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Small command-line program to download videos from and other video sites
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youtube-dl - download videos from or other video platforms


To install it right away for all UNIX users (Linux, OS X, etc.), type:

sudo curl -o /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl

If you do not have curl, you can alternatively use a recent wget:

sudo wget -O /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl

Windows users can download a .exe file and place it in their home directory or any other location on their PATH.

OS X users can install youtube-dl with Homebrew.

brew install youtube-dl

You can also use pip:

sudo pip install youtube-dl

Alternatively, refer to the developer instructions below for how to check out and work with the git repository. For further options, including PGP signatures, see .


youtube-dl is a small command-line program to download videos from and a few more sites. It requires the Python interpreter, version 2.6, 2.7, or 3.2+, and it is not platform specific. It should work on your Unix box, on Windows or on Mac OS X. It is released to the public domain, which means you can modify it, redistribute it or use it however you like.

youtube-dl [OPTIONS] URL [URL...]


-h, --help                       print this help text and exit
--version                        print program version and exit
-U, --update                     update this program to latest version. Make
                                 sure that you have sufficient permissions
                                 (run with sudo if needed)
-i, --ignore-errors              continue on download errors, for example to
                                 skip unavailable videos in a playlist
--abort-on-error                 Abort downloading of further videos (in the
                                 playlist or the command line) if an error
--dump-user-agent                display the current browser identification
--list-extractors                List all supported extractors and the URLs
                                 they would handle
--extractor-descriptions         Output descriptions of all supported
--default-search PREFIX          Use this prefix for unqualified URLs. For
                                 example "gvsearch2:" downloads two videos
                                 from google videos for  youtube-dl "large
                                 apple". Use the value "auto" to let
                                 youtube-dl guess ("auto_warning" to emit a
                                 warning when guessing). "error" just throws
                                 an error. The default value "fixup_error"
                                 repairs broken URLs, but emits an error if
                                 this is not possible instead of searching.
--ignore-config                  Do not read configuration files. When given
                                 in the global configuration file /etc
                                 /youtube-dl.conf: Do not read the user
                                 configuration in ~/.config/youtube-
                                 dl/config (%APPDATA%/youtube-dl/config.txt
                                 on Windows)
--flat-playlist                  Do not extract the videos of a playlist,
                                 only list them.
--no-color                       Do not emit color codes in output.

Network Options:

--proxy URL                      Use the specified HTTP/HTTPS proxy. Pass in
                                 an empty string (--proxy "") for direct
--socket-timeout SECONDS         Time to wait before giving up, in seconds
--source-address IP              Client-side IP address to bind to
-4, --force-ipv4                 Make all connections via IPv4
-6, --force-ipv6                 Make all connections via IPv6

Video Selection:

--playlist-start NUMBER          playlist video to start at (default is 1)
--playlist-end NUMBER            playlist video to end at (default is last)
--playlist-items ITEM_SPEC       playlist video items to download. Specify
                                 indices of the videos in the playlist
                                 seperated by commas like: "--playlist-items
                                 1,2,5,8" if you want to download videos
                                 indexed 1, 2, 5, 8 in the playlist. You can
                                 specify range: "--playlist-items
                                 1-3,7,10-13", it will download the videos
                                 at index 1, 2, 3, 7, 10, 11, 12 and 13.
--match-title REGEX              download only matching titles (regex or
                                 caseless sub-string)
--reject-title REGEX             skip download for matching titles (regex or
                                 caseless sub-string)
--max-downloads NUMBER           Abort after downloading NUMBER files
--min-filesize SIZE              Do not download any videos smaller than
                                 SIZE (e.g. 50k or 44.6m)
--max-filesize SIZE              Do not download any videos larger than SIZE
                                 (e.g. 50k or 44.6m)
--date DATE                      download only videos uploaded in this date
--datebefore DATE                download only videos uploaded on or before
                                 this date (i.e. inclusive)
--dateafter DATE                 download only videos uploaded on or after
                                 this date (i.e. inclusive)
--min-views COUNT                Do not download any videos with less than
                                 COUNT views
--max-views COUNT                Do not download any videos with more than
                                 COUNT views
--match-filter FILTER            (Experimental) Generic video filter.
                                 Specify any key (see help for -o for a list
                                 of available keys) to match if the key is
                                 present, !key to check if the key is not
                                 present,key > NUMBER (like "comment_count >
                                 12", also works with >=, <, <=, !=, =) to
                                 compare against a number, and & to require
                                 multiple matches. Values which are not
                                 known are excluded unless you put a
                                 question mark (?) after the operator.For
                                 example, to only match videos that have
                                 been liked more than 100 times and disliked
                                 less than 50 times (or the dislike
                                 functionality is not available at the given
                                 service), but who also have a description,
                                 use  --match-filter "like_count > 100 &
                                 dislike_count <? 50 & description" .
--no-playlist                    If the URL refers to a video and a
                                 playlist, download only the video.
--yes-playlist                   If the URL refers to a video and a
                                 playlist, download the playlist.
--age-limit YEARS                download only videos suitable for the given
--download-archive FILE          Download only videos not listed in the
                                 archive file. Record the IDs of all
                                 downloaded videos in it.
--include-ads                    Download advertisements as well

