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How to get the direct url path to .flv video files on YouTube for Free

How to get the direct url path to .flv video files on YouTube for Free

I had reason this week to try and find the actual direct path to an.flv on YouTube, I was trying out the excellent JW Media Player by Jeroen Wijering it supports playback of flv files among a host of other formats heres a quick excerpt from his website.

“JW Media Player supports playback of a single media file of any format the Flash Player can handle (MP3, FLV, SWF, JPG, PNG and GIF). It also supports RSS, XSPF and ATOM playlist (with mixed mediatypes and advertisement possibilities), a wide range of flashvars (settings) for tweaking both behavior and appearance and an extensive, documented javascript/actionscript API.”

The Problem?

While coding the xml playlist file for the player I tried adding a YouTube video but couldn’t find the actual path to the .flv file on YouTube’s servers. YouTube dont allow downloading of the video files and they have the path to the files pretty well hidden. So with a little tinkering around I came up with this trick…

The Solution!

I used this website www.keepvid.com to decode the url from YouTube. First go to YouTube and load a video, copy the url in the address bar it should show something like this:


Now go to the www.keepvid.com website and paste the url into the box provided, select Youtube from the drop down options and then click the Download button.
You can download the file direct but in this case I only need the path to the flv file so just under the url input box there will appear a Download box like the image below.

Right click on the >>Download Link << and select “Copy Link Location” (Firefox) or “Copy Shortcut” (Internet Explorer)


Now paste the result into notepad or directly to your xml file it will show like this:


One thing left to do, add .flv to the end of the url so it ends up like this:


That’s it, the final url path to your YouTube video.

I know that this tip breaches the YouTube terms and conditions as using a third party player to stream the flv is therefore stealing their bandwidth and not allowing them to run any advertising on the video page, but hey! rules are sometimes broken and this tip is for purely experimental purposes! ;)

Time Saver Tip…

KeepVid provide a handy link to drag to your links toolbar it’s a great time saver if you intend on getting paths to video files or just to download videos files direct for free. I have it here for you, simply drag the button below to your Links Toolbar and when you are viewing a video on any website just hit the link on you toolbar and it redirects you to their website with the video ready for download or just to get the path.

Keep It!

Hope this helps you…..

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  1. Julio · December 14, 2007

    Than you SO much…. I’ve been searching about this for hours, THanks!

  2. Kieran McCarthy · December 14, 2007

    Your welcome ;)

    I’m glad this article was useful to you.

  3. princeq · January 9, 2008

    Thanks so much dude!

    I’ve been searching this solution for a couple of weeks..Now I know! Thanks again.. ;)

  4. Kieran McCarthy · January 9, 2008


    Glad my info was a help to you.

  5. Burhan · January 13, 2008

    Nice work dude,
    I was wondering how would i be able to do this dynamically ? suppose i have to load a video at run time into my player, how would i do this ? any ideas ?

  6. Kieran McCarthy · January 17, 2008

    Burhan – thanks for your comment.

    I am working on a solution to load the YouTube video flv path dynamically, however it is not quiet ready at the moment.

    I will email you the details when I am finished the project.

  7. pjokk · January 20, 2008

    I used Youripper 2.30 to do this, but it stopped working. Now I have read hundred of confusing forum pages just to find this sollution. This hits the spot for me, Thanks :)

  8. Kieran McCarthy · January 21, 2008

    Thanks pjokk… although this is not a dynamic solution it still is the easiest solution to get the flv path to youtube videos… and no software to install.

    I am working on a new dynamic solution that I will post up here on my blog very soon.

  9. Liam Farrell · February 22, 2008

    Hi Kieran, another ste for FLV player. Hope it helps.


    How To Download YouTube Videos:

    1. Enter Your YouTube Video Link
    e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEERRBt0vjI

    2. Hit The Get YouTube Video Button To Download Video

    3. Save Your YouTube Video File e.g MyTube.flv

    4. Use FLV Player To Enjoy Your YouTube Videos:

  10. Kieran McCarthy · February 22, 2008

    Liam … thanks for posting up this handy tip… it seems youtube are on the war path to try shut down a lot of similar sites that allow downloading of their videos… thanks again!

  11. Liam Farrell · February 22, 2008

    Us Youghal boys have to stick together Ha Ha !!!

