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 download or save their favorite YouTube videos to their computer so they can watch them without being connected to the Internet or on other devices. Below are the steps required for downloading and watching YouTube videos on your computer for free.

Note: This page only provides instructions for downloading or saving a YouTube video to your computer. Instructions for uploading or saving a YouTube video to the YouTube website or saving only the audio of a YouTube video to an MP3 file are not covered.

Saving YouTube video as a video file on your computer

Today, there are many 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 video file. Below is a simple three-step process to download any YouTube video.

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

1. First, go to the YouTube page containing the video you want to download. When you've found the page, press Ctrl + L on your keyboard to highlight the text in the address bar, and then Ctrl + C to copy the Internet address.

2. Once this address has been copied, paste that URL into the text field below by clicking inside the box and pressing Ctrl + V on your keyboard. Then, click the Download Video button.

3. If done properly, a new window will appear displaying a preview of the video (as shown below), along with a green Download button and the video format. The default format for downloading the video is the MP4 360p format.

YouTube download window

If you click on the "MP4 360p" format option, a drop-down list will appear. Click on the More option in that drop-down list to see additional video formats, such as FLV, 3GP, and WebM. Select the video format you want and click the green Download button.

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 can't download a video

If after following the above steps, you do not get a preview like our example, make sure that the link you 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 refreshing this page by pressing the F5 key on your keyboard and following the above steps again. If that still does not work, try one of the other YouTube download sites below.

It is only saving as audio and not video

Make sure you are choosing the "MP4 360p" or "MP4 480p" option from the download link. If you choose "Audio MP4 128", it only downloads the audio and not the video. If you did choose the right download 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

There are also other websites and services that allow you to download YouTube videos. Below are a couple of our favorites.

Caution: Some of these services 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://keepvid.com/

Watching a FLV video on your computer

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

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

Windows Media Player
Microsoft Windows can also play FLV files in Windows Media player with the right codec. Downloading and installing the CCCP codec installs the necessary codec to play FLV files, as well as other codecs you may need in the future.