Best Free Download Manager

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  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

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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: 

 

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.

 
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.

 Download Ninja Rating 4.5 of 10

 By MikeD

InstallationRating 4.5 of 10 Download Ninja has a clean installer with no adware. Just accept the license agreement, choose installation folder, shortcuts, desktop icon and it's finished. A welcome screen pops up, showing release notes, and how to integrate with Chrome and Firefox browsers by downloading the extensions. Although Opera support is not offered out of the box, with Download Chrome extension for Opera, you could install Ninja extension for Chrome on Opera. Un-installation went fine although I had to manually remove the extensions.

InterfaceRating 4.5 of 10 Ninja has a modern, compact and trendy interface. You can add, edit and access various download queues from the bottom. The download sessions: all, finished and pending ones are neatly arranged across tabs. Hovering your mouse on the start and stop buttons gives you an innovative way to start and stop downloads across various queues. The settings, site logins, media downloader all floats into view from the right when accessed, keeping the interface components compact and clean. Speed indicator is also shown on the interface. I wish it supported skinning/themes. And also I wished the floating window was more useful.

FeaturesRating 5 of 5 For a relatively new sofware, Ninja is packed with a lot of features. It's the only free & stable download manager currently that supports download queues with scheduler. Since it uses sequential writing technique, you can preview incomplete audio & video files while downloading. Moreover the media file can be converted to different formats after download. Speed limiter is available for every download queue, and even each download, so you can still keep using internet while downloading. A powerful shredder is built-in which will completely remove all traces and meta-data of downloaded files when necessary. It's one of the few DM's that supports refreshing expired links. Sites Manager let's you keep track of website logins.

UsabilityRating 4 of 10 Ninja, for now only supports Chrome and Firefox, and can be tweaked to support Opera. It's media downloader is independent of the browser, and while it was certain advantages, it does take a lot of time to scan the media files on webpage and doesn't detect media on many sites. It doesn't provide download categories out of the box, but you can add various categories manually. Also I couldn't find how to export/import downloads & settings. Ninja misses an option to check the downloaded files by an antivirus. But overall Ninja is still a top notch download manager. 

Support/UpdatesRating 5 of 5 Ninja is the fastest growing download manager. It's releasing updates frequently and the developer heeds to most user requests and feedbacks. Currently watching the development stage gives me every reason to be happy about. You may post your ideas or feedbacks to the developer here and the forum uses a voting technique to see the most popular ideas. Quite creative!

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. 

Installation:  Rating 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.
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
Download Ninja
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Intuitive interface, Download queues, Refresh links support, Sites manager, Colorful Log viewer, Media downloads.
Doesn't support IE and extra extension needs to be added for Opera support, No categorized downloading out of the box, No export/import downloads, Media downloader parsing slow.
http://downloadninja.com/
0.19
15MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Win XP to 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
August 3 2014 Download Ninja reviewed George.J
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

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Comments

by BrollyLSSJ on 29. August 2014 - 14:34  (118279)

Today I tried Download Ninja and it seems it does not support ftp Downloads. It always added http:// before the ftp:// protocol. EagleGet works fine with ftp links.

by George.J on 30. August 2014 - 2:13  (118289)

It doesn't support FTP downloads as of now, the download manager was released to the public only 2 months back, but the rapid strides it's made is astounding.

by abdoumahfouz on 16. August 2014 - 22:37  (118000)

I can't setup download ninja cuz it needs visual c++ ,everytime I'm trying to setup visual c++ I have an error "error 1935", what should I do?

by George.J on 17. August 2014 - 1:52  (118005)

Restart your PC and try installing Visual C++ again.

by abdoumahfouz on 17. August 2014 - 9:55  (118014)

I did that so much times ,the same problem still found

by George.J on 17. August 2014 - 10:41  (118016)

Which Windows O.S are you using?

Try re-downloading Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 SP1 from here [x86] and here [x64]. Install both of them.

If that doesn't work try the solution suggested here and here.

by abdoumahfouz on 19. August 2014 - 8:59  (118060)

problem solved, thanks alot.

by BrollyLSSJ on 10. August 2014 - 18:43  (117877)

Thank you for the reviews. I am waiting for a test for FlareGet as I want to have a replacement for Free Download Manager which is cross platform also, as I do not like the new version (version 5) of FDM.

by George.J on 11. August 2014 - 2:12  (117879)

FDM 5.0 is still in alpha stage, so there's nothing to be worried about. New features are just being added...

I'll test FlareGet soon..

by BrollyLSSJ on 18. August 2014 - 18:36  (118040)

I did a small test of FlareGet under linux and the free version is atleast download wise limited. I only was allowed to download 10 files per day. I do not remember, if that limit is general or for batch job as I did add a batch job yesterday.

by George.J on 19. August 2014 - 4:57  (118048)

That's strange, because that's not mentioned in the limitations (for free version) on their website. I'll check that when am reviewing FlareGet

by BrollyLSSJ on 16. August 2014 - 9:42  (117984)

Thank you. I know that it is alpha. The main reason here for me is, that it is available on both Windows and Linux. So if I want to switch to Linux that I have more or less the same programs (if they are sufficient for my needs of course).

by Naveen D on 6. August 2014 - 16:42  (117792)

Please review eagleget download manager. Thanks.

by George.J on 7. August 2014 - 4:07  (117800)

Sure I will, once 2.0 stable is out, and which is in beta stage now. This is because I'd have to review EagleGet again when 2.0 is out. There's a lot of new features in the next major version.

by Naveen D on 7. August 2014 - 4:35  (117802)

Ok Thanks

by Home User on 4. August 2014 - 8:04  (117738)

*ghacks Comparative*

[http://www.ghacks.net/2014/08/03/download-large-files/]

by subhra74 on 24. July 2014 - 6:41  (117530)

@Reviewer: Thanks for Testing XDM.

by George.J on 5. August 2014 - 3:17  (117765)

All issues related to Xtreme Download Manager has been moved to this thread at our forum.

Please subscribe to the thread.

by George.J on 25. July 2014 - 4:00  (117566)

Sure i'll put up a review in the near future. And please don't stop working on your project cauz I've read somewhere that you were going to.

If you want to get a wider user base, you could promote your project, at Wilders, MalwareTips and other websites that allows you to, as naren mentioned. I'll post a hot find on the same here, as very few know about XDM even though it's been there so long. And with more than 10,000 strong user base here, XDM might get the popularity it needs.

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 subhra74 on 23. July 2014 - 10:00  (117507)

Requesting you to please check the updated version 4.5.2 build 474.

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