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YouTube-DLG: The best free YouTube Downloader

No viruses, no faff
Last Updated on December 1, 2023
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YouTube downloaders are many and other than the five we’ve determined to be the best before, there’s a lot of bad actors out there who only want to infect your PC or take you for a ride with the same template websites that are just rife with chances to get ad revenue down your throat.

YouTube-DL is none of these, it’s actually the basis of what we’re going to be talking about today. Built and published for free as open-source on Github, it’s a command-line based piece of software that’s designed to simply extract YouTube videos (and other websites!) in a quick fashion. It’s not an easy way to do it, but luckily with it being open-source, you can grab a version that applies a GUI – a graphical user interface – to the mix.

It’s impossibly simple to navigate and is currently being maintained by another user on Github, so make sure to GO HERE and not the first search result. Version 0.0.4 is not maintained, nor does it really work anymore. This new version allows you to download from these websites:

What websites can YouTube-DL download from?

Other than YouTube, you can download from Facebook, Twitter, as well as other social media websites. The secret thing is, if you’re feeling like sailing the high seas, it can download from websites like BBC iPlayer and Soundcloud. The full list is available here and is consistently updated.

The app is incredibly easy to use, you just copy the link into the big box above and press download. If it’s not able to complete it, it’ll tell you almost instantly by pressing the download button. In the settings, you can even specify which files you want in the drop-down menu, as well as use the baked-in code section for additional properties to your download that is available in the command-line version.

What can YouTube-DL convert video to?

You have a wide range of options, from MP3 and MP4 to even unique file types like Ogg Vorbis and WebM. If you’re feeling retro, how about 3gp? I don’t know why you would, but if you have an old Nokia phone and want to watch the Crazy Frog at a 144p resolution in 2021, that’s totally an option!

Joel is a a lover of janky games, Magic the Gathering, and going down rabbit holes. For PC Guide he has written about peripherals, the Steam Deck, retro games, news and more.