Automated YouTube Archival
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Automated YouTube Archival.

A wrapper for youtube-dl used for keeping very large amounts of data from YouTube in sync. It's designed to be simple and easy to use.

I have a single, very large playlist that I add any videos I like to. This runs as a service on my NAS (see [Example systemd]).

Project Status

This project is archived. I was working on a web interface for this project but decided to just use tubearchivist rather than write my own. If tubearchivist does not meet my needs then I will restart work on this project.


  • Uses yt-dlp instead of youtube-dl.
  • Skips videos that are already downloaded.
  • Automatically update yt-dlp on launch.
  • Download the videos in a format suitable for archiving:
    • Complex format that balances video quality and file size.
    • Embedding of metadata: chapters, thumbnail, english subtitles (automatic too), and YouTube metadata.
  • Log progress to a file.
  • Simple display using tqdm.
  • Limit the size of the downloaded videos.
  • Parallel downloads.
  • Daemon mode for running as a system service.


sudo apt update && sudo apt install ffmpeg atomicparsley phantomjs
pip install -r requirements.txt


This program has 3 modes:

Direct-Download Mode:

In this mode, you give the downloader a URL to the media you want to download.

./ <video URL to download> --output <output directory>

Config-File Mode:

In this mode, you give the downloader the path to a config file that contains the URLs of the media and where to download them to.

The config file can be a YAML file or a TXT file with the URL to download on each line.

When using the YAML file (see [targets.sample.yml]): ./ <path to the config file>

When using a TXT file: ./ <path to the config file> --output <output directory>

Daemon Mode:

In this mode, the downloader will loop over the media you give it and sleep for a certain number of minutes. It takes

To run as a daemon, do:

/usr/bin/python3 /home/user/automated-youtube-dl/ --daemon --sleep 60 <video URL or config file path>

--sleep is how many minutes to sleep after completing all downloads.

Daemon mode can take a URL (like direct-download mode) or a path to a config file (like config-file mode).

Folder Structure

Output Directory/
├─ logs/
│  ├─ youtube_dl-<UNIX timestamp>.log
│  ├─ youtube_dl-errors-<UNIX timestamp>.log
├─ download-archive.log
├─ Example Video.mkv

download-archive.log contains the videos that have already been downloaded. You can import videos you've already downloaded by adding their ID to this file.

Videos will be saved using this name format:

[%(id)s] [%(title)s] [%(uploader)s] [%(uploader_id)s]


Argument Flag Help
--no-update -n Don't update yt-dlp at launch.
--max-size Max allowed size of a video in MB. Default: 1100.
--rm-cache -r Delete the yt-dlp cache on start.
--threads How many download processes to use (threads). Default is how many CPU cores you have. You will want to find a good value that doesn't overload your connection.
--daemon -d Run in daemon mode. Disables progress bars and sleeps for the amount of time specified in --sleep.
--sleep How many minutes to sleep when in daemon mode.
--silent -s Don't print any error messages to the console. Errors will still be logged in the log files.
--ignore-downloaded -i Ignore videos that have been already downloaded and let youtube-dl handle everything. Videos will not be re-downloaded, but metadata will be updated.