Download videos from youtube.com or other video platforms using youtube-dl

youtube-dl is a command-line program to download videos from YouTube.com and a few more sites. It requires the Python interpreter (2.6, 2.7, or 3.2+), and it is not platform specific. youtube-dl should work in your Unix box, in Windows or in Mac OS X. It is released to the public domain, which means you can modify it, redistribute it or use it however you like.

Installation

To install it right away for all UNIX users (Linux, macOS, etc.), type:

sudo curl -L https://yt-dl.org/downloads/latest/youtube-dl -o /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
sudo chmod a+rx /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl

If you do not have curl, you can alternatively use a recent wget:

sudo wget https://yt-dl.org/downloads/latest/youtube-dl -O /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
sudo chmod a+rx /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl

Windows users can download an .exe file and place it in any location on their PATH except for ‘%SYSTEMROOT%\System32’ (e.g. **do not** put in `C:\Windows\System32`).

You can also use pip:

sudo -H pip install --upgrade youtube-dl

This command will update youtube-dl if you have already installed it.

macOS users can install youtube-dl with Homebrew:

brew install youtube-dl

Or with MacPorts:

sudo port install youtube-dl

Syntax

youtube-dl [OPTIONS] URL [URL...]

Options

    -h, --help                       Print this help text and exit
    --version                        Print program version and exit
    -U, --update                     Update this program to latest version. Make
                                     sure that you have sufficient permissions
                                     (run with sudo if needed)
    -i, --ignore-errors              Continue on download errors, for example to
                                     skip unavailable videos in a playlist
    --abort-on-error                 Abort downloading of further videos (in the
                                     playlist or the command line) if an error
                                     occurs
    --dump-user-agent                Display the current browser identification
    --list-extractors                List all supported extractors
    --extractor-descriptions         Output descriptions of all supported
                                     extractors
    --force-generic-extractor        Force extraction to use the generic
                                     extractor
    --default-search PREFIX          Use this prefix for unqualified URLs. For
                                     example "gvsearch2:" downloads two videos
                                     from google videos for youtube-dl "large
                                     apple". Use the value "auto" to let
                                     youtube-dl guess ("auto_warning" to emit a
                                     warning when guessing). "error" just throws
                                     an error. The default value "fixup_error"
                                     repairs broken URLs, but emits an error if
                                     this is not possible instead of searching.
    --ignore-config                  Do not read configuration files. When given
                                     in the global configuration file
                                     /etc/youtube-dl.conf: Do not read the user
                                     configuration in ~/.config/youtube-
                                     dl/config (%APPDATA%/youtube-dl/config.txt
                                     on Windows)
    --config-location PATH           Location of the configuration file; either
                                     the path to the config or its containing
                                     directory.
    --flat-playlist                  Do not extract the videos of a playlist,
                                     only list them.
    --mark-watched                   Mark videos watched (YouTube only)
    --no-mark-watched                Do not mark videos watched (YouTube only)
    --no-color                       Do not emit color codes in output

Network Options

    --proxy URL                      Use the specified HTTP/HTTPS/SOCKS proxy.
                                     To enable SOCKS proxy, specify a proper
                                     scheme. For example
                                     socks5://127.0.0.1:1080/. Pass in an empty
                                     string (--proxy "") for direct connection
    --socket-timeout SECONDS         Time to wait before giving up, in seconds
    --source-address IP              Client-side IP address to bind to
    -4, --force-ipv4                 Make all connections via IPv4
    -6, --force-ipv6                 Make all connections via IPv6

Geo Restriction

    --geo-verification-proxy URL     Use this proxy to verify the IP address for
                                     some geo-restricted sites. The default
                                     proxy specified by --proxy (or none, if the
                                     option is not present) is used for the
                                     actual downloading.
    --geo-bypass                     Bypass geographic restriction via faking
                                     X-Forwarded-For HTTP header
    --no-geo-bypass                  Do not bypass geographic restriction via
                                     faking X-Forwarded-For HTTP header
    --geo-bypass-country CODE        Force bypass geographic restriction with
                                     explicitly provided two-letter ISO 3166-2
                                     country code
    --geo-bypass-ip-block IP_BLOCK   Force bypass geographic restriction with
                                     explicitly provided IP block in CIDR
                                     notation

