Watching YouTube Videos in Whonix ™
- Watching videos directly in Tor Browser via the YouTube or Invidious websites.
- Downloading videos -- for example via the youtube-dl command line downloader, Invidious or YouTube video download sites -- and then watching them in VLC Media Player (pre-installed).
- Using the YouTube URL to watch videos directly in MPV or VLC Media Player via the network streaming option.
To watch videos directly on the YouTube website, use Tor Browser.
Figure: YouTube in Whonix ™ Tor Browser
It is common to experience "buffering issues" (interrupted video playback) because Tor is slow. A simple workaround is to pause the video when it first starts so it can "buffer". This allows enough of the upcoming video playback to load in advance for an uninterrupted viewing experience. Alternatively the videos can be downloaded instead and watched in a media application like VLC Media Player, rather than relying upon an online internet connection with the YouTube website.
Leave the Tor Browser security slider at the medium setting, click the "script blocked" icon, & click allow script; video playback is usually dysfunctional at higher levels. Higher security settings might work at a later time, so readers are encouraged to edit this page if the situation changes. In late 2020 it is common for YouTube to report 'suspicious network activity' when attempting to stream videos in Tor Browser (due to the detection of Tor exit nodes in use).
It is strongly recommended to utilize Invidious [archive] (project homepage [archive]) as an alternative front-end to YouTube. Note that at the time of writing, the primary invidio.us site presents with a message stating it has closed down as of 1 September, 2020. However a number of alternative instances are available and have been tested to work:
Invidious is more lightweight than YouTube itself and comes with many additional features such as a video download option and onion addresses. Also, it does not present the user with login prompts or terms of service messages.
Figure: Invidious in Whonix ™ Tor Browser
Media Player Streaming
After locating the relevant video, copy the URL and run.
mpv your URL
VLC Media Player
- Locate and copy the relevant video URL.
- Launch VLC Media Player.
Open Network Stream...→
Paste the URL→
Figure: YouTube Streaming in VLC Media Player
- "Forget" about Whonix ™ for a moment and imagine you had never heard of the platform. Test this using the virtualizer software (such as VirtualBox, KVM or Qubes) without Whonix ™ being involved first.
- Try a VM other than Whonix ™ such as Debian
- If the issue persists, this means the root issue is not caused by Whonix ™. Therefore it is recommended to attempt to resolve the issue as per the Free Support Principle.
VirtualBox users should note that video performance might be slow. For a possible solution, see: VirtualBox, Troubleshooting: Slow Video Playback.