Why do we need an Internet Download Manager?
Not everyone in this world has access to high speed and uninterrupted broadband, even broadband connections over high speed fiber can some times be unreliable. Now imagine if you are downloading a large file from the internet and connection drops out, if the connection doesn’t resume in few minutes then the download with inevitably fail and once the internet connectivity is restored – you have to start the download all over again. This wastes your time and data allowance and causes frustration.
A download manager can save our time and data by allowing us to conveniently pause and resume a download in the event of lost connection or any other reason wherein you want to pause a download.
Apart from this, we need a program that can sort our downloaded files into categories like documents, programs, movies, music, etc to make our downloads easy to find when we need them most.
A few websites or ISPs (Internet Service Providers) can restrict how much speed they allow for a single download at a time. Website administrators may do this so that few users with very high speed connections do not take up all of the available bandwidth or capacity of their server while downloading files. A few Internet Service Providers may also restrict the connection speed per download if their infrastructure is not capable enough to handle too. many high speed downloads at a time. This artificially imposed speed limitation can many times increase our download times and restricts us from using the full speed of our internet plan for which we pay our hard earned money to ISPs. This is when a download manager can help.
Internet Download Manager can split single file downloads into multiple parts, a website server or your ISP server will see multiple download requests and each request will be speed limited, so multiple speed limited requests would combine into a higher speed download. Once the download is finished, it automatically combines all the multiple downloaded small parts of a file into the original file – this combining can take a fraction of a second to couple of seconds depending on the size of the file.
A Browser’s built-in Internet Download Manager
The latest versions of all the internet browsers do offer pause and resume functionality for downloads but lack features like file sorting as per file type, multi-part downloads, youtube video downloads, and many more .
There are many paid and free – ad supported download managers available on the internet. Since the past 8 years or so, I have tried many of these free and paid download managers but I have always ended up using Internet Download Manager, yes it seems like a general term “Internet Download Manager” but that is the name of our today’s software which I will review in brief.
SPEED : I have used many download managers in my lifetime but I have always comeback to the Internet Download Manager or IDM. Yes, the name itself is Internet Download Manager but I like to refer to it as IDM. I would like to show you 2 screenshots comparing download speed through Firefox’s built in download manager and IDM for the same file from the same server on my 10Mbps internet connection :
Notice the download speed on IDM is more than double compared to Firefox’s built in download manager. Firefox is not at fault here, it just makes a single connection to the download server to download the file. It means something is not right somewhere on the network between my PC and the download server and the single connection speed is slow. It could be my ISP limiting single connection speed or may be the download server limiting the speed, or could even be some other factor limiting me to use full potential of my 10Mbps connection. But Internet Download Manager/ IDM splits single download into multiple connections on supported servers which results in faster download speeds. There are other download managers which do the same but I found IDM to be more consistent. You can also specify download limits in IDM settings to avoid any excess usage charges from your service provider if you are on a limited data allowance plan.
COMPATIBILITY: IDM also offers cross-browser compatibility and can be easily integrated into Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari for Windows and Opera. This provides same download experience irrespective of the browser you are using and it also runs in the background when you do not have your browser window open.
RELIABILITY: What I like the most about IDM is that it can automatically reconnect to your 2G/3G/4G service provider if you have kept something for download and the connection drops while you are away from the computer. You can specify the connection dialer which has been setup with your wireless dongle on your computer and IDM will automatically reconnect to the wireless broadband service provider in the even the connection drops, this enables un-interrupted download even when you are away from the computer.
FEATURES: IDM comes with a video downloader, which can grab videos from most of the popular video sharing websites. Even video downloads are split into multiple connections if possible, enabling faster download speeds. Video downloads are easily accessible through the download bar that shows up on the corner of the video being played and also it gives you a list of all the available video qualities so you can select the one of your choice.
Manager : Last but not the least, since this is a download “manager” it automatically sorts various download types into their respective folders. This systematic sorting prevents you from going through a heap of files to find the file you want. You can further specify more sorting options manually from IDM settings.
Updates: IDM provides regular updates to the program, which ensures compatibility to all the latest versions of internet browsers and also to the latest features of video sharing sites like YouTube. I have never come across any download manager which is updated as often as IDM.
WOW! Now some weaknesses please: As of the version 6.17 of IDM, the user interface looks dated & unattractive. I would love if they would redesign the looks of the program and make it more elegant. But this doesn’t hamper the performance of the program, it just looks ugly from the outside – specially the downloader window.
Also I don’t like the fact that there is no Linux version available yet. So Linux users may need to try other options.
Internet Download Manager comes at a price – $29.95 with a year of updates at the time of me writing this. This may be a con for few who like free softwares, but it is worth every penny and is better option compared to the free one’s which come with spywares and adwares,
Overall: I strongly believe this is the best download manager till date and is worth every penny you spend to buy this. A better user interface and Linux support could make Internet Download Manager even better in future.