Youtube-dl error: unable to extract uploader id

We’ve all been there. It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon. You’re sipping on your third cup of coffee, your favorite playlist humming in the background. All you want to do is download that one instructional video off YouTube that caught your eye earlier in the week. You’re excited, ready to dive in and learn. So, you fire up the terminal, type in the commands, and hit enter, expecting to see the satisfying text crawl that means everything’s running smoothly. But instead, the screen blinks back with an alarming message: “youtube-dl error: unable to extract uploader id”.

As the error message sinks in, a myriad of questions rush in: what does this mean? Why is this happening? Most importantly, how can I fix this? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. This error is more common than you might think, and there are several ways to tackle it. It might be a little tricky, but with a step-by-step approach, we’ll troubleshoot this together and get you back on track. So, take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves, and get ready. Here are the steps to follow.

youtube-dl error: unable to extract uploader id

What could cause the youtube-dl error: unable to extract uploader id

YouTube’s Frequent Updates

YouTube, one of the most popular video sharing platforms, is continuously updating and evolving its website for a better user experience. This involves changes in its interface, functionality, and, more importantly, the underlying code. This is a key reason why you might encounter the ‘youtube-dl error: unable to extract uploader id’.

A slight change in the website’s structure could disrupt the way tools like youtube-dl work. It operates by parsing the YouTube website’s code, identifying specific information required to download videos. Any modifications to the site’s structure could throw youtube-dl off its course, causing errors like the one you’re facing.

Unfortunately, users have little control over these changes. However, the team behind youtube-dl is usually quick to release updates addressing these modifications, helping you to continue using the tool without interruptions.

Restricted Content

Accessing certain content could be restricted based on your geographic location or due to YouTube’s Community Guidelines. This could also result in the ‘unable to extract uploader id’ error. If the video you’re trying to download is blocked in your location or has been removed due to policy violation, youtube-dl won’t be able to extract the necessary details, resulting in the error.

A simple workaround might be using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or proxy to bypass geographic restrictions. However, if the video has been removed, unfortunately, there’s no way to access it.

Technical Glitches

While not as common, technical glitches with youtube-dl or YouTube itself could lead to the ‘unable to extract uploader id’ error. A bug within youtube-dl or an issue with YouTube’s servers could prevent the tool from working correctly.

Resolving this might take a bit of patience. If the problem is on YouTube’s end, waiting for the company to resolve the issue is your best bet. If it’s an issue with youtube-dl, reporting the error to the developers could speed up the process of finding a fix.

Remember, every tool has its limitations and errors. The ‘youtube-dl error: unable to extract uploader id’ is just one bump in the road. With a little patience and the right approach, you’ll be back to downloading your favorite videos in no time.

Network Connection Issues

In the digital world, even the most high-functioning tools are at the mercy of a strong and stable network connection. Internet inconsistencies, or worse, a complete disconnection, could trigger the ‘youtube-dl error: unable to extract uploader id’. If the connection breaks while youtube-dl is trying to fetch video details, the process can fail, leading to this frustrating error message.

Ensure your network connection is stable, and try again. If issues persist, consider contacting your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for a resolution.

Invalid URL Input

Even the most diligent of us can make typos or mistakenly copy an incorrect URL. In such cases, youtube-dl would have a hard time finding the right video or extracting the required information, resulting in the ‘unable to extract uploader id’ error.

Always double-check your video URL before hitting enter. Ensure it’s a proper YouTube video link, not a playlist or a channel URL. If you’re still facing the issue, it could be something more substantial.

Outdated youtube-dl Version

Keeping your software up-to-date is crucial in the fast-paced tech environment. The ‘youtube-dl error: unable to extract uploader id’ could simply be the result of running an outdated version of the tool. As YouTube regularly updates its structure and policies, youtube-dl’s developers constantly adapt their tool to keep up with these changes. Running an old version could result in problems.

To avoid this, ensure your youtube-dl version is up-to-date. If not, take a moment to update it. The latest version could hold the key to overcoming your problem. Addressing these issues should help you overcome the error. Stay patient, follow the guidelines, and you’ll be back to seamlessly downloading your videos.

Possible ways to handle youtube-dl error: unable to extract uploader id

Fix 1. Use a VPN or Proxy

  1. Choose and install a VPN or proxy service of your choice.
  2. Connect to a server in a location where the video is accessible.
  3. Try running the youtube-dl command again.

Fix 2. Use Alternate youtube-dl Interfaces

  1. Download and install an alternate interface like youtube-dlg or 4K Video Downloader.
  2. Open the interface and insert your video URL.
  3. Start the download process via the interface.

Fix 3. Check System Compatibility

  1. Review the system requirements of youtube-dl.
  2. Verify if your OS meets these requirements.
  3. If a firewall or antivirus is active, check if youtube-dl is blocked or restricted. If it is, modify these settings to allow youtube-dl to run.

Fix 4. Try a Different Device or Network

  1. Attempt to use youtube-dl on a different device or network. This could rule out device-specific or network-specific issues.
  2. If successful, look into your original device or network configurations for potential problems.

