When you see the download button, downloading the video is very easy. Unfortunately, most video sharing sites obviously do not allow downloads, usually due to copyright protection or because their videos are not in high demand. But there are tools and tricks you can use to download videos even when there is no download button.
Maybe you want to download a video you found on a news site, or save a YouTube video to your computer? If you are watching a free movie online and want to save it to watch later on the plane, you need to download the video.
Regardless of the reason you do it, downloading videos from the Internet is usually possible, but not always easy. There are video downloaders you can try (your best bet), as well as browser tricks to reveal hidden download links.
Important: Be aware of the website from which you are downloading the video, as well as any copyright laws that you may be breaking. Downloading a lot of videos is prohibited by law because the owner did not give you permission to do so.
Download a video using the download tool
The easiest way to download videos from a website when there is no clear download button is to use a video download tool. These are specially designed programs or web applications that search for and retrieve videos from web pages.
Catch.tube is one of the best. It’s completely free and works on popular sites like Twitter, CNN, Tumblr, YouTube, Facebook, and more. To use this free video downloader, just visit the website and paste the URL containing the video.
Hack the browser to download a video
Every web page is made up of code that you won’t see until you take a look behind the scenes, and any video you watch is streamed from a specific source. If you can find a link to the source in the code, you might be able to follow the download link.
One of the prime examples of how this works is YouTube videos. Downloading YouTube videos is a popular request and there are many tools that can do this (many of them are paid), so you might be surprised to know that you can download any YouTube video without using anything other than a browser hack. You can also download entire YouTube playlists at once.
The desktop web browser downloads YouTube videos differently than mobile, so the idea here is to tell your desktop browser to request YouTube videos as if you were on a mobile device. After your browser has loaded the page, a unique download link will be visible, but only if you open the page’s source code.
- Open Firefox and navigate to about: config. Treat it like a URL, so enter it in the navigation area at the top of your browser.
- Right-click an empty space and choose New> String.
- Name it general.useragent.override and then put this code there:
Mozilla / 5.0 (iPhone; iPhone OS 8_3 processor such as Mac OS X) AppleWebKit / 600.1.4 (KHTML, such as Gecko) FxiOS / 1.0 Mobile / 12F69 Safari / 600.1.4
- Open a new tab and find the YouTube video you want to download.
- Start the video and let it play for a few seconds. If there is an ad, let it finish first.
- Right-click the video and select Inspect Element.
- In the new window that opens, find
- Below this is a long URL following src = “. Double-click it to see the full URL, right-click it and select Copy.
- Open a new tab in Firefox (or any browser) and type it into the navigation bar.
- Right-click the video in this tab and select Save Video As.
- Download videoplayback.mp4 to your computer to save YouTube video. You can rename it if you like.
- Return to the User Agent Settings tab, right-click the new line you created and select Reset to return Firefox to desktop mode.
Here is another example where CNN’s weather video does not have a surface download link, but if you switch Firefox to mobile and refresh the page, the source will show a simple MP4 download link.
This accurate video download method will not work for every video on other websites. Some video streaming services do not have mobile versions of their pages, but a similar method might work.
If the download link is not displayed when checking the video page, try changing the browser user agent as we did above and then try again. You may also be lucky with another browser like Chrome or Edge.