I know this is somewhat of a duplicate question, but all the others I've seen answered never really answered the question, "how to I download videos using wget?" All of the previous answers just seem to suggest other means to download the videos, like youtube-dl.

I'm interested how to use wget specifically though. It looks like a handy tool to use, but every guide I've found gives directions that don't work, and every question answered on multiple forums just avoids the question and suggests alternatives.

I've found these two guides: http://go2linux.garron.me/wget-to-download-youtube-videos & http://www.marksanborn.net/howto/using-wget-to-download-youtube-videos/

The first works up until the last step where I get a 404 error. I would give the exact error but for some reason I can't even get the second step to work today?? Following the second guide, only the first step works so I don't even know if it's useful.

I know there are plenty of great plugins and programs available, but if anyone knows how to use wget I would appreciate any insight.

  • Why do you like to do that without youtube-dl or so? To learn yourself how it works? Good! Sep 3, 2014 at 3:28

1 Answer 1


If you have the URL of a YouTube video, you can download it just normally with wget. Even the continue option -c works.

The problem is to get the URL.
The URL is part of the inner workings of the YouTube system software. It is generated by one system component, and used by another - not intended to be used anywhere else.

You need to know how to find this URL. The problem is that the way to get the URL can cange if something in the system changes.
Then, you need updated instructions.

Looking at your links, these instructions are from 2007 and 2008. Since then, it may have changed hundreds of times - no wonder it does not work.

I see two ways to get up to date information on how it currently works to get the URLs:

  • Learn how to do it yourself.
  • Find someone who updates a description about it when there are changes.

I would guess the most up-to-date descriptions are used be youtube-dl or something similar.

To use them without using youtube-dl, you need to look at the source code of youtube-dl, and then rebuild youtube-dl yourself with wget. That should be possible for sure.

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