Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

Why youTube-dl Sometimes Fails With “ERROR: No Video Formats Found”?

Ubuntu 2

YouTube is a vast platform with a plethora of videos. For various reasons, users may want to download videos for offline use. A popular tool for this purpose is youtube-dl, a command-line program that lets you download videos from YouTube and other sites. However, it can sometimes fail with the error message “ERROR: No video formats found”. This article will delve into why this happens and how to resolve it.

Quick Answer

The "ERROR: No video formats found" error occurs when the version of youtube-dl being used is outdated. This happens because youtube-dl relies on specific patterns in the YouTube website’s code to find and download videos, and when YouTube updates its website, these patterns can change, causing youtube-dl to fail. To resolve this issue, you can update youtube-dl, use the snap package, or use youtube-dl from git.

Why Does This Error Occur?

The “ERROR: No video formats found” usually pops up when the version of youtube-dl being used is outdated. YouTube frequently updates its website, which can break compatibility with older versions of youtube-dl. This is because youtube-dl relies on specific patterns in the YouTube website’s code to find and download videos. When YouTube updates its website, these patterns can change, causing youtube-dl to fail.

How to Resolve This Issue

There are three main ways to resolve this issue: updating youtube-dl, using the snap package, or using youtube-dl from git.

Updating youtube-dl

The first step is to ensure you are using the latest version of youtube-dl. You can check the version by running the following command:

youtube-dl --version

This command will display the version of youtube-dl currently installed on your system. If it is not the latest version, you can update it by following the instructions on the youtube-dl website.

Using the Snap Package

In some cases, the youtube-dl package available in the Ubuntu 20.04 repository may not be up-to-date. You can try installing the latest stable youtube-dl snap package by running the following command:

sudo snap install youtube-dl

The sudo command is used to execute the following command with root privileges. snap is the package management system that installs and manages snap packages. install is the command to install a package, and youtube-dl is the name of the package to install.

After installing the snap package, you can invoke youtube-dl using the following command instead of just youtube-dl:

snap run youtube-dl

Using youtube-dl from Git

If the above solutions do not work, you can try using youtube-dl directly from the git repository. You can clone the repository using the following command:

git clone https://github.com/ytdl-org/youtube-dl.git

The git clone command is used to create a copy of a remote repository. The URL following the command is the location of the repository to clone.

After cloning the repository, navigate to the cloned directory and run the following command to install youtube-dl:

sudo python3 setup.py install

The python3 setup.py install command is used to install a Python package. The sudo command is used to execute the command with root privileges.

Before using the version from git, make sure to remove any other versions of youtube-dl.

Conclusion

While youtube-dl is a powerful tool, it can sometimes fail due to changes on the YouTube website. However, by keeping youtube-dl updated, you can ensure that it continues to work as expected. Whether you choose to update youtube-dl, use the snap package, or use youtube-dl from git, the key is to keep the tool updated to ensure compatibility with the latest changes on the YouTube website.

What is youtube-dl?

youtube-dl is a command-line program that allows users to download videos from YouTube and other websites. It is a popular tool for downloading videos for offline use.

Why does youtube-dl sometimes fail with the error message “ERROR: No video formats found”?

This error usually occurs when the version of youtube-dl being used is outdated. YouTube frequently updates its website, which can break compatibility with older versions of youtube-dl. Updating youtube-dl to the latest version usually resolves this issue.

How can I check the version of youtube-dl installed on my system?

You can check the version of youtube-dl installed on your system by running the following command in the terminal: youtube-dl --version. This will display the version number of youtube-dl.

How can I update youtube-dl to the latest version?

To update youtube-dl, you can follow the instructions on the youtube-dl website. The website provides the necessary steps to update youtube-dl on different platforms.

What is the snap package and how can I use it to install youtube-dl?

The snap package is a package management system that installs and manages snap packages. To install youtube-dl using the snap package, you can run the command sudo snap install youtube-dl in the terminal. After installation, you can invoke youtube-dl using the command snap run youtube-dl.

What can I do if updating youtube-dl or using the snap package doesn’t resolve the issue?

If the previous solutions don’t work, you can try using youtube-dl directly from the git repository. You can clone the repository using the command git clone https://github.com/ytdl-org/youtube-dl.git. After cloning, navigate to the cloned directory and run sudo python3 setup.py install to install youtube-dl. Make sure to remove any other versions of youtube-dl before using the version from git.

Can youtube-dl download videos from sites other than YouTube?

Yes, youtube-dl can download videos from various sites, not just YouTube. It supports a wide range of websites, including popular platforms like Vimeo, Dailymotion, and SoundCloud. You can check the supported sites list on the youtube-dl website for more information.

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