How to download YouTube videos, and other curious things

How to download YouTube videos, and other curious things

Summary: If you've ever wondered how to download YouTube videos (and other curious things) to your computer, this post is for you!


One question I'm frequently asked is if I know of a way to download YouTube videos, to which my answer is, "Why, yes! Yes, I do." As such, I've decided to write a quick post addressing this popular question, as well as chime in with a couple of additional mentions that are relevant to the subject.

Now, while I know that many of you reading this already have the know-how to download YouTube videos, this post is for those who comprise the 6,000,000+ (according to my Google keyword research) monthly searches on this topic! What follows are the 3 solutions I personally use that 100% fill my needs for downloading not only YouTube videos, but just about everything else as well. With that said, these certainly aren't the *only* solutions out there, so I encourage others of you to chime in with any differing solutions you use!

1 - When it comes to saving YouTube videos, KeepVid is my first choice, without question. While there are tons of sites out there that perform the same function, KeepVid is consistently on top of YouTube when changes are made that temporarily "break" services like this. It's quite simple to use: just copy the link of the YouTube video you would like to save, paste it into the URL box at the top of KeepVid's site, click the "Download" button, then select which quality and format you would like to download the video in from the links that show up afterward. From copying the link to visiting the site and running through the process, you can have a video downloading in under 7 seconds! To note, KeepVid also supports downloading videos from Vimeo, Google Video, DailyMotion, Metacafe, and Megavideo. Visit site: KeepVid

2 - JDownloader: This program is one of my favorite programs, period! For Windows, Mac, and Linux, JDownloader is a download manager for just about every site imaginable that streams and hosts files. You can have it monitor your clipboard so that it automatically grabs links you copy, so if you find that you want to download something like a whole series of videos from YouTube, you can just copy the link for each of them and they'll automatically paste into JDownloader. Removing the step of having to paste all of those links really helps to save some time. And like KeepVid, JDownloader allows you to choose the quality and format you'd like to download YouTube videos. But really, this functionality is but a minor piece of a greater sum, for JDownloader is SO much more.

If you have any premium accounts with sites like RapidShare, HotFile, FileServe, etc., you can enter your log-in credentials for those sites and furiously download files from them with only the limitation of your bandwidth. Not only that, but because it's a download manager at its core, you can queue up download links from just about anywhere. And for sites that require you to enter CAPTCHA information (the pictures with weird, almost unreadable word combinations/numbers, like "Bicycle PancaKeS"), JDownloader will auto-enter that information from CAPTCHAs it recognizes (offhand, MegaUpload is one site I know it recognizes them from)! Definitely check out JDownloader if you're looking to download YouTube videos en masse. Visit site: JDownloader

3 - DownloadThemAll!: For my Internet browsing needs, I primarily use Firefox. As such, I have a multitude of add-ons that I use, including download manager add-ons like "DownloadThemAll!". Unlike the two suggestions above which have YouTube download capabilities, this add-on is solely for "other curious things." If you've ever been on a page with a ton of pictures, MP3s, documents, or other file types, "DownloadThemAll!" gives you the ability to download all of those files with just a few clicks. So, instead of having to save 100 pictures, songs, PDFs, or whatever else file-by-file, you can quickly save them all to a folder of your choosing. Once installed, it's as simple as right-clicking on a page, selecting "DownloadThemAll!...", then choosing the folder you would like to save the files to and clicking "Start!". It also has plenty of functionality for you advanced users who would like to specify/negate certain file types to download (like if you work with files that have uncommon file extensions that "DownloadThemAll!" doesn't recognize), etc. Overall, an invaluable add-on if you frequently download groups of files. Visit site: DownloadThemAll!

That's it! Those are the three solutions (outside of the old standby, that is; "right-click, save target as...") I use to download YouTube videos and other curious things. Again, these are far from the only solutions out there, and while my chosen three may not be "the best" or the most efficient, they're certainly good enough for me; an individual who has yet to harness the virtue of patience.

Do you have any personal recommendations for download managers/sites/programs/add-ons you'd like to contribute? Please do so in the comments below!

-Stephen Chapman

Related Content:

Topics: Social Enterprise, CXO, Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: How to download YouTube videos, and other curious things appears to satisfy the need to download YouTube videos. My question is, What is the catch?

    How does Keepvid earn money by providing this service? Do you have to register personal info that Keepvid can than use to sell to advertisers? My email inbox is growing "larger by the day" .. I don't need to wade thru more spam.
    • Alternative way to download Youtube video

      You can try download Youtube from this website:

      copy and paste youtube video page URL and paste to the site,
      it will generate download link for you (FLV, MP4-HD, 3GP).
      Facebook, Metacafe, Dailymotion, Tudou...etc video download supported too.

      You also can perform video search through the Tubekeeper Video Search Engine.
    • ChrisPC Free YouTube Downloader Converter

      You could try this free downloader it also converts videos to iPad, iPhone, MP3.
  • Video DownloadHelper

    This is the only tool you need to download videos from just about any site using Firefox:
    Shawn I.
    • RE: How to download YouTube videos, and other curious things

      @Shawn I.
      I use that add-on.
      It also handles picture galleries.
  • I Install DownloadHelper for Convenience

    I install DownloadHelper for convenience. However, it's quite possible to find YouTube videos in your browser cache and copy them out. They usually stand out because of their size, so you only have to wade through video files that you've viewed recently. Of course, after you copy them out, you should rename them and give them an extension that will associate them with an appropriate program. Like I said, a Firefox plugin like DownloadHelper is much more convenient.
  • RE: How to download YouTube videos, and other curious things

    On my Mac I use Safari and press command + shift + a (if I remember right) and it pulls up a list of processes in the browser. Look for the one that's a few megs in size while a video is playing and click on it. It downloads the video you are watching.
    • Command + Option + A [nt]

      • RE: How to download YouTube videos, and other curious things


  • With Chrome

    There's a way to download streaming videos without running a third party application or extension if you are using Chrome.

    1. Launch developer tools (Ctrl + Shift + I)
    2. Click the "network" tab.
    3. Play the video, or reload the page. Select the resolution you want.
    4. Check for the biggest file under the "network" tab.
    5. That's most likely the video. Copy the URL and paste it into a new tab or into a download manager or whatever you are using.
    5a. Sometimes if you paste into a new tab, Chrome wants to play the file itself. Just click "Save page as".

    I've used it myself and it works great. It can be used to download anything on the page, including flash animations.
  • If you're using Safari...

    If you're using Safari, you go to the Activity window in the Window menu. Then just look for the .flv file (it's usually the biggest file there) then option-double click. It'll download it to your Downloads folder.
    • RE: How to download YouTube videos, and other curious things


      double thanks.
  • RE: How to download YouTube videos, and other curious things

    Freecorder is a better way to do this. It will download videos from more sites, and it also includes a free converter and audio recorder. It will even convert videos to MP3s. And it's free.
    • Price?

      Sounds good @applian, but how much does it cost?
      Murray Carew
  • New type of site ~no more URL pasting~

    Check out ... you can search for videos using keywords and the site connects directly to the GDATA api to pull the results. Instant MP3 and MP4 downloads.

  • to save only the music of you tube video

    if you want to save it as mp3 on your mobile then , All you need to do is add this keyword listento in front of source
  • [100% WORKING TRICK]

    Easily Download Youtube Videos Without Using Any Software.

  • Best YouTube Downloader of 2014

    The best YouTube Downloader and converter in 2014 is Quick YouTube Downloader. They even have a video trailer lol.
  • Sorry

    Sorry, heres the link. Stupid HTML. Quick YouTube Downloader Free