How To Download a Youtube Video

When I have a business training session with a client, or a training session with a new student to learn internet marketing I offer the option to record the session for them. Then I sell them the edited recording of the session so they can keep it for later viewing, studying, reviewing, etc. (click here to skip the story, show me how to download a Youtube file).

Theses videos tend to be huge! They are high quality recordings of our Skype interactions and my desktop training session all in one. Most of the time, I use Dropbox or a similar file sharing service so the client or student can download the video of their training session.

But sometimes, file sharing doesn't work exactly as planned. An alternative way of sharing big video files is through Youtube. Technically, I could just share the video in Youtube privately and call it a day but I also would like the client to have a copy of the file for their own offline viewing.

There are some caveats with this method, primarily loss of quality, and privacy. When using this method, the very best version of the video that a client can download will have the quality at 720p. You can read all about video resolution here. The video also must be set to unlisted or public, it cannot be private.

In my case, my videos are always better than 1080p and I would like the client to have that quality. But in a pinch, this may work just to get the file over to the other person so they can start reviewing it.

I also want to put a little disclaimer out there, I don't condone the illegal download of videos, mkay? So don't think that this is for that purpose.

So let's get to it:

How To Download a Youtube Video File

If you are not the owner of the video, find the video you want to download and get the URL for the video.

 

Screenshot higlhigts where a viewer finds the URL of a Youtube video
Your URL will be different of course, but you need to copy this... you'll paste it somewhere else in the next step.

Copy the URL for the video and open up a new tab or window in your browser.

Visit KeepVid and paste the URL in the box and press the gray download button on the right. This will return a long list of files that you can download as you can see in the screenshot below.

There are other services out there that work simiarly, but this was the only one that didn't try to install some junk in my computer or tried to mislead me in some way or another. The ads can be deceiving sometimes a little which is why I made it very clear where to get your file from.

To get the highest quality file, select the 720p option that I highlighted in the screenshot.

Screenshot marked up showing where to place the URL and where the link is to download the video
Enter the URL of the Youtube video to download

To download, right-click on the link and use the "save as" function. This file ended up being about 900mb, compared to the original 5.6GB file so you can be sure the video file was heavily compressed and also evidently by the 720p limitation, it was scaled down as well.

In the past, Youtube allowed us to download up to 1080, but they removed that option. Who knows if they'll allow it in the future.

What if you are the owner of the youtube video?

If you are the owner of the video, you can download the video directly from the video manager section. Unfortunately the original file is not available, you'll also only be able to download the 720p version of the file.

The only benefit for you as an owner is how simple it is to download the file, and you don't have to go to a 3rd party website to do it.

Go to your video manager section in Youtube, this link will take you there.

Then find the video you want to download. You'll see a dropdown menu available to the side of the video. Clicking on this will reveal many options about your video. To download the file, select Download MP4.

This will not be the full resolution original file, but it saves you the trouble of using a 3rd party site to download the file.

Screenshot shows where to download a youtube file from your own account
Easy to find, make sure you are logged in to your Youtube account before trying this.

Depending on your specific computer settings, you may or may not be prompted to select a location to save the file and give it a name. If you don't get this option, chances are that the file was just downloaded directly to your downloads folder, it will be titled to match the title of the video in Youtube and not the original file.

You now should have a video file from the youtube file you wanted.

And if you have any problems watching either one of the video files, don't forget to install VLC Media Player, good for any platform and it's free.