Best Free Download Manager

Other Language?
  Read this article in Spanish
 
In a Hurry?
  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

  Go straight to the Change Log to see what is new since the major update in June 2010.

 
Introduction

Everyone downloads a lot of stuff from the internet. Be it softwares, videos, music, documents, images, you fill your hard drive with all of this. To track and manage all these downloads is a daunting task, and having a clean workspace to organize all these downloadable content is the need of the hour. This is where a download manager comes to the rescue, also accelerating your downloads all the way. 

The major features that makes an external download manager extremely useful are:

  • Resume broken downloads: Downloads can be paused at resumed at will even after computer shutdowns or unexpected power outages, and it'll resume any unfinished download from the place it left off.
  • Categories: Helps to organize your downloads automatically according to their type (videos, music, documents) in different folders and also define extensions to be included in the type. 
  • Download Acceleration: A single file is split into multiple sections/segments and then using several simultaneous connections to download each segment from a single server.
  • Queue'ing: Start the downloads instantly or save it for later, setting up the download in a queue, and define the maximum number of concurrent downloads. Certain download manager allows you to define multiple queues.
  • Scheduler: Start and stop downloads in the queue at a predefined time on a particular day, or synchronize your downloads to run on different days of the week. Additionally you may choose to shut down/hibernate computer after downloading.
  • Browser integration: Integrate your download manager with various browsers and it'll take over the downloads automatically. Additionally clipboard monitoring, will let you capture copy-pasted direct links.Popular browsers like Firefox, IE, Chrome, Opera support is essential.
  • Media grabber: Download streaming video and audio from various sites and even preview or convert them to different types.
  • Batch downloads: Easy way to download whole ranges of files/links from a particular webpage . Also by adding a group of sequential file names of a particular type you can download multiple files from a website.

Other interesting features that am looking in a download manager are:

  • Protocol support: Mainly HTTP, HTTPS and FTP support, also support for RTSP, MMS, Metalink, Bittorrent and RTMP would be a bonus.
  • Export/Import: At times when you want to uninstall/reinstall the program, it's useful to export/import the downloads in the list, so that it'll save you time and extra-work. 
  • Inclusion/Exclusion list: Include/exclude various File Types and Websites you want to monitor.
  • Speed limiter: Set maximum download speed for a file and adjust the traffic usage for browsing and other stuff.
  • Proxy/Socks support: Work behind HTTP and FTP proxy-servers.
  • Refresh expired links: Sometimes a download link remains valid for only few hours and if not completed within that time boundary, download fails. Refreshing the link let's you resume these downloads.
  • Multiple mirrors: Search for and download files from multiple mirrors simulataneously
  • Sites manager: Certain sites require authentication for download request from internet and proxy servers
  • Virus checking: Check downloaded files with a scanner you've set up to protect users from harmful virus/spyware.
  • Float windows: Indicator to show the current downloads and it's status.

Let's take a look at some Download Managers below: 

 
Discussion

Environment All tests were done on Win 8.1, 64 bit system with 4GB RAM running the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, IE, Opera and Maxthon browsers.

Note: The ratings are comparitive, so when a new download manager is reviewed, the corresponding rating of others might change. 

Free Download Manager

Free Download Manager

Free Download Manager is a popular download manager and a good choice for its stability, nice user interface and support for various browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari.

The program offers simultaneous multi-part downloads from several mirrors to increase the download speed, with a powerful scheduler to start and pause downloading files at the preset time.

It also features downloads from RapidShare, prioritized and partial torrent downloads, adjusting traffic usage, flash video download and an upload manager. Management of downloaded files is well supported.

Upon installation of the application, uncheck 'install Software Informer' if you don't need it. A lite version of the program is also available with optional plugins.

GetGo Download ManagerGetGo Download Manager

Apart from downloading various types of files, GetGo Download Manager helps download your favorite videos from YouTube and other websites with embedded FLV flash videos with one-click.

It integrates with IE and Firefox browsers. With the program, you can easily set up a batch download using an URL pattern template and rename downloaded files automatically using a filename pattern template. Other features such as download scheduler, resume broken downloads, managing downloaded files, etc., are included.

The program has optional Standard and Search toolbars in the user interface. Upon installation, it adds a GetGo Toolbar into your browser, but that can be disabled.

