How to install youtube-dl, FFmpeg and RTMPDump on Windows/Mac/Linux.

What is the ultimate multimedia download and conversion toolkit? The command line! before you groan youtube-dl is quite possibly the greatest Multimedia downloader, it doesn’t have a UI but it is very powerful. FFmpeg can convert anything and can even do basic editing. RTMPDump can download media from Flash sites (without the need for Flash!)



Download the Windows build, which should be on the second paragraph titled “windows exe”. By default the command prompts path is set to your user folder e.g.


as can be confirmed by opening up cmd.exe


This should be the folder you stick youtube-dl.exe.

Now open up a cmd window by pressing Window Key + R. Then type cmd. To test youtube-dl type the following


If successful you would have downloaded “Me at the zoo” into a local file available under the same spot you dropped youtube-dl.exe off at.

You may want to now download every video known to mankind. However there are a few extra tools you may want to install.


FFmpeg is a powerful audio and video converter (and basic editor). In order to detect bit-rate in youtube-dl  you’ll need FFmpeg and FFprobe. Head over to the download page and choose the windows builds from the section marked “Get the packages” (the top link downloads the source code not the build)


You should now be redirected to a 3rd party website hosting downloads for the 32bit or 64bit Static builds. Once downloaded, extract the zip, and look at the “bin” folder inside the newly extracted FFmpeg. Now, copy both ffmpeg.exe and ffprobe.exe into your user folder where you copied youtube-dl.exe earlier. To test FFmpeg type the following into cmd. You will need a video file to test on (you’ll need to change the name and file type as needed!):

ffmpeg -i "PATH/TO/FILE.mp4" "C:/output.mkv"

It is also worth noting that the Windows build comes with a special program/launcher called “ff-prompt.bat” that can launch ffmpeg.


If you ever end up on a flash page you will need RTMPDump. Now the official page is here. However the builds on the server aren’t updated and didn’t work for me however you can find more updated builds on the same website you used to download Windows FFmpeg. If those builds don’t work then I found some more here. Again copy these to the same folder.

The only other tip I would give would be to use ConEmu instead of the built in cmd, It looks and works much better ;).


Mac users don’t miss out on the action either! Now the easiest way is to install command line tools is via Homebrew.

To install it, you’ll need to open up (this should be located under /Applications/Utilities) and now copy and paste:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL

(NOTE: Command above is from the Homebrew website circa: 2016/09/27. Check with the website for changes in the future)


First I’ll cover the command to install youtube-dl for Homebrew users, copy and paste this in Terminal:

brew install youtube-dl

However if you don’t feel like installing Homebrew the youtube-dl page has commands that can be run without. Copy & Paste the following making sure to run them separately and in order:

sudo curl -L -o /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
sudo chmod a+rx /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl


Homebrew can install it through this command

brew install ffmpeg

To those of you who don’t want to install FFmpeg through Homebrew. You should go to the FFmpeg website and download the Mac builds they are located underneath the top download link to the left:


(Note the top green link is to the source code not the builds.) Underneath in the mac section there should be two links, clicking the first should lead to this page, that link has the files stored under .7z so you should install Keka to open them

(Note that the page has downloads for ffmpeg, ffserver and ffprobe)

Download ffmpeg and ffprobe from that page. And whilst Finder is the active application, Press “Go” on the top menu then press GoTo server and paste this location:


Now extract those 7z files, and copy ffmpeg and ffprobe in that folder above.

Installing RTMPDump…

For users of Homebrew type this:

brew install rtmpdump

Sadly this is the only way I know. You can check out RTMPDump’s website. But all the builds in their download servers are very outdated. Homebrew was really the only way to install an up-to-date version. Thankfully RTMPDump isn’t the most important tool but if you want to download flash media you will need it.

Let’s test our new install! Again in terminal, let’s test youtube-dl.


If this worked you will now find a local file under your home/user folder (/Users/yourusername)

Testing FFmpeg:

ffmpeg -i "PATH/TO/FILE.mp4" "~/output.mkv"

You should now find an MKV file under your home/user folder.


Most distributions should already have youtube-dl in the repo’s. In which case use your package manager to install it and the dependencies.

Ubuntu/Debian/Linux Mint/Elementary

sudo apt-get install youtube-dl


Fedora users need to enable the epel repo before installation

sudo dnf install youtube-dl

The best part is that this will usually include RTMPDump as a dependency so no need for extra installation here. However youtube-dl can be downloaded with curl or wget:

curl -o /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
wget -O /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl

However ffmpeg will usually come separate, even though it is an important dependency:

Ubuntu/Debian/Linux Mint/Elementary

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg


Fedora users need to enable the epel repo before installation

sudo dnf install ffmpeg

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