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3 download managers to make downloading faster and easier

There are lots of great files on the internet, such as music, videos, photos and other artwork, and, of course, Linux distros. Click a link to a file in a web browser and it will download straight away. This is not always useful though and if it is a big file like a video or Linux distro, you may want to download it later. ISPs can penalise you for downloading too much at peak times because it uses too much bandwidth and it is often best to grab those big files at off-peak times, even during the night. It will be faster because most people are in bed and your bandwidth limits will be much higher.

Unfortunately, you can't get a web browser to download stuff later, although you can always save the URL as a bookmark. It cannot queue downloads and it has few, if any features to help with downloading. A download manager is a utility that is designed to enable you to store download links for later. It can adjust the speed at which they download so as not to use all the bandwidth so you can carry on web surfing, and it can to speed up downloads by opening multiple connections to a file.

Here are some useful download managers for Linux. There are links to the websites to download them, but the best place to get them is your package manager or software centre.

MultiGet File Downloader
MultiGetThe version of MultiGet in Ubuntu Software Center is 1.2, but there is a 2.0 alpha at the website. I installed the old version, which is still pretty good. It adds a small floating icon to the desktop and you just drag the download link from a web page and drop it on the icon. Alternatively, you can right click a download link and copy it to the clipboard. Either way, MultiGet displays a New Task window. This enables you to choose the folder to download to, the number of threads (simultaneous downloads) to use, and whether the file should be downloaded now or saved for later.

You can add all your downloads to a queue and then set them running when it is convenient. In the settings are options to specify the number of files to download simultaneously and the speed limit. The speed limit works in an odd way and it downloads at full speed for a few seconds, then pauses, full speed then pauses and so on, rather than trickling it down at a constant speed. Completed downloads are stored according to their type, such as software, movies, pictures and so on. This is a useful download manager. It's a shame it doesn't switch off the PC when it has finished.
Rating: 6/10 , Price: Free

Web Downloader for X
Web Downloader for XThe original website for this utility is no longer available, but it is easy to find with a Google search or in your package manager. Web Downloader for X has a toolbar across the top and this is adding deleting and starting downloads and other downloads-related tasks. There are several ways to add downloads to the program and you can right click a link in a web browser and then manually paste them into the program, they can be added with one click or the clipboard can be monitored for URLs automatically.

A download can be started straight away or added to a queue. A nice feature is the ability to sepcify the day and time a download is to be started, such as 2am tomorrow morning when the web is quiet and your ISP isn't limiting your bandwidth. Another useful feature is the scheduler that enables you to perform actions at a certain time or date. There are several actions to choose from, such as adding downloads, change the download speed, removing completed jobs and so on. Web Downloader for X is a useful tool that works well and is recommended.
Rating: 7/10 , Price: Free

FatRatFatRat Is another download manager in the style of the other two. A download link can be copied from a web browser by right clicking it and then it can be pasted into FatRat as a download. It can also monitor the clipboard for URLs too. In addition to this it can read a text file from disk containing download links too, which is interesting and could be useful. When adding a new download it is possible to set the download speed and either start it straight away or add it to a queue.

It looks like it isn't possible to schedule downloads to start at a particular time, but the facility is hidden in the configuration settings. This is a really odd place to put it and it is easily missed. It would be better if it was in the add-download window or the main window somewhere.

Multiple queues can be created and this can be useful. It enables you to group downloads and to start and stop them all in one go. A speed limit can be applied to a queue and the number of simultaneous downloads can be set. The program can also upload files too and there is support for RapidShare and BitTorrent. It's a good utility, but the interface could be a bit better.
Rating: 7/10 , Price: Free