How to Download Streaming Videos From Any Website

Learn how to download any video

If you know how to download streaming videos from any website, you can save entire movies, web shows, and even live broadcasts on your computer. The best method to download a video from the web depends on the source of the video.

Instructions in this article apply broadly to desktop web browsers for Windows and macOS. However, the instructions are illustrated using Firefox. Some methods may not work in all browsers.

How to Download a Video From Any Website

Some browsers offer extensions that help you download videos from the web. For example, you can use a downloading tool for Firefox like Ant Video Downloader. To download videos from Mozilla Firefox:

Not all browsers have the same extensions available. If you're using Chrome or Microsoft Edge, you may need to add a different browser extension.

  1. Go to the Ant Video Downloader page and select Add to Firefox.

    The Add to Firefox option for the Ant Video Downloader browser extension.
  2. Select Add in the pop-up window.

    Adding an extension to the Firefox Browser.
  3. The Ant Video Downloader icon will appear on the Firefox toolbar. Select Okay, Got It to dismiss the pop-up window.

    If you want to use Ant Video Downloader in Firefox private mode, select the box beside Allow this extension to run in Private Windows.

    Finalizing adding an extension in the Firefox browser.
  4. Go to the page with the video you want to download, then select the Ant Video Downloader icon on the Firefox toolbar. Select Install to download the Ant Video Downloader app.

    Installing the video downloader for Firefox the first time you use the extension.
  5. Select Save File in the new window that opens, then choose where to save the app on your computer.

    The Ant Download Save File option.
  6. Open the installation file you downloaded, then select Install and follow the instructions.

    The Install options for the Ant Downloader software.
  7. Refresh the page with the video you want to download, then select the Ant Video Downloader icon again and select Download next to the video title.

    The download option when on a video using the Ant video downloader.
  8. When the video finishes downloading, select the folder icon that appears to go to the folder containing the video file.

    The folder indicating the location of the video downloaded by the Ant downloder.

There are also online tools like catch.tube that allow you to download videos from YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

How to Download Videos From the Web Using Inspect Element

If the above method doesn't work for you, there may be a more technical solution. By viewing a web page's source code, you might find a link to the video you want to download.

However, before you can use this method, you must trick your desktop web browser into thinking you're browsing on a mobile device. For example, to download videos this way using Firefox:

The steps for doing this will differ depending on what browser you are using.

  1. Open Firefox and enter about:config in the URL bar.

    Entering about:config in the Firefox browser.
  2. Select Accept the Risk and Continue to access the Firefox configuration settings.

    The accept risk and continue option in the Firefox browser.
  3. Select Show All at the top of the page.

    The Show All option in the about;config page of Firefox.
  4. Type general.useragent.override in the search bar, select String, then select the plus (+).

    The general useragent override in about:config on Firefox.
  5. Type the following in the field provided, then select the checkmark:

    Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 8_3 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/600.1.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) FxiOS/1.0 Mobile/12F69 Safari/600.1.4
    Type the following in the field provided, then select the checkmark: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 8_3 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/600.1.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) FxiOS/1.0 Mobile/12F69 Safari/600.1.4
  6. Open a page with the video you wish to download and let the video play for a few seconds, then right-click the video and choose Inspect Element.

    If an ad starts playing before the video, you must wait for it to finish before completing this step.

    The Inspect element on a video in FireFox.
  7. In the window containing the website's source code, find the entry that begins with <div id=“player” and select the arrow beside it.

    Source code for a video in the Firefox Browser.
  8. Select the arrow next to <div id=“movie_player”.

    Expanding the <div id=“movie_player” information.
  9. Select the arrow next to <div class=“html5-video-container”.

    Expanding the data next to <div class=“html5-video-container”
  10. Under the <video class =“video stream html5-main-video” entry, select the link following src= to reveal the full URL.

    If you don't see a URL, you can't download the video using this method.

    The full URL for the video expanded in the source code.
  11. Right-click the highlighted URL and choose Copy.

    Copying the video URL.
  12. Open a new browser tab and enter the URL you copied into the address bar, then right-click the video and choose Save Video As.

    The Save Video As option
  13. Choose a location on your computer for the video and select Save.

    The Save as dialog box.
  14. Return to the about:config page and type general.useragent.override in the search bar, then select the trash can to delete the entry and restore the default settings.

    Deleting the general useragent override.

How to Download Videos From Streaming Services

Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video use a technology called Digital Right Management, or DRM, to prevent users from downloading videos using the methods described above. However, most of these services allow subscribers to download certain content for a limited amount of time.

For example, there's a built-in feature that lets you download videos from Netflix. Hulu, Prime Video, and Disney+ all offer similar capabilities, but there are restrictions. Not all shows and movies are available to download, and the downloads are set to expire after a certain amount of time. Since they are also DRM-protected, you can't make copies of the files, but you can download them again in case you don't get around to watching before they expire.

Use Screen Capture Tools

If none of the above methods are successful, you can always use screen capture software. Screen recording may be the only option if you want to permanently save a video from streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. The resulting videos will likely suffer from diminished video and audio quality.

Another option is to use a video capture card. The quality of videos will differ depending on the specifications of the capture device. For best results, enable the capture card on your television and stream the video you want to record.