Download Options:

-r, --rate-limit LIMIT           maximum download rate in bytes per second
                                 (e.g. 50K or 4.2M)
-R, --retries RETRIES            number of retries (default is 10), or
--buffer-size SIZE               size of download buffer (e.g. 1024 or 16K)
                                 (default is 1024)
--no-resize-buffer               do not automatically adjust the buffer
                                 size. By default, the buffer size is
                                 automatically resized from an initial value
                                 of SIZE.
--playlist-reverse               Download playlist videos in reverse order
--xattr-set-filesize             (experimental) set file xattribute
                                 ytdl.filesize with expected filesize
--hls-prefer-native              (experimental) Use the native HLS
                                 downloader instead of ffmpeg.
--external-downloader COMMAND    (experimental) Use the specified external
                                 downloader. Currently supports

Filesystem Options:

-a, --batch-file FILE            file containing URLs to download ('-' for
--id                             use only video ID in file name
-o, --output TEMPLATE            output filename template. Use %(title)s to
                                 get the title, %(uploader)s for the
                                 uploader name, %(uploader_id)s for the
                                 uploader nickname if different,
                                 %(autonumber)s to get an automatically
                                 incremented number, %(ext)s for the
                                 filename extension, %(format)s for the
                                 format description (like "22 - 1280x720" or
                                 "HD"), %(format_id)s for the unique id of
                                 the format (like Youtube's itags: "137"),
                                 %(upload_date)s for the upload date
                                 (YYYYMMDD), %(extractor)s for the provider
                                 (youtube, metacafe, etc), %(id)s for the
                                 video id, %(playlist_title)s,
                                 %(playlist_id)s, or %(playlist)s (=title if
                                 present, ID otherwise) for the playlist the
                                 video is in, %(playlist_index)s for the
                                 position in the playlist. %(height)s and
                                 %(width)s for the width and height of the
                                 video format. %(resolution)s for a textual
                                 description of the resolution of the video
                                 format. %% for a literal percent. Use - to
                                 output to stdout. Can also be used to
                                 download to a different directory, for
                                 example with -o '/my/downloads/%(uploader)s
                                 /%(title)s-%(id)s.%(ext)s' .
--autonumber-size NUMBER         Specifies the number of digits in
                                 %(autonumber)s when it is present in output
                                 filename template or --auto-number option
                                 is given
--restrict-filenames             Restrict filenames to only ASCII
                                 characters, and avoid "&" and spaces in
-A, --auto-number                [deprecated; use  -o
                                 "%(autonumber)s-%(title)s.%(ext)s" ] number
                                 downloaded files starting from 00000
-t, --title                      [deprecated] use title in file name
-l, --literal                    [deprecated] alias of --title
-w, --no-overwrites              do not overwrite files
-c, --continue                   force resume of partially downloaded files.
                                 By default, youtube-dl will resume
                                 downloads if possible.
--no-continue                    do not resume partially downloaded files
                                 (restart from beginning)
--no-part                        do not use .part files - write directly
                                 into output file
--no-mtime                       do not use the Last-modified header to set
                                 the file modification time
--write-description              write video description to a .description
--write-info-json                write video metadata to a .info.json file
--write-annotations              write video annotations to a .annotation
--load-info FILE                 json file containing the video information
                                 (created with the "--write-json" option)
--cookies FILE                   file to read cookies from and dump cookie
                                 jar in
--cache-dir DIR                  Location in the filesystem where youtube-dl
                                 can store some downloaded information
                                 permanently. By default $XDG_CACHE_HOME
                                 /youtube-dl or ~/.cache/youtube-dl . At the
                                 moment, only YouTube player files (for
                                 videos with obfuscated signatures) are
                                 cached, but that may change.
--no-cache-dir                   Disable filesystem caching
--rm-cache-dir                   Delete all filesystem cache files

