When I embed a Youtube video onto my page, is there a way to change the thumbnail displayed (screenshot)? I do not have admin access to the Youtube video in-question.

I would prefer a non-plugin solution if possible. I found these instructions, but they did not work.

  • @Nicolai Thanks for that. Can you link documentation regarding the [video] shortcode? I'm embedding merely by pasting the Youtube URL onto the page. Then I allow the WordPress built-in functionality to convert that to the appropriate source code. I was under the impression it used the [embed] shortcode though (but I could be wrong). Regardless, something that allows me to set the thumbnail sounds like what I need.
    – cag8f
    Dec 12, 2017 at 17:16
  • OK thanks. I implemented it, and can indeed change the default thumbnail. But it comes at a cost of a slightly different video player (screenshot comparison imgur.com/a/QVGKL). The [video] shortcode changes the video player to a built-in WordPress player, which doesn't have the familiar Youtube styling, and is also missing the settings link and 'watch in Youtube' link (which I like). Ideally, if possible, I'd like to keep everything about the Youtube player the same except for the thumbnail. Can I perhaps do so with custom JavaScript?
    – cag8f
    Dec 12, 2017 at 17:36
  • 1
    OK thanks. Can we leave this open for a day or two to allow other to read/comment? I could perhaps be open to a plugin solution.
    – cag8f
    Dec 12, 2017 at 17:43

2 Answers 2


The [video] shortcode can be used with the src being an URL of a youtube video. To set a placeholder, preview thumbnail use poster, it even works nicely via GUI. In the end it should look somewhat like the bellow example.

[video src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYZ" poster="http://example.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/example.jpg"]
  • I've implemented this (page here kabultec.org/blog/events/…). With it, have indeed replaced the thumbnail that is displayed before the video plays. But when the video finishes playing, it displays the original starting thumbnail--the same starting thumbnail I want to hide (screenshot imgur.com/t8N1dPf). Any ideas how to resolve that? Even a blank, black screen would be a solution in this case. The motivation for this exercise is to replace or hide this particular thumbnail everywhere on the site.
    – cag8f
    Dec 15, 2017 at 11:45
  • Removing &rel=0 did not do the trick, and I am not the owner of this Youtube channel. Which <div> are you talking about exactly? I can't find any element with a class of ytp-cued-thumbnail-overlay (or similar).
    – cag8f
    Dec 16, 2017 at 9:37
  • OK. I searched the source code for ytp-cued-thumbnail but couldn't find it (screenshot: imgur.com/POsfj4r). Shouldn't it appear there? Or am I misunderstanding something? Are you able to send me a screenshot indicating its presence? It's not that I don't believe you, but it might help me figure out where I'm going wrong here.
    – cag8f
    Dec 17, 2017 at 12:37
  • OK. That class is added to the page by the Youtube embed, so it was missing from my page, since I switched to the [video] shortcode. But this new solution is a bit more appealing to me--i.e. keep the Youtube embed and change the thumbnail via JavaScript. I've reverted back to the Youtube embed (kabultec.org/dev/blog/events/benefit-dinner-2016) but am having trouble targeting the class. Specifically, on page load, document.getElementsByClassName("ytp-cued-thumbnail-overlay-image")[0]; is undefined. But after I inspect the element, it returns the class in-question. Thoughts?
    – cag8f
    Dec 19, 2017 at 13:23
  • Maybe this warrants a separate question to Stack Overflow?
    – cag8f
    Dec 19, 2017 at 13:23

check this out, maybe this will help.

<div class="video-responsive"><iframe src="https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/1Cz2Xzm6knM/videoseries?list=PLq-1Cz2Xzm6knM-1Cz2Xzm6knM&amp;rel=0" width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div>

.video-responsive iframe{

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