Download YouTube Videos with VLC (Because, why not?)

VLC is one of the most popular video players for Linux and other platforms.

It’s not just a video player. It provides a number of multimedia and network-related features, among others. You will be surprised to learn what VLC is capable of.

I will show you a simple VLC feature, namely download YouTube videos with it.

Yes. You can play YouTube videos in VLC and download them as well. Let me show you how.

Download YouTube Videos with VLC Media Player

Now there are ways to download YouTube videos. Use a browser extension or use dedicated websites or tools.

But if you don’t want to use anything more, the already installed VLC player can be used for this purpose.

Important: Before copying the link from YouTube, make sure to choose the desired video quality from the YouTube player, because we will get the same quality the video was playing in when copying the link.

Step 1: Get the video link of the desired video

You can use any of your favorite browsers and copy the video link from the address bar.

Step 2: Paste the copied link into the network feed

The network stream option can be found under Media which is the first option on our top menu bar. Just click on Media and you will get “Open Network Stream” option. You can also use the shortcut to open Network Stream CTRL+N.

click on the media and select the network stream
Click Media and select Open Network Stream

Now you just need to paste the copied YouTube video link and click on the play button. I know it only plays the video in our VLC, but there is a little extra step that will allow us to download the video that is currently streaming.

paste video link
Paste the video link here

Step 3: Get location link from codec information

Under the codec info prompt, we’ll get a location link for the currently playing video. To open the Codec Info prompt, you can use the shortcut CTRL + J or you will find the Codec Info option under “Tools”.

click on the tools then on the codec information
Click on Tools then on Codec Information

It will bring detailed information about the video being streamed. But what we need is “Location”. You just need to copy the location link and 90% of our task is done.

copy location link
Copy location link

Step 4: Paste the location link into a new tab

Open one of your favorite browsers and paste the copied location link in the new tab and it will start playing the exact video in the browser.

Now right click on the video playback and you will get an option to “Save Video As”.

click save
Right click and select Save Video As

It will open file manager and ask you if you want to save this video locally or not. You can also rename this file because by default it will be named “videoplayback.mp4”

show file in folder
Save the video


If you are having internet connection issues or want to save a video for future viewing, downloading the YouTube video makes sense.

Of course, we do not encourage piracy. This method is just for fair use, please make sure the creator of the video has licensed the video for fair use and also be sure to give credit to the original owner of the video before using it elsewhere.

Sagar Sharma

Sagar Sharma

I’m a software engineer who does my best to bring open source software to a general audience. Being a Linux author solves my goal.

Shirley K. Rosa