Thumbnail images:

--write-thumbnail                write thumbnail image to disk
--write-all-thumbnails           write all thumbnail image formats to disk
--list-thumbnails                Simulate and list all available thumbnail

Verbosity / Simulation Options:

-q, --quiet                      activates quiet mode
--no-warnings                    Ignore warnings
-s, --simulate                   do not download the video and do not write
                                 anything to disk
--skip-download                  do not download the video
-g, --get-url                    simulate, quiet but print URL
-e, --get-title                  simulate, quiet but print title
--get-id                         simulate, quiet but print id
--get-thumbnail                  simulate, quiet but print thumbnail URL
--get-description                simulate, quiet but print video description
--get-duration                   simulate, quiet but print video length
--get-filename                   simulate, quiet but print output filename
--get-format                     simulate, quiet but print output format
-j, --dump-json                  simulate, quiet but print JSON information.
                                 See --output for a description of available
-J, --dump-single-json           simulate, quiet but print JSON information
                                 for each command-line argument. If the URL
                                 refers to a playlist, dump the whole
                                 playlist information in a single line.
--print-json                     Be quiet and print the video information as
                                 JSON (video is still being downloaded).
--newline                        output progress bar as new lines
--no-progress                    do not print progress bar
--console-title                  display progress in console titlebar
-v, --verbose                    print various debugging information
--dump-intermediate-pages        print downloaded pages to debug problems
                                 (very verbose)
--write-pages                    Write downloaded intermediary pages to
                                 files in the current directory to debug
--print-traffic                  Display sent and read HTTP traffic
-C, --call-home                  Contact the youtube-dl server for
--no-call-home                   Do NOT contact the youtube-dl server for


--encoding ENCODING              Force the specified encoding (experimental)
--no-check-certificate           Suppress HTTPS certificate validation.
--prefer-insecure                Use an unencrypted connection to retrieve
                                 information about the video. (Currently
                                 supported only for YouTube)
--user-agent UA                  specify a custom user agent
--referer URL                    specify a custom referer, use if the video
                                 access is restricted to one domain
--add-header FIELD:VALUE         specify a custom HTTP header and its value,
                                 separated by a colon ':'. You can use this
                                 option multiple times
--bidi-workaround                Work around terminals that lack
                                 bidirectional text support. Requires bidiv
                                 or fribidi executable in PATH
--sleep-interval SECONDS         Number of seconds to sleep before each

Video Format Options:

-f, --format FORMAT              video format code, specify the order of
                                 preference using slashes, as in -f 22/17/18
                                 .  Instead of format codes, you can select
                                 by extension for the extensions aac, m4a,
                                 mp3, mp4, ogg, wav, webm. You can also use
                                 the special names "best", "bestvideo",
                                 "bestaudio", "worst".  You can filter the
                                 video results by putting a condition in
                                 brackets, as in -f "best[height=720]" (or
                                 -f "[filesize>10M]").  This works for
                                 filesize, height, width, tbr, abr, vbr,
                                 asr, and fps and the comparisons <, <=, >,
                                 >=, =, != and for ext, acodec, vcodec,
                                 container, and protocol and the comparisons
                                 =, != . Formats for which the value is not
                                 known are excluded unless you put a
                                 question mark (?) after the operator. You
                                 can combine format filters, so  -f "[height
                                 <=? 720][tbr>500]" selects up to 720p
                                 videos (or videos where the height is not
                                 known) with a bitrate of at least 500
                                 KBit/s. By default, youtube-dl will pick
                                 the best quality. Use commas to download
                                 multiple audio formats, such as -f
                                 You can merge the video and audio of two
                                 formats into a single file using -f <video-
                                 format>+<audio-format> (requires ffmpeg or
                                 avconv), for example -f
--all-formats                    download all available video formats
--prefer-free-formats            prefer free video formats unless a specific
                                 one is requested
--max-quality FORMAT             highest quality format to download
-F, --list-formats               list all available formats
--youtube-skip-dash-manifest     Do not download the DASH manifest on
                                 YouTube videos
--merge-output-format FORMAT     If a merge is required (e.g.
                                 bestvideo+bestaudio), output to given
                                 container format. One of mkv, mp4, ogg,
                                 webm, flv.Ignored if no merge is required

