cclive [OPTIONS] [URL|FILE ...]


cclive is a command line tool for downloading media streams from YouTube and similar websites.


The program reads input from the stdin by default. The arguments may be either an URL or a FILE. When the input is read from either stdin or a FILE, the data is expected to be a newline-separated list of URLs.



--agent <arg>

Identify cclive as arg to the HTTP servers. The default value is "Mozilla/5.0".

  agent = arg

-b, --background

Go to background after startup. The output written to stdout will be written to the file specified with --log-file.

-c, --continue

Resume partially downloaded media.

  continue = {true|false}

-N, --timestamp

Try to preserve the file modification time (as returned by the server, if any). Using this option will cause the program to change the modification time of the file to that of returned by the server.


libcurl will parse this value from the returned "Last-Modified" HTTP header. This header may not always be present in which case the program will quietly ignore this option.

  timestamp = {true|false}

--config-file <arg>

Read the program arguments from the specified file instead of the default ~/.ccliverc file. See also the section called “FILES”.

--exec <arg>

Invoke the specified command after each successfully finished download. The command is also invoked if the media is fully retrieved already. This option may be specified multiple times. See also the section called “EXAMPLES”.

All occurences of the following sequences will be replaced in the arg:

  %f  .. Full path to the downloaded media file
  %n  .. Name of the downloaded media file
  %t  .. Unfiltered media title

  exec = arg

-n, --no-download

Do not download the media, print the details only.

-p, --prefer-format <arg>

Have the program choose the format (media stream) to download by matching the regular expression pattern match to the media URL as specified in the arg.

This option may be specified multiple times. The use of --stream will override the rules specified using this option. See also the section called “EXAMPLES”.

The arg is a string pair separated by a colon. The string pair consists of:

a regular expression pattern

format (media stream) to download

  prefer-format = arg

-s,--stream <ID>

Download the specified media stream. By default the program will get the default stream. The ID may also be best, in which case libquvi-scripts(7) will determine the best available quality stream.


-h, --help

Print help and exit.


Print the license and exit.

-S, --print-streams

Query the available media streams. The printed values (media stream IDs) may be used with --stream and --prefer-format options. The available streams are determined by libquvi(3) and libquvi-scripts(7).

--progressbar <arg>

Use the progressbar of the specified type. The program will ignore the value of this option with --background. The arg may be one of the following values:

dotline (also implied by --background)

normal (default)


  progressbar = arg


Print the supported website domains and exit.

--update-interval <arg>

Specify the progressbar update interval in seconds. Use of decimal fractions (e.g. "0.2") is acceptable. The program will use the default value 1.

  update-interval = arg

-D, --print-config

Print the value of all defined configuration options to stdout.

-v, --version

Print the program version and exit.


--filename-format <arg>

Specify how the downloaded media file should be named. All occurences of the following sequences will be replaced in the arg:

  %t  .. Media title (after applying --tr)
  %s  .. Media file extension
  %i  .. Media ID
The default value is "%t.%s".
  filename-format = arg

--log-file <arg>

Write log output to the specified file. The program will ignore this option value unless it is being used together with --background. The existing log file will be ovewritten. By default, the program will use "cclive_log" as the log file name.

--output-dir <arg>

Write downloaded media to the specified directory. By default, the program will write the media to the current working directory.

  output-dir = arg

-O, --output-file <arg>

Write media to the specified file. Overrides --filename-format.

-q, --quiet

Turn off all output to stdout and stderr with the exception of --verbose-libcurl.

-t, --tr <arg>

Specify to translate the characters in the media titles before they are used in the media file names. The arg is a regular expression pattern. The default value is "/(\w|\s)/g". This option may be specified multiple times. See also the section called “EXAMPLES”.

  tr = arg

-B, --verbose-libcurl

Enable libcURL verbose output.

-W, --overwrite

Overwrite existing media files.


--connect-timeout <arg>

Maximum time in seconds that the program should allow the connection to the server to take. This only limits the connection phase, once it has connected, this option is no more of use. Set to 0 to disable connection timeout (it will then only timeout on the system\(cqs internal timeouts). The default is 30.

  connect-time = arg

--dns-cache-timeout <arg>

The name resolves will be kept in the memory for this number of seconds. Set to 0 to completely disable DNS caching, or to -1 to make the cached entries to remain in the memory forever. The default is 60.

  dns-cache-timeout = arg


Disable use of HTTP proxy. Overrides --proxy and http_proxy environment settings.

--max-retries <arg>

Specify the number of downloading retries before giving up. Set to 0 to disable. The default is 5.

