Access to your YouTube video isn’t determined by how you made it, but by the privacy setting you chose when you uploaded it. By default, a video uploaded to YouTube video can be viewed publicly. This means that anyone can search for and find it by name, source or tag, then watch it online unfettered. To restrict a video’s potential audience, use one of two alternative YouTube privacy settings.

Privacy Settings

Upon uploading a video to your YouTube channel, you’re prompted to enter information about it -- from its title, description, tags, category and privacy level. By default, the video’s privacy level is set to Public. To change it, click the Privacy Settings drop-down arrow and choose “Unlisted” or “Private,” then choose “Save.” Both settings shroud the video from public view and enable you to share it with a target audience.

Unlisted Setting

YouTube makes two things happen when you label your YouTube video as unlisted. First, it prevents the video from being found by other users, whether in their search results or your channel. Secondly -- as it does with all other videos -- it generates a video link. Copy the link and share it with the select people you have in mind; they don’t need a YouTube account of their own to watch it. You may emphasize and request secrecy from your limited audience, if you wish, but continued video privacy ultimately depends on their behavior. If one of them shares your video link on a blog post or email blast, then the restricted viewership you had hoped for will be compromised.

Private Setting

Configuring a video’s privacy setting to Private makes it available only to you and other YouTube account holders of your choosing. To everyone else, the video will be invisible. Before you can share a private video, you need to link your YouTube channel to a Google Plus account. Once linked, simply type the names of your select viewers in the field below Privacy Settings or choose a Google Plus circle with which to share your video. If you haven’t linked your YouTube account to a Google Plus account, then your sharing options are limited to removing names from a video you previously shared privately.

Terms of Use

Although the visibility and viewership of an unlisted or private video are restricted, they remain subject to YouTube’s terms of use and guidelines. This means that you can't use either privacy setting to share copyrighted, pornographic or violent videos with anyone. If your private or unlisted video is found to be in violation of the guidelines, YouTube may remove it from the site -- the same way it does offending public videos -- and count it as a strike against your account. You may also lose the ability to set a public video to unlisted or private.