Subtitle Options:

--write-sub                      write subtitle file
--write-auto-sub                 write automatic subtitle file (youtube
--all-subs                       downloads all the available subtitles of
                                 the video
--list-subs                      lists all available subtitles for the video
--sub-format FORMAT              subtitle format, accepts formats
                                 preference, for example: "ass/srt/best"
--sub-lang LANGS                 languages of the subtitles to download
                                 (optional) separated by commas, use IETF
                                 language tags like 'en,pt'

Authentication Options:

-u, --username USERNAME          login with this account ID
-p, --password PASSWORD          account password. If this option is left
                                 out, youtube-dl will ask interactively.
-2, --twofactor TWOFACTOR        two-factor auth code
-n, --netrc                      use .netrc authentication data
--video-password PASSWORD        video password (vimeo, smotri)

Post-processing Options:

-x, --extract-audio              convert video files to audio-only files
                                 (requires ffmpeg or avconv and ffprobe or
--audio-format FORMAT            "best", "aac", "vorbis", "mp3", "m4a",
                                 "opus", or "wav"; "best" by default
--audio-quality QUALITY          ffmpeg/avconv audio quality specification,
                                 insert a value between 0 (better) and 9
                                 (worse) for VBR or a specific bitrate like
                                 128K (default 5)
--recode-video FORMAT            Encode the video to another format if
                                 necessary (currently supported:
-k, --keep-video                 keeps the video file on disk after the
                                 post-processing; the video is erased by
--no-post-overwrites             do not overwrite post-processed files; the
                                 post-processed files are overwritten by
--embed-subs                     embed subtitles in the video (only for mp4
--embed-thumbnail                embed thumbnail in the audio as cover art
--add-metadata                   write metadata to the video file
--xattrs                         write metadata to the video file's xattrs
                                 (using dublin core and xdg standards)
--fixup POLICY                   Automatically correct known faults of the
                                 file. One of never (do nothing), warn (only
                                 emit a warning), detect_or_warn(the
                                 default; fix file if we can, warn
--prefer-avconv                  Prefer avconv over ffmpeg for running the
                                 postprocessors (default)
--prefer-ffmpeg                  Prefer ffmpeg over avconv for running the
--ffmpeg-location PATH           Location of the ffmpeg/avconv binary;
                                 either the path to the binary or its
                                 containing directory.
--exec CMD                       Execute a command on the file after
                                 downloading, similar to find's -exec
                                 syntax. Example: --exec 'adb push {}
                                 /sdcard/Music/ && rm {}'


You can configure youtube-dl by placing default arguments (such as --extract-audio --no-mtime to always extract the audio and not copy the mtime) into /etc/youtube-dl.conf and/or ~/.config/youtube-dl/config. On Windows, the configuration file locations are %APPDATA%\youtube-dl\config.txt and C:\Users\<user name>\youtube-dl.conf.


The -o option allows users to indicate a template for the output file names. The basic usage is not to set any template arguments when downloading a single file, like in youtube-dl -o funny_video.flv "http://some/video". However, it may contain special sequences that will be replaced when downloading each video. The special sequences have the format %(NAME)s. To clarify, that is a percent symbol followed by a name in parenthesis, followed by a lowercase S. Allowed names are:

  • id: The sequence will be replaced by the video identifier.
  • url: The sequence will be replaced by the video URL.
  • uploader: The sequence will be replaced by the nickname of the person who uploaded the video.
  • upload_date: The sequence will be replaced by the upload date in YYYYMMDD format.
  • title: The sequence will be replaced by the video title.
  • ext: The sequence will be replaced by the appropriate extension (like flv or mp4).
  • epoch: The sequence will be replaced by the Unix epoch when creating the file.
  • autonumber: The sequence will be replaced by a five-digit number that will be increased with each download, starting at zero.
  • playlist: The name or the id of the playlist that contains the video.
  • playlist_index: The index of the video in the playlist, a five-digit number.

