What are the best ways to download YouTube videos?
In this article, I will list the best free ways to download YouTube videos for Free. I will also mention what premium apps you can use if you want to download videos in bulk.
YouTube is the largest video platform in the world that lets you create and watch videos online. Nowadays, with most people in the biggest cities having very fast internet we can just search, find and watch anything about everything.
YouTube became the most popular place on the internet to find things. It became even more popular than blog posts, written guides or how-to tutorials. It is simply easier to navigate to a YouTube site watch someone describing the problem.
With the fast internet, we usually do not need to download videos for later as we can simply save the link and play it later on. However, there are several occasions where we might download a YouTube video and save it for later use. Before I go to the main topic let’s first clarify one and most important thing!
Is downloading YouTube videos legal?
YouTube has a pretty clear statement about accessing the service in terms of what you can or cannot do.
Below is a quote from YouTube Terms of Service in regards to downloading videos:
The following restrictions apply to your use of the Service. You are not allowed to:
access, reproduce, download, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, alter, modify or otherwise use any part of the Service or any Content except: (a) as expressly authorized by the Service; or (b) with prior written permission from YouTube and, if applicable, the respective rights holders;
Thus, downloading YouTube videos without getting permission is violating their Terms of Service.
Should you download a YouTube video after reading their Terms of Service? I do not think YouTube has ever sued an individual for downloading a video, so as long as you download a video for yourself because you want to watch it later, it is probably ok.
It is a different story if you wanted to download, distribute and earn money from it. This is definitely a criminal offence and you will be sued if they find out.
Remember that Google and YouTube subscribers earn money from running ads and it is very unfair if someone downloads a bunch of videos and shows them to their audience.
Downloading YouTube videos is a breach of YouTube Terms of Service
Downloading copyrighted videos is a criminal act
YouTube has no desire to penalize people for downloading videos
Some applications are licenced for users to download videos
Why should I download a YouTube video?
This is a good question. As I mentioned before, why would you even download a video? I think it could be one of the following reasons:
you are uncertain how long a video will stay online as you suspect it may be deleted soon; sometimes users upload videos and then delete them due to some reasons
you are going off-grid and you will not have a phone or internet reception. A good example is when you go camping and you want to play video or music and enjoy it in isolation. Then, you find the video and store it on your windows pc or external hard drive or mobile devices.
you have a very limited internet connection or mobile plan and you are concerned that watching the same long online videos will end your data limit exposing you to some additional charges. Thus, want to grab videos, download them and safely watch them later
The good thing about broadband and mobile data plans is that due to a lot of competition internet providers do more data allowances making your data limits very high where you do not have to think about overextending it and paying for more data.
Obviously, if you like to watch long videos on your mobile your data limit will soon end unless you have an unlimited plan.
What is the best way to download YouTube videos?
Considering you want to download an ad-hoc video or two and watch it later it should be a reasonably quick process to follow. When I look for an online tool like that (and it applies to any online tool or service), I always look for three things:
Quality: you want it to be the same high quality or reasonable quality resolution that you do not see any difference
Fast process: you do not want to spend an enormous amount of time simply download a video
Free tool: this is not a tool you will be using every day so why pay for it?
The free way to download YouTube videos – y2mate.com
This website has the cleanest interface and you will not be prompted for any premium features sign-ups. You have to follow these few steps to download YouTube video:
Click the Start button and you will be prompted to choose: video, mp3 or audio-only and also a file format
5. Once you made your choice, simply click Download button
Another way to download video from y2mate.com
There is an easy way to navigate to y2mate.com from YouTube without leaving your YouTube video site. When you are in YouTube, simply click your video URL and paste ‘pp’ just after word youtube as below:
When you press enter you will be redirected to y2mate.com (the red screenshot from the previous step) with your URL entered already and then you are ready to download the file.
This is definitely my number one free YouTube video downloader as it is fast and it has only a few simple steps. It does not have any malware or premium options that you have to sign up or wait for the free download button to turn up.
If you want to download multiple videos at the same time that is simply not possible and I would redirect you to a premium tool like 4k downloader. However, if you download YouTube videos for free on an occasional basis this is the option for you.