  12. Kieran McCarthy · February 22, 2008

    Liam … didn’t know you are from Youghal… would I know your family?
    I have just launched a new Youghal website http://www.youghalonline.com you may be interested…..

  13. Liam Farrell · February 22, 2008

    Kieran you should do, I was out of town for a while but, back since Dec 05. I`m one of the Farrell`s from Summerfield (the pub). Would have gone to school with Christy your cuz. Just checked out the site well put together hope it goes well. it`s not all bad news here.

  14. danny · February 25, 2008

    Its not working for me.

    I tried:
    1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBM854BTGL0 url of youtube file, thats working.

    in keepfeed i get this url:

    when i add it with .flv so:

    i get a page not found

    what am i doing wrong?

  15. Kieran McCarthy · February 25, 2008

    Danny … YouTube have blocked/stopped a lot of methods for downloading youtube videos. The KeepVid version above is now broken as it will not give the path to the flv like before.

    Is it the path to flv file or just to be able to download the video from youtube that you want to do?

    Let me know….?


  16. Nelyn · April 11, 2008

    erhmm.. how about music on imeem? do you know how to get their url/s??? thanks so much!

  17. Kieran McCarthy · April 12, 2008

    Nelyn….. I done some research on how to download music from IMEEM but sorry there is no easy solution that I can see yet. The music is embedded entirely within flash and there is no reference file to be found! guess they have figured it best that way… this is a challenge and I havent ruled out the possibility of getting the urls I will try and post back here if I find a solution…


  18. MashUp · April 16, 2008

    Here are a couple resources:

    For downloading YT videos in various formats (.mov, .avi, .wmv and more), simply pop over to http://www.iDesktop.tv – It’s awesome and no cost!

    To capture music, you can use a free application like Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/). Set it to record anything playing out of your computer speakers. To do this, set the microphone source to “Stereo Mix”. I realize it isn’t the purest solution but it works pretty darn well. Then, you have Audacity export your recording as an mp3. Audacity is also available as a portable app which allows you to install it on a flash drive and take it with you. Get the portable app version here – http://snurl.com/24n46 [portableapps_com]

    Here is a screen grab showing how to set “Stereo Mix”:
    http://snurl.com/24n48 [i28_tinypic_com]

    You can also use Audacity to create your own ringtones. Have a look at this tutorial: http://snurl.com/24n3s [forums_afterdawn_com]

    What if you recorded several songs as one long audio track in Audcaity but now you want to export each as their own file. Can it be done? Yep! Here is a tutorial from Audacity’s site: http://snurl.com/24n4o [audacity_sourceforge_net]

    Hope this helps!


  19. Kieran McCarthy · April 17, 2008

    MashUp … thanks for the great link resources above

  20. Ondrej · June 2, 2008

    Is there any possible way how to download YT video now? … I’ve check everything I found, but nothing works … thanks, Ondřej

  21. Ondrej · June 2, 2008

    I thought so way I can use with PHP or ASP … :-)

  22. Pain in the Flash « atylmo’s Blog · June 17, 2008

    [...] is messing up on you, get the direct link and paste it into an flv player (follow the instructions here). Download it or stream it from your external [...]

  23. Kieran McCarthy · May 7, 2009


    Thanks for posting up your solution using script. Can you give me an example use of your code? I’m not familiar with perl/python.


  24. Ondrej · May 11, 2009

    I’ve built this one in AIR … check it out … http://code.google.com/p/wg-youtube-video-downloader/

  25. Ondrej · May 11, 2009

    And it works … thanks for tip Jarek

  26. Kieran McCarthy · May 11, 2009

    Ondrej thanks for posting up you YouTube video downloader built in Air… very cool


  27. gopal · February 18, 2010

    thanks!!!! it worked fine

  28. citizen · June 19, 2010

    Try Getv:

    Getv itself has very clear tutorials so everyone can learn to use it easily and free.

    Just like Keepvid, Youtube Downloader,
    Getv is a free, easy, safe site to download youtube videos.
    Paste the video URLs and you can get your favorite videos very quickly.

  29. Renata · June 5, 2011

    I already know how to find url with the help of keepvid.com, browser cache and a lot of other tricks. What i want to know is “How do keepvid.com and other such websites, find the video url?”
    There should be some programmable formula, so that we could use it in our website and scripts.

  30. Ana · June 14, 2012

    It doesn’t work for me!!!
    I’ve got it something totally different and quite long as it is in your example above.