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This is a preview release of TubeSync, it may contain bugs but should be usable

TubeSync is a PVR (personal video recorder) for YouTube. Or, like Sonarr but for YouTube (with a built-in download client). It is designed to synchronize channels and playlists from YouTube to local directories and update your media server once media is downloaded.

If you want to watch YouTube videos in particular quality or settings from your local media server, then TubeSync is for you. Internally, TubeSync is a web interface wrapper on yt-dlp and ffmpeg with a task scheduler.

There are several other web interfaces to YouTube and yt-dlp all with varying features and implementations. TubeSync's largest difference is full PVR experience of updating media servers and better selection of media formats. Additionally, to be as hands-free as possible, TubeSync has gradual retrying of failures with back-off timers so media which fails to download will be retried for an extended period making it, hopefully, quite reliable.

Latest container image



TubeSync Dashboard

Sources overview

TubeSync sources overview

Source details

TubeSync source details

Media overview

TubeSync media overview

Media details

TubeSync media-details


For the easiest installation, you will need an environment to run containers such as Docker or Podman. You will also need as much space as you want to allocate to downloaded media and thumbnails. If you download a lot of media at high resolutions this can be very large.

What to expect

Once running, TubeSync will download media to a specified directory. Inside this directory will be a video and audio subdirectories. All media which only has an audio stream (such as music) will download to the audio directory. All media with a video stream will be downloaded to the video directory. All administration of TubeSync is performed via a web interface. You can optionally add a media server, currently just Plex, to complete the PVR experience.


TubeSync is designed to be run in a container, such as via Docker or Podman. It also works in a Docker Compose stack. amd64 (most desktop PCs and servers) and arm64 (modern ARM computers, such as the Rasperry Pi 3 or later) are supported.

Example (with Docker on *nix):

First find your the user ID and group ID you want to run TubeSync as, if you're not sure what this is it's probably your current user ID and group ID:

$ id
# Example output, in this example, user ID = 1000, group ID = 1000
# id uid=1000(username) gid=1000(username) groups=1000(username),129(docker)

You can find your local timezone name here:

If unset, TZ defaults to UTC.

Next, create the directories you're going to use for config data and downloads:

$ mkdir /some/directory/tubesync-config
$ mkdir /some/directory/tubesync-downloads

Finally, download and run the container:

# Pull image
$ docker pull
# Start the container using your user ID and group ID
$ docker run \
  -d \
  --name tubesync \
  -e PUID=1000 \
  -e PGID=1000 \
  -e TZ=Europe/London \
  -v /some/directory/tubesync-config:/config \
  -v /some/directory/tubesync-downloads:/downloads \
  -p 4848:4848 \

Once running, open http://localhost:4848 in your browser and you should see the TubeSync dashboard. If you do, you can proceed to adding some sources (YouTube channels and playlists). If not, check docker logs tubesync to see what errors might be occuring, typical ones are file permission issues.

Alternatively, for Docker Compose, you can use something like:

    container_name: tubesync
    restart: unless-stopped
      - 4848:4848
      - /some/directory/tubesync-config:/config
      - /some/directory/tubesync-downloads:/downloads
      - TZ=Europe/London
      - PUID=1000
      - PGID=1000

Optional authentication

Available in v1.0 (or :latest)and later. If you want to enable a basic username and password to be required to access the TubeSync dashboard you can set them with the following environment variables:


For example in the docker run ... line add in:

-e HTTP_USER=some-username \
-e HTTP_PASS=some-secure-password \

Or in your Docker Compose file you would add in:

      - HTTP_USER=some-username
      - HTTP_PASS=some-secure-password

When BOTH HTTP_USER and HTTP_PASS are set then basic HTTP authentication will be enabled.


To update, you can just pull a new version of the container image as they are released.

$ docker pull[number]

Back-end updates such as database migrations should be automatic.

Moving, backing up, etc.

TubeSync, when running in its default container, stores thumbnails, cache and its SQLite database into the /config directory and wherever you've mapped that to on your file system. Just copying or moving this directory and making sure the permissions are correct is sufficient to move, back up or migrate your TubeSync install.

Using TubeSync

1. Add some sources

Pick your favourite YouTube channels or playlists, pop over to the "sources" tab, click whichever add button suits you, enter the URL and validate it. This process extracts the key information from the URL and makes sure it's a valid URL. This is the channel name for YouTube channels and the playlist ID for YouTube playlists.

You will then be presented with the initial add a source form where you can select all the features you want, such as how often you want to index your source and the quality of the media you want to download. Once happy, click "add source".

2. Wait

That's about it. All other actions are automatic and performed on timers by scheduled tasks. You can see what your TubeSync instance is doing on the "tasks" tab.

As media is indexed and downloaded it will appear in the "media" tab.

3. Media Server updating

Currently TubeSync supports Plex as a media server. You can add your local Plex server under the "media servers" tab.

