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Last pushed: 5 days ago
Short Description
youtube-dl HTTP download and transcode service
Full Description

youtube-dl HTTP service

HTTP service for youtube-dl that downloads media for
requested URL and transmuxes and transcodes to requested format if needed.

It can be used to convert media, create podcasts and audio only versions of media
from various site like youtube, vimeo etc.

Docker image support all default native ffmpeg decoders and can encode to:

Format name Container Audio codecs Video codecs
alac mov alac
flac flac flac
m4a mov aac
mp3 mp3 mp3
ogg ogg vorbis, opus
wav wav pcm_s16le
mkv matroska aac, mp3, vorbis, opus, flac, alac, ac3 h264, hevc, vp8, vp9, theora
mp4 mov aac, mp3, vorbis, flac, alac h264, hevc
mxf mxf pcm_s16le mpeg2video
ts mpegts aac, mp3, ac3 h264, hevc
webm webm vorbis, opus vp8, vp9

There is also support for rss format which will transform a youtube-dl
playlist into a RSS audio podcast.

See ydls.json for more details.


Run with docker

Pull mwader/ydls or build image using the Dockerfile. Run a container and publish
TCP port 8080 somehow.

docker run -p 8080:8080 mwader/ydls

Build and install yourself

Run go get to install ydls.
Make sure you have ffmpeg, youtube-dl, rtmpdump and mplayer
installed and in PATH.

Copy and edit ydls.json to match your ffmpeg builds
supported formats and codecs.

Start with ydls-server -config /path/to/ydls.json and it default will listen
on port 8080.


Download and make sure media is in specified format:
GET /<format>[+option+option...]/<URL-not-encoded>
GET /?format=<format>&url=<URL>[&codec=...&codec=...&retranscode=...]

Download in best format:
GET /<URL-not-encoded>
GET /?url=<URL-encoded>


format - Format name. See table above and ydls.json
URL - Any URL that youtube-dl can handle
URL-not-encoded - Non-URL-encoded URL. The idea is to be able to simply
prepend the download URL with the ydls URL by hand without doing any encoding
(for example in the browser location bar)
codec - Codec to use instead of default for format (can be specified one or two times for
audio and video codec)
retranscode - Retranscode even if input codec is same as output
time - Only download specificed time range. Ex: 30s, 20m30s, 1h20s30s will limit
duration. 10s-30s will seek 10 seconds and stop at 30 seconds (20 second output duration)
items - If playlist only include this many items

option - Codec name, time range, retranscode or <N>items


Download and make sure media is in mp3 format:

Download using query parameters and make sure media is in mp3 format:

Download and make sure media is in webm format:

Download and make sure media is in mkv format using mp3 and h264 codecs:

Download and retranscode to mp3 even if input is already mp3:

Download specified time range in mp3:

Download in best format:

Playlist as podcast with 3 latest items:

Tricks and known issues

For some formats the transcoded file might have zero length or duration as transcoding is done
while streaming. This is usually not a problem for most players.

Download with curl and save to filename provided by response header:

curl -OJ http://ydls-host/mp3/

Docker image can download from command line. This will download in mp3 format
to current directory:

docker run --rm -v "$PWD:/media" -w /media mwader/ydls mp3

youtube-dl URL can point to a plain media file.

If you run the service using some cloud services you might run into geo-restriction
issues with some sites like youtube.


When fiddling with ffmpeg and youtube-dl related code I usually do this:

docker build -t ydls .
docker build -f _dev/ -t ydls-dev .
docker run --rm -ti -v "$PWD:/go/src/" ydls-dev

Then inside dev container:

go run cmd/ydls/main.go -config ./ydls.json ...


  • Bitrate factor per codec when sorting
  • youtubedl info, just url no formats?
  • X-Remote IP header?
  • seccomp and chroot things


ydls is licensed under the MIT license. See LICENSE for the full license text.

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