Video is the future. Periscope has taken the world by storm, and YouTube has launched a subscription service. Even Spotify and Facebook are getting in on the act.
We’re not here to ask why you’d want to download any of that video content—the reasons are too numerous. We just want to show you how to do it.
So, without further ado, here are 18 free ways to download (almost) any video off the internet.
NB: As of September 2018 Google has stopped YouTube downloaders from functioning, so please be aware that some of the methods outlined below may no longer work. We will update this article again if and when we find working solutions.
Let’s begin with some service-specific web apps that specialize in a single website before moving onto generic video downloaders later in the article.
We’ll kick things off with YouTubeInMP4. Just paste in your link and click Download in MP4. On the next screen, you can choose whether to download in HD or standard resolution.
SaveFrom is another YouTube downloader, but one with a difference. If you are watching something online and you want save it, just enter “ss” before “YouTube” in the URL.
The final YouTube downloader on the list is arguably the simplest. FastestTube is a browser extension that’ll add a physical download button to the YouTube website. You can find it in the bottom right-hand corner of a video.
It works on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer.
Sticking with the premise of site-specific tools, DownloadTwitterVideo lets you pull any video off the world’s favorite transient social network.
Paste in the URL of the Tweet which contains the video you want, then select whether you want to save it as an MP3, MP4, or MP4 HD.
Yes, Vine is no longer accepting new entries. But the 39 million uploaded videos are still available to view on the Vine website.
There are countless hours of amazing videos, ranging from the thought-provoking to the hilarious. This web app lets you save it all onto your hard drive for posterity.
Instagram forged its reputation as a photo-sharing service, but with the introduction of Instagram Stories, it’s quickly positioning itself as a Vine replacement.
7. FB Down
FB Down is a tool for downloading video off Facebook. It also comes with a Chrome extension, meaning you don’t need to leave the social network’s homepage if you find something you want to save.
FB Down Private is a subsection of FB Down, but we feel it deserves its own mention. The app lets you grab videos from accounts that users have set to private, even if you can’t see the video on Facebook natively.
To download a private video, go to the video’s page on Facebook, press CTRL + U to view the source code, then paste the code into the downloader.
Generic Video Downloaders [Web Apps]
As you progress through this portion of the list, you’ll notice a commonly recurring theme: most of the video downloaders work with the same set of sites.
KeepVid supports 28 sites. It covers educational resources like Lynda, news outlets like ABC and NBC, and popular amusement sites such as Ebaumsworld and Break.
Once you’ve pasted your link, you can choose to save your downloaded file in more than 150 different formats.
A simple-to-use web app that supports the majority of the most popular video sites. Type the link and hit Go.
YooDownload is another competitor to the likes of KeepVid and VideoGrabby. It works with YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vid.me, and SoundCloud.
ClipConverter works with almost any website you can think of (subscription streaming services notably excluded). It’ll even grab videos off the world’s most thriving social network, MySpace!
The developers offer a browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
Because so many of these web apps are so similar, I’m only going to introduce you to one more.
OnlineVideoConverter works with YouTube, LiveLeak, TeacherTube, VK, College Humor, and more.
Generic Video Downloaders [Desktop Apps]
Sometimes it’s better to use a desktop app than a web app. They can offer features which web apps cannot replicate.
14. VLC Media Player
Clearly, VLC does a lot more than merely downloading videos. The beauty of using VLC is it’s a program a lot of users will already have installed on their machines, and it negates the need for third-party apps.
A step-by-step guide is beyond the scope of this article, but you can find more information in my piece about six amazing VLC features.
15. Video Grabber
Video Grabber has three key features; downloading video, converting video, and recording your screen. Even though it initially looks like a web app, it is actually a desktop program.
The screen recording feature can be really useful in certain situations. More on that shortly.
FLTVO has a web app and desktop version. The desktop version lets you queue videos for download from multiple sources and automatically download new videos as they become available.
We’re closing out our list with a pair of screen recorders. These tools let you record whatever is playing on your computer, making them a good solution when you have exhausted all other possibilities.
OBS studio is unquestionably the best free screen recorder app on the web. It’s available on Windows, Mac, and Linux and includes a powerful editing tool.
CamStudio doesn’t look as slick as OBS and it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s simpler to use. Thus, it’s perfect for someone who just wants to click Record and forget about it.
We covered these two tools in much more detail when we discussed the best three screencasting tools for Windows.
A Word of Warning
Remember, all the tools listed in this article are for creating recordings of free online videos for personal use. They should not be used to save and distribute copyrighted material; doing so could get you in serious trouble with the law. You have been warned!
Which sites and apps do you use when you want to save a video to your hard drive? Have you used any of the tools we’ve discussed here? Which would you recommend to your fellow MakeUseOf readers? Please leave your tips and suggestions in the comments below.
You don’t have to download videos. You can stream free movies from these websites:
Image Credit: Den Rise via Shutterstock.com