Accessing the YouTube API with Python Requests

Feb 3, 2024 ยท 3 min read

The YouTube API allows developers to integrate YouTube functionality into their own applications. The API provides methods for searching videos, managing playlists, uploading videos, and more.

In this article, we'll look at how to query the YouTube API v3 using the Python Requests library. Requests allows us to make HTTP requests in Python in a simple and Pythonic way.


  • The YouTube API uses REST principles and JSON for requests and responses
  • We'll need an API key to authenticate our requests
  • We'll construct API URLs to specify the resource and parameters we want
  • Requests allows us to send GET requests and process the JSON response
  • Getting an API Key

    To query the YouTube API, you'll need an API key:

    1. Go to the Google Cloud Console
    2. Create a new project
    3. Enable the YouTube Data API v3
    4. Create an API key credential and note down the key

    This key authenticates all our API requests.

    Constructing the Request

    The YouTube API has a REST endpoint for the videos resource: 

    We can specify parameters on this endpoint to filter and sort results. For example, to search for Python tutorial videos ordered by viewCount:[YOUR_API_KEY]

    Let's break this down:

  • part=snippet - Include video snippet information in response
  • maxResults=25 - Return 25 results
  • order=viewCount - Order by viewCount descending
  • q=python+tutorial - Search for "python tutorial"
  • See the documentation for other supported parameters.

    Sending the Request with Python

    We can send this request and process the response in Python with Requests:

    import requests
    search_url = ""
    params = {
        "part" : "snippet",
        "maxResults" : 25,
        "order" : "viewCount",
        "q" : "python tutorial",
        "key" : API_KEY
    r = requests.get(search_url, params=params)

    This prints out the raw JSON response body. We can transform this into a Python dict with:

    import json
    results = json.loads(r.text)

    And access values like:


    Which prints the title of the top video.

    Next Steps

    This covers the basics of querying the YouTube API with Python Requests!

    Some next things to try:

  • Paging through result sets
  • Working with channels, playlists and more
  • Using the YouTube Data API Python client
  • The API has a vast range of capabilities for building YouTube applications. The documentation is a key reference for exploring further.

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