Re: Review

 FlashGet Rating 5 of 10

 By Trend Media Corp. 

InstallationRating 3.5 of 10 The installer is clean with no adware/spyware. In the Additional tasks wizard, FlashGet sets itself as the default download manager, and also modifies Windows XP TCP connections. It also places a desktop shortcut and quick launch icon. Choose your installation folder and downloads folder and you're ready. On Uninstall, it offers to retain configuration and task information. But it didn't remove the browser extensions upon uninstallation and left a lot of registry entries behind. 
After installation to integrate with browsers, from the interface go to Tools->Add Browsers support.

InterfaceRating 4.5 of 10 Pleasing interface, the left side bar showing All tasks as well as Downloading tasks, and Categories with the ability to create as many download categories as possible, and a nifty Recycle bin for restoring deleted tasks. At the bottom, network details are displayed on mouse hover, the download speed of current task and a skin manager where you can add skins from the official site. A sub window shows various task properties that shows all details of the download task, log file of connections and a disk defragmenter-like download diagram. Grouping of downloads is available by date and path, as well as searching for files is available.

FeaturesRating 4 of 10 FlashGet supports a wide variety of protocols including HTTP, FTP, BT, MMS, RTSP and eMule protocols. Notably it supports Bittorrent and eMule downloads. Automatic authentication to servers is available when needed to download files. Number of threads/sections can be set separately for each file, a neat feature. Comments can be placed for each downloaded file. Flashget uses memory as disk cache during download, and you can set the quota for the same. The Resources Detector wizard, let's you download online videos, batch of images, softwares and FTP resources by scanning the url directly pasted in the window. FlashGet has HTTP and Sock5 proxy support.

UsabilityRating 5 of 10 FlashGet definitely needs an update, and it's usability has gone rock bottom. Resources detector crashes during url detection making it unusable. Since Chrome now doesn't support extensions not present on it's web store, FlashGet fails to work on Chrome. It doesn't take over downloads from IE 11 too, making Firefox the only working browser on it. Although link downloads work well on Firefox, trying to download a video, hangs the video and the download doesn't get transferred too. The fonts used within the Preferences window is weird. There's no refresh download option for expired links or a dedicated scheduler for downloads. Honestly it doesn't live up to the reputation of v1.9 which is still available as separate download.

Support/UpdatesRating 3 of 10 The forum is dead with almost no replies or comments, and there haven't been updates for a long time, except for a few bug fixes. The last major version came all the way back in 2010. This once great download manager is now past it's prime. 

 

Download Manager for multi-platform

UgetUget is a cross-platform program designed to be simple, lightweight and easy to use.

It's an open source application written in GTK+. Debian and RPM packages are readily available for download and installation, but for Windows users, the GTK+ runtime environment needs to install separately before running the program.

The program supports pause, resume and queue downloads, and classification of download files, monitors clipboard and integrates with Firefox browser via FlashGot plugin. Other features include batch download and import downloads from html files.

 

 

Browser Addons

FlashGot is a Firefox's addon which allows you to set your own preferred download manager and integrate it with the Firefox browser for auto download. The addon by itself also helps you to download many files on a web page at one go.

oGet, also known as DM Bridge, is a Chrome's extension to integrate the Chrome browser with an external download manager of your choice, with optional settings for the integration mode and context menu.

DownThemAll is another browser extension to add advanced download capabilities to Firefox. This add-on is useful if you are using Firefox and need to download many files on a web page at one go. However, when you need to download a single large file it's much slower than a standalone download manager.

 
Other Download Managers

Several other free download managers were brought up in comments here or noted from other sources. As they are not rated in this review, I am listing some of them here with brief descriptions and links to their sites for ease of reference.

  • Internet Download Accelerator, the free version offers general features of a download manager but comes with an ad panel which cannot be disabled. It also prompts for an upgrade to the commercial Pro version.
  • Download Accelerator Plus (free) is a toned down version of the commercial DAP Premium, but basic features are available such as multi-connections to download sites, mirror search, etc. It has an active 'information pane' at the right panel which can't be disabled.
  • JDownloader lacks classification of downloaded files but makes downloading files from One-Click-Hosters like Rapidshare.com or Megaupload.com easier for users with a premium or a free account.
 

