What is youtube-dl?
youtube-dl is an open-source command-line program that allows users to download videos and audio from YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and over 1000 other websites. It is widely used due to being free, fast, having no ads or restrictions, and supporting many sites.
How youtube-dl Works
Since it runs on the command line rather than a graphical interface, using youtube-dl requires typing in commands rather than clicking buttons. But it gives experienced users more control and options. Below are the basic steps:
- Install youtube-dl using a command line tool like Terminal (Mac/Linux) or Command Prompt (Windows)
- Navigate to location of the youtube-dl executable file
- Enter command
youtube-dl -Fto list available formats
- Choose desired format code
- Enter full command with link and format to download the file
youtube-dl -f 22 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
This downloads the video in MP4 720p format.
Some key features that make youtube-dl powerful include:
- Support for over 1000 sites not just YouTube
- Download entire playlists and channels
- Many format options like MP4, WebM, MP3
- Fast batch downloading
- Customizable based on knowledge of command line
- Open source and always improving
Being command line-based does mean a learning curve versus graphical tools. And advanced technical knowledge is required to unlock youtube-dl’s full potential. But for experienced users, youtube-dl remains a top choice.
For developers and technologists comfortable with the command line, youtube-dl is an excellent tool for downloading videos and audio from a vast number of internet platforms quickly, flexibly and efficiently. Its open source nature also means it will continue evolving with user contributions.