Popular Download Managers Reviewed - The Basics
(Page 2 of 6 )
The most basic features that each and every download manager should support are the following: ability to pause and resume transfers, catch the download link URLs from your favorite browser, and the capability to split the file into several pieces to maximize download speeds. These are necessary features; the rest are extras that may be useful too.
At first, let's clarify why we still need an independent download manager application even though lately every modern browser supports some kind of integrated feature to manage downloads. In short, these are more often than not sub par when compared to standalone applications.
Also, we cannot forget that Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 - the de facto standard web browser - lacks this feature. Somehow the ability to have multiple "tabs" finally got incorporated in IE 7.0, but the download manager isn't present. Both Opera and Mozilla Firefox sport decent built-in download managers, but like I said, these are easily outperformed by standalone software. Neither are very reliable.
Now let's examine those three necessary features. The first one was resume, and the reason for that is straightforward. Intentional or not, some of your transfers might halt and in these cases, if you have that feature, you can continue without hassles. It's powerful because the data received is saved in a sequential manner, so a "sudden termination" is akin to a simple "pause."
The next feature is the ability to catch download link URLs. Any competent software must be familiar with the popular alternate browsers too (besides IE) - Firefox, Opera, Netscape Navigator, Safari, Flock, Maxthon, AOL Explorer, you name it. This is critical because the user wants maximum integration in order to enjoy downloading with ease. Searching through the source of a web page to extract the required link is painful. And let's not even mention copy-and-pasting to manually add it into your manager.
The last feature is splitting the required file into several segments. This is probably quite a controversial feature because more often than not it serves as nothing but a marketing gimmick. Several software companies and developers design and integrate this feature differently. As a result, we might as well call it "optional," and not absolutely necessary. Notwithstanding, it might be useful in some cases.
Often times this feature appears in advertisements camouflaged in promising claims such as "download acceleration" or "faster download." The segmentation and establishment of multiple simultaneous connections in order to download the same file yields results only if the