How to specify “start” and “stop” times in embedded YouTube videos in WordPress

I planned to write a post on allusion and homage in literature and film today, but now I’m going to postpone that till another day—because I’m so absolutely thrilled with myself that I figured out how to embed a YouTube video and have it start and start at specific times.

Here is a clip from Leni Reifenstahl’s Triumph of the Will.  That film is an hour and 45 minutes long.  But I wanted to show just a clip about 30 seconds long taken from around an hour into the film.  And I did it!  Check it out:

(Update note: I shouldn’t have demonstrated with this clip, as I learned later. Because of the obviously offensive subject matter, YouTube seems very determined to take down clips from this film whenever they are uploaded to the site. I’ve found it on Vimeo for students in my film studies class to view, but I can’t embed Vimeo video in my blog posts. Fortunately the content of this post still makes sense without the clip. But when I have some time available, I’ll put up a different clip to demonstrate.)

The reason I wanted to show just this section was so I could compare it with a section of video from Disney’s Lion King (the “Be Prepared” song) to illustrate the concept of “homage” in film.  As I said, that post is under construction and will go up sometime soon. But here’s a sneak preview 🙂

Meanwhile I thought I’d share my (minor) success with you.  Yay me! 🙂  I’ve been thinking I want to learn how to code, and this little triumph makes me feel I can do it.  Working on this blog and leaving comments on other people’s sites, I’ve picked up some HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) tricks, just a little bit at a time.  How to italicize a title, for instance.

Anyway, here’s what you do if you want to embed a YouTube video in your blog and have it begin and end at specific points.

  1. Copy the URL of the YouTube video
  2. Paste it into your WordPress blog post draft
  3. At the very end of the video’s URL, with no extra space, type

&start=[starting point time in seconds]&end=[ending point time in seconds]

So for my video clip, I wanted to start at 1:00:03, or an hour and three seconds into the film.  I wanted to end at 1:00:43, or an hour and forty-three seconds in.

One hour equals 60 minutes.  Each minute contains 60 seconds.  So 60 minutes x 60 seconds equals 3600 seconds.  But I wanted to start at an hour and three seconds.  So my starting time was 3603 seconds.  And, similarly, my ending time would be 3643 seconds.

So my YouTube URL plus my starting and stopping times (in bold, for illustration) looked like this:

Maybe you already knew all this.  But if you didn’t, maybe you’d like to give it a try in your own blog.  Good luck, and have fun!

UPDATE: I’ve noticed that WordPress has changed the way it embeds video from YouTube. Unlike before, now when you paste in the URL for a YouTube video, WordPress immediately and automatically changes the line of code (URL) to show the actual video itself in your post draft, the way it would appear in your published version. Because the line of code is then no longer visible, it’s impossible to add the “start” and “stop” additions.

To fix this problem, switch the view  of your draft post from “Visual” to “Text.” As you are writing your post, look up at your tool bar (with your “bold” and “italics” symbols, etc.) and then look over all the way to the right side of the white box that your text is written inside of. See the two tabs there on the upper right? Click on the “Text” tab and instead of the video image, you’ll see the actual URL. Add your start and stop information there at the end of that.

OR, even more recent update: Paste the YouTube URL into a Word document and add on the remaining string of code there. Copy and paste the YouTube URL into the Word document AS PLAIN TEXT (check your “paste” options). That is, you don’t want to paste extra code attached to that URL because it’s easier to work with when it’s just plain characters and nothing else is going on code wise. Then, after adding your own code at the end of the URL, copy and paste the entire new URL into your blog post. You should still see the embedded video pop up as though you had copied straight from the YouTube video. This strategy is more straightforward and much quicker than dealing with WordPress because sometimes even doing it the way I described above, switching from visual to text, takes a couple of tries before you have a functioning video clip embedded in your post.

AND one more update: If you don’t want other videos to automatically start playing at the end of your embedded video (because sometimes they are set up that way in the original YouTube post), you can add one more little bit of code to the very end of the line of your video’s URL (and after the “start” / “stop” info, if you added that):


Meaning “and related videos = zero.”

You’re welcome!😄

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
This entry was posted in Learning, Movies and film, Technology, Writing, blogging and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to How to specify “start” and “stop” times in embedded YouTube videos in WordPress

  1. That’s cool to know!


  2. This was enormously helpful– thank you!! Beautifully written, laid out, organized, and explained– just perfect! Thanks for taking the time to do us all such a good turn!! : )


    • You’re welcome! I’m glad it worked out for you. And if you add &rel=0 (that’s a zero) you can also prevent unrelated videos from automatically starting up when your embedded video ends, which is also very cool!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I just thought of an update I should make to this post. I’ll do that tomorrow on my computer (I’m on my phone right now), but meanwhile, as you’ll probably get notified of my comment, I’ll say it here first.

      I’ve noticed that when you paste in the URL for a YouTube video, WordPress now automatically changes the line of code (URL) immediately to the video itself in your post draft. Because the line of code is then no longer visible, it’s impossible to add the “start” and “stop” additions. So my way to get around that is to paste the URL into a Word document or email draft, where I can add the additional code I want and then copy & paste the newly revised line into my blog post draft, at which point it still immediately converts to the video, except now it has my added instructions. (I haven’t tried switching the view over to showing the html code version instead of the normal post draft view. Maybe that would do it., too. I’ll check tomorrow.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Still works for me–thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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