Compression Settings for YouTube and Vimeo

Compression Settings for YouTube and Vimeo

In a post a few years back, I wrote about settings for video and audio uploads to YouTube and Vimeo.   That post was from 2011 and a lot has happened since then.  There are now different options that are preferred compression settings for YouTube and Vimeo uploads.

Compression Settings for YouTube and Vimeo

Both sites are robust and offer their user groups something exceptionally attractive.  YouTube is generally aimed at exposure and information rather than cinematography while Vimeo is built around the use of video for professional purposes like movies, commericals, etc.  YouTube works everywhere but the finished product with Vimeo can be much sharper.  You’ll have to decide which is best for you.

Let’s talk first about compression settings for YouTube and then we’ll visit Vimeo.


If you visit the link

you’ll notice that YouTube is pretty particular about what things are recommended while being exceptionally flexible about other settings.  You’ll note that the recommendation is for the MP4 container.  Recommended codecs are AAC-LC (low-complexity AAC) and H.264.  For audio, use 48 or 96 kilohertz and for video, you can see (in the table below) a listing of recommendations from YouTube for bitrate based upon frame rate and resolution.

Type Video Bitrate,
Standard Frame Rate
(24, 25, 30)
Video Bitrate,
High Frame Rate
(48, 50, 60)
2160p (4k) 35-45 Mbps 53-68 Mbps
1440p (2k) 16 Mbps 24 Mbps
1080p 8 Mbps 12 Mbps
720p 5 Mbps 7.5 Mbps
480p 2.5 Mbps 4 Mbps
360p 1 Mbps 1.5 Mbps

Audio recommendations are much simpler

Type Audio Bitrate
Mono 128 kbps
Stereo 384 kbps
5.1 512 kbps

Both above tables are taken directly from YouTube’s own handiwork and I claim no ownership to their collective wisdom.

For most of us, all video and audio in our recordings are probably different from these exact settings.  Here are some rules of thumb that I follow:

  1. Record audio and video in highest quality.
  2. Render video (using a nonlinear editor or command line tool) at rates and settings no higher than the raw footage.
  3. Upload video/audio to YouTube in the best possible rates.
  4. Upload video to YouTube in the native resolution of your footage OR at a resolution that is at the similar ratio.  For example, if I record in 1080p, I’ll render to 1080p or 720p but not 480p.

One of the reasons YouTube is so powerful is that anything you upload can be ported to any display size.  Fortunately, we don’t have to think about high-resolution or low-resolution.


Vimeo is definitely the choice for professionals who want to display their work for it’s creative and artistic aspects OR for people who are concerned about branding.  Vimeo leaves it’s recommendation (more likely guidelines) for compression below:

Note that most of the settings are the same with the exception of higher resolution videos.  Vimeo does support the upload of 2K and 4K videos but not the streaming of those videos–only the download.  Again, note that all videos should be progressive and not interlaced and framerates should be constant.


This information is good for anyone who is developing a YouTube or Vimeo community (for whatever reason) and wants to know how to make the best videos possible.

What remains?  When should you post?

Checking out the above link seems to indicate that Thursday-Sunday are the best days to post with early afternoons best for Thursday and Friday and mid-morning the best for the weekend.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or thoughts to share, leave them in the comment box below.  Feel free to like and/or share this blog post.  Finally, subscribe to my blog if you feel that information here was valuable to you.

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