With the right software it’s simple to download videos from most websites and watch them offline when it’s convenient to you.
Usually it's not possible to download videos from paid-for services including Netflix and Amazon Video. Some apps claim to be able to do this, but in any case you'll need login details. And if you have a Netflix or Amazon account, then you can simply use their own apps to download videos to watch offline.
Most people ask how to download YouTube video, but it’s really the same process no matter which website the video is on. And most video downloader apps and websites support all the popular video sites – they’re not exclusive to just one site.
How to download online video
We’re using 4K Video Downloader here, but you’ll find other apps are very similar. First download and install 4K Video Downloader.
When it’s running, you’ll need to switch to your web browser and find the video you want to download. Typically, you’ll need to copy the URL from the browser’s address bar near the top of the screen.
Now, click on the green and white Paste Link button in the app and it will analyse the video and offer some download options.
Here you can choose the resolution of the video to download, and press Browse to choose where to save it on your hard drive. By default it will go into This PC > Videos > 4K Video Downloader.
When you’ve selected your options, click Download and the video will be saved. Depending upon the speed of your internet connection, the site you’re downloading from, the duration and your chosen resolution, the video could take a few minutes to download, or it might take much longer.
At 1080p resolution, a 30-minute video can be 500+ MB, so it's handy that the app shows the size of each resolution to help you make the best choice.
Sometimes you’ll find the occasional video that won’t download at all. This can be for a variety of reasons, including that it is copyrighted or that the app doesn’t have authorisation to access video, for example if it is from a closed Facebook group.
Generally, video downloader apps and websites work best for videos which are publically visible and don’t require logging into a site.
Another problem you might face is that the list of resolutions available to download doesn’t match what’s on offer on the website itself. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about that, apart from try a different downloader app or site, or find the same video on another website.
Here are our top picks for the best YouTube downloaders.
If you prefer not to download an app, websites work in exactly the same way: you paste the URL of the video you want to download into the appropriate text box on the website, wait for it to be analysed and then choose your resolution and other options before hitting the download button.