When I'm watching a YouTube video it will only buffer the next 30 seconds or so. This is something I want to avoid because when trying to watch 1080p videos it will keep pausing because it has to download the next 30 seconds and my connection isn't fast enough to keep up.

I'd rather it download the entire video before I can click play. But whenever it does this there doesn't seem to be a way to get it to do what I want.

I understand that they did this to save bandwidth. But it would be better if they would at least make it an option. Like being able to click a button that tells them "hey, I'm planning on watching this entire video so download the whole thing".

It seems to be random too. It happens in some 1080p videos, not in others, in some 720p videos, not in others. And it's been happening more recently in the past 2 months.

EDIT: It doesn't seem to be happening anymore with videos at or above 720p quality. Videos below that quality will apparently not be buffered, which I'm ok with. This probably depends on your connection speed too.

  • I think I may know the problem. Are you using google Chrome? I get this problem when using chrome but I've tried the same videos on safari and it buffers the whole thing. Try using a different web browser, and see if the results differ. – user21868 Jul 6 '12 at 11:12
  • I find some videos remember the buffer and some don't. It's very temperamental, and different videos (and different quality mode) often have different behaviour. Some erase all the buffer when you slide back to the start (ANNOYING!! RAWR!!) Some lose a bit of the bar. Some are okay unless you slide the slider around too much. Some only lose the buffer if you step outside the buffered region with the slider (this is normal) As youtube has to do 'updates' in real time without closing the site down, sometimes the intermediate stages of coding makes it worse instead of better! Like remember when t – user35467 Mar 1 '13 at 18:16
  • ... Like remember when the perfectly good comments section became a mess? It's slowly getting better again now. The indents and original font are slowly coming back. My question I'm not sure on: Does it depend on how much spare ram you have as to how much video can be remembered? – user35467 Mar 1 '13 at 18:16
  • It is not possible to control the buffering of a YouTube video.They are using Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP as of 2017 and all of the addons that were available back then are not working anymore – Georgi Peev Jun 25 '20 at 8:09

Firefox add-on SmartVideo for YouTube will do just that. You can even tell it to either start the video when you want. You can just open the link in a new tab, and just come back to it when you're ready to watch the vid. It has other useful options as well.

Edit: SmartVideo can be a bit buggy. As to 720p videos being buffered, I think it's because all videos in 720p (or higher? not sure) are already on WebM format. It's my default setting. It's the fastest video setting to load, faster than a 480p flv file.

Edit2: SmartVideo is also available for Google Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/smartvideo-for-youtube/lnkdbjbjpnpjeciipoaflmpcddinpjjp?hl=en

  • 1
    I already use this. But it doesn't force the video to be buffered. – fent Jul 15 '12 at 8:52
  • I've seen this very helpful answer a year ago, and thanks to SmartVideo all my Youtube videos buffered automatically. But since a few days ago SmartVideo no longer works on Firefox 37.0. Is there another solution? – user50746 May 2 '15 at 3:44
  • 1
    I used this and broke youtube for me. – beppe9000 Dec 17 '17 at 15:23
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    This add-on is not available anymore. – DxTx Apr 8 '19 at 8:41

You could always just download the video and watch it locally. It has several obvious benefits:

  1. You can watch it fast, without any buffering at all
  2. You can re-watch it or skip around in the video without having to re-download anything
  3. A compatible video player (eg VLC, GOM Player, etc.) can play it much easier and using much less CPU than the Flash player (or even the HTML5 player)

An obvious downside would be that you need enough disk-space to download the whole video at once, but then that’s true for streaming it anyway unless you skip around to unbuffered parts. If you let it buffer the whole video, you can skip around without it re-downloading, but then it’s taking up space on the disk, so you may as well download it for real (ie, outside the temp directory). The only other downside is having to wait for a while before being able to watch it. Of course if you are watching a video at 1080p, it’s probably one you will want to watch again later.

There are several ways to download YouTube videos, but my favorite is YousableTubeFix. It adds a convenient download button to the page, offers customization like removing page sections and prevent auto-buffer and auto-play, and is available for most browsers either natively or via Greasemonkey.