The current default template is %(title)s-%(id)s.%(ext)s.

In some cases, you don't want special characters such as 中, spaces, or &, such as when transferring the downloaded filename to a Windows system or the filename through an 8bit-unsafe channel. In these cases, add the --restrict-filenames flag to get a shorter title:

$ youtube-dl --get-filename -o "%(title)s.%(ext)s" BaW_jenozKc
youtube-dl test video ''_ä↭𝕐.mp4    # All kinds of weird characters
$ youtube-dl --get-filename -o "%(title)s.%(ext)s" BaW_jenozKc --restrict-filenames
youtube-dl_test_video_.mp4          # A simple file name


Videos can be filtered by their upload date using the options --date, --datebefore or --dateafter, they accept dates in two formats:

  • Absolute dates: Dates in the format YYYYMMDD.
  • Relative dates: Dates in the format (now|today)[+-][0-9](day|week|month|year)(s)?


# Download only the videos uploaded in the last 6 months
$ youtube-dl --dateafter now-6months

# Download only the videos uploaded on January 1, 1970
$ youtube-dl --date 19700101

$ # will only download the videos uploaded in the 200x decade
$ youtube-dl --dateafter 20000101 --datebefore 20091231


How do I update youtube-dl?

If you've followed our manual installation instructions, you can simply run youtube-dl -U (or, on Linux, sudo youtube-dl -U).

If you have used pip, a simple sudo pip install -U youtube-dl is sufficient to update.

If you have installed youtube-dl using a package manager like apt-get or yum, use the standard system update mechanism to update. Note that distribution packages are often outdated. As a rule of thumb, youtube-dl releases at least once a month, and often weekly or even daily. Simply go to to find out the current version. Unfortunately, there is nothing we youtube-dl developers can do if your distributions serves a really outdated version. You can (and should) complain to your distribution in their bugtracker or support forum.

As a last resort, you can also uninstall the version installed by your package manager and follow our manual installation instructions. For that, remove the distribution's package, with a line like

sudo apt-get remove -y youtube-dl

Afterwards, simply follow our manual installation instructions:

sudo wget -O /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
hash -r

Again, from then on you'll be able to update with sudo youtube-dl -U.

I'm getting an error Unable to extract OpenGraph title on YouTube playlists

YouTube changed their playlist format in March 2014 and later on, so you'll need at least youtube-dl 2014.07.25 to download all YouTube videos.

If you have installed youtube-dl with a package manager, pip, or a tarball, please use that to update. Note that Ubuntu packages do not seem to get updated anymore. Since we are not affiliated with Ubuntu, there is little we can do. Feel free to report bugs to the Ubuntu packaging guys - all they have to do is update the package to a somewhat recent version. See above for a way to update.

Do I always have to pass in --max-quality FORMAT, or -citw?

By default, youtube-dl intends to have the best options (incidentally, if you have a convincing case that these should be different, please file an issue where you explain that). Therefore, it is unnecessary and sometimes harmful to copy long option strings from webpages. In particular, --max-quality limits the video quality (so if you want the best quality, do NOT pass it in), and the only option out of -citw that is regularly useful is -i.

Can you please put the -b option back?

Most people asking this question are not aware that youtube-dl now defaults to downloading the highest available quality as reported by YouTube, which will be 1080p or 720p in some cases, so you no longer need the -b option. For some specific videos, maybe YouTube does not report them to be available in a specific high quality format you're interested in. In that case, simply request it with the -f option and youtube-dl will try to download it.

I get HTTP error 402 when trying to download a video. What's this?

Apparently YouTube requires you to pass a CAPTCHA test if you download too much. We're considering to provide a way to let you solve the CAPTCHA, but at the moment, your best course of action is pointing a webbrowser to the youtube URL, solving the CAPTCHA, and restart youtube-dl.

I have downloaded a video but how can I play it?

Once the video is fully downloaded, use any video player, such as vlc or mplayer.

I extracted a video URL with -g, but it does not play on another machine / in my webbrowser.

It depends a lot on the service. In many cases, requests for the video (to download/play it) must come from the same IP address and with the same cookies. Use the --cookies option to write the required cookies into a file, and advise your downloader to read cookies from that file. Some sites also require a common user agent to be used, use --dump-user-agent to see the one in use by youtube-dl.

