The gold nanoparticles on titania support (AuNP/TiO2) has been paid attention as a catalyst and a photocatalyst. We perform the preparation of AuNP/TiO2, which is the combination of the sol–gel method and solution plasma method. In this method, we generate the plasma in the gelatinous peroxotitanic acid solution by the discharge between the gold electrodes, and then we synthesize the peroxotitanium gel containing gold nanoparticles. After drying and calcination process, we obtain the AuNP/TiO2 samples. The X-ray diffraction results show that the AuNP/TiO2 is constituted by the nanocrystalline gold and anatase-phase TiO2, and the lattice constant decreases by the embedded gold nanoparticles in the TiO2 matrix. Ultraviolet–Visible absorption spectroscopy shows that the AuNP/TiO2 samples absorb the visible light at about 630 nm based on the localized surface plasmon resonance of gold nanoparticles embedded in the TiO2 matrix. The surface chemical states of the AuNP/TiO2 samples are analyzed by the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The surface of AuNP/TiO2 is composed with the majority of oxidized gold and minority of metallic gold which interacted with the TiO2 surface. The Au L3-edge near edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectra indicate that the gold nanoparticles embedded in TiO2 have metallic chemical states. We successfully prepare the gold nanoparticles on the surface and in the matrix of anatase-phase TiO2. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.