Download YouTube Videos With youtube-dl On Ubuntu 9.04

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
Follow me on Twitter

youtube-dl is a small command-line program to download videos from It allows you to save videos as .flv files. This short article shows how to install and use it on Ubuntu 9.04.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Installing youtube-dl

youtube-dl is available as an Ubuntu package, so we can open a terminal and install it as follows:

sudo aptitude install youtube-dl


2 youtube-dl Usage

To learn about youtube-dl's usage, take a look at its man page:

man youtube-dl

Basically it works as follows:

youtube-dl -o [name of output file] [YouTube URL]


youtube-dl -o test.flv

would save the video from as test.flv in the current directory.

To watch the downloaded video, browse to its location in the File Browser and double-click the file:

The Movie Player will open and start the playback of the video. (If required plugins are missing, you will be guided through their installation before the playback starts.)


Share this page:

Suggested articles

11 Comment(s)

Add comment



youtube-dl -b -o test.flv

To get the best quality...


By: Relst
By: johntait

I love this program it's simple to use and the instructions here are crystal clear many thanks!

By: Giorgos


I'm using (at ubuntu x64) Flashgot (with firefox), which is downloading the video (with wget) at my home folder.

Also, firefox is downloading the video at its temp directory, so someone is able to copy the video from there, before closing firefox (and temp files are deleted).



There are alternatives without installation:

I haven't tested all of them, but some even let you choose the format of the downloaded video (mp4, avi, etc.).

The only advantage of youtube-dl is for scripting, but does it make sense?

By: Anonymous

I hate to break it to you, but the program violates YouTube's terms of use (read them and you'll see you're not allowed to use 3rd party software to download videos on YouTube)

By: Anonymous

yep great method. I use however


i often use Video Download Studio as my downloader, it can help me download videos off YouTube very smoothly.

By: Stephen Wong

Thanks for this useful software. For me, I use Leawo free YouTube Downloader -

It can download YouTube for free. Besides, it can download videos other video sharing websites. You can check it.

By: Anonymous

This is a great utility.  I would like to thank:

  • Ricardo Garcia Gonzalez: program core, InfoExtractor, InfoExtractor and YouTube playlist InfoExtractor.
  • Danny Colligan: YouTube search InfoExtractor, ideas and patches.
  • Benjamin Johnson: Google Video InfoExtractor, Photobucket InfoExtractor, Yahoo! Video InfoExtractor, generic InfoExtractor, ideas, patches, etc.
and everyone else involved!


By: arun

 YouTube desktop client for Ubuntu or Linux - Minitube. Download and watch youtube videos using minitube. For more info visit