I'll be reviewing these download managers for the next major update. 

Note: Orbit Downloader won't be reviewed, and the users are advised to stay away from it, because not only is the product bundled with all sorts of 3rd party software, it's also classified as malware, as it turns the application into a DDOS tool. More report here at Softpedia.]

Sitting in TimeoutXtreme Download Manager - changed my proxies upon uninstallation and has bad VirusTotal scan results

Quick Selection Guide

Free Download Manager
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Stable; support for IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari; simultaneous multi-part downloads; flash video download; restart and recover; powerful scheduler; management of downloaded files
3.9.4 & 5.0 alpha
7.6 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Win XP - Win 8.1
GetGo Download Manager
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Download FLV flash videos with one-click; integrate with IE and Firefox; batch download using template; auto rename; download scheduler; managing downloaded files
Install toolbar into browsers; integrate optional Search toolbar into user interface
http://www.getgosoft.com
4.9
2.7 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Win XP - Win 8.1
Uget
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Open source and cross platforms, designed to be simple, lightweight and easy to use. Supports pause and resume, queue and classification of download files, monitors clipboard and Firefox with <a href="#FlashGot">FlashGot</a> Plugin.
Requires GTK+ run environment to download and install separately for Windows users.
http://urlget.sourceforge.net/
1.5
1.4 MB
Open source freeware
Linux (Debian and RPM packages); Windows XP to Windows 7 with GTK+ runtime environment
MultiGet
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Open source and supports multi platforms; multi-task with multi-thread on multi-server to speed up downloads; clipboard monitoring with a good GUI interface; optional auto MD5 check
Lacking integration with browsers
http://multiget.sourceforge.net/
1.1.2
5.3 MB
Open source freeware
Windows and Linux
FlashGet
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Increases speed with hyper-thread technology, support numerous protocols, various skins, advanced task logging with graphs, automatic authentication to websites, supports Bittorrent & eMule downloads.
Resources detector crashes on use, downloading videos stalls the program, not updated for a long time, no support for Google Chrome.
3.7
6.5 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Win XP - Win 8.1

 
Editor

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor George.J. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

I've used TechSupportAlert and the older Support Alert Newsletter for almost a decade so I have saved hundreds of hours of work and many more dollars by following Gizmo's Freeware recommendations. Thanks for the opportunity to give something back.

If you have had a similar experience then you should consider becoming a reviewer too.

 
Change Log
Date Change Editor
June 29 2014 FlashGet re-reviewed George.J
June 25 2014 Introduction section modified George.J
September 2013 Removed Orbit Downloader Remah
October 2011 No change to content. Update Quick Selection Guide to new database. Remah
June 2010 Major update  
 
Tags

download manager, free download manager, download, downloader, freeware, free download

Back to the top of the article

 

Share this
3.8125
Average: 3.8 (192 votes)
Your rating: None

Comments

by naren on 21. July 2014 - 0:51  (117443)

Xtreme Download Manager new version released today.
VirusTotal didn't detected malware.
HD video downloads added.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/xdman/
https://www.virustotal.com/en/file/c532b9cf9f583d838f4fd3c008bac275fda0e...

BUT sadly the proxy thing messes the internet connection.
Even if the proxy is unchecked in the GUI, still internet connection is messed up.

The software was promising but the developer has ruined it.

by naren on 18. July 2014 - 19:08  (117414)

Plzz test Download Ninja next.
It has become feature rich now & one of the best free/paid download managers.
Clean software too with no craps, etc...

Currently supports Chrome & Firefox.
IE support will be coming.

by George.J on 19. July 2014 - 15:18  (117422)

Excellent suggestion, test results are coming great...

Now there's a real competitor to EagleGet and FDM. Surprisingly it's still in early development phase, continously updated and still it's great. Am not sure how long the developer has been working on it.

by naren on 19. July 2014 - 22:21  (117425)

As per developer, technically its still beta.
But I must say, I have tested all the versions & no major probs, quite stable software.
Build 17 released yesterday.

by George.J on 19. July 2014 - 13:36  (117421)

Sure, will do that as per your request.

by naren on 19. July 2014 - 20:22  (117424)

Where is the review of Download Accelerator Plus Free?
It was labelled as "Testing" & now neither the label nor the review is there?

by George.J on 20. July 2014 - 1:42  (117426)

In phase 1, I'll be doing a basic test on all download managers listed for reviewing, check their sources, if the installer is clean and so on, and how they basically perform against each other. Only in phase 2, detailed review follows. Since Ninja is a new recommendation, I had to do a basic review on it before going into detailed.

