The company teamed up with The Onion to create a YouTube-star-studded video explaining how the site was set up as part of a contest to find the best home video on the Internet.
"We are so close to the end," Tom Liston, communications director at YouTube, said in the video.
"Tonight at midnight, YouTube.com will no longer be accepting entries," he added.
According to Mashable, YouTube said every video on the site will be reviewed by a panel of judges and it will take 10 years to watch them all.
The winner will be announced in 2023, when the site finally comes back online.
In an attempt to make the prank more believable, YouTube will add a live stream of two faux presenters announcing "Best Video" nominees, which will run on the site for 12 hours, the report said.
Although the stream will start out with the feel of an Emmys or Oscars presentation, it's expected to get a little bit kooky and stranger as the day goes on, it added.