Fix 5. Clear Your DNS Cache

  1. Open your command line or terminal.
  2. If you’re on Windows, type ipconfig /flushdns. For MacOS, sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder. On Linux, this could vary but often, sudo /etc/init.d/dns-clean restart.
  3. Press Enter and wait for the process to complete.

Fix 6. Use youtube-dl’s Generic Extractor

  1. Run youtube-dl with the -g or –get-url options to get the direct video URL.
  2. If you can obtain the direct video URL, download the video using a standard download manager.

Fix 7. Use a different Python version

  1. Uninstall your current Python version.
  2. Download and install a different Python version.
  3. Reinstall youtube-dl.

Fix 8. Try youtube-dl on a Virtual Machine or Docker

  1. Set up a virtual machine (using tools like VirtualBox) or a Docker container.
  2. Install youtube-dl inside the VM or container and try your download.

Fix 9. Check your network for restrictions

  1. Verify if your network (like some corporate or school networks) restricts access to YouTube.
  2. If yes, you might need to connect to a different network.

Fix 10. Disable IPv6

  1. Open your network settings.
  2. Look for an option to disable IPv6 and enable it.
  3. Try running youtube-dl again.

Fix 11. Try youtube-dl Alternatives

  1. Look for youtube-dl alternatives like yt-dlp.
  2. Install the alternative tool following their documentation.
  3. Attempt your download using the alternative tool.

Fix 12. Check for Permission Issues

  1. Ensure that youtube-dl has the necessary permissions to access the network and write files.
  2. Run youtube-dl with elevated permissions (using sudo on Unix systems) if necessary.

Fix 13. Try the Video ID Instead of the URL

  1. Extract the video ID from the YouTube URL (it’s usually the part after watch?v=).
  2. Run youtube-dl with the video ID instead of the full URL.

Fix 14. Check Date and Time Settings

  1. Verify your system’s date and time settings. Incorrect settings may cause certificate validation problems.
  2. If they’re not accurate, update them.
  3. Try the download again.

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Fix 15. Switch to Mobile Data

  1. If you have the ability to tether to a mobile data connection, try this to rule out issues with your primary network.
  2. Connect your computer to your mobile hotspot.
  3. Try running youtube-dl again.

Fix 16. Use a Different Browser to Copy the URL

  1. Open the YouTube video in a different browser.
  2. Copy the URL from the address bar and paste it into your youtube-dl command.

Fix 17. Use Proxy with youtube-dl

  1. Use the –proxy option in youtube-dl to route your requests through a proxy server.
  2. Syntax: youtube-dl –proxy http://proxyurl:proxyport videourl.

Fix 18. Switch Off Hardware Acceleration

  1. Go to your browser settings and find the option for hardware acceleration.
  2. Turn it off, restart your browser, and try copying the URL to use with youtube-dl again.

Fix 19. Use youtube-dl’s Format Selection

  1. Try downloading a different format of the video using the -f or –format options.
  2. Syntax: youtube-dl -f ‘bestvideo[ext=mp4]+bestaudio[ext=m4a]’ videourl.

Fix 20. Enable Verbose Logging

  1. Use the -v or –verbose options in youtube-dl to get more detailed error messages.
  2. This may help you or others diagnose the issue more effectively.

Fix 21. Use youtube-dl’s Cookie Loading Option

  1. Use the –cookies option in youtube-dl to load cookies from a file, which might help if there are login or session issues.
  2. You will need to export your cookies from your browser and point youtube-dl to the file.

Fix 22. Reinstall youtube-dl

  1. Uninstall youtube-dl using the appropriate command for your system (usually pip uninstall youtube-dl).
  2. Reinstall it using pip install youtube-dl or the method you used originally.

Fix 23. Update youtube-dl

  1. Open your command line or terminal.
  2. Type in youtube-dl -U (for general installations) or pip install –upgrade youtube-dl (for installations via pip).
  3. Press Enter. Wait for the update process to complete.

Fix 24. Reset your Network Adapter

  1. Open your command line or terminal.
  2. Type netsh winsock reset (on Windows).
  3. Restart your computer and try the download again.


In the fascinating world of tech, glitches like the ‘youtube-dl error: unable to extract uploader id’ sometimes occur, testing our patience. Don’t fret, though! These errors are not insurmountable. From checking your network connection, ensuring an updated youtube-dl version, to attempting alternative youtube-dl interfaces, numerous unique solutions exist to tackle this pesky problem. The essence lies in not giving up and persisting in your troubleshooting journey. So, next time this error pops up, take a deep breath, and remember – you’ve got this! Now, let’s answer some FAQs around this topic.


What is the ‘youtube-dl error: unable to extract uploader id’?

It’s an error message from youtube-dl, indicating it’s unable to extract necessary data    to download a video.

Why am I seeing this error?

Reasons could be YouTube’s updates, restricted content, technical glitches, invalid URLs, or an outdated youtube-dl version.

How can I resolve this error?

Solutions include updating youtube-dl, using a VPN, reinstalling the tool, switching    Python versions, or using youtube-dl alternatives.

Can the error occur due to my network?

Yes, network restrictions or unstable connections could potentially trigger this error.

Are there alternative interfaces to youtube-dl?

Absolutely! youtube-dlg and 4K Video Downloader are two popular GUI alternatives to youtube-dl.