I found Ninja more interesting, so I stopped reviewing DAP midway, but the review will be put up later on.

by naren on 20. July 2014 - 19:22  (117441)

OK.
Got it.
Thanxx for the info.

by cityguyusa on 15. July 2014 - 19:21  (117358)

Just a note on FDM. I often find that it's using a lot of system resources even when it's not actively downloading anything. I'm not sure why this is but when I see my hard drive thrashing I know that FDM is at the top of the list for page faults.

by naren on 2. July 2014 - 9:19  (117083)

Hey Reviewer
When you test Xtreme Download Manager, it changes network connection, is this good? Why it changes network connection? Can you plzz tell me what are those changes?
XDM is detected as malware at VT.
Previously 6-7 scanners detected it as malware.
Latest report 1 scanner detects it as malware.
https://www.virustotal.com/en/file/e6f223b502de73331c8920cd4f283d5dc92d4...

http://xdman.sourceforge.net/

[Moderator's note: Link to software page added. Please include a link when suggesting software.]

by George.J on 2. July 2014 - 14:06  (117094)

I did install XDM before, and it changed my proxy config upon uninstallation, and I had to reset it to get back internet connection. I might not review this product after all, but it held great promise. :(

by naren on 3. July 2014 - 17:53  (117124)

It stopped my internet connection too. I too didn't like that it changes network connection.

by naren on 1. July 2014 - 22:01  (117061)

Hey Reviewer

A new free download manager/accelerator. Plzz review this too.
Download Ninja
http://downloadninja.com/

Lot more info here
http://malwaretips.com/threads/download-ninja-new-internet-download-mana...

Regards
Naren

by George.J on 2. July 2014 - 14:07  (117095)

Thanks, looks interesting. I'll add it to the list.

by naren on 3. July 2014 - 17:55  (117125)

You didn't added it to the "to be reviewed" list.

by Spy on 30. June 2014 - 14:23  (117033)

I used different download managers in the past, then switched to Free Download Manager since some years, and I fully agree with this article, its one of the best download manager.

It splits the file that is being downloaded in such a way that it makes the download faster than other download managers.

by Remah on 29. June 2014 - 22:03  (117018)

George.J, good job. I like the new introduction as it points out useful features which provide good reasons for using a download manager.

by George.J on 30. June 2014 - 3:00  (117020)

Thank you for your kind words :)

by rseiler on 29. June 2014 - 21:26  (117016)

Re DownThemAll, I'm baffled by this statement: "However, when you need to download a single large file it's much slower than a standalone download manager."

DTA supports threading like the others, and it's extremely good at maxing out your bandwidth limitations, as long as the server is capable of it. I use it all the time, even for large files, when I find that a regular single-thread download without DTA is slow.

Given this, unless a standalone download manager can EXCEED the amount of bandwidth that you have (which is impossible), I don't see how the statement can be true.

I've used DTA for about 3 or 4 years.

by George.J on 30. June 2014 - 3:02  (117021)

Since am the new editor here, I need some time to test it, but only after completing the review of external download managers.

by Faziri on 29. June 2014 - 21:04  (117015)

Vity's Freerapid is quite awesome too. Very fast and light, monitors the clipboard (I find browser integration to be more annoying than helpful), fancy window decoration is optional instead of mandatory (thankfully), recognizes a lot of hosts from the links, batch links and downloads, etc.

by George.J on 30. June 2014 - 3:03  (117022)

I'll add a new section for download managers exclusively for downloading from file sharing services.

by macktone87 on 27. May 2014 - 7:10  (116443)

Eagle Get has won me over. once it gets reviewed no doubt it gonna make this list.

by sicknero on 25. June 2014 - 20:50  (116923)

I must agree : )

I stuck with FDM as it's been my favourite for a long time, but it does have problems integrating reliably with portable browsers. A couple of weeks ago I discovered that Eagleget has a portable version to I decided to try it and haven't looked back. Browser integration is excellent - for portable Firefox it's a simple matter of finding the xpi file in Eagleget's directory and dropping it into FF and it even works very well with less mainstream browsers like Maxthon and Avant.