Another free way to download YouTube videos – SaveFrom.net
I found this website as an alternative to y2mate.com. SaveFrom.net has a nice, clean interface where you paste your video URL and download the video.
There are three ways to download a YouTube video using SaveFrom.net:
Copy/Paste Option on SaveFrom.net
Go to YouTube and navigate to the video you want
Add “ss” in the front of the URL, just before youtube.com word
Click enter and this will redirect you to the SaveFrom.net site. You can see your video URL is already there
Click the download button. This should show you the screen below. Then, you can click on the green Download button to download the video.
5. Occasionally you may be prompted to buy a subscription. Simply wait until the green button comes up.
Visit SaveFrom.net directly
Go to YouTube and navigate to the video you want
Copy video URL
Open a new tab in your browser and go to savefrom.net
Paste your video URL and click the download button
The remaining steps are the same as in the previous step
Once you add the extension to your Chrome browser the extension will be available via a little, green, down arrow.
Now, you can navigate to any YouTube URL and click the green, down arrow to see the below screen. Simply click the Go to SaveFrom.net button and it will redirect you to the website where you can follow the steps I described above.
SaveFrom.net is a free YouTube downloader. In my opinion, this website is sufficient to download an ad-hoc video or two.
The only con I found is that sometimes you have to wait for more than a minute for the green download button to appear. If you do not download many videos and time is not a problem this option is ok.
Download YouTube video through VLC media player
You perhaps know VLC media player already as this is a famous video player that can play any video or audio files considering you have the right codecs installed. With VLC you have to follow a few steps to get your video file downloaded. Let’s do it.
Open VLC player (or download it first and install with default settings)
Navigate to Media -> Open Network Stream
3. Paste your video url under Network tab
Press the Play button. This will open the video in the VLC player and start playing it immediately, but how to download YouTube videos for free to your hard drive? This is how.
While the video is in playing mode go to Tools -> Codec Information
6. This will open Current Media Information window with Code tab displayed
7. Simply copy the long URL and paste it into your browser. Please note that this is only a temporary URL that will not last long.
8. In the right bottom corner you will find three dots and when you click it there will be a Download option.
What is the best premium tool to download YouTube videos?
There are a lot of tools on the internet where you can download videos in any format possible. I found 4k Video Downloader is one of the best with the most features available.
The main features of 4k Video Downloader are:
Download YouTube playlists and channels – you can save playlists and channels from YouTube automatically in various video and audio formats. You can also set your favourite channel videos to download automatically
Extract subtitles from YouTube – this can be done in more than 50 languages and extracted from any video or channel
Download videos of any quality – it is up to you to decide what quality video you want to download. It can be HD 1080p, HD 720p, 4k or 8k resolution
Other platforms are supported too – YouTube is not the only supported site. You can download video and audio from Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and many more
Download private content – if you have access to a private video or playlist you can also download it and enjoy it in your free time
3D video download – you can get outstanding 3D video experience in formats like MP4, MKV, FLV, 3GP and others
Download 360 videos – you can also download virtual reality videos to your hard drive to get a VR experience as many times as you want
Proxy setup – you can bypass any region restrictions by setting your connection via proxy
“Smart Mode” – save your predefined settings and use them for any future downloads
Below is a screenshot from a typical video download. Note that once you paste your video URL, you have multiple options to download the file. You can choose between numerous video or audio file formats.
Download YouTube videos for free – Executive Summary
Living in the second decade of the 21st century we are rewarded with fast internet options with almost unlimited data plans where we can download and live stream in various ways providing our friends and communities with high-quality videos and programs.
There are situations in our lives where we do not have access to the internet.
This is especially related to people in remote communities where internet access is scarce. People in those communities are not different, they also want to view nice, educational or funny videos.
This is where downloading YouTube videos could be the best option to stay on top of recent stories.
Simply, download some videos and watch them later, when you do not have access to the internet. This is definitely a fair option to download a YouTube video and I do not think that anyone would be prosecuted for it.
In summary, if you want to ad hoc download YouTube videos for free occasionally then definitely use a website like y2mate.com or SaveFrom.net.
However, when you think of downloading a series of videos or maybe a full channel from multiple locations you should consider a premium tool like 4k Downloader where you will have full control of what you want to download.
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