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How To Download YouTube Videos To Your Computer

From time to time, I want to download a YouTube video to my computer. In the past I’ve used various ways and tools, but things change over time. I have become more distrustful of apps and software–thinking there could be some spyware or worse on it.

Recently, I was asked by my husband if there was a way to download YouTube videos to his computer to watch later on. I was up to the challenge, so I started doing some searching and found this WikiHow article that has 3 ways to Download YouTube Videos. The one I chose was to use VLC player. The VLC player is an open-source project that has been around for years and I’ve used it in the past.

I downloaded the player over at It was a quick download and install.

Then, I followed the great step-by-step instructions on WikiHow and it worked great. I was able to download the videos he wanted and put them in a folder on his hard drive for him.

Video Showing How To Download YouTube Videos

If you want to see all the steps, watch my 3-minute video here.

Finding the YouTube ‘Secret’ URL

There are many reasons people don’t want their YouTube videos downloaded so the Goog (who owns YouTube), doesn’t make it easy for us. When we’re playing a video, we think the URL is the one we currently see in our browser, but what we really need to get to is the codec and that’s the function of the VLC player.

Looking at steps 7, 8 and 9 from WikiHow below, you can see how the VLC player is used to reveal the ‘secret sauce’, or the true codec/URL.

WikiHow instructions on how to download a youtube video

After the codec is shown by going to Tools>Codec Information, then the long url is copied and pasted into a fresh browser window where it can then be downloaded and saved to your computer. Cool.

So that’s how to download a YouTube Video to your computer. I looked at apps, but they didn’t have good reviews and wanted too many permissions, so for me, the VLC Player was a great choice. I can use the player to play media too, of course!

What’s your favorite go-to tool for downloading YouTube videos? Please leave a comment.

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