Video Selection

    --playlist-start NUMBER          Playlist video to start at (default is 1)
    --playlist-end NUMBER            Playlist video to end at (default is last)
    --playlist-items ITEM_SPEC       Playlist video items to download. Specify
                                     indices of the videos in the playlist
                                     separated by commas like: "--playlist-items
                                     1,2,5,8" if you want to download videos
                                     indexed 1, 2, 5, 8 in the playlist. You can
                                     specify range: "--playlist-items
                                     1-3,7,10-13", it will download the videos
                                     at index 1, 2, 3, 7, 10, 11, 12 and 13.
    --match-title REGEX              Download only matching titles (regex or
                                     caseless sub-string)
    --reject-title REGEX             Skip download for matching titles (regex or
                                     caseless sub-string)
    --max-downloads NUMBER           Abort after downloading NUMBER files
    --min-filesize SIZE              Do not download any videos smaller than
                                     SIZE (e.g. 50k or 44.6m)
    --max-filesize SIZE              Do not download any videos larger than SIZE
                                     (e.g. 50k or 44.6m)
    --date DATE                      Download only videos uploaded in this date
    --datebefore DATE                Download only videos uploaded on or before
                                     this date (i.e. inclusive)
    --dateafter DATE                 Download only videos uploaded on or after
                                     this date (i.e. inclusive)
    --min-views COUNT                Do not download any videos with less than
                                     COUNT views
    --max-views COUNT                Do not download any videos with more than
                                     COUNT views
    --match-filter FILTER            Generic video filter. Specify any key (see
                                     the "OUTPUT TEMPLATE" for a list of
                                     available keys) to match if the key is
                                     present, !key to check if the key is not
                                     present, key > NUMBER (like "comment_count
                                     > 12", also works with >=, <, <=, !=, =) to
                                     compare against a number, key = 'LITERAL'
                                     (like "uploader = 'Mike Smith'", also works with !=) to
                                     match against a string literal and & to require multiple
                                     matches. Values which are not known are excluded unless you
                                     put a question mark (?) after the operator. For example, to
                                     only match videos that have been liked more than 100 times
                                     and disliked less than 50 times (or the dislike 
                                     functionality is not available at the given service), but 
                                     who also have a description, use --match-filter 
                                     "like_count > 100 & 
                                     dislike_count <? 50 & description" .
    --no-playlist                    Download only the video, if the URL refers
                                     to a video and a playlist.
    --yes-playlist                   Download the playlist, if the URL refers to
                                     a video and a playlist.
    --age-limit YEARS                Download only videos suitable for the given
                                     age
    --download-archive FILE          Download only videos not listed in the
                                     archive file. Record the IDs of all
                                     downloaded videos in it.
    --include-ads                    Download advertisements as well
                                     (experimental)

