Project management Manage the mobile app development project and solve administrative tasks In parallel with the project In parallel with the project 600$

4500$

If you decide to build your video streaming service with us, the website development will cost you around $92000 and will take approximately 5 months.

Wrapping up

We hope our guide on how to make a website for video content will help your startup to find where to start from.

Purrweb is a skilled team that helps develop MVPs with a focus on reliable user experience and usability of the platform. If you are interested in custom-developing and want to know,  “How much does it cost to develop a site based on my idea?”, we can help you.

Fill in the quote, and we will get back to you with an estimation shortly.

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