How to get a YouTube video Image or Thumbnail

In this post you will learn how to get you tube video images and thumbnails.

There are various method to get Images or Thumbnails like using url manually or getting it from API. Below you will see both methods of getting this information.

Method 1.

Getting images manually using URL.

Each YouTube video has 4 generated images. They are predictably formatted as follows:

The first one in the list is a full size image and others are thumbnail images. The default thumbnail image (ie. one of 1.jpg, 2.jpg, 3.jpg) is:

For the high quality version of the thumbnail use a url similar to this:

There is also a medium quality version of the thumbnail, using a url similar to the HQ:

For the standard definition version of the thumbnail, use a url similar to this:

For the maximum resolution version of the thumbnail use a url similar to this:

All of the above urls are available over http too.

Additionally, the slightly shorter hostname works in place of in the example urls above.

Method 2.

You can use YouTube Data API to retrieve video thumbnails, caption, description, rating, statistics and more. API version 3 requires a key*. Obtain the key and create a videos: list request:

Example PHP Code


NOTE: Not only that you need a key, you might be asked for billing information depending on the number of API requests you plan to make. However, few million requests per day are free.

You can also user CURL method to get this output.

Auto-loading Resources

CodeIgniter comes with an “Auto-load” feature that permits libraries, helpers, and models to be initialized automatically every time the system runs. If you need certain resources globally throughout your application you should consider auto-loading them for convenience.

The following items can be loaded automatically:

1) Classes found in the libraries/ directory
2) Helper files found in the helpers/ directory
3) Custom config files found in the config/ directory
4) Language files found in the system/language/ directory
5) Models found in the models/ folder

To autoload resources, open the application/config/autoload.php file and add the item you want loaded to the autoload array. You’ll find instructions in that file corresponding to each type of item.

Do not include the file extension (.php) when adding items to the autoload array.

Additionally, if you want CodeIgniter to use a Composer auto-loader, just set $config[‘composer_autoload’] to TRUE or a custom path in application/config/config.php.

Language helper in codeigniter

Language helper

The Language Helper file contains functions that assist in working with language files.

Loading this Helper

This helper is loaded using the following code:

Available Functions

The following functions are available:

lang($line[, $for = ”[, $attributes = array()]])

  • $line (string) – Language line key
  • $for (string) – HTML “for” attribute (ID of the element we’re creating a label for)
  • $attributes (array) – Any additional HTML attributes
  • Returns:The language line; in an HTML label tag, if the $for parameter is not empty
    Return type:string

    This function returns a line of text from a loaded language file with simplified syntax that may be more desirable for view files than CI_Lang::line().


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