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


youtube-dl is a small command-line program to download videos from and a few more sites. It requires the Python interpreter, version 2.x (x being at least 6), and it is not platform specific. It should work in your Unix box, in Windows or in Mac OS X. It is released to the public domain, which means you can modify it, redistribute it or use it however you like.


-h, --help               print this help text and exit
--version                print program version and exit
-U, --update             update this program to latest version
-i, --ignore-errors      continue on download errors
-r, --rate-limit LIMIT   download rate limit (e.g. 50k or 44.6m)
-R, --retries RETRIES    number of retries (default is 10)
--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.
--dump-user-agent        display the current browser identification
--user-agent UA          specify a custom user agent
--list-extractors        List all supported extractors and the URLs they
                         would handle

Video Selection:

--playlist-start NUMBER  playlist video to start at (default is 1)
--playlist-end NUMBER    playlist video to end at (default is last)
--match-title REGEX      download only matching titles (regex or caseless
--reject-title REGEX     skip download for matching titles (regex or
                         caseless sub-string)
--max-downloads NUMBER   Abort after downloading NUMBER files

Filesystem Options:

-t, --title              use title in file name
--id                     use video ID in file name
-l, --literal            [deprecated] alias of --title
-A, --auto-number        number downloaded files starting from 00000
-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, %(upload_date)s for the upload date
                         (YYYYMMDD), %(extractor)s for the provider
                         (youtube, metacafe, etc), %(id)s for the video id
                         and %% 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/%(upl
                         oader)s/%(title)s-%(id)s.%(ext)s' .
--restrict-filenames     Restrict filenames to only ASCII characters, and
                         avoid "&" and spaces in filenames
-a, --batch-file FILE    file containing URLs to download ('-' for stdin)
-w, --no-overwrites      do not overwrite files
-c, --continue           resume partially downloaded files
--no-continue            do not resume partially downloaded files (restart
                         from beginning)
--cookies FILE           file to read cookies from and dump cookie jar in
--no-part                do not use .part files
--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

Verbosity / Simulation Options:

-q, --quiet              activates quiet mode
-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-thumbnail          simulate, quiet but print thumbnail URL
--get-description        simulate, quiet but print video description
--get-filename           simulate, quiet but print output filename
--get-format             simulate, quiet but print output format
--no-progress            do not print progress bar
--console-title          display progress in console titlebar
-v, --verbose            print various debugging information

Video Format Options:

-f, --format FORMAT      video format code
--all-formats            download all available video formats
--prefer-free-formats    prefer free video formats unless a specific one is
--max-quality FORMAT     highest quality format to download
-F, --list-formats       list all available formats (currently youtube only)
--write-srt              write video closed captions to a .srt file
                         (currently youtube only)
--srt-lang LANG          language of the closed captions to download
                         (optional) use IETF language tags like 'en'

Authentication Options:

-u, --username USERNAME  account username
-p, --password PASSWORD  account password
-n, --netrc              use .netrc authentication data

Post-processing Options:

-x, --extract-audio      convert video files to audio-only files (requires
                         ffmpeg or avconv and ffprobe or avprobe)
--audio-format FORMAT    "best", "aac", "vorbis", "mp3", "m4a", 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)
-k, --keep-video         keeps 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


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 ~/.local/config/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.

The current default template is %(id)s.%(ext)s, but that will be switchted to %(title)s-%(id)s.%(ext)s (which can be requested with -t at the moment).

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


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.

The URLs youtube-dl outputs require the downloader to have the correct 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.

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. You can update youtube-dl with sudo youtube-dl --update.

ERROR: unable to download video

youtube requires an additional signature since September 2012 which is not supported by old versions of youtube-dl. You can update youtube-dl with sudo youtube-dl --update.

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.


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.


Bugs and suggestions should be reported at:

Please include:

  • Your exact command line, like youtube-dl -t "". If possible re-run the command with --verbose, it is really helpful. A common mistake is not to escape the &. Putting URLs in quotes should solve this problem.
  • The output of youtube-dl --version
  • The output of python --version
  • The name and version of your Operating System ("Ubuntu 11.04 x64" or "Windows 7 x64" is usually enough).

For discussions, join us in the irc channel #youtube-dl on freenode.