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Edwin Aboryo
Edwin Aboryo

youtube-dl and ytdl-core: The Ultimate Node.js Tools for YouTube Video Downloading


How to Download YouTube Videos with Node.js




YouTube is one of the most popular video-sharing platforms in the world, with billions of hours of content available for streaming and downloading. However, sometimes you may want to download a video from YouTube for offline viewing, backup, editing, or other purposes. In this article, we will show you how to download YouTube videos with Node.js, a powerful and versatile JavaScript runtime environment that can run on various platforms.




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Node.js is a great choice for downloading videos from YouTube because it allows you to write simple and efficient code that can handle multiple tasks asynchronously. You can also use various modules and tools that can make your job easier and faster. However, downloading videos from YouTube also comes with some challenges, such as dealing with encryption, formats, quality, errors, and legal issues. Therefore, you need to be careful and respectful when you use this technique.


In this article, we will introduce you to two of the main tools that you can use for downloading YouTube videos with Node.js: youtube-dl and node-ytdl-core. These are two popular and well-maintained modules that can help you download videos from YouTube in different ways. We will explain how to install and use them, how to compare and choose between them, and how to follow some best practices for downloading videos from YouTube with Node.js.


How to Install Node.js and YouTube Downloading Modules




Before you can start downloading videos from YouTube with Node.js, you need to install Node.js on your system. Node.js is available for Windows, Linux, macOS, and other platforms. You can download it from its official website or use a package manager such as npm or nvm. You can also check the version of Node.js that you have installed by running node --version in your terminal.


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After you have installed Node.js, you need to install the modules that will allow you to download videos from YouTube. In this article, we will focus on two modules: youtube-dl and node-ytdl-core. You can install them using npm, which is the default package manager for Node.js. To install youtube-dl, run npm install youtube-dl in your terminal. To install node-ytdl-core, run npm install ytdl-core in your terminal. You can also check the version of each module by running youtube-dl --version or ytdl --version in your terminal.


How to Use youtube-dl Module to Download Videos




The youtube-dl module is a command-line program that can download videos from YouTube and other websites. It supports a wide range of options and features, such as choosing the format, quality, subtitles, playlist, metadata, and more. You can use it as a standalone program or as a module in your Node.js script.


To use the youtube-dl module in your Node.js script, you need to import it with require and create an instance of it with new. You can then use the download method to download a video from YouTube by passing the video URL as the first argument and an optional array of options as the second argument. You can also specify a callback function as the third argument to handle the output, errors, and events.


For example, the following code snippet shows how to download a video from YouTube using the youtube-dl module and save it as video.mp4 in the current directory. It also logs the progress and status of the download to the console.



// Import the youtube-dl module const youtubedl = require('youtube-dl'); // Create a new instance of youtube-dl const video = new youtubedl('[7]( // Optional array of options ['--format=18'], // Additional options can be given for calling `child_process.execFile()` cwd: __dirname ); // Will be called when the download starts video.on('info', function(info) console.log('Download started'); console.log('filename: ' + info._filename); console.log('size: ' + info.size); ); // Will be called if there is an error video.on('error', function(error) console.error(error); ); // Will be called when the download finishes video.on('end', function() console.log('Download finished'); ); // Write the video to a file named video.mp4 video.pipe(fs.createWriteStream('video.mp4'));


You can also use the youtube-dl module to download multiple videos from YouTube by using a loop or a list. For example, you can create an array of video URLs and iterate over them with a for loop or a forEach method. You can also use a Promise.all method to wait for all the downloads to finish before proceeding with other tasks.


How to Use node-ytdl-core Module to Download Videos




The node-ytdl-core module is another option for downloading videos from YouTube with Node.js. It is a pure JavaScript implementation of YouTube video downloading that does not rely on any external programs or modules. It also supports a range of options and features, such as choosing the format, quality, filter, range, and more. You can use it as a module in your Node.js script or as a command-line tool.


To use the node-ytdl-core module in your Node.js script, you need to import it with require and use the ytdl function to download a video from YouTube by passing the video URL as the first argument and an optional object of options as the second argument. The ytdl function returns a readable stream that you can pipe to any writable stream, such as a file or a response.


For example, the following code snippet shows how to download a video from YouTube using the node-ytdl-core module and save it as video.mp4 in the current directory. It also logs the progress and status of the download to the console.



// Import the node-ytdl-core module const ytdl = require('ytdl-core'); // Download a video from YouTube ytdl('[7]( // Optional object of options format: 'mp4' ) // Will be called when the download starts .on('info', function(info) console.log('Download started'); console.log('title: ' + info.videoDetails.title); console.log('size: ' + info.formats[0].contentLength); ) // Will be called if there is an error .on('error', function(error) console.error(error); ) // Will be called when the download finishes .on('end', function() console.log('Download finished'); ) // Write the video to a file named video.mp4 .pipe(fs.createWriteStream('video.mp4'));


You can also use the node-ytdl-core module to download multiple videos from YouTube by using a loop or a list. For example, you can create an array of video URLs and iterate over them with a for loop or a forEach method. You can also use a Promise.all method to wait for all the downloads to finish before proceeding with other tasks.


How to Compare and Choose Between youtube-dl and node-ytdl-core Modules




Both youtube-dl and node-ytdl-core modules are excellent options for downloading videos from YouTube with Node.js. However, they have some differences and trade-offs that you should consider before choosing one over the other. Here are some of the main pros and cons of each module:





Module


Pros


Cons






youtube-dl




Supports many websites and fo


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