With hundreds of hours of videos uploaded to the site every minute, YouTube has become a source of seemingly endless entertainment. And for an avid viewer, there are few things more exciting than getting a notification that a favorite creator has uploaded a new video. However, a video that pauses and buffers incessantly can take away all the fun of watching YouTube.
Let’s see why YouTube videos lag and buffer and how to fix this annoying problem.
How to fix YouTube lag and buffering on a computer
Since YouTube does not provide a native desktop app, users are forced to rely on web browsers to watch their favorite YouTube videos. Unfortunately, these browsers are often responsible for YouTube playback issues. But they are not the only ones to blame. Let’s take a look at what else can go wrong on a computer and cause the YouTube web client to slow down. Once the problem is identified, a few simple steps can fix it.
Bad internet connection
Poor internet connection and fluctuating speed can be the cause of the YouTube lag and buffering issues. Video playback is an intensive task that requires a stable and fast network connection. So if there are any problems with YouTube video playback, it may be wise to check the internet speed to determine its stability.
How to Check Internet Speed
Testing internet speed is a simple task that can quickly reveal the reason behind video playback problems. All you need to do is visit a speed testing website like the Fast website and wait for it to display your connection speed.
Here are estimated internet speeds needed to play any video format on YouTube without interruption:
- SD 360p: 0.7Mbps
- SD 480p: 1.1Mbps
- HD 720p: 2.5 Mbps
- HD 1080p: 5Mbps
- 4K: 20Mbps
If the measured internet speed is lower than the required speed, this may explain why there are problems watching the video. The best solution is to call the ISP and upgrade your internet package. But an immediate solution would be to lower the playback video quality to match the current internet speed.
Change video quality
Choosing a lower resolution for the video being watched should immediately solve the lagging and buffering issue, although it can affect the overall viewing experience.
To change the video quality on YouTube, do the following:
- Click the gear icon in the top right corner of the video window.
- Go to the “Quality” tab. Select the appropriate resolution based on the current internet speed.
While the cache is primarily used to make a previously visited website load faster, having too much data on a computer can have the opposite effect. So clearing the browser cache every now and then can do wonders to improve browsing speed.
Clear cache from Google Chrome
Follow these steps to clear Google Chrome’s cache and browsing data:
- Navigate to the three dots icon in the top right corner of the Chrome window.
- Select “Settings” from the drop-down menu.
- Tap the “Privacy & Security” tab in the left side panel.
- Press the “Clear browsing data” button.
- Go to the “Advanced” tab.
- Check all available boxes except “Passwords and other login information” and “Autofill from data”.
- Click on ‘Clear data’.
Clear cache of Mozilla Firefox
If you are using a Mozilla Firefox browser, here’s how to clear your cache:
- Click the hamburger icon in the top right corner of the browser window.
- Choose “Settings” from the drop-down menu.
- Go to the ‘Privacy & Security’ tab on the left.
- Navigate to the “Cookies and Site Data” section.
- Tap the “Clear data” button.
- Only check the “Cached web content” box.
- Click ‘Clear’.
How to clear Opera’s cache
Opera users can clear the browser cache by following these steps:
- Press the hotkey “CTRL + H” on the keyboard. Tap “Clear browsing data” in the top right.
- Check the ‘Cached images and files’ box.
- Click on ‘Clear data’.
To watch YouTube videos without interruption, you need an up-to-date browser. If there are playback issues, the browser you are using may be outdated and need to be updated.
How to Update Google Chrome
Updating Google Chrome is a simple process that takes no more than a few minutes.
- Click the three dots icon in the top right.
- Go to the “Help” option.
- Select ‘About Google Chrome’.
- If an update is available, follow the on-screen instructions to install it.
Update Mozilla Firefox
You can update your Mozilla Firefox browser to the latest edition in a few easy steps:
- Tap the hamburger icon in the top right corner.