Download Options

-r, --limit-rate RATE            Maximum download rate in bytes per second
                                 (e.g. 50K or 4.2M)
-R, --retries RETRIES            Number of retries (default is 10), or
                                 "infinite".
--fragment-retries RETRIES       Number of retries for a fragment (default
                                 is 10), or "infinite" (DASH, hlsnative and
                                 ISM)
--skip-unavailable-fragments     Skip unavailable fragments (DASH, hlsnative
                                 and ISM)
--abort-on-unavailable-fragment  Abort downloading when some fragment is not
                                 available
--keep-fragments                 Keep downloaded fragments on disk after
                                 downloading is finished; fragments are
                                 erased by default
--buffer-size SIZE               Size of download buffer (e.g. 1024 or 16K)
                                 (default is 1024)
--no-resize-buffer               Do not automatically adjust the buffer
                                 size. By default, the buffer size is
                                 automatically resized from an initial value
                                 of SIZE.
--http-chunk-size SIZE           Size of a chunk for chunk-based HTTP
                                 downloading (e.g. 10485760 or 10M) (default
                                 is disabled). May be useful for bypassing
                                 bandwidth throttling imposed by a webserver
                                 (experimental)
--playlist-reverse               Download playlist videos in reverse order
--playlist-random                Download playlist videos in random order
--xattr-set-filesize             Set file xattribute ytdl.filesize with
                                 expected file size
--hls-prefer-native              Use the native HLS downloader instead of
                                 ffmpeg
--hls-prefer-ffmpeg              Use ffmpeg instead of the native HLS
                                 downloader
--hls-use-mpegts                 Use the mpegts container for HLS videos,
                                 allowing to play the video while
                                 downloading (some players may not be able
                                 to play it)
--external-downloader COMMAND    Use the specified external downloader.
                                 Currently supports
                                 aria2c,avconv,axel,curl,ffmpeg,httpie,wget
--external-downloader-args ARGS  Give these arguments to the external
                                 downloader

Filesystem Options

-a, --batch-file FILE            File containing URLs to download ('-' for
                                 stdin), one URL per line. Lines starting
                                 with '#', ';' or ']' are considered as
                                 comments and ignored.
--id                             Use only video ID in file name
-o, --output TEMPLATE            Output filename template, see the "OUTPUT
                                 TEMPLATE" for all the info
--autonumber-start NUMBER        Specify the start value for %(autonumber)s
                                 (default is 1)
--restrict-filenames             Restrict filenames to only ASCII
                                 characters, and avoid "&" and spaces in
                                 filenames
-w, --no-overwrites              Do not overwrite files
-c, --continue                   Force resume of partially downloaded files.
                                 By default, youtube-dl will resume
                                 downloads if possible.
--no-continue                    Do not resume partially downloaded files
                                 (restart from beginning)
--no-part                        Do not use .part files - write directly
                                 into output file
--no-mtime                       Do not use the Last-modified header to set
                                 the file modification time
--write-description              Write video description to a .description
                                 file
--write-info-json                Write video metadata to a .info.json file
--write-annotations              Write video annotations to a
                                 .annotations.xml file
--load-info-json FILE            JSON file containing the video information
                                 (created with the "--write-info-json"
                                 option)
--cookies FILE                   File to read cookies from and dump cookie
                                 jar in
--cache-dir DIR                  Location in the filesystem where youtube-dl
                                 can store some downloaded information
                                 permanently. By default
                                 $XDG_CACHE_HOME/youtube-dl or
                                 ~/.cache/youtube-dl . At the moment, only
                                 YouTube player files (for videos with
                                 obfuscated signatures) are cached, but that
                                 may change.
--no-cache-dir                   Disable filesystem caching
--rm-cache-dir                   Delete all filesystem cache files

Thumbnail images

--write-thumbnail                Write thumbnail image to disk
--write-all-thumbnails           Write all thumbnail image formats to disk
--list-thumbnails                Simulate and list all available thumbnail
                                 formats