Logging and debugging

TubeSync outputs useful logs, errors and debugging information to the console. You can view these with:

$ docker logs --follow tubesync

Advanced usage guides

Once you're happy using TubeSync there are some advanced usage guides for more complex and less common features:


1. Index frequency

It's a good idea to add sources with as long of an index frequency as possible. This is the duration between indexes of the source. An index is when TubeSync checks to see what videos available on a channel or playlist to find new media. Try and keep this as long as possible, up to 24 hours.

2. Indexing massive channels

If you add a massive (several thousand videos) channel to TubeSync and choose "index every hour" or similar short interval it's entirely possible your TubeSync install may spend its entire time just indexing the massive channel over and over again without downloading any media. Check your tasks for the status of your TubeSync install.

If you add a significant amount of "work" due to adding many large channels you may need to increase the number of background workers by setting the TUBESYNC_WORKERS environment variable. Try around ~4 at most, although the absolute maximum allowed is 8.

Be nice. it's likely entirely possible your IP address could get throttled by the source if you try and crawl extremely large amounts very quickly. Try and be polite with the smallest amount of indexing and concurrent downloads possible for your needs.


Can I use TubeSync to download single videos?

No, TubeSync is designed to repeatedly scan and download new media from channels or playlists. If you want to download single videos the best suggestion would be to create your own playlist, add the playlist to TubeSync and then add single videos to your playlist as you browse about YouTube. Your "favourites" playlist of videos will download automatically.

Does TubeSync support any other video platforms?

At the moment, no. This is a pre-release. The library TubeSync uses that does most of the downloading work, yt-dlp, supports many hundreds of video sources so it's likely more will be added to TubeSync if there is demand for it.

Is there a progress bar?

No, in fact, there is no JavaScript at all in the web interface at the moment. TubeSync is designed to be more set-and-forget than something you watch download. You can see what active tasks are being run in the "tasks" tab and if you want to see exactly what your install is doing check the container logs.

Are there alerts when a download is complete?

No, this feature is best served by existing services such as the execelent Tautulli which can monitor your Plex server and send alerts that way.

There's errors in my "tasks" tab!

You only really need to worry about these if there is a permanent failure. Some errors are temproary and will be retried for you automatically, such as a download got interrupted and will be tried again later. Sources with permanet errors (such as no media available because you got a channel name wrong) will be shown as errors on the "sources" tab.

What is TubeSync written in?

Python3 using Django, embedding yt-dlp. It's pretty much glue between other much larger libraries.

Notable libraries and software used:

See the Pipefile for a full list.

Can I get access to the full Django admin?

Yes, although pretty much all operations are available through the front end interface and you can probably break things by playing in the admin. If you still want to access it you can run:

$ docker exec -ti tubesync python3 /app/ createsuperuser

And follow the instructions to create an initial Django superuser, once created, you can log in at http://localhost:4848/admin

Are there user accounts or multi-user support?

There is support for basic HTTP authentication by setting the HTTP_USER and HTTP_PASS environment variables. There is not support for multi-user or user management.

Does TubeSync support HTTPS?

No, you should deploy it behind an HTTPS-capable proxy if you want this (nginx, caddy, etc.). Configuration of this is beyond the scope of this README.

What architectures does the container support?

Just amd64 for the moment. Others may be made available if there is demand.

Advanced configuration

There are a number of other environment variables you can set. These are, mostly, NOT required to be set in the default container installation, they are really only useful if you are manually installing TubeSync in some other environment. These are:

Name What Example
TUBESYNC_DEBUG Enable debugging True
TUBESYNC_WORKERS Number of background workers, default is 2, max allowed is 8 2
TUBESYNC_HOSTS Django's ALLOWED_HOSTS, defaults to *,
GUNICORN_WORKERS Number of gunicorn workers to spawn 3
LISTEN_HOST IP address for gunicorn to listen on
LISTEN_PORT Port number for gunicorn to listen on 8080
HTTP_USER Sets the username for HTTP basic authentication some-username
HTTP_PASS Sets the password for HTTP basic authentication some-secure-password
DATABASE_CONNECTION Optional external database connection details mysql://user:[email protected]:port/database

Manual, non-containerised, installation

As a relatively normal Django app you can run TubeSync without the container. Beyond following this rough guide you are on your own and should be knowledgeable about installing and running WSGI-based Python web applications before attempting this.

  1. Clone or download this repo
  2. Make sure you're running a modern version of Python (>=3.6) and have Pipenv installed
  3. Set up the environment with pipenv install
  4. Copy tubesync/tubesync/ to tubesync/tubesync/ and edit it as appropriate
  5. Run migrations with ./ migrate
  6. Collect static files with ./ collectstatic
  7. Set up your prefered WSGI server, such as gunicorn pointing it to the application in tubesync/tubesync/
  8. Set up your proxy server such as nginx and forward it to the WSGI server
  9. Check the web interface is working
  10. Run ./ process_tasks as the background task worker to index and download media. This is a non-detaching process that will write logs to the console. For long term running you could use a terminal multiplexer such as tmux, or create systemd unit to run it.


There is a moderately comprehensive test suite focussing on the custom media format matching logic and that the front-end interface works. You can run it via Django:

$ ./ test --verbosity=2


All properly formatted and sensible pull requests, issues and comments are welcome.

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