How to Safely Download Videos from YouTube Without Using “Ripping” Software


First of all, before anything else, it’s important to point out that you probably shouldn’t be ripping YouTube videos. Most of these videos are copyrighted and ripping them from YouTube does indeed violate copyright policies and law in various ways. Unless, of course, the video you’re looking to download uses a license that says it can be downloaded or redistributed. If you don’t know how to determine this sort of thing, you better avoid doing it altogether.

However, if you still think it is necessary to learn how to do it, we will pave the way to achieve it without using any software or extraction plugin. There are so many options offered that are filled with malware and other stuff that you wouldn’t want to download.

So unless you are savvy enough to know how to check these programs/plugins to determine whether they are safe or not, you better avoid them completely. Instead, we’ll share a method that doesn’t require any. All you need is a media player and a few quick seconds of your time.

Step 1) Download VLC Media Player

VLC is one of the most popular media players for Windows, Mac, Chrome OS and Linux operating systems. Why? Because it can open and play almost all formats (audio and video). It is a fantastic media player which is packed with a long list of features, consumes very little resources and costs you nothing to To download. It’s completely free. Unless you make a donation, which helps in its development.

Step 2) Open YouTube video in VLC and get required information

Copy the URL (web address) of the video you want to download. In our example, we are going to use Baby Shark because, why not? We are not going to upload it because it would be a mistake (it would violate copyright restrictions). It just provides a colorful example for the images.

Open VLC and head to the “Media” menu at the top. From there you want to choose “Open Network Stream”.

YouTube Video Downloader - VLC - B

It will ask you for the address of the content. This is where you will paste the URL of the video you copied. Now press the play button. While playing, go to “Tools” and “Codec Info”.

YouTube Video Downloader - VLC - C

Look at the bottom of the window and you will find a temporary address/location for the video. Now highlight all the text in the “Location” field and copy it.

Step 3) Download the video

Open your browser again (or a new tab) and paste the URL and hit enter.

YouTube Video Downloader - VLC - D
Screenshot of Baby Shark video playing in browser

This will load the video in the full browser window. You’ll find playback controls at the bottom, as well as a menu at the bottom right (marked with three dots). By clicking on this menu, you will see a “Download” button, where you can now download the video to your computer.

Again, we didn’t proceed from here because downloading Baby Shark would violate copyright laws and we’d rather not irritate the copyright gods. However, if it was a video free of these restrictions, you would be fine with having a copy for your own offline use.

Then again, Google would probably still frown at the thought of doing this, as it no longer takes advantage of the ads you would normally see somewhere on the page while watching said video.

So absorb this information carefully. It doesn’t take much to violate copyright protections. It doesn’t matter if you use a paid tool or plugin, or do it yourself manually (via the above method). The rules are the rules and Google doesn’t want to lose revenue either. They won’t know exactly that you did this, but it’s the idea that counts.

We support the hard work of others, so we do not promote the use of this information to download copyrighted content.


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