It can be frustrating when a video you want to watch online has been deleted or removed. Whether it’s a YouTube video that was taken down due to copyright claims, an old viral video that’s no longer available, or video content you previously had access to but has since disappeared, there are ways you may be able to recover and view deleted videos.
Check if the video is still available elsewhere
The first thing to try is searching online to see if the deleted video has been re-uploaded or posted elsewhere. Often popular viral videos in particular get reposted frequently across the web. Try searching for the exact video title or keywords in Google or YouTube search. You may find the video hosted on another platform or someone’s personal website. Various video download sites and archives may also still have working links to deleted videos.
Search on YouTube
Even if the original YouTube upload is gone, someone else may have downloaded and re-uploaded the video to YouTube. Search for unique phrases or screenshots from the video to try to locate a duplicate upload.
Check video sites like Vimeo, Dailymotion, Veoh
Other video hosting sites are also worth checking, as deleted YouTube videos often get uploaded to alternative platforms. Search on sites like Vimeo, Dailymotion, Veoh, Metacafe, and more to see if you can find the removed video posted there.
Look on forums and social media
Dedicated forums and subcultures on sites like Reddit are good spots to find deleted videos re-shared. Often times fans will preserve and re-post viral event footage or controversial banned videos. You can also try searching on TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms using unique phrases from the video audio.
Check video caching and archiving sites
There are various specialty sites designed to cache, archive, or allow playback of deleted online video content. These can be good resources when searching for removed videos from YouTube and other platforms.
The Wayback Machine from Internet Archive captures and saves historical snapshots of websites over time. You can search for the original video URL and see if the Wayback Machine archived the page when the video was live. This allows you to play back deleted videos as they existed at an earlier date.
CachedView retrieves and plays back cached versions of deleted YouTube videos and Vimeo videos that it has archived from those sites. Simply search for the original video URL and see if CachedView has an archived copy.
YTCache is designed specifically to find deleted YouTube video URLs in web caches and play back working versions of removed YouTube videos. It can salvage deleted YouTube videos dating back years that it has archived from YouTube and around the web.
StreamSave is a download helper tool that archives streaming video content, including from YouTube. Their search can help you locate cached copies of deleted YouTube videos that it previously archived.
Reddit and 4chan archives
Popular forums like Reddit and 4chan often have their own video archiving communities, which can be resources for finding deleted viral event footage and controversial videos that have been scrubbed from mainstream sites.
Use Google search tricks
Google itself can also help uncover deleted videos through some clever search techniques and tools that tap into its video cache.
Use the “site:” operator in Google search to restrict results to a specific site. For example “site:youtube.com ” may surface duplicate or related uploads on YouTube for a deleted video.
The “cache:” operator displays Google’s cached text-only version of a web page. Using “cache:[original video URL]” can sometimes show a text transcript with a link to a cached video version. This works best for recently deleted videos.
Google Video search tools
Try searching for the video using the options under the Tools menu in Google Video search results. Tools like “Uploaded” and “Duration” combined with site restrict can help narrow down re-uploads of deleted content.
Use removed video recovery software
As a last resort, software exists specifically for recovering and downloading deleted YouTube videos. Most work by scanning and importing your web browser history and caches. They detect video views, then allow you to extract and download the cached video files. Some examples include:
4K Video Downloader
4K Video Downloader has a deleted video recovery function that scans your history and caches for YouTube video views. You can then download any deleted but locally cached YouTube videos it finds.
AVG Web TuneUp
Web TuneUp has a Video Cache section that finds YouTube videos cached in your browser history. This allows you to revive and download videos no longer available on YouTube.
Disk Drill isn’t just for local data recovery. It also scans browser caches and history for deleted online content like YouTube videos. You can then restore and download any rediscovered deleted files.
Check on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine
The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine takes snapshots of websites over time, including video hosting sites. You may be able to find a working link to the deleted video by looking up the source URL in the Wayback Machine and accessing a prior snapshot when the video was still available.
Contact the uploader or rights holder directly
If the video was taken down due to a copyright removal request or Terms of Service violation, try politely reaching out to the uploader and asking if they would be willing to share the video with you directly. If they deleted it voluntarily, they may be amenable to providing you a copy for personal use depending on the circumstances.
You can also try contacting the rights holder responsible for a copyright takedown and ask if they are able to authorize access to the deleted video content for you. The rights holder has the ultimate authority to allow distribution of the video if they wish.
When trying to recover a deleted video, the first stops should include checking video sites for reposts, using video caching sites, and leveraging search engine tools and caches. If the video can’t be found online, recovery software provides another option for attempting to salvage deleted videos locally. As a last resort, appealing directly to the original uploader or copyright holder may provide you access to videos no longer publicly available. With persistence and the right tools, you have a good chance of being able to watch or recover videos long after they have been deleted or removed from their original online location.