Verbosity / Simulation Options

-q, --quiet                      Activate quiet mode
--no-warnings                    Ignore warnings
-s, --simulate                   Do not download the video and do not write
                                 anything to disk
--skip-download                  Do not download the video
-g, --get-url                    Simulate, quiet but print URL
-e, --get-title                  Simulate, quiet but print title
--get-id                         Simulate, quiet but print id
--get-thumbnail                  Simulate, quiet but print thumbnail URL
--get-description                Simulate, quiet but print video description
--get-duration                   Simulate, quiet but print video length
--get-filename                   Simulate, quiet but print output filename
--get-format                     Simulate, quiet but print output format
-j, --dump-json                  Simulate, quiet but print JSON information.
                                 See the "OUTPUT TEMPLATE" for a description
                                 of available keys.
-J, --dump-single-json           Simulate, quiet but print JSON information
                                 for each command-line argument. If the URL
                                 refers to a playlist, dump the whole
                                 playlist information in a single line.
--print-json                     Be quiet and print the video information as
                                 JSON (video is still being downloaded).
--newline                        Output progress bar as new lines
--no-progress                    Do not print progress bar
--console-title                  Display progress in console titlebar
-v, --verbose                    Print various debugging information
--dump-pages                     Print downloaded pages encoded using base64
                                 to debug problems (very verbose)
--write-pages                    Write downloaded intermediary pages to
                                 files in the current directory to debug
                                 problems
--print-traffic                  Display sent and read HTTP traffic
-C, --call-home                  Contact the youtube-dl server for debugging
--no-call-home                   Do NOT contact the youtube-dl server for
                                 debugging

Workarounds

--encoding ENCODING              Force the specified encoding (experimental)
--no-check-certificate           Suppress HTTPS certificate validation
--prefer-insecure                Use an unencrypted connection to retrieve
                                 information about the video. (Currently
                                 supported only for YouTube)
--user-agent UA                  Specify a custom user agent
--referer URL                    Specify a custom referer, use if the video
                                 access is restricted to one domain
--add-header FIELD:VALUE         Specify a custom HTTP header and its value,
                                 separated by a colon ':'. You can use this
                                 option multiple times
--bidi-workaround                Work around terminals that lack
                                 bidirectional text support. Requires bidiv
                                 or fribidi executable in PATH
--sleep-interval SECONDS         Number of seconds to sleep before each
                                 download when used alone or a lower bound
                                 of a range for randomized sleep before each
                                 download (minimum possible number of
                                 seconds to sleep) when used along with
                                 --max-sleep-interval.
--max-sleep-interval SECONDS     Upper bound of a range for randomized sleep
                                 before each download (maximum possible
                                 number of seconds to sleep). Must only be
                                 used along with --min-sleep-interval.

Video Format Options

-f, --format FORMAT              Video format code, see the "FORMAT
                                 SELECTION" for all the info
--all-formats                    Download all available video formats
--prefer-free-formats            Prefer free video formats unless a specific
                                 one is requested
-F, --list-formats               List all available formats of requested
                                 videos
--youtube-skip-dash-manifest     Do not download the DASH manifests and
                                 related data on YouTube videos
--merge-output-format FORMAT     If a merge is required (e.g.
                                 bestvideo+bestaudio), output to given
                                 container format. One of mkv, mp4, ogg,
                                 webm, flv. Ignored if no merge is required

Subtitle Options

--write-sub                      Write subtitle file
--write-auto-sub                 Write automatically generated subtitle file
                                 (YouTube only)
--all-subs                       Download all the available subtitles of the
                                 video
--list-subs                      List all available subtitles for the video
--sub-format FORMAT              Subtitle format, accepts formats
                                 preference, for example: "srt" or
                                 "ass/srt/best"
--sub-lang LANGS                 Languages of the subtitles to download
                                 (optional) separated by commas, use --list-
                                 subs for available language tags

Authentication Options

-u, --username USERNAME          Login with this account ID
-p, --password PASSWORD          Account password. If this option is left
                                 out, youtube-dl will ask interactively.
-2, --twofactor TWOFACTOR        Two-factor authentication code
-n, --netrc                      Use .netrc authentication data
--video-password PASSWORD        Video password (vimeo, smotri, youku)

Adobe Pass Options

--ap-mso MSO                     Adobe Pass multiple-system operator (TV
                                 provider) identifier, use --ap-list-mso for
                                 a list of available MSOs
--ap-username USERNAME           Multiple-system operator account login
--ap-password PASSWORD           Multiple-system operator account password.
                                 If this option is left out, youtube-dl will
                                 ask interactively.
--ap-list-mso                    List all supported multiple-system
                                 operators

