Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing a product through one of these links generates a commission for us at no additional expense to you.
“Follow the plan outlined here and you can create your own website from scratch without writing any code for less than $300.”
Want to make a site like Youtube?
You don’t need to hire expensive developers.
In fact, every tool you need is already made and ready to use.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to make a video site like Youtube where members can upload their own videos, like and subscribe, create playlists, and more.
Update: I first published this guide in 2017, and since then, many new themes have been released. Most of the steps are the same, but I’ve updated the recommended tools to better reflect the best products available in 2021.
The site you’ll create
The website you’ll make will look something like this:
That’s is the VidoRev WordPress theme. It’s jam-packed with powerful video community features, loads of style options, and integrations with page builder plugins to customize every aspect of the design.
We’ll explore this template more later in the guide, but let’s move on to the expense of creating a site like Youtube first.
How much does the site cost?
To build this site, I recommend the following products:
The total cost comes out to just $118.40, which is pretty impressive considering how complex a video community site is. While your site needs a domain name too (normally $10-12), you can get it for free when you register with Bluehost, which is why I excluded that cost.
It’s never been cheaper to build a website like this, but the vast WordPress community has made it possible to buy incredibly feature-rich products for an affordable price.
Now that you’ve gotten a quick look at the style and cost of the site, let’s dive into the steps.
How to create a site like Youtube
There are only six steps to make a website like Youtube.
- Choose a domain
- Signup for web hosting
- Install WordPress
- Choose a video theme
- Install & configure the theme
I’ll walk you through each step, most of which are probably easier than you’re expecting.
Choose a domain
Every website needs a domain name, and yours is no different.
It’s going to be hard to find a snappy name like youtube.com, but do your best to come up with something short and memorable.
The hardest part of getting a domain isn’t coming up with decent ideas; it’s finding a good name that is still available to register. To make this easier, I wrote a guide on finding available domain names.
If you employ the tips outlined in that guide, you’ll have no trouble landing an excellent domain.
And as I mentioned before, you can get it for free with Bluehost, so don’t purchase it quite yet.
Signup for web hosting
Every website is essentially made up of files. When a visitor arrives at your domain, you need a server to deliver (serve) those files to them.
Rather than purchase your own server hardware (which nobody does), you’ll rent space on a server managed by a hosting company. When you rent space on a server, we call this hosting.
For WordPress sites, and beginners in particular, I recommend Bluehost.
Bluehost is the hosting company I used when I launched my first WordPress site back in 2010. These days, creating a WP site with them is easier than ever.
When you signup, you’ll get to register a domain name for free, and besides the money savings, the other benefit is that you get to skip the DNS configuration, which often trips up beginners.
With your domain hosted with Bluehost, the next step is getting WordPress online.
Some websites have a simple installer available for WordPress, but you get to skip this step entirely with Bluehost. They auto-build a WP site for you while you’re creating your account.
In other words, all you need to do is register for hosting, and a few minutes later, you’ll have a live WordPress website hosted at the domain of your choosing. No need for an expensive WordPress development agency or programmer to build your site.
While you may be considering other platforms for your site, I recommend WordPress because of its massive community.
No matter what features you need, there’s a plugin for it. There are thousands of free plugins and even more premium plugins that can add any functionality to your site you can imagine. Plus, there are tens of thousands of themes to choose from.
And no matter what questions you have, there’s always an answer somewhere online. You can check our blog for hundreds of tutorials and optimization guides.
Once you’ve got WP installed, you’ll have a site online, but it won’t look anything like Youtube or include any of the video community features you need. That’s where the theme comes in.
The VidoRev theme
As I mentioned already, I recommend the VidoRev theme because it includes a huge number of features.
There are lots of customizable WordPress themes optimized for video. In fact, I have a lot more theme recommendations here, but integrating complex video community features will be costly and challenging. That’s why it’s more important to pick a theme with all these features already included.
VidoRev includes the following Youtube-like features:
- User video submission
- Trailers for premium content
- Integration with WooCommerce to sell video downloads
- Integration with membership plugins to charge for video access
- Like/dislike buttons
- User channels & subscriptions
- Youtube video importing
- Video lightboxes
- Video ads using Google Interactive Media integration
- Sticky videos
And as far as customization goes, you’re in luck because VidoRev integrates with Elementor (read my tutorial), which is the best page builder plugin for WordPress.
Using Elementor, you can drag-and-drop elements into your site to create custom designs for the video pages, homepage, and archives. If you get Elementor Pro, you can design an entirely new header and footer for your site.
While VidoRev is a complex theme, it is fairly easy to learn how to use. The developers have a Youtube channel and very proactive customer support available to help via email.
VidoRev is an awesome theme, but it’s not the only WordPress theme made for video websites.
My runner-up recommendation is the goWatch theme.
It has a more modern style and some slick animations. While it does include user video submissions, it doesn’t have as many advanced features as VidoRev. It’s also highly usable for vloggers and individual content creators.
If you’re more interested in social network functionality, you may prefer the Pitnik social media theme.
All of the themes I’ve listed here, including VidoRev, integrate with the BuddyPress plugin for their social community features. Pitnik takes the integration further and makes your site feel more like a social network with videos than a video site with social features.
Those are my top recommendations, but if you want a more general WordPress theme to showcase videos, you can find additional recommendations here:
Configure & customize your site
To get started with WordPress, I recommend watching my WordPress beginner’s tutorial series. The first four videos teach you how to get a site online with Bluehost, but this fifth video focuses on a WP dashboard walkthrough.
If you continue with that series, you’ll learn how to implement basic customizations like adding widgets and custom menus.
The WordPress themes I’ve recommended here are all quite complex, and that’s because a video community website is complex. Customizing them and integrating the necessary plugins will take some time, but it will all be easier once you grasp the foundational features in WordPress.
Launch your own Youtube site
I hope this guide has helped you see how easy it can be to create a site like Youtube, even if it’s your first website.
There’s a lot to learn, and you won’t finish the site overnight, but you also won’t be stopped by huge developer fees or overly technical steps. It’s amazing what you can build these days without writing code – there’s never been more opportunity for aspiring web entrepreneurs to launch their projects online.
Once you’ve got your theme installed and customized, all that’s left is to begin creating content and promoting your website. If you’re really serious about your website, then you’ll love our free 7-day email course:
It’s completely free and includes lessons on web design, performance optimization, and website monetization. After pouring through that content, you’re sure to build a better website.
Thanks for following along with this guide on how to create a site like Youtube, and if you enjoyed it, please consider sharing it with the buttons below.