Service was restored to the YouTube homepage just after 7 p.m.
Users complained on Twitter about the broadcasting issues.
The Philadelphia Police Department is reminding residents not to call 9-1-1 to report the outage. Some users report being able to connect for short moments, then being sent back to the error screen. The company has taken cognisance of the issue and is working to resolve it.
YouTube is the world's second most-visited website. "We apologize for any inconvenience".
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The outage apparently also affected YouTube TV and YouTube Music access. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
YouTube was created in February 2005 by three former PayPal employees who needed a way to share a video with each other.
When the site does load, it displays an empty template with grey boxes where video links should be.
Say goodbye to all your favourite let's players, game walkthroughs and new game trailers, YouTube is down!