  • 2
    It's much more convenient to watch the video online without having to save it locally. Plus youtube has comments, likes, and playlists. The ideal way, the way that doesn't download just the next 30 secs, allows me to rewatch or skip around the video without having to redownload it. – fent Feb 8 '12 at 5:32
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    Well like I said, unless you let it buffer the whole video, then skipping around or rewinding will require re-downloading (re-buffering). As for likes, comments, etc. those are exactly the things I use YousableTubeFix to remove. – Synetech Feb 8 '12 at 14:50
  • UserScripts.org is down. Instead of YousableTubeFix, you can use 4kdownloader or EagleGet. – DxTx Apr 8 '19 at 8:47

The caching limitation might have more to do with your settings, than how YouTube works or allows.
Right click the flash video itself at Youtube, and select the item "Settings" Now push on the little "yellow folder" tab In there you can set how much a location can store locally on your drive.
See the Global settings , to clean or clear or adjust a site permission. Global settings are the same ones you can get to via "Control pannel" "flash".

For better information, it would be helpfull if you supply the operating system your using.

  • 1
    it says 100KB(a tenth of a megabyte) as default so I don't think that's the video cache – barlop Feb 8 '12 at 4:16
  • I'm using Windows 7. But barlop is right, it was 100KB. – fent Feb 8 '12 at 5:27
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    Those are Flash settings and determine how much data a Flash applet can store on the system. Videos are only played with Flash, they are not downloaded or stored with it, and certainly not in the Flash cache. – Synetech May 24 '12 at 15:54

What you do is this: if your video loads in 1080 by default, let it load then change it to 480 manually with the gear icon, then change it manually back to 1080. The video should now cache fully as you wish it to. In short, by manually selecting a resolution it seems to kick it into the old cache mode.

Note that videos with the 3D option won't ever cache fully (for me anyway). And of course HTML5 videos never cache so opt out of that if you're opted in.

  • 2
    “And of course HTML5 videos never cache so opt out of that if you're opted in.” that’s of course a lie. surely it has to buffer, else you wouldn’t be able to watch the video at all. the internet doesn’t work like TV signals – flying sheep Apr 22 '13 at 18:54

There's a user script for this called YouTube Auto Buffer & Auto HD & Remove Ads. It works out of the box but also has settings that display right on the video page for you.

The script summary also mentions this:

Buffers the video without autoplaying, removes in-video ads, and puts it in hd if the option is on

  • Seems to be the link is broken. – DxTx Apr 8 '19 at 8:44

I installed the latest version of Firefox, and that solved my problem. Firefox has no problem buffering the whole video at once, and i can re-play it without having to re-buff.

Neither Google Chrome or Internet Explorer worked for me. It buffered for about 30-60 seconds, depending on the length of the clip, and then stopped, and waited for me to start watching. Wherever i was in the clip, it only buffered 30-60 sec ahead...

From now on, or atleast 'til someone fixes this problem, i will use Firefox for my tubing.


I've just now installed Adobe Flash Player 11.4.402.265 onto Firefox, and now it's as broken as my other two browsers. Seems to me that it is Adobe Flash Players current version that has got some problems... Will try to install an older one.


I've installed Adobe Flash Player 11.3.300.265 instead, but appearently this one doesn't work with all videos on youtube... Crapi-crapcrap.


Go to the Adobe Flash player page and look for settings manager. There you move the slider in storage tab to unlimited. Now the videos will buffer.


Mute it and let it play once, then click repeat and un-mute.

  • 3
    Youtube rebuffers the video when you replay it. This used to work, but no longer does. – Rebecca Dessonville Oct 20 '12 at 17:55

Here's a nice workaround that works for me: open video and let it play without sound, then proceed to do whatever and when you come back it will be fully loaded, then you just hit the replay button (as it will finish playing and go to the end screen).

  • 2
    IME hitting replay often results in the buffered video being discarded – Sathyajith Bhat Jul 24 '12 at 7:00

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