How to Resume Expired or Broken YouTube Download Links


When it comes to YouTube I'm the kind that prefers watching videos offline rather than streaming them online. I do this mostly because I use a data plan which at times has capped speeds making it unsuitable for streaming. In other scenarios however I do it merely because I may want to rewatch a video and so it's just more convenient having it on my computer rather than having to go online to find it every other time.

As you might imagine then, I do quite some downloading. My tools of the trade are a Firefox add-on (Flashgot) and a download manager (FDM). Flashgot automatically generates the download links for me when I open a YouTube video and I've set it up so that it pushes this links to FDM to download rather than Firefox doing it.

This works without hiccups most of the time, but that's until a links expires or gets broken. From my experience it seems that the validity of the download links for YouTube videos tends to vary from video to video, however generally speaking they average around 6 hours. After that they expire and the download stops and can't be resumed. With my expected sluggish speeds this is something that I've experienced enough times to spur me into finding a workaround.

Typically, I will wake in the morning and find some video I had left to download through the night has stopped at 80% or so. Reluctant about restarting the download all over again this is what I do:
  1. Go back to the video in question and get a new fresh link (online download link generators like KeepVid, PickVideo etc. will also work.)
  2. Remove the old link from the broken download and paste the fresh one.
  3. Resume the download and it should pick up from where it left.
So basically that's the general idea. For this to work you obviously need a download manager since the in-built downloader found in browsers don't allow re-editing links. I've been using the classic Free Download Manager (FDM v.3.9.7) for 7 years now and can vouch for it when it comes to this task and generally all kinds of download management. Most download managers do however support this, including the darling of most, IDM.

Now I should mention that this works with almost all download links, not just YouTube. Even those that may show up as unresumable in the download manager.

For instance, download links from video hosting sites like TheVideo, OpenLoad etc. do expire in the same fashion as YouTube ones albeit much quicker. Using this trick does however resume their expired links. The same holds true for file hosting services like GoogleDrive, MediaFire, ZippyShare etc. I can't tell you how many times this has saved me some precious data and time. Hopefully you may find this just as useful.


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