I have to say I've been very impressed with it so far. My only complaint really is the ridiculously huge (to me at least) buttons on the Metro-style GUI ... if there was an option for small buttons (or even better, a choice of basic Win32 GUI) it would be perfect.

I'd also like more user-control over categories but that's not a deal breaker as I don't really use them anyway.

by George.J on 26. June 2014 - 2:29  (116930)

To modify and add new categories in EagleGet just follow the images below
http://i.imgur.com/CF7X00x.png
http://i.imgur.com/yrJyV70.png

You can create unlimited categories and add file types corresponding to those categories.

Yes the interface and buttons are quite huge, although EagleGet v2.0 alpha has rectified it, with smaller buttons and a more pleasing interface for a download manager. The project is still in alpha stage and there may be bugs...

Although portable versions are nice, one of the downfalls is that you might not see a "Download" button for videos you stream if you are into downloading videos. What makes EagleGet impressive is that it's able to capture nearly every video on various sites across different browsers. I haven't used the portable version yet, so you could check and report me, if you are getting a Download button for videos. Moreover the portable versions lags behind the installer versions in terms of bug-fixes.

For better integration and usability, I'd recommend the installer versions for any download manager, and also not to run 2 download managers at once, just as in the case of antivirus softwares.

Free Download Manager is still great option with it's wide feature set that'll appeal all users...

by sicknero on 28. June 2014 - 9:23  (116984)

Thanks for the pointers George, I hadn't really looked very hard as auto-grouping isn't something I really use. It still seems to be impossible to delete the pre-set groups though.

What I've found after a few days with EG is that if I make sure everything in it is set to capture and monitor, then it works excellently and the video button works for most sites very well. It even appears unexpectedly at times, e.g. on occasion it pops up in gmail and when I clicked download just to see what it was spotting, it downloaded a mail as an empty mp3 :-)

What does happen, is that when I start a new session the monitoring options in EG have disabled themselves and have to be reset. This might be an aspect of the portable version I guess.

It's very usable for me anyway, as I don't need anything that permanently monitors my browser. Just something to handle large/numerous downloads which might potentially be interrupted by a browser/system restart.

I did see the beta version but I'm quite happy with 1.1.8.2 at the moment.

FDM is excellent, I agree. It's been my favourite for several years. There's a v5 alpha version by the way, which is available for testing on the FDM forums.

by George.J on 28. June 2014 - 12:00  (116990)

Thanks for sharing your experiences on the portable version. The last stable version of EagleGet is 1.1.8.3, although the portable version is available only for 1.1.8.2

The default categories can't be messed up in the stable version but from what I've seen it's possible in 2.0 Alpha.

I've also seen EagleGet monitoring sounds in GMail, I've set it to exclusion list to get rid of it.

by George.J on 27. May 2014 - 7:42  (116444)

Whole heartedly agree with that. EagleGet 2.0 alpha is incredible and has included features that are only available mostly in commercial download managers like Multiple queues with synchronization, refreshing expired links for broken downloads, support for all browsers, outstanding browser integration for video downloads. Some of these features are already available in the stable version, and some to look forward to.

by MidnightCowboy on 27. May 2014 - 7:51  (116445)

Don't forget the FlareGet for Linux either. It's the only one for me that hasn't broken an ISO download when one wasn't available as a torrent. MC - Site Manager.

by George.J on 27. May 2014 - 9:34  (116446)

Yes I'd be reviewing FlareGet but on Windows for comparison with other DM's, it's been simply incredible on Linux.

I'd be doing a 1 week testing for each DM, that'd probably take me 10 weeks to complete the review for all DM's in the To Be Reviewed section.

Something that I don't get is that, I'm able to get 16 connections multi-threaded download on FlareGet on Windows even though it's a feature that's been advertised as Pro only. Probably the limitation might be only on the Linux version? Can somebody test it on Linux, because I don't have Linux, from where I'm writing this comment.

Gizmos Needs You

Gizmo's Freeware is Recruiting

 We are looking for people with skills or interest in the following areas:
 -  Mobile Platform App Reviews for Android and iOS
 -  Windows, Mac and Linux software reviews       Interested? Click here