It may be beneficial to use IPv6; in some cases, the restrictions are only applied to IPv4. Some services (sometimes only for a subset of videos) do not restrict the video URL by IP address, cookie, or user-agent, but these are the exception rather than the rule.

Please bear in mind that some URL protocols are not supported by browsers out of the box, including RTMP. If you are using -g, your own downloader must support these as well.

If you want to play the video on a machine that is not running youtube-dl, you can relay the video content from the machine that runs youtube-dl. You can use -o - to let youtube-dl stream a video to stdout, or simply allow the player to download the files written by youtube-dl in turn.

ERROR: no fmt_url_map or conn information found in video info

YouTube has switched to a new video info format in July 2011 which is not supported by old versions of youtube-dl. See above for how to update youtube-dl.

ERROR: unable to download video

YouTube requires an additional signature since September 2012 which is not supported by old versions of youtube-dl. See above for how to update youtube-dl.

ExtractorError: Could not find JS function u'OF'

In February 2015, the new YouTube player contained a character sequence in a string that was misinterpreted by old versions of youtube-dl. See above for how to update youtube-dl.

SyntaxError: Non-ASCII character

The error

File "youtube-dl", line 2
SyntaxError: Non-ASCII character '\x93' ...

means you're using an outdated version of Python. Please update to Python 2.6 or 2.7.

What is this binary file? Where has the code gone?

Since June 2012 (#342) youtube-dl is packed as an executable zipfile, simply unzip it (might need renaming to first on some systems) or clone the git repository, as laid out above. If you modify the code, you can run it by executing the file. To recompile the executable, run make youtube-dl.

The exe throws a Runtime error from Visual C++

To run the exe you need to install first the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package.

On Windows, how should I set up ffmpeg and youtube-dl? Where should I put the exe files?

If you put youtube-dl and ffmpeg in the same directory that you're running the command from, it will work, but that's rather cumbersome.

To make a different directory work - either for ffmpeg, or for youtube-dl, or for both - simply create the directory (say, C:\bin, or C:\Users\<User name>\bin), put all the executables directly in there, and then set your PATH environment variable to include that directory.

From then on, after restarting your shell, you will be able to access both youtube-dl and ffmpeg (and youtube-dl will be able to find ffmpeg) by simply typing youtube-dl or ffmpeg, no matter what directory you're in.

How do I put downloads into a specific folder?

Use the -o to specify an output template, for example -o "/home/user/videos/%(title)s-%(id)s.%(ext)s". If you want this for all of your downloads, put the option into your configuration file.

How do I download a video starting with a - ?

Either prepend or separate the ID from the options with --:

youtube-dl -- -wNyEUrxzFU
youtube-dl ""

Can you add support for this anime video site, or site which shows current movies for free?

As a matter of policy (as well as legality), youtube-dl does not include support for services that specialize in infringing copyright. As a rule of thumb, if you cannot easily find a video that the service is quite obviously allowed to distribute (i.e. that has been uploaded by the creator, the creator's distributor, or is published under a free license), the service is probably unfit for inclusion to youtube-dl.

A note on the service that they don't host the infringing content, but just link to those who do, is evidence that the service should not be included into youtube-dl. The same goes for any DMCA note when the whole front page of the service is filled with videos they are not allowed to distribute. A "fair use" note is equally unconvincing if the service shows copyright-protected videos in full without authorization.

Support requests for services that do purchase the rights to distribute their content are perfectly fine though. If in doubt, you can simply include a source that mentions the legitimate purchase of content.

How can I detect whether a given URL is supported by youtube-dl?

For one, have a look at the list of supported sites. Note that it can sometimes happen that the site changes its URL scheme (say, from to ) and youtube-dl reports an URL of a service in that list as unsupported. In that case, simply report a bug.

It is not possible to detect whether a URL is supported or not. That's because youtube-dl contains a generic extractor which matches all URLs. You may be tempted to disable, exclude, or remove the generic extractor, but the generic extractor not only allows users to extract videos from lots of websites that embed a video from another service, but may also be used to extract video from a service that it's hosting itself. Therefore, we neither recommend nor support disabling, excluding, or removing the generic extractor.

If you want to find out whether a given URL is supported, simply call youtube-dl with it. If you get no videos back, chances are the URL is either not referring to a video or unsupported. You can find out which by examining the output (if you run youtube-dl on the console) or catching an UnsupportedError exception if you run it from a Python program.