- Navigate to the ‘Help’ section in the drop-down menu.
- Choose ‘About Firefox’.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to update your browser.
- After the update is installed, click the “Restart to update Firefox” button.
Follow these steps to update an Opera browser:
- Click the red “O” button in the top left corner.
- Go to the “Update & Recovery” option.
- If an update is available, tap the “Relaunch Now” button to install it.
Outdated graphics and network drivers can cause video performance issues, resulting in choppy playback. Fortunately, this problem can be easily solved by updating your drivers.
How to Update Drivers on Windows
If you have a Windows PC, follow these steps to update the necessary drivers:
- Type “Device Manager” in the search box and click on the appropriate icon.
- Double click on the “Display Adapters” option.
- Right click on your graphics card.
- Choose “Update Driver”.
- Tap the “Search for driver software automatically” button.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to update your driver.
- In the Device Manager, double-click the “Network Adapters” tab. Right click on the connection you are using.
- Repeat steps 4-6.
- Restart your PC.
How to Update Drivers on a Mac
MacOS handles all driver updates at once, so you can check for updates and update all your software at once.
- Click on the apple icon in the top left.
- Tap the “System Preferences” tab.
- Select ‘Software Update’.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to install the software update, if available.
Malicious plug-ins and extensions can wreak havoc on your browser and thus your internet usage. These unwanted additions are often installed without your knowledge, so checking the Extensions tab every now and then can help keep them under control.
How To Remove Unwanted Extensions On Google Chrome
Follow these steps to remove potentially harmful extensions from your Google Chrome browser:
- Go to the three dots icon in the top right corner of your browser window.
- Hover over the “More tools” option.
- Select ‘Extensions’.
- Scroll through the list of installed extensions and remove the ones you don’t recognize by clicking the “Uninstall” button in their section.
- Restart your browser.
How To Remove Unwanted Extensions In Mozilla Firefox
Unwanted add-ons can be removed from your Mozilla Firefox browser in a few clicks:
- Go to the menu icon at the top right of the window.
- Select ‘Add-ons and Themes’.
- Click on “Extensions”. Comb through your installed extensions. If you find an extension you don’t recognize, tap the three-dot icon next to its name and select “Remove.”
- Restart your browser.
How to remove unwanted extensions on Opera
If you’re using Opera, here’s how to remove unwanted extensions:
- Press the keyboard shortcut “CTRL + Shift + E” to launch “Extensions”. Scroll through the installed extensions and press the “X” button next to the extensions you don’t recognize.
How to fix YouTube lag and buffering on mobile phone
If you’re trying to stream a YouTube video on your smartphone but it keeps buffering, try force quitting and relaunching the app. If the problem persists, there are a few things you can try to fix it.
While browser cache is meant to make websites load faster, having too much data can interfere with the normal functioning of apps. If you’re having trouble playing YouTube, try clearing the app’s cache on your mobile device.
Clear cache on an Android
Here’s how to clear YouTube’s cache on your Android device:
- Go to Settings.”
- Scroll down to ‘Apps’.
- Find “YouTube” in the list.
- Tap the “Storage” tab.
- Press the “Clear cache” button.
- Restart your smartphone.
Clear cache on an iPhone
If you have an iPhone, follow these steps to clear YouTube’s cache:
- Launch the “Settings” app.
- Go to ‘General’.
- Tap “iPhone Storage.”
- Scroll down to “YouTube” and open the tab.
- Press the “Download App” button.
If clearing the cache and restarting your phone doesn’t work, the YouTube app itself may be responsible for the slowdown and buffering. So try uninstalling and reinstalling the app from the Play Store or the App Store.
Streaming YouTube videos without interruption is essential for an enjoyable viewing experience. Whether you’re watching a video or listening to music in the background, the methods outlined in this article should allow you to enjoy YouTube in all its glory.
Have you had any issues with YouTube slowdowns? How did you solve it? Let us know in the comments below.