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How to Install Youtube-DL on Windows

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Youtube-DL is a great program to download videos from Youtube and other major video sharing websites such as Dailymotion, Archive.org, Photobucket, Facebook, Instagram, Yahoo, Metacafe, Depositfiles. Youtube-DL is a command line program written using Python programming language. Its is available for Windows, Linux and macOS. Since this is a command line program, you have to follow some extra steps to configure everything.

Prerequisites

Downloading and Installing Youtube-DL on Windows

1. Download the youtube-dl.exe

You can get it here from their official web-site. Move the EXE file inside a folder and place it somewhere familiar.

(Recommended C:/youtube-dl/youtube-dl.exe)

2. Download ffmpeg

You can get it here from FFMPEGs web-site. Place the folder as we did before.

(Recommended C:/ffmpeg)

3. Add the C:\ffmpeg\bin\ and C:\youtube-dl\ folder to PATH

If you want to use youtube-dl.exe from any directory within the command line, you need to add youtube-dl to your Windows PATH environment variable.

  1. Right click This PC from file manager and select Properties.
  2. Select Advanced system settings from the top left corner.
  3. Select Environment Variables…
  4. Double-click the Path variable, in the top section.
  5. Select New and add C:\youtube-dl\
  6. Add C:\ffmpeg\bin\

Open a new Command Prompt window and run youtube-dl. If you’ve added Youtube-DL to the PATH correctly, you can see the below command.

youtube-dl: error: You must provide at least one URL.
Type youtube-dl --help to see a list of all options.

Similarly, you can use ffmpeg command to check if ffmpeg is working correctly. You’ll see something like this, if you followed the steps correctly.

ffmpeg version 4.3.1-2020-11-08-full_build-www.gyan.dev Copyright (c) 2000-2020 the FFmpeg developers
  built with gcc 10.2.0 (Rev3, Built by MSYS2 project)
  configuration: --enable-gpl --enable-version3 --enable-static --disable-w32threads --disable-autodetect --enable-fontconfig --enable-iconv --enable-gnutls --enable-libxml2 --enable-gmp --enable-lzma --enable-libsnappy --enable-zlib --enable-libsrt --enable-libssh --enable-libzmq --enable-avisynth --enable-libbluray --enable-libcaca --enable-sdl2 --enable-libdav1d --enable-libzvbi --enable-librav1e --enable-libwebp --enable-libx264 --enable-libx265 --enable-libxvid --enable-libaom --enable-libopenjpeg --enable-libvpx --enable-libass --enable-frei0r --enable-libfreetype --enable-libfribidi --enable-libvidstab --enable-libvmaf --enable-libzimg --enable-amf --enable-cuda-llvm --enable-cuvid --enable-ffnvcodec --enable-nvdec --enable-nvenc --enable-d3d11va --enable-dxva2 --enable-libmfx --enable-libcdio --enable-libgme --enable-libmodplug --enable-libopenmpt --enable-libopencore-amrwb --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libshine --enable-libtheora --enable-libtwolame --enable-libvo-amrwbenc --enable-libilbc --enable-libgsm --enable-libopencore-amrnb --enable-libopus --enable-libspeex --enable-libvorbis --enable-ladspa --enable-libbs2b --enable-libflite --enable-libmysofa --enable-librubberband --enable-libsoxr --enable-chromaprint
  libavutil      56. 51.100 / 56. 51.100
  libavcodec     58. 91.100 / 58. 91.100
  libavformat    58. 45.100 / 58. 45.100
  libavdevice    58. 10.100 / 58. 10.100
  libavfilter     7. 85.100 /  7. 85.100
  libswscale      5.  7.100 /  5.  7.100
  libswresample   3.  7.100 /  3.  7.100
  libpostproc    55.  7.100 / 55.  7.100
Hyper fast Audio and Video encoder
usage: ffmpeg [options] [[infile options] -i infile]... {[outfile options] outfile}...

Use -h to get full help or, even better, run 'man ffmpeg'

YouTube-DL Basic Commands to Download Videos and Playlists

1. To download single video

youtube-dl -ciw <VIDEO URL>

2. To download all videos on a playlist

youtube-dl -ciw <PLAYLIST URL>

3. To download an entire channel

youtube-dl -ciw <CHANNEL URL>

4. To download a YouTube video as an MP3

youtube-dl -x --audio-format mp3 --audio-quality 320K <VIDEO_URL>

5. To download multiple videos

youtube-dl -ciw <VIDEO URL 1> <VIDEO URL 2>

Alternatively, you can put them all in a text file and pass it to Youtube-dl like this.

youtube-dl -a youtube_links.txt

Check this awesome list of Youtube-DL commands for further examples.