Most users do not need to build youtube-dl and can download the builds or get them from their distribution.

To run youtube-dl as a developer, you don't need to build anything either. Simply execute

python -m youtube_dl

To run the test, simply invoke your favorite test runner, or execute a test file directly; any of the following work:

python -m unittest discover
python test/

If you want to create a build of youtube-dl yourself, you'll need

  • python
  • make
  • pandoc
  • zip
  • nosetests

Adding support for a new site

If you want to add support for a new site, you can follow this quick list (assuming your service is called yourextractor):

  1. Fork this repository
  2. Check out the source code with git clone
  3. Start a new git branch with cd youtube-dl; git checkout -b yourextractor
  4. Start with this simple template and save it to youtube_dl/extractor/

    # coding: utf-8
    from __future__ import unicode_literals
    from .common import InfoExtractor
    class YourExtractorIE(InfoExtractor):
        _VALID_URL = r'https?://(?:www\.)?yourextractor\.com/watch/(?P<id>[0-9]+)'
        _TEST = {
            'url': '',
            'md5': 'TODO: md5 sum of the first 10241 bytes of the video file (use --test)',
            'info_dict': {
                'id': '42',
                'ext': 'mp4',
                'title': 'Video title goes here',
                'thumbnail': 're:^https?://.*\.jpg$',
                # TODO more properties, either as:
                # * A value
                # * MD5 checksum; start the string with md5:
                # * A regular expression; start the string with re:
                # * Any Python type (for example int or float)
        def _real_extract(self, url):
            video_id = self._match_id(url)
            webpage = self._download_webpage(url, video_id)
            # TODO more code goes here, for example ...
            title = self._html_search_regex(r'<h1>(.*?)</h1>', webpage, 'title')
            return {
                'id': video_id,
                'title': title,
                'description': self._og_search_description(webpage),
                # TODO more properties (see youtube_dl/extractor/
  5. Add an import in youtube_dl/extractor/
  6. Run python test/ TestDownload.test_YourExtractor. This should fail at first, but you can continually re-run it until you're done. If you decide to add more than one test, then rename _TEST to _TESTS and make it into a list of dictionaries. The tests will be then be named TestDownload.test_YourExtractor, TestDownload.test_YourExtractor_1, TestDownload.test_YourExtractor_2, etc.
  7. Have a look at youtube_dl/common/extractor/ for possible helper methods and a detailed description of what your extractor should return. Add tests and code for as many as you want.
  8. If you can, check the code with flake8.
  9. When the tests pass, add the new files and commit them and push the result, like this:

    $ git add youtube_dl/extractor/
    $ git add youtube_dl/extractor/
    $ git commit -m '[yourextractor] Add new extractor'
    $ git push origin yourextractor
  10. Finally, create a pull request. We'll then review and merge it.

In any case, thank you very much for your contributions!


youtube-dl makes the best effort to be a good command-line program, and thus should be callable from any programming language. If you encounter any problems parsing its output, feel free to create a report.

From a Python program, you can embed youtube-dl in a more powerful fashion, like this:

import youtube_dl

ydl_opts = {}
with youtube_dl.YoutubeDL(ydl_opts) as ydl:[''])

Most likely, you'll want to use various options. For a list of what can be done, have a look at youtube_dl/ For a start, if you want to intercept youtube-dl's output, set a logger object.

Here's a more complete example of a program that outputs only errors (and a short message after the download is finished), and downloads/converts the video to an mp3 file:

import youtube_dl

class MyLogger(object):
    def debug(self, msg):

    def warning(self, msg):

    def error(self, msg):

def my_hook(d):
    if d['status'] == 'finished':
        print('Done downloading, now converting ...')

ydl_opts = {
    'format': 'bestaudio/best',
    'postprocessors': [{
        'key': 'FFmpegExtractAudio',
        'preferredcodec': 'mp3',
        'preferredquality': '192',
    'logger': MyLogger(),
    'progress_hooks': [my_hook],
with youtube_dl.YoutubeDL(ydl_opts) as ydl:[''])


Bugs and suggestions should be reported at: . Unless you were prompted so or there is another pertinent reason (e.g. GitHub fails to accept the bug report), please do not send bug reports via personal email. For discussions, join us in the irc channel #youtube-dl on freenode.

