How to Find Out Who Owns a Private Video

There are a few cool hacks that will give you more info than you’d expect from private YouTube videos. Just as a disclaimer, there are a lot of reasons you might want this info that are completely legitimate. In our case, we were looking around for a way to get access to a video that a client once had on his site. He didn’t have his YouTube login, know what the login may have been, or know any information about the video except a link.


This video is private. Sorry about that.

If you’ve seen the “This Video is Private. Sorry about that” message from youtube, you might think all is lost. But maybe not.

Take the URL of the private video and enter it into the Way Back Machine, an internet archive that keeps a copy of old websites and old videos.

In our example we were looking for a video for a client:*/


We were able to click on a saved version of the video and find out who the site owner was. Which was good enough for out purposes in this case.


I seem to find a new use for the Way Back Machine every month, and we’re glad to add this one to our bag of tricks.

Viewing Private Videos from Youtube

Now, let’s take this a step further and try to view the private video from YouTube. We weren’t able to do so in this case, but if you click the share icon you may be able to get the old video URL.

We tried but only turned up a loading screen. This one will remain left onsolved. If you have a tip or workaround for this, feel free to leave it in the comments.

Getting the Screenshots of a private YouTube video

This is a neat little trick. All Youtube thumbnail images use the same format. So if you want to get thumbnails from a video just use this format but add you unique video id from the video’s URL. In this case CB8ZUyIK-As is the video id.

The first of these is a large thumbnail, followed be three small ones.