Note that the program will skip retrying altogether if the server returned HTTP 400 (and over), or if libquvi(3) returned an unrecoverable error (e.g. missing libquvi-scripts(7)).

  max-retries = arg

--retry-wait <arg>

Wait the specified number of seconds before retrying after a failed attempt. The default is 5.

  retry-wait = arg

--proxy I<arg>

Use the specified proxy address (e.g. http://foo:1234) for HTTP connections. By default, libcURL (which cclive and libquvi(3) use) will use the value of http_proxy. Using this option will override the http_proxy environment value.

See curl(1) for more information about the supported environment variables.

  proxy = arg

-r, --no-resolve

Do not resolve HTTP URL redirections. Using this option will result in the program not being able to follow URL redirections which are often used by different URL shortening services.

  no-resolve = {true|false}

--transfer-timeout <arg>

Maximum time in seconds that the program should allow the transfer operation to take. Normally, name lookups can take a considerable amount of time, and limiting operations to less than a few minutes will risk aborting perfectly normal operations. This option will cause libcURL to use the SIGALRM to enable the timeout system calls. The default is 0 (disabled).

  transfer-timeout = arg

--throttle <arg>

Do not exceed the specified transfer rate (Ki/s). If arg is 0 (default), the throttling will be disabled.

  throttle = arg


-f, --format <ID>

Identical to --stream. Deprecated as of 0.7.12.

-F, --query-formats

Identical to --print-streams. Deprecated as of 0.7.12.

--regexp <arg>

Specify the regular expression pattern to cleanup the media title before it is used to format the media file name. The specifiers g and i are supported. Use --tr, instead.

--subst <arg>

Replace the matched occurences in the media file name. This option may not be specified multiple times: to specify multiple substitutions, separate each regular expression pattern with a whitespace. The specifiers g and i are supported. Use --tr, instead.

Supported delimiters: <> {} () /

Note that s/old/new/ is invalid, whereas s/old//new/ is accepted.


As a general rule of thumb: always put the URLs inside quotes. You can find more examples at

Typical use:

$ cclive "URL"

Query the available media streams:

$ cclive -S "URL"

Download the best quality media stream:

$ cclive -s best "URL"

Get the YouTube itag 43 format whenever possible:

# Save 'prefer-format' permanently to ~/.ccliverc file.
$ echo "prefer-format = ^.*youtube.*\.com:fmt43_360p" \
          >> ~/.ccliverc"

# The above would cause the program to try to get fmt43_360p
# with media  URLs of if available.
$ cclive "YOUTUBE_URL"

# Using of --stream will override the --prefer-format
# setting.  Get fmt22_720p (if available).
$ cclive -s fmt22_720p "YOUTUBE_URL"

See also the section called “STREAMS”.

Replace all occurences of foo with bar in the media title before it is used in the media file name:

$ cclive -t 's/foo/bar/g' "URL"

Go to background, redirect output to foo.log file:

$ cclive -b --log-file foo.log "URL"

Interrupt the current transfer of all of the matching processes, this (USR1) will cause cclive to move onto the next URL in the batch:

$ pkill -USR1 cclive

Print the path to the downloaded media file using echo(1) and open the media file in totem(1):

$ cclive --exec 'echo "%f"' --exec 'totem "%f"' "URL"

Process a batch of media URLs:

$ cat URLs
$ cat URLs | cclive
$ cclive < URLs
$ cclive URLs



The program will read this location by default. A different location may be defined with --config-file.


prefer-format = ^.*youtube.*\.com:fmt43_360p
prefer-format = dailym:best
filename-format = %i_(%t).%s
tr = /(\w)/g
progressbar = simple
continue = true
proxy = http://foo:1234
no-resolve = false
exec = /usr/bin/totem %f


The availability and the identification of the media streams is determined by libquvi(3) and libquvi-scripts(7).


libquvi-scripts(7) returns the media stream IDs containing the itag value so that they can be referred to as such using the --stream or --prefer-format options. The --print-streams may be used to get a list of the available media streams.

libquvi-scripts 0.4

The fmt prefix is used to identify the streams. For example:

itag: 22
quvi: fmt22_720p

For more information about the YouTube video quality and codecs, visit


The program will exit with EXIT_SUCCESS (on POSIX systems this is 0) on success, and with EXIT_FAILURE (on POSIX systems this is 1) if an error occurred.


The development code may be cloned from git:// The gitweb is accessible at


Toni Gundogdu <[email protected]>



Report bugs to the cclive-devel mailing list <[email protected]> where the development and the maintenance is primarily done. You do not have to be subscribed to the list to send a message there.


cclive is Free Software licensed under the GNU GPLv3+


libquvi-scripts(7), libquvi(3)