Post-processing Options

-x, --extract-audio              Convert video files to audio-only files
                                 (requires ffmpeg or avconv and ffprobe or
                                 avprobe)
--audio-format FORMAT            Specify audio format: "best", "aac",
                                 "flac", "mp3", "m4a", "opus", "vorbis", or
                                 "wav"; "best" by default; No effect without
                                 -x
--audio-quality QUALITY          Specify ffmpeg/avconv audio quality, insert
                                 a value between 0 (better) and 9 (worse)
                                 for VBR or a specific bitrate like 128K
                                 (default 5)
--recode-video FORMAT            Encode the video to another format if
                                 necessary (currently supported:
                                 mp4|flv|ogg|webm|mkv|avi)
--postprocessor-args ARGS        Give these arguments to the postprocessor
-k, --keep-video                 Keep the video file on disk after the post-
                                 processing; the video is erased by default
--no-post-overwrites             Do not overwrite post-processed files; the
                                 post-processed files are overwritten by
                                 default
--embed-subs                     Embed subtitles in the video (only for mp4,
                                 webm and mkv videos)
--embed-thumbnail                Embed thumbnail in the audio as cover art
--add-metadata                   Write metadata to the video file
--metadata-from-title FORMAT     Parse additional metadata like song title /
                                 artist from the video title. The format
                                 syntax is the same as --output. Regular
                                 expression with named capture groups may
                                 also be used. The parsed parameters replace
                                 existing values. Example: --metadata-from-
                                 title "%(artist)s - %(title)s" matches a
                                 title like "Coldplay - Paradise". Example
                                 (regex): --metadata-from-title
                                 "(?P<artist>.+?) - (?P<title>.+)"
--xattrs                         Write metadata to the video file's xattrs
                                 (using dublin core and xdg standards)
--fixup POLICY                   Automatically correct known faults of the
                                 file. One of never (do nothing), warn (only
                                 emit a warning), detect_or_warn (the
                                 default; fix file if we can, warn
                                 otherwise)
--prefer-avconv                  Prefer avconv over ffmpeg for running the
                                 postprocessors
--prefer-ffmpeg                  Prefer ffmpeg over avconv for running the
                                 postprocessors (default)
--ffmpeg-location PATH           Location of the ffmpeg/avconv binary;
                                 either the path to the binary or its
                                 containing directory.
--exec CMD                       Execute a command on the file after
                                 downloading, similar to find's -exec
                                 syntax. Example: --exec 'adb push {}
                                 /sdcard/Music/ && rm {}'
--convert-subs FORMAT            Convert the subtitles to other format
                                 (currently supported: srt|ass|vtt|lrc)

Format selection examples

# Download best mp4 format available or any other best if no mp4 available
$ youtube-dl -f 'bestvideo[ext=mp4]+bestaudio[ext=m4a]/best[ext=mp4]/best'

# Download best format available but no better than 480p
$ youtube-dl -f 'bestvideo[height<=480]+bestaudio/best[height<=480]'

# Download best video only format but no bigger than 50 MB
$ youtube-dl -f 'best[filesize<50M]'

# Download best format available via direct link over HTTP/HTTPS protocol
$ youtube-dl -f '(bestvideo+bestaudio/best)[protocol^=http]'

# Download the best video format and the best audio format without merging them
$ youtube-dl -f 'bestvideo,bestaudio' -o '%(title)s.f%(format_id)s.%(ext)s'

Nishant Vaity

I am Software Engineer, Technology Mentor & Entrepreneur. I am passionate about the technologies I use and always eager to share & learn more from that passion. I am an experienced Software Engineer with 8+ years of experience in coding high-traffic websites. Proficient in HTML, JavaScript, jQuery, CSS with LAMP / MAMP / WAMP Stack. Contributor for WordPress open source plugins and Translator (Marathi) for WordPress 4.5.x.