YouTube Is Introducing Handles, With Unique Human-Readable URLs for Every Channel

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YouTube is finally going to give @uniquenames — that are comprehensible to human beings — to every single channel on the platform.

On Monday, the video giant announced that it is introducing handles, which it described as “a new way for people to easily find and engage with creators and each other on YouTube.” The YouTube handles will appear on channel pages and Shorts, which will make it “simpler and faster to mention each other in comments, community posts, video descriptions and more,” the service explained.

For every existing channel — YouTube says there are billions — the platform will create a matching URL (i.e., youtube.com/@handle) that will direct visitors to the channel page. Previously, only creators with 100 or more subscribers were eligible for a custom URL. For everyone else, the URL for their YouTube channel has been a hashed unique ID, comprising a random string of alphanumeric characters.

Handles can be used across YouTube in various ways. For example, creators can tag others in the title of a recent collab using the handles or give a shout-out to them in the description or comments.

The platform is gradually rolling out the ability for YouTube channel owners to choose a handle. Users will be notified via email and in YouTube Studio when they are able to select one. If you don’t choose a handle by Nov. 14, YouTube will begin assigning ones based on channel names; users will be able to edit their handle from youtube.com/handle.

If a channel already has a personalized URL, YouTube says that in the majority of cases that will automatically be redirected to the new, handle-based URL. According to YouTube, other URLs creators have established will continue to redirect to their channels (at the new handle URL).

The timing of when a creator will get access to the handles selection process depends on a number of factors, according to YouTube, including “overall YouTube presence, subscriber count and whether the channel is active or inactive.”

Watch a video YouTube shared about handles:


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Todd Spangler

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