Most Internet users don't stop and think about how the web works.  They just turn on the computer, fire up a browser, and start surfing all that amazing content.  But if you've worked in web development, online marketing, or any tech-related field, you know there's a lot more that goes into it.

And YouTube is the same way.  Most users get frustrated if a video pauses to buffer and load, simply assuming YouTube is having glitches.  But there are a host of spots along the path all those bits and bytes travel—between the user's browser request for the video and the actual video playback—that we don't often stop and think about.  As with most web services, there is a lot going on behind the scenes that users (myself included) often take for granted.

Time Warner Cable decided to help demystify how YouTube works and created this amazing infographic.  Check it out:

How Does YouTube Work? Time Warner Infographic Breaks It Down How YouTube Works1

Infogrphics are all the rage right now, with good reason.  They present useful and informative content in an animated, easy-to-follow manner.  And this is one of the best I've seen.

The next time you have a client that's having trouble grasping how YouTube actually works, you might consider sharing this with them.  They're likely to say, as I did, "Wow… I had no idea it was that complicated.”

Here's the original Time Warner article about the infographic, and you can view and download it in multiple sizes on their Flickr page.

  • Brendan Wenzel

    What a cool infographic. Yeah, I can see why they are starting to be used more also.

  • ABC

    Wasted a lot of time, looks like Jeff could have walked outside and played with Mary's dog instead of watching a video.

  • Ronnie Bincer

    Did you all notice the "subject" of the video described in this infographic??? That's right it is Mary's DOG... yup, a Dog is the star of the video! Yeah Baby! Dogs Rule... Cats Drool
    -- Your Friend, Victor the Video SEO HOUND.
    Woof! Woof!

  • Dave

    So you're saying my poor Time Warner Service is due to something happening between steps 10 and 13? Aha...

  • Nicholas Stewart

    Thanks for the info graphic. I had a basic idea of what went on with YouTube video but there are a few steps I've never considered.

    By the way I give this a thumbs up on stumble upon.

    Nick, The Traffic Guy

  • Jeremy Campbell

    Wow there is a lot going on behind the scenes at YouTube, thanks for sharing this infographic Jeremy. No wonder it takes so long to process a newly uploaded video.

    • Jeremy Scott

      No problem. I consider myself pretty tech-savvy (that's subjective, I know), but I almost never stop and think about everything that has to happen to make a YouTube video play. Glad you enjoyed it!