Please include the full output of youtube-dl when run with -v.

The output (including the first lines) contain important debugging information. Issues without the full output are often not reproducible and therefore do not get solved in short order, if ever.

Please re-read your issue once again to avoid a couple of common mistakes (you can and should use this as a checklist):

Is the description of the issue itself sufficient?

We often get issue reports that we cannot really decipher. While in most cases we eventually get the required information after asking back multiple times, this poses an unnecessary drain on our resources. Many contributors, including myself, are also not native speakers, so we may misread some parts.

So please elaborate on what feature you are requesting, or what bug you want to be fixed. Make sure that it's obvious

  • What the problem is
  • How it could be fixed
  • How your proposed solution would look like

If your report is shorter than two lines, it is almost certainly missing some of these, which makes it hard for us to respond to it. We're often too polite to close the issue outright, but the missing info makes misinterpretation likely. As a commiter myself, I often get frustrated by these issues, since the only possible way for me to move forward on them is to ask for clarification over and over.

For bug reports, this means that your report should contain the complete output of youtube-dl when called with the -v flag. The error message you get for (most) bugs even says so, but you would not believe how many of our bug reports do not contain this information.

Site support requests must contain an example URL. An example URL is a URL you might want to download, like . There should be an obvious video present. Except under very special circumstances, the main page of a video service (e.g. ) is not an example URL.

Are you using the latest version?

Before reporting any issue, type youtube-dl -U. This should report that you're up-to-date. About 20% of the reports we receive are already fixed, but people are using outdated versions. This goes for feature requests as well.

Is the issue already documented?

Make sure that someone has not already opened the issue you're trying to open. Search at the top of the window or at . If there is an issue, feel free to write something along the lines of "This affects me as well, with version 2015.01.01. Here is some more information on the issue: ...". While some issues may be old, a new post into them often spurs rapid activity.

Why are existing options not enough?

Before requesting a new feature, please have a quick peek at the list of supported options. Many feature requests are for features that actually exist already! Please, absolutely do show off your work in the issue report and detail how the existing similar options do not solve your problem.

Is there enough context in your bug report?

People want to solve problems, and often think they do us a favor by breaking down their larger problems (e.g. wanting to skip already downloaded files) to a specific request (e.g. requesting us to look whether the file exists before downloading the info page). However, what often happens is that they break down the problem into two steps: One simple, and one impossible (or extremely complicated one).

We are then presented with a very complicated request when the original problem could be solved far easier, e.g. by recording the downloaded video IDs in a separate file. To avoid this, you must include the greater context where it is non-obvious. In particular, every feature request that does not consist of adding support for a new site should contain a use case scenario that explains in what situation the missing feature would be useful.

Does the issue involve one problem, and one problem only?

Some of our users seem to think there is a limit of issues they can or should open. There is no limit of issues they can or should open. While it may seem appealing to be able to dump all your issues into one ticket, that means that someone who solves one of your issues cannot mark the issue as closed. Typically, reporting a bunch of issues leads to the ticket lingering since nobody wants to attack that behemoth, until someone mercifully splits the issue into multiple ones.

In particular, every site support request issue should only pertain to services at one site (generally under a common domain, but always using the same backend technology). Do not request support for vimeo user videos, Whitehouse podcasts, and Google Plus pages in the same issue. Also, make sure that you don't post bug reports alongside feature requests. As a rule of thumb, a feature request does not include outputs of youtube-dl that are not immediately related to the feature at hand. Do not post reports of a network error alongside the request for a new video service.

Is anyone going to need the feature?

Only post features that you (or an incapacitated friend you can personally talk to) require. Do not post features because they seem like a good idea. If they are really useful, they will be requested by someone who requires them.

Is your question about youtube-dl?

It may sound strange, but some bug reports we receive are completely unrelated to youtube-dl and relate to a different or even the reporter's own application. Please make sure that you are actually using youtube-dl. If you are using a UI for youtube-dl, report the bug to the maintainer of the actual application providing the UI. On the other hand, if your UI for youtube-dl fails in some way you believe is related to youtube-dl, by all means, go ahead and report the bug.


youtube-dl is released into the public domain by the copyright holders.

This README file was originally written by Daniel Bolton ( and is likewise released into the public domain.

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