If you’re looking for a reliable way to download YouTube videos for free, without having to deal with spammy websites, you should have a look at youtube-dl

youtube-dl is a command line program which can download video or audio from YouTube and many other websites such as Soundcloud, Mixcloud, LiveLeak and many more. It is completely free and open source.

I find youtube-dl is a very fast and handy way to download from YouTube. You only have to install it once, and after that, downloading a video is as easy as typing:

Where you replace YOUTUBE_VIDEO_URL with the URL of the video you are downloading.

You’ll need Python installed on your computer, but in most cases it should already be installed. If you don’t have Python installed, you can pick it up over here at the Python website.  youtube-dl can download videos, entire playlists of videos and it can also download youtube videos to mp3, so you can listen offline.

Supported Sites

youtube-dl also works on an astounding number of websites other than YouTube. Here is a list of some, selected at random (there are many more):

  • bbc.co.uk
  • dailymotion
  • Dropbox
  • mixcloud
  • MySpace
  • pluralsight
  • soundcloud
  • Stitcher

If you’re ready to dive in, the the short video tutorial below demonstrates how to use youtube-dl in OSX or MacOS. youtube-dl is available on linux and windows and works in much the same way.

The Video Tutorial

How to download a playlist from YouTube

Downloading a playlist from YouTube is pretty straightforward, you just need to find the URL for the playlist.

It will look something like this:


Now just plug that in beside youtube-dl in order to download the entire playlist:

youtube-dl https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD7E21BF91F3F9683

Nice and easy.