How do I download or save a YouTube video to my computer?

YouTubeYouTube has been designed to only allow users to watch and view videos on their website. Many users want to save their favorite videos to their computer so they can watch them without being connected to the Internet or so they can watch them on other devices. Below are the steps required for downloading and watching YouTube videos on your computer for free.

Note: these steps are for saving a YouTube video and not saving only the audio of a YouTube video to an MP3 file.

Saving YouTube video as a video file on your computer

Today, there are many online websites that allow you to enter the URL of the video you want to save to your computer, and get a link to download the file. Below is a simple three step process that to download any YouTube video.

1. Go to any YouTube video page and copy the URL of the video you want to save. For example, the address below is the URL of a video on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3ymHMgFAps

2. Once this address has been copied, paste that URL into the URL text field below and click the Download Video button.

3. If done properly, a new window will appear showing a preview of the video (as shown below) with the Download links. For most users we suggest downloading the MP4 format, other formats may include FLV, 3GP, and WebM.

YouTube download window

After the file has been downloaded it will be available in your downloads folder.

What about a private video?

You cannot download private videos because the YouTube download service will not have the necessary rights to access the video.

I still cant download a video

If after following the above steps you do not get a preview like our example make sure that the link your are using works by opening the page in a new window. Once verified as working try the above steps again. If the steps continue to not work try one of the other YouTube download sites below.

Note: If you are at a school or job who is blocking YouTube these steps may not work.

It is only saving as audio and not video

Make sure you are choosing the "MP4 360p or 720p" option from the download link. If you choose "Audio MP4" it only downloads the audio and not the video. If you did choose the right downloaded link to download the file, it is very likely that the player you are using does not have the necessary codec for video files. Download the free VLC player for your computer and try to play the video file from within VLC and not the player you are currently using.

YouTube bookmarklet

If you plan on downloading several videos, use the Computer Hope YouTube bookmarklet. See our bookmarklet page for more information about bookmarklets.

Other YouTube download sites

In addition to using the above box to convert your videos, there are also other websites and services that allow you to download YouTube videos. Below are just a few of our favorites.

Caution: These services can be used to save any flash videos online and can be used to save adult related videos, which means when viewing these pages you may be subjected to adult related content.

http://www.savefrom.net/
http://www.savevid.com/
http://keepvid.com/

Watching a FLV video on your computer

If you've saved the file as a .flv file, you'll need a player that supports .flv files. Below are a few suggestions.

VLC media player
http://www.videolan.org/

Windows Media Player
Microsoft Windows users also have the ability of playing FLV files in Windows Media player with the right codec. Downloading and installing the CCCP codec installs this codec, as well as other codecs you'll likely need in the future.

Additional information