Get YouTube video thumbnails (the easy way)

Posted by Danny Herran on Oct 20, 2010 in Other Stuff | 1 comment

YouTube has an API to do this, however, there is an easier way to pull the thumbnails of a specific video if you know its ID. You can use this trick in any of your applications and it is not language specific.

Easy peasy. If you know a YouTube’s video URL, then you know it’s ID. The video ID is the value after the “v” variable, in its URL. So, replace that ID in the following URL and you have the video thumbnail:

Quick example. Rick Astley’s video:
Rick Astley thumbnail

You can also play with the jpg name. In the previous example I used “0.jpg” but you can also use 1.jpg, 2.jpg, 3.jpg up to 5.jpg as far as I’ve tried. Notice that only first thumbnail (0.jpg) has a 360px height, while the others have 90px height.