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How to Download Videos from YouTube (and other websites)

download embedded videos from websites such as youtube

There are many times when we come across videos on YouTube (or any other website) that are of interest to us, and we wanna download them for offline viewing. Well, it’s pretty easy, as you shall see in this article. There are actually many ways of doing this, and there are lots of tools out there to accomplish this task, but in this post I’m only gonna talk about two ways I use every time. The beauty about these two techniques is that they are


1. Using KeepVid

Keepvid uses Java to allow one to download streaming videos from popular sites such as Youtube and Vimeo. Your computer needs to have The Java Runtime Environment installed in order for KeepVid to work. You can check to see if Java is installed on your Computer, if it’s installed — you’ll see something like this:

 

Yay! Java is installed

Okay, so, assuming Java is in place, let us suppose that you are on Youtube and you want to download a video as shown in the image below:

Step 1: Copy the Video’s URL as depicted in the image above
Step 2: Go to www.keepvid.com
Step 3: Paste the link you copied earlier into the text box which says “enter the link of the video you want to download…” and click on the Download Button
Step 4: You will be see a Security Warning dialog box, where you will be asked to allow the KeepVidDownloader application to Run — Select the checkbox and click on the Run Button to proceed.
Step 5: You will arrive at something similar to the image below, click on the video type & size that you would like to download. DONE! :-)

Notes:

[1] The options you will have for the type and size of video will not always be the same — they depend on the original video type and size uploaded by the owner.

[2] Do NOT click on the crossed out area in the figure above, just click on any of the links on the left (in the red box) — in my case I wanted a high quality video in HD so I picked on the » Download MP4 «1080p – 325.6 MB link.

[3] I prefer mp4 videos because they will play natively on my smartphone, tablet, Windows computer, Linux computer, etc. For those who may not know, the figure in bold next to the download link (1080p for example) represents the Video resolution. Generally — the higher the resolution is, the higher the video quality will be. The file size will also be higher.


2. Using Flashgot

According to the developers,

FlashGot is the free add-on for Firefox and Thunderbird, meant to handle single and massive (“all” and “selection”) downloads with several external Download Managers.

This means that having Firefox on your computer is a prerequisite for Flashgot, which allows you to download (almost) any type of embedded media on webpages. I think Flashgot is actually more powerful than Keepvid, because Flashgot works across several websites, whereas KeepVid may not work for some websites (but from my experience it always works for YouTube Videos).

Furthermore, you will need a good Download Manager to fully leverage the power of flashgot. DownThemAll is an excellent choice, it is also a free firefox addon. Whenever I install firefox on a machine, Flashgot and DownthemAll are amongst the first addons I install! You can also use  FreeDownloadManager if you are on Windows, and FatRat if you are on Linux.

Assuming you have firefox installed (plus a Download Manager of your choice), you can install flashgot in one of two ways:

  • by going to the flashgot website and clicking on the install button, and following the on-screen prompts until you have it installed. You will be asked to restart firefox to activate the addon.
  • by going to the Firefox Addon Manager, which can be accessed under Tools > Addons (or using the keyboard Shortcut Ctrl+Shift+A). Once you get there, just search for Flashgot, when you find it, install it. You will be requested to restart firefox.

Step 1: First we have to configure flashgot to use our preferred download manager whenever we want to download YouTube videos or similar embedded media. As shown in the image below, go to Tools > Flashgot > More Options…

Then, on the Flashgot Options dialog, navigate to the Flashgot Media tab, and select the download manager of your choice, then click  OK. In my case, Free Download Manager is selected.

Step 2: Now that we have configured Flashgot, we are ready to put it to use. Whenever you open a webpage with embedded media in it, like on YouTube, you will see this icon somewhere in the navigation toolbar (it may be on the left or the right, depending on your configuration) as shown below:

In order to see what media is available, put your mouse over the icon, like this:

In this case, we have three videos to choose from:

  • screencast.webm (3MB)
  • screencast.ogv (3MB)
  • Mozila_Firefox_Manifesto_v0.2_640.webm (10MB)

To download, simply right-click on the Flashgot Icon and select the file you want to download. In this example, I have chosen the third file, as shown below:

Selecting our file will then invoke the Download Manager that we selected earlier, where you will select the download destination:

That’s it! :-) Very easy, right?

Note(s):

[1] I did not use an example from YouTube under the Flashgot section, because I wanted to show that Flashgot works on any website which has embedded video and/or audio. If you want to download a video from YouTube, the procedure is the same — when the Flashgot icon shows up,  right-click on it and download, as shown below:

However, the quality of the video you will download will be according to the selected video quality setting, which you can change at the bottom of the video as shown below:

Once you alter the video quality, the video will reload (if it was playing, otherwise, you will have to click on the Play button to reload it in the new quality setting), and when you go to the Flashgot icon, you will observe that you will have more options. In my case, I selected the highest quality setting, and, as you can see in the screenshot below, I have two options  — the default option in flv format, and the HD option in mp4 format.


Concluding Remarks

I specifically use keepvid for downloading youtube videos, because all I need to do is paste the video link into the keepvid text box and keepvid does the rest — instantly giving me different video quality options. On the other hand, I use Flashgot as a multipurpose media download tool, where I can download (almost) any embedded audio and/or video from any other website, as in the example I gave on the firefox website.

I hope that you have found this tutorial to be helpful. If you know of other tools and/or techniques, kindly share with us in the comments section below. Your comments, questions, suggestions, etc are welcome. Thank you.


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8 comments on How to Download Videos from YouTube (and other websites)

  1. Victor
    Tay November 5th, 2012
    Reply

    Thank u, I might try flashgot, since I never heard of it and it sounds really cool. Btw, I got a tool that manages all my downloads in one place and I’m curious to know if you heard of it- it’s called torch.

  2. Victor
    Tay November 5th, 2012
    Reply

    Exactly. I’d be happy to know what you think, you’re the pro

    • Victor
      victor November 5th, 2012
      Reply

      Lol… I’ll download it, install it and give you my thoughts before the end of the day :-)

    • Victor
      victor November 6th, 2012
      Reply

      Ok, so I downloaded and installed Torchbrowser and I must say it’s pretty impressive. It is based on Chromium so there are similarities with Google Chrome. The philosophy behind TorchBrowser is that it comes with built-in media and social-networking capabilities, and you can download torrents right within your browser, which is cool :-) It reminds of a similar software called Wyzo, which is powered by Mozilla’s gecko engine.

      TorchBrowser’s media-grabber tool is similar to the Flashgot addon for firefox, which I talked about in this post.

      The verdict? I think TorchBrowser is a cool product, but I can do whatever it has to offer with my beloved Firefox web browser. I do not need to install another browser – I love Firefox! The beauty about Firefox is that you have a host of addons for added functionality, and I’ve already shared with you two awesome addons in this post. I’m sure hardcore Chrome fans will probably love TorchBrowser more because of the similarities in the user interface, but I bet Chrome has extensions to achieve TorchBrowser’s goals!

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      • Victor
        Tay November 15th, 2012
        Reply

        Thanks you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I get what you’re saying, but I’m more of a chrome-lover than a FF-fan, so I think I will continue to use my beloved torch 😀

  3. Victor
    Festo'o November 8th, 2012
    Reply

    Hey thanks guys, I think am slowly becoming a computer guru by just reading these blogs.

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