How to Get a Stream URL

By Lori Spencer

Some streaming audio and video links on the web are concealed behind Active X, JavaScript or Flash, making it very difficult to get to the source of the stream itself. If you want to find the actual URL of a streaming web radio broadcast, online music service, or streaming video website, you may need some special software to help you locate the address. These programs are known as URL "snoopers" or "sniffers". They zero in on the streaming URL, which you can then download the streaming audio from.A few popular free software choices are URL Helper, Video Downloader, Project URL Snooper, and Replay Media Capture.

Step 1

Download and install the URL "snooper" software of your choice. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.In this tutorial we will be using URL Helper, although you'll find that the essential functions of all URL "snooping" software are basically the same.

Step 2

Point your web browser to the site that streams the audio/video you want to download.

Step 3

Open your URL "snooping" software (in this case, URL Helper) and click "Start".

Step 4

Switch back to your web browser and click "Play" to start the stream's playback.

Step 5

Look for the stream's URL to appear in the "Results" list of your URL "snooping" software.

Step 6

Right-click the URL address to copy it to your clipboard.

Step 7

Paste the URL into your favorite media player (such as Winamp or Windows Media Player), then click "Save As" to download it to your computer. Alternatively, you can open a new browser window and paste the URL into the address bar. Click "Save Page As" while the stream is playing to save the stream locally.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may be able to get the stream information from inside your media player (such as Windows Media or Real Player) by looking for the stream source. In Real Player, click [View]->[Clip]->[Clip Info] or [Clip Source]. This doesn't always work, but is worth a try.
  • When using a URL "snooper", it is recommended that you limit the number of open browser windows while the program is "sniffing"; otherwise you may get too many results in the list, which can be quite confusing.