One of the biggest questions on the tips of YouTubers’ tongues is “How do I download YouTube videos?” Whether you want to save your favorite videos so you can watch them even when you’re offline, or want to create a kickass YouTube remix, it can be nice to have a few handy-dandy tools at your disposal to get videos off of YouTube and onto your computer. We’ve put together a list of seven easy ways to download YouTube videos so you can download now and thank us later.
Before we get to our YouTube downloading methods, websites and plug-ins, it goes without saying that you should use these tools for good and not evil. Remember that the video content you are downloading does not belong to you and you should keep copyright law in mind before using downloaded YouTube content in videos of your own. That being said, here we go!
YouTube Download Websites
We’ll start with four websites that let you copy-paste YouTube links to download them directly.
SaveVid.com is one of the most popular websites for downloading YouTube videos and it is incredibly simple. Just copy-paste the URL of the YouTube video you want to download into the URL field at the top of the page on SaveVid.com and click ‘Download’. When the Java popup shows up on your screen click either ‘Run’ or ‘Allow’. You will be asked to choose from the available video formats. Just click on the one you prefer and the video will be downloaded to your computer. In the screenshot below, we’re given the option to choose between an FLV and MP4 file.
In addition to YouTube, SaveVid also supports Dailymotion, Metacare, Break, Veoh, MySpace, Revver, Blip.tv, Facebook, Vimeo, Funny Or Die, Megavideo and more.
KeepVid.com is very similar to SaveVid. Just copy-paste the YouTube URL into the provided field and then choose the file format and quality that suits you best from the provided download links.
Zamzar works a little differently than other video downloading websites because it converts the video into a wide range of file types. To get the process started, choose the ‘Download Videos’ tab from the Zamzar homepage. Copy paste your URL into the Step 1 field, choose the file format from the Step 2 field (you are likely to choose mp4, mov, wmv or flv, depending where you want to watch your clip), and then enter your email address in the Step 3 field and click on “Convert”. Zamzar converts the file and then emails you a link to where you can download your video.
Add-Ons & Extensions For YouTube Downloads
The following are add-ons, extensions and downloadable tools that you can use for specific browsers and operating systems.
VideoDownloader For YouTube Chrome Extension
Chrome users will love the VideoDownloader for YouTube Chrome extension. All you have to do is install the extension and a ‘Download’ option will appear directly on YouTube video pages. Just click the ‘Download’ button to save the video to your hard drive. Simple as pie!
1-Click YouTube Video Download 1.5 for Firefox
1-Click YouTube Video Download 1.5 is a great Firefox add-on that does the same thing as the Chrome extension above. When you navigate to a YouTube page you’ll see a series of links down by the description that you can click to download the video in a variety of formats, from FLV to MP4, HD and more, depending upon the availability of formats for the video you are downloading. This is the service I use when I download videos from YouTube. It’s quick and easy and it almost always works.
Directly from Safari
If you’ve got a Mac then there’s also a pretty easy way to download videos from Safari without any special websites or plug-ins. This is the method I used to use before I discovered the 1-Click YouTube Video Download add-on for Firefox. It comes from Mac OS X Hints user marco.trive:
“If you’re using Safari, there’s an easy way to download YouTube videos. Open the page with the movie and press Command-Option-A, which shows the Activity window. If you’re also loading other sites, you’ll see a list of them: scroll until you find the YouTube page and click on the arrow to show details about what is being loaded.
“You will certainly notice an element whose size is over 0.5MB (most of the time, over 5MB). Double-click on it (even if it is still loading), and Safari will download it. When the download is over, navigate to the file in the Finder (which will probably be called get_video) and add the extension .flv to its name.”
If you want to convert the video from the FLV format then you’ll need some sort of conversion software. I have found that the Free FLV to MOV Converter for Mac works quite well.
Finally, VDownloader is a free tool that can be used on any Windows PC. It lets users download video content from YouTube, Facebook, Blip.tv, MegaVideo, Veoh, Vimeo, and more in a variety of formats, including MP3. Check out the video below to see how it works.
It is important to note that YouTube downloaders come and go. However, as of the writing of this post all of these options have been tested by yours truly and are working just fine. If one option doesn’t work for you, try another.
How do you download videos from YouTube? Do you use one of the tools on our list or do you have another little secret you can share with us?