A Guide to Downloading Videos From YouTube for Free


Love spending time on YouTube? Who doesn’t? About 2 billion people use YouTube per month and video content is quickly becoming the go-to medium on the Internet.

But how can you enjoy YouTube when there’s no Internet or electricity? What do you do when you’re on the road? 

You need to start downloading videos from YouTube for free and do it now. 

Downloading the videos and keeping them offline guarantees you can enjoy them anywhere and at any time. Not sure how? Follow these five methods below:

Save Videos with YouTube Premium

Photo by len-k-a from FreeImages

Let’s start with the most basic method to download YouTube videos, which is through the YouTube app. 

Keep in mind, this method only works for YouTube Premium members. If you’re not a member, you’ll have to pay for a subscription before this method becomes available. This costs $11.99 per month.

Once subscribed, you’ll find a new “save” button at the bottom of each YouTube video. Simply tap on this to start downloading. Now you can watch the video offline.

However, this isn’t permanent. You have to get online at least once every 29 days to keep the video available. If you don’t, YouTube will recognize this and make the video unavailable for viewing.

This is likely a method to ensure members keep paying for their subscription each month. Without this verification every month, people could pay for only one month and then download videos permanently.

Don’t get discouraged, however. Getting a YouTube Premium account has other benefits. For one, you now have access to the YouTube Music app and you can now view YouTube Originals. For people on mobile devices, YouTube Premium also allows you to minimize the app, which keeps the video playing as you move on to other apps on the device.

Online Downloaders

You can make downloading videos from YouTube for free a lot easier by using online tools. There are a lot of them available, whether you’re on desktop computers or a mobile device. Some of the most famous are ClipConverter, KeepVid, Y2Mate, and YTMP3.

All you have to do is copy the URL of the YouTube video you want to download. Paste it into the online tool’s form, hit download, and pick the format you want. You can save in mp4, AVI, MKV, or others. 

Some tools, like ClipConverter, also allow you to pick the resolution of the video you’ll download. If the original video was available in 4K, 1080p, and 720p, you can download any of those. Keep in mind that the bigger the resolution and the more uncompressed the file type is, such as an AVI file, the bigger the file size will be.

Desktop or Mobile Apps

Source: Videolan.org

Are you looking for a downloader tool with more options and oomph? Online tools work fine and are light in terms of required specs — even your phone can run them — but they might not have the features you want. For more power, you should install dedicated desktop or mobile apps.

Some of the best ones include Any Video Converter, AnyTrans, WinX YouTube Downloader, and aTube Catcher. Most of them offer free versions but to get the best features you’ll have to pay for the premium versions.

All of these tools have one thing in common: they give you more options when it comes to downloading and converting videos from YouTube. You could grab a video in full 4K UHD resolution, higher framerates, and different video files. 

Players with Download Options

Did you know some video players allow you to download from YouTube? The most preferred player is RealPlayer. When you install it, it comes with a special plugin that allows you to download videos on any website.

Yes, that means you can use the plugin to download more than YouTube videos. You can download videos from Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and more. As soon as a video starts playing, a small pop-up appears and you simply need to click it to start downloading. 

VLC also allows you to download YouTube videos. 

First, copy the URL of the video you want. Go to the VLC player and click on Media, and then Open Network Stream. Paste the video’s URL and click on Play.

Once the video begins to play, go to Tools and select Codec Information. Look for Location and then copy the contents of the box. 

Head back to your browser, paste the information you copied, and press Enter. This opens the video directly from the servers. Now you can right-click on the video and Save As to download it.

Downloading Through Browsers

It’s possible to download YouTube videos through your browsers too. 

A few years back, it was possible to download directly by checking the source code of the page. However, most browsers updated in the years that followed, making this difficult to achieve. Fortunately, there are tools to work around this.

Whether you use the Chrome browser, Firefox, or Safari, there are add-on extensions you can install to make downloading directly from your browser a breeze. Simply download a plugin you trust and keep it active.

Make sure you only install plugins that have high reviews and ratings. You don’t want to install one that comes with potential viruses and malware. 

Once installed, these plugins work similarly to RealPlayer’s downloader. A pop-up will appear and you need to click on it to start downloading a video. 

Again, some of these plugins come free but you might want to pay for the premium versions to get the most features. Otherwise, you might get stuck with 480p resolutions and short videos.

Start Downloading Videos From YouTube for Free!

If you expect a power outage or if you’re on the move, start downloading videos from YouTube for free now! Build a library of files on your laptop or phone so you can binge-watch them whenever you want! Simply follow any of these steps to get what you want!

That said, there are other tips and tricks to discover beyond downloading YouTube videos. If you want more tech-savvy guides, don’t hesitate to check out our guides and articles right here!

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