Today, it can be difficult to imagine life without YouTube. Even so, some PC users encounter errors that mean they are unable to watch content on the site.
YouTube is the world’s most popular video platform, but its complexity means it sometimes behaves in unexpected ways.
If you have recently dealt with, or are still dealing with, the Playback Error on YouTube, this guide has all the answers you need to overcome the problem.
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The Problem Explained
It seemingly doesn’t take much for this problem to occur. Many users have reported seeing it when trying to access YouTube videos, regardless of their category.
When the error appears, it’s impossible to continue playing the video without refreshing. Sometimes, this problem occurs in the middle of a video, which can be even more frustrating.
The image below shows one of the screens you might see when this error occurs.
Fortunately, the solutions for this notorious playback problem on YouTube are not very complex. With the right methods, you can solve this issue in just a few minutes.
Fix 1: Clear Your Browser’s Cache And History
This is the simplest solution, so we recommend trying it first.
If you are using Chrome as your chosen browser, here’s what you need to do:
- Open Chrome and click on the three vertical dots in the top-right corner.
- In the dropdown menu, choose Settings to open the configuration panel.
- Scroll down until you see the Privacy and Security section. Choose Clear Browsing Data to access the final window where you will be doing the cleanup.
- Tick the boxes next to the three available options. Finish by clicking Clear Data in the bottom-right corner. Be sure to select All time in the time range field.
Exit and reopen your browser, then return to YouTube. Choose a video and try playing it. The problem should no longer occur.
For Firefox users, the process is slightly different. This official step-by-step guide from Mozilla will help you do it in under a minute.
Fix 2: Flush Your DNS Cache
Flushing your DNS Cache might sound intimidating, but the process is simple. Multiple users reported that it helped them overcome the playback issue and could do the same for you.
Here’s how to do it:
- Click on the search button in the bottom-left corner of your taskbar in Windows.
- When the search bar opens, type “cmd” and press “Enter” on your keyboard. This will open the command prompt.
- In the command prompt, type in “!ipconfig /flushdns” without quotation marks. Press “Enter” on your keyboard again to execute the command.
Wait a few seconds until you see a confirmation message, which should be “Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache,” then close the command prompt.
Open YouTube and try to play a video. The problem should now be resolved and not cause any further trouble.
Note: It isn’t mandatory to restart your browser after flushing the DNS, but we recommend doing it just to be sure.
Fix 3: Change Your DNS Settings
Changing your DNS settings is not the same as flushing your DNS. As this is also a confirmed fix, we recommend trying it if the previous methods didn’t help.
Here’s what you need to do to change the DNS settings:
- Click on the search button on your taskbar in the bottom-left corner, as indicated in the image below.
- In the search field, type “Settings” and press “Enter” on your keyboard. In the panel that opens, click on the “Network & Internet” category, as the image below suggests.
- In this window, click on the first setting under the “Advanced network settings” category, Change adapter options.
- You should now see a list of network connections. Right-click on the one you’re currently using and select “Properties” in the menu that appears.
- In the list of options, click “Internet Protocol Version 4”, then select “Properties” by clicking the button below.
- In the window that appears, select the “Use the following DNS server addresses” option at the bottom of the panel. Type in the same numbers as shown in the fields in the image below.
Note: If you can’t see the image, the values are as follows:
- Preferred DNS Server: 8*8*8*8
- Alternate DNS Server: 8*8*4*4
Finish by clicking the “OK” button at the bottom of the window. Try playing a YouTube video again and see if the problem persists. You should now be able to watch without further issues.
Fix 4: Use A Virtual Private Network (VPN)
VPNs help you stay private while surfing the internet and are used by countless people worldwide.
In addition to security and privacy concerns, VPNs can also help with bugs and issues such as the one described above.
According to some users, a VPN helped them overcome the playback error on YouTube. When this is added to the other benefits of using a virtual private network, such as avoiding ads, it is effectively a two-for-one deal.
If you are unsure which VPN to choose, our guide exploring the best VPN products should come in handy.
Alternative Solution – Use A Different Browser
It isn’t easy to switch to a different browser if you have gotten used to one. However, if this makes the difference between being able or unable to watch YouTube, it’s worth a try, if only temporarily.
Chrome and Firefox are both excellent browsers, but there are many strong alternatives available, such as Opera GX, Brave, and Edge.
You now know how to solve the playback error on YouTube. Feel free to share these tips with anyone experiencing the same issue.
This problem can sometimes go away on its own, or it might be caused temporarily by an issue on YouTube’s part. If none of the above fixes work for you, the problem might not be on your end at all.
In these situations, it’s best to try using another device on a completely different network. This will help you get a better sense of the problem’s origin.