In this article we are going to see how we can use youtube-dl.

What is youtube-dl?

youtube-dl is a CLI utilities for downloading videos from youtube.

Why youtube-dl?

  • If you want to download big videos without watching
  • If you have a playlist and you want to download over night or without your control
  • If you want to download entire channel
  • If you have a schedule job which downloads youtube videos.


  • Install via APT

      sudo apt-get install -y youtube-dl
  • install via PIP

      sudo pip install youtube-dl
  • install manually (best way to get latest version)

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


  • To update

    sudo youtube-dl -U


  • How to download an individual video ?

     youtube-dl your_video_url
  • How to download a whole channel with a username

     youtube-dl -citw ytuser:youtube_user_name
  • How to download a whole playlist

     youtube-dl -citw your_video_playlist_url
  • How to download a links containing link.txt file. Each link present in single line.

      youtube-dl -q --no-warnings -f best -a link.txt	

More Options

There are more CLI options, here is the whole list.

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

  General Options:
	-h, --help                       Print this help text and exit
	--version                        Print program version and exit
	-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
	--extractor-descriptions         Output descriptions of all supported
	--force-generic-extractor        Force extraction to use the generic
	--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
	--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:// 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

  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
	--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, --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
	--fragment-retries RETRIES       Number of retries for a fragment (default
									 is 10), or "infinite" (DASH, hlsnative and
	--skip-unavailable-fragments     Skip unavailable fragments (DASH, hlsnative
									 and ISM)
	--abort-on-unavailable-fragment  Abort downloading when some fragment is not
	--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
	--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
	--hls-prefer-ffmpeg              Use ffmpeg instead of the native HLS
	--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
	--external-downloader-args ARGS  Give these arguments to the external

  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
	-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
									 .annotations.xml file
	--load-info-json FILE            JSON file containing the video information
									 (created with the "--write-info-json"
	--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                      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
	--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

	--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 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
	--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
	--list-subs                      List all available subtitles for the video
	--sub-format FORMAT              Subtitle format, accepts formats
									 preference, for example: "srt" or
	--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

  Post-processing Options:
	-x, --extract-audio              Convert video files to audio-only files
									 (requires ffmpeg or avconv and ffprobe or
	--audio-format FORMAT            Specify audio format: "best", "aac",
									 "flac", "mp3", "m4a", "opus", "vorbis", or
									 "wav"; "best" by default; No effect without
	--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:
	--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
	--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
	--prefer-avconv                  Prefer avconv over ffmpeg for running the
	--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, 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)