The best free download manager
Older internet users will remember the pain of downloads: you’d spend a few days trying to download a GIF of a cat, only for the connection to drop when someone else picked up the phone. Download managers were essential, because they enabled you to resume broken downloads and make the darn things download faster too.
Dedicated managers and accelerators are still relevant today, especially if you’re prone to downloading enormous operating system ISOs or trying to get your videos via unreliable Wi-Fi. These are our favorite apps for taming traffic, boosting BitTorrent and managing media downloads.
1. Ninja Internet Downloader
A superb free download manager for saving and converting media files
Ninja Internet Downloader is a relative newcomer to the downloading party, and it looks considerably more contemporary than its, er, contemporaries.
The interface is simple and modern, the download accelerator capable of up to 10x acceleration, and if you tend to download media such as music or movies you’ll be delighted by its sequential downloading.
Many download managers download chunks here and chunks there until you have the whole file, but Ninja Internet Downloader starts at the beginning. That means you can preview files long before they’ve finished downloading. There’s also a built-in video downloader and media converter. Not bad for a free app.
2. Free Download Manager
An open source program with all the media management tools you need
Free Download Manager aims to be all things to all men and women. It’s a download accelerator, a BitTorrent client, an audio and video previewer and a traffic management tool, and because it’s open source there’s no charge to use it, and it’s completely free from adverts.
There’s a portable version that you can run directly from a USB stick, plus powerful scheduling features and a nifty remote control that means you can leave your downloads running and check on their progress from any internet-connected device. It can spider sites to download specific kinds of files, and you can choose to download only the bit(s) of a ZIP file you actually want. It’s really good, and it was tough to choose between this and Ninja Internet Downloader for the top spot.
3. Download Accelerator Plus
Only a taster of the premium edition, but it might be all you need
The free version lacks the DAP Premium’s privacy protection and fastest acceleration, but it does include a link checker, video previewing, file conversion, safe downloading and multiple connections to boost the speed of your downloads. It’s clearly designed for media downloading and can help avoid irritations such as slow servers and internet congestion.
4. JDownloader 2
An advanced manager for more experienced downloaders
JDownloader 2 is a free, open source tool with a massive developer community, and it’s available for Windows, Linux and Mac. It’s really one for power users, with support for over 300 decryption plug-ins, automatic RAR extraction, password list searching and OCR to automatically complete some of the CAPTCHA ‘I’m not a robot’ checks.
You’ll need the Java Runtime Environment to run it, which means you’ll need to be wary: the installer contains adware, which will be installed if you don’t specifically deselect it.
5. Free YouTube Downloader
Grab multiple videos in moments and save them in resolutions up to 8K
The installer is a little too keen on adding bundled software, but Free YouTube Downloader is very good and completely free. Its focus is on downloading rather than converting files from one format to another, so you get a good multi-stream download manager for grabbing several clips simultaneously.
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