What do you do when you want to download a video you saw online? Don’t worry, there are several apps for that. But don’t expect to download Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Videos, or the like!
What you can download are the video streaming services like YouTube and Vimeo. Vimeo has always let people download videos if they want. YouTube is also singing that tune now with the new YouTube Go app.
Social networks are a bit more strict. While Facebook lets you save videos, you can’t store them to watch offline. It’s the same with Instagram, Twitter, and other social media.
But with the right web app on your browser, you should be able to get any video you want for later. Just remember, the people who upload these might hold the copyright. Don’t reuse the video without their permission.
For Facebook: FB Down
To download a video from Facebook, FB Down is as simple as it gets. When you want to download a video, first expand it to its full size. The link at the top will change to something like this:
Copy the link and paste it in the bar at FB Down. In a few seconds, you can download a low or high quality of the video in a MPEG-4 file format.
FB Down also works with Facebook Live Videos, but only after the live feed has ended. The app also has a Chrome extension, if you want.
For Twitter: TW Down
TW Down, from the same developers as FB Down, is as simple to use for Twitter. Click a tweet to see the URL change to something like this:
Copy the link and paste it in the bar at TW Down. In a few seconds, you can download a low or high quality of the video in a MPEG-4 file format, or even download the audio as an MP3 file.
Again, live videos aren’t supported, even through Periscope. You’ll need to download them after the live feed finishes.
For Periscope: Scopedown
Periscope, the live video streaming app, has caught the world’s imagination. Now you can finally watch videos after the feed has ended, but you can’t download them. Unless you use Scopedown.
Open any Periscope video in your browser, copy the link, and paste it in Scopedown. The video downloads only in “.TS” file format, which you can watch with the VLC media player. Or you could convert it with a free online tool like Zamzar.
For Instagram: Downloadgram
The Instagram app won’t let you download photos or videos, but plenty of apps can. Among the web apps, Downloadgram works as well as anything else out there.
If you’re browsing Instagram on a desktop browser, clicking on any post will give you its URL. On mobiles, tap the three-dot menu button in the top-right corner, followed by Copy Share URL in the popup dialog.
Paste this URL in the bar at Downloadgram, and you can then download the video. There’s no option to choose quality settings, you will get the highest resolution by default.
For YouTube: ConvYouTube
More often than not, you’ll want to download a video from YouTube than any other source. And there are so many options for this. All these web apps the work the same, where you copy-paste the video’s URL into the app. And then you choose the format and quality. What makes SaveFrom cool is its neat YouTube URL trick.
Simply add “conv” before “youtube.com” in the URL of any video and press Enter. You will immediately go to SaveFrom, with the video already analyzed. For example:
No more copy-pasting or opening SaveFrom in a different tab. It’s the kind of time-saving trick that helps. Plus, how hard is it to remember “conv” as a prefix when you want to convert a video?
For Vimeo: Don’t Use Any Vimeo-Only Downloader
Vimeo has some quality videos you won’t find on YouTube. Short filmmakers especially seem to love the platform. Vimeo even lets you download any video directly from the site if the uploader allows it.
But for others, you’ll need to use a web app. They all work the same. Go to a Vimeo video, copy the URL, and paste it in the bar. Choose whether you want an MP3, an MP4, or a high-definition MP4.
Dedicated Vimeo downloader apps like Vimeo To MP3 or Vimeo In MP4 are full of ads and popups. Please avoid them, they might put your computer at risk.
For Streamable: Know Your Streamable
Streamable has become a major part of the internet today. It’s the most awesome no-signup site to upload videos without registering. And so you get some excellent clips on it.
Unfortunately, Streamable is also blocked by several colleges and offices as it often hosts illegal content. If you’re stuck but still want to watch a video, copy-paste the URL into Know Your Streamable.
In seconds, you can download the highest resolution MP4 version of the video (without choosing video quality). It couldn’t be simpler.
All-In-One Downloaders and Extensions
YouTube is the king, but there are some stellar video sites better than YouTube. If you aren’t particular about where you watch videos, an all-in-one downloader will be more useful for you. And it’s much better to use one browser extension than many.
Best Legacy Web App: KeepVid
KeepVid is one of the oldest names in the video downloader business, and for a good reason. It just works. I’ve personally been using this service for as long as I can remember, and it has never failed me.
KeepVid has consistently made it to our lists of the best ways to download any video off the internet. You get different formats, different resolutions, and it separates video and audio too. Plus, the developers work hard to stay one step ahead of any attempts to thwart downloaders like them.
One piece of advice though: Don’t bother with the extensions! They’re useless. But if you’re willing to pay, the desktop programs for Windows and Mac are excellent.
Best New Web App Bookmarklet: Save It Offline
One of the newer web apps that I really liked is Save It Offline. It even supports several sites that KeepVid doesn’t. And it has an excellent bookmarklet that’s a better choice than an extension.
On any site with a video, click the bookmarklet to launch a new tab, ready to download. You only get the MP4 file format, but with a wide variety of resolutions.
Most Sites Supported: Tube Offline
There are so many sites on the internet that stream videos, it’s impossible for one downloader to support them all. The closest you will come to is Tube Offline.
To use it, you’ll first need to locate the site you want to convert from. Only then can you copy-paste the URL of your video. Then it’s a simple download, much like all the other such sites.
Don’t Use Chrome Extensions, Google Is Mad
You’ll find plenty of great Chrome extensions that let you download videos from YouTube and other services. But Google has been monitoring these closely and shutting them down.
At this point, we can no longer recommend using any video downloader extension for Chrome. You’ll be better served by the Save It Offline bookmarklet above.
For Firefox: Video Download Helper
Things aren’t that bleak on Mozilla Firefox, and there’s a wonderful Firefox addon you can use. Video Download Helper works with a wide range of streaming services, as you can see from the list above.
The main reason to use this instead of a bookmarklet is that you don’t have to leave the video’s page. The add-on’s dropdown menu will show you the options to download the video and save it to your hard drive.
What Did We Miss? What Do You Use?
We tested several tools before coming up with this list, but we might still have missed some. Which streaming video downloader do you use?