YouTube Unlisted and Private Visibility | What’s the Difference?

By Nate McCallister

When you publish a video on YouTube, you'll have several options for visibility. Here are what each of the visibilities really means. 

1. What Does Public Mean on YouTube?

Public visibility on YouTube means that everyone can see the video on YouTube. It is shown on your channel, in the search engine, and can be recommended by others if you allow it to be. This is the default setting inside of YouTube. 

2. What Does Private Mean on YouTube?

Private visibility on YouTube means that only the creator and other YouTube users they invite directly can view this video type. This is the most secure type of YouTube video visibility.

3. What Does Unlisted Mean on YouTube?

Unlisted visibility on YouTube means that only the creator and anyone who has the URL can view this video type. This is not as secure as private because people can theoretically share the URL with anyone they want. 

Private vs Unlisted on YouTube







Max Exposure



Creator and directly invited users


Little exposure


Creator and anyone who has the URL


Little exposure and not as secure as private

YouTube Private vs. Unlisted

Private videos require the creator to give access to anyone that wants to watch the video whereas unlisted is visible to anyone who has the link, but can't be found via search engines.

Which YouTube Visibility Should You Use?

If your goal is to get as much exposure as possible, you need to use the public option. 

If your goal is to publish a video that is very confidential and you only want to share it with a handful of select people, you want to use private.

If you're a course creator or want to have YouTube videos behind some sort of pay wall, unlisted videos are the way to go. 

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About the author

Nate is the founder and main contributor of and author of Evergreen Affiliate Marketing. He is a lifestyle entrepreneur who spends his time building businesses and raising his four kids Sawyer, Brooks, Van and Lua with his beautiful wife Emily. His main interests include copywriting, economics and piano.

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