Using YouTube

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YouTube is the second most popular website in the world, behind only Google. However, unlike Google, YouTube does not function at all without proprietary JavaScript (see The JavaScript Trap). This guide describes a number of options for accessing this wealth of knowledge and entertainment. It also provides alternatives to posting videos to YouTube so we can reduce our dependence on it.

Invidious (AGPL v3.0)

By far the easiest option is to use a public instance of invidious. List of public instances.

Youtube links looks like this:

Invidious links look like this:

Links can be manually changed or converted with an add-on, such as Redirector (MIT) for Firefox-based browsers.

Example Redirector settings to rewrite youtube to a specific invidious instance.

Self-Hosting Invidious

Official install instructions

MPV (GPL v2.0+)

It is also possible to play YouTube videos using MPV when you have youtube-dl installed. You can take any YouTube, or invidious instance link and enter it with the MPV command like so:


Command-line Programs


Open a terminal.

Install youtube-dl on a Debian based system.

   sudo apt install -y youtube-dl

Download a video with a command like this:


Or just use the video id:

   youtube-dl AaA1a1AaA-a



You can get an RSS feed of a channel if you have its ID like so:{channel_id}

For example, here is the feed for Kero Kero Bonito's youtube channel:

You can find a channel's id either in its URL or by inspecting the source and searching for "channelid"