Youtube-DL Options and Parameters

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

Options:
  General Options:
    -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 occurs
    --dump-user-agent                Display the current browser identification
    --list-extractors                List all supported extractors
    --extractor-descriptions         Output descriptions of all supported extractors
    --force-generic-extractor        Force extraction to use the generic extractor
    --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)
    --config-location PATH           Location of the configuration file; either the path to the config or its containing
                                     directory.
    --flat-playlist                  Do not extract the videos of a playlist, only list them.
    --mark-watched                   Mark videos watched (YouTube only)
    --no-mark-watched                Do not mark videos watched (YouTube only)
    --no-color                       Do not emit color codes in output

  Network Options:
    --proxy URL                      Use the specified HTTP/HTTPS/SOCKS proxy. To enable SOCKS proxy, specify a proper
                                     scheme. For example socks5://127.0.0.1:1080/. Pass in an empty string (--proxy "")
                                     for direct connection
    --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

  Geo Restriction:
    --geo-verification-proxy URL     Use this proxy to verify the IP address for some geo-restricted sites. The default
                                     proxy specified by --proxy (or none, if the option is not present) is used for the
                                     actual downloading.
    --geo-bypass                     Bypass geographic restriction via faking X-Forwarded-For HTTP header
    --no-geo-bypass                  Do not bypass geographic restriction via faking X-Forwarded-For HTTP header
    --geo-bypass-country CODE        Force bypass geographic restriction with explicitly provided two-letter ISO 3166-2
                                     country code
    --geo-bypass-ip-block IP_BLOCK   Force bypass geographic restriction with explicitly provided IP block in CIDR
                                     notation

  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
                                     separated 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            Generic video filter. Specify any key (see the "OUTPUT TEMPLATE" 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, key = 'LITERAL' (like "uploader = 'Mike Smith'", also
                                     works with !=) to match against a string literal 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                    Download only the video, if the URL refers to a video and a playlist.
    --yes-playlist                   Download the playlist, if the URL refers to a video and a playlist.
    --age-limit YEARS                Download only videos suitable for the given age
    --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 (experimental)

  Download Options:
    -r, --limit-rate RATE            Maximum download rate in bytes per second (e.g. 50K or 4.2M)
    -R, --retries RETRIES            Number of retries (default is 10), or "infinite".
    --fragment-retries RETRIES       Number of retries for a fragment (default is 10), or "infinite" (DASH, hlsnative
                                     and ISM)
    --skip-unavailable-fragments     Skip unavailable fragments (DASH, hlsnative and ISM)
    --abort-on-unavailable-fragment  Abort downloading when some fragment is not available
    --keep-fragments                 Keep downloaded fragments on disk after downloading is finished; fragments are
                                     erased by default
    --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.
    --http-chunk-size SIZE           Size of a chunk for chunk-based HTTP downloading (e.g. 10485760 or 10M) (default is
                                     disabled). May be useful for bypassing bandwidth throttling imposed by a webserver
                                     (experimental)
    --playlist-reverse               Download playlist videos in reverse order
    --playlist-random                Download playlist videos in random order
    --xattr-set-filesize             Set file xattribute ytdl.filesize with expected file size
    --hls-prefer-native              Use the native HLS downloader instead of ffmpeg
    --hls-prefer-ffmpeg              Use ffmpeg instead of the native HLS downloader
    --hls-use-mpegts                 Use the mpegts container for HLS videos, allowing to play the video while
                                     downloading (some players may not be able to play it)
    --external-downloader COMMAND    Use the specified external downloader. Currently supports
                                     aria2c,avconv,axel,curl,ffmpeg,httpie,wget
    --external-downloader-args ARGS  Give these arguments to the external downloader

  Filesystem Options:
    -a, --batch-file FILE            File containing URLs to download ('-' for stdin), one URL per line. Lines starting
                                     with '#', ';' or ']' are considered as comments and ignored.
    --id                             Use only video ID in file name
    -o, --output TEMPLATE            Output filename template, see the "OUTPUT TEMPLATE" for all the info
    --autonumber-start NUMBER        Specify the start value for %(autonumber)s (default is 1)
    --restrict-filenames             Restrict filenames to only ASCII characters, and avoid "&" and spaces in filenames
    -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 file
    --write-info-json                Write video metadata to a .info.json file
    --write-annotations              Write video annotations to a .annotations.xml file
    --load-info-json FILE            JSON file containing the video information (created with the "--write-info-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 formats

  Verbosity / Simulation Options:
    -q, --quiet                      Activate 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 the "OUTPUT TEMPLATE" for a
                                     description of available keys.
    -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-pages                     Print downloaded pages encoded using base64 to debug problems (very verbose)
    --write-pages                    Write downloaded intermediary pages to files in the current directory to debug
                                     problems
    --print-traffic                  Display sent and read HTTP traffic
    -C, --call-home                  Contact the youtube-dl server for debugging
    --no-call-home                   Do NOT contact the youtube-dl server for debugging

  Workarounds:
    --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 download when used alone or a lower bound of
                                     a range for randomized sleep before each download (minimum possible number of
                                     seconds to sleep) when used along with --max-sleep-interval.
    --max-sleep-interval SECONDS     Upper bound of a range for randomized sleep before each download (maximum possible
                                     number of seconds to sleep). Must only be used along with --min-sleep-interval.

  Video Format Options:
    -f, --format FORMAT              Video format code, see the "FORMAT SELECTION" for all the info
    --all-formats                    Download all available video formats
    --prefer-free-formats            Prefer free video formats unless a specific one is requested
    -F, --list-formats               List all available formats of requested videos
    --youtube-skip-dash-manifest     Do not download the DASH manifests and related data 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 automatically generated subtitle file (YouTube only)
    --all-subs                       Download all the available subtitles of the video
    --list-subs                      List all available subtitles for the video
    --sub-format FORMAT              Subtitle format, accepts formats preference, for example: "srt" or "ass/srt/best"
    --sub-lang LANGS                 Languages of the subtitles to download (optional) separated by commas, use --list-
                                     subs for available language tags

  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 authentication code
    -n, --netrc                      Use .netrc authentication data
    --video-password PASSWORD        Video password (vimeo, smotri, youku)

  Adobe Pass Options:
    --ap-mso MSO                     Adobe Pass multiple-system operator (TV provider) identifier, use --ap-list-mso for
                                     a list of available MSOs
    --ap-username USERNAME           Multiple-system operator account login
    --ap-password PASSWORD           Multiple-system operator account password. If this option is left out, youtube-dl
                                     will ask interactively.
    --ap-list-mso                    List all supported multiple-system operators

  Post-processing Options:
    -x, --extract-audio              Convert video files to audio-only files (requires ffmpeg or avconv and ffprobe or
                                     avprobe)
    --audio-format FORMAT            Specify audio format: "best", "aac", "flac", "mp3", "m4a", "opus", "vorbis", or
                                     "wav"; "best" by default; No effect without -x
    --audio-quality QUALITY          Specify ffmpeg/avconv audio quality, 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:
                                     mp4|flv|ogg|webm|mkv|avi)
    --postprocessor-args ARGS        Give these arguments to the postprocessor
    -k, --keep-video                 Keep the video file on disk after the post-processing; the video is erased by
                                     default
    --no-post-overwrites             Do not overwrite post-processed files; the post-processed files are overwritten by
                                     default
    --embed-subs                     Embed subtitles in the video (only for mp4, webm and mkv videos)
    --embed-thumbnail                Embed thumbnail in the audio as cover art
    --add-metadata                   Write metadata to the video file
    --metadata-from-title FORMAT     Parse additional metadata like song title / artist from the video title. The format
                                     syntax is the same as --output. Regular expression with named capture groups may
                                     also be used. The parsed parameters replace existing values. Example: --metadata-
                                     from-title "%(artist)s - %(title)s" matches a title like "Coldplay - Paradise".
                                     Example (regex): --metadata-from-title "(?P<artist>.+?) - (?P<title>.+)"
    --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
                                     otherwise)
    --prefer-avconv                  Prefer avconv over ffmpeg for running the postprocessors
    --prefer-ffmpeg                  Prefer ffmpeg over avconv for running the postprocessors (default)
    --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 and post-processing, similar to
                                     find's -exec syntax. Example: --exec 'adb push {} /sdcard/Music/ && rm {}'
    --convert-subs FORMAT            Convert the subtitles to other format (currently supported: srt|ass|vtt|lrc)