Get unlimited public & private packages + package-based permissions with npm Pro.Get started »


0.20.2 • Public • Published


Yet another youtube downloading module. Written with only Javascript and a node-friendly streaming interface.

Build Status Dependency Status codecov

For a CLI version of this, check out ytdl and pully.


const fs = require('fs');
const ytdl = require('ytdl-core');


ytdl(url, options)

Attempts to download a video from the given url. Returns a readable stream. options can have the following keys

  • quality - Video quality to download. Can be an itag value value, a list of itag values, or highest/lowest/highestaudio/highestvideo. highestaudio/highestvideo both prefer audio/video only respectively. Defaults to highest.
  • filter - Can be audioandvideo to filter formats that contain both video and audio, video to filter for formats that contain video, videoonly for formats that contain video and no additional audio track. Can also be audio or audioonly. You can give a filtering function that gets called with each format available. Used to decide what format to download. This function is given the format object as its first argument, and should return true if the format is preferable.
  • format - This can be a specific format object returned from getInfo. This is primarily used to download specific video or audio streams. Note: Supplying this option will ignore the filter and quality options since the format is explicitly provided.
  • range - A byte range in the form {start: INT, end: INT} that specifies part of the file to download. ie {start: 10355705, end: 12452856}. Note: this downloads a portion of the file, and not a separately spliced video.
  • begin - What time to begin downloading the video, supports formats 00:00:00.000, or 0ms, 0s, 0m, 0h, or number of milliseconds. Example: 1:30, 05:10.123, 10m30s. This option may not work on super short (less than 30s) videos, and has to be at or above 6s, see #129. It may also not work for some formats, see #219.
  • requestOptions - Anything to merge into the request options which miniget is called with, such as headers.
  • highWaterMark - How much of the video download to buffer into memory. See node's docs for more.
  • retries - The number of retries ytdl is allowed to do before terminating the stream with an error. The default is set to 5.
  • lang - The 2 character symbol of a language. Is by default set to "en".
// Example with `filter` option.
ytdl(url, { filter: (format) => format.container === 'mp4' })

Event: 'info'

  • Object - Info.
  • Object - Format.

Emitted when the a video's info hash is fetched. Along with the chosen format metadata to download. format.url might be different if start was given.

An example of what Info and format may look like is in the example folder.

Event: 'response'

  • http.ServerResponse - Response.

Emitted when the video response has been found, and has started downloading. Can be used to get the size of download. This is also emitted if there is an error with the download or it needs to reconnect to YouTube.

Event: 'progress'

  • Number - Chunk length.
  • Number - Total downloaded.
  • Number - Total download length.

Emitted whenever a new chunk is received. Passes values descriping the download progress and the parsed percentage.


Destroys the underlying connection.

ytdl.getInfo(url, [options], [callback(err, info)])

Use this if you only want to get metainfo from a video. If callback isn't given, returns a promise.

ytdl.downloadFromInfo(info, options)

Once you have received metadata from a video with the getInfo function, you may pass that info, along with other options to downloadFromInfo.

ytdl.chooseFormat(formats, options)

Can be used if you'd like to choose a format yourself with the options above.

ytdl.getInfo(videoID, (err, info) {
  if (err) throw err;
  var format = ytdl.chooseFormat(info.formats, { quality: '134' });
  if (format) {
    console.log('Format found!');

ytdl.filterFormats(formats, filter)

ytdl.getInfo(videoID, (err, info) {
  if (err) throw err;
  var audioFormats = ytdl.filterFormats(info.formats, 'audioonly');
  console.log('Formats with only audio: ' + audioFormats.length);

If you'd like to work with only some formats, you can use the filter option above.


Returns true if given string satisfies YouTube's ID format.


Returns true if able to parse out a valid video ID.


Returns a video ID From a YouTube URL.


Same as the above ytdl.getURLVideoID(), but can be called with the video ID directly, in which case it returns it. This is what ytdl uses internally.


ytdl cannot download videos that fall into the following

  • Regionally restricted (requires a proxy)
  • Private
  • Rentals

Handling Separate Streams

Typically 1080p or better video does not have audio encoded with it. The audio must be downloaded separately and merged via an appropriate encoding library. ffmpeg is the most widely used tool, with many Node.js modules available. Use the format objects returned from ytdl.getInfo to download specific streams to combine to fit your needs. Look at example/ffmpeg.js for an example on doing this.

What if it stops working?

Youtube updates their website all the time, it's not that rare for this to stop working. If it doesn't work for you and you're using the latest version, feel free to open up an issue. Make sure to check if there isn't one already with the same error.

If you'd like to help fix the issue, look at the type of error first. The most common one is

Could not extract signature deciphering actions

Run the tests at test/irl-test.js just to make sure that this is actually an issue with ytdl-core.

mocha test/irl-test.js

These tests are not mocked, and they actually try to start downloading a few videos. If these fail, then it's time to debug.

For getting started with that, you can look at the extractActions() function in /lib/sig.js.


npm install ytdl-core


Tests are written with mocha

npm test


npm i @cliqz/ytdl-core

DownloadsWeekly Downloads






Unpacked Size

63.2 kB

Total Files


Last publish


  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar