YouTube 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. How to watch a video or movie on a DVD disc is also not covered on this page.
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 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 save. 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 the Download links. For most users, we suggest downloading the MP4 format. Other available formats may include FLV, 3GP, and WebM. Once you have selected your format, click the appropriate download link.
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.
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 the necessary codec to play FLV files, as well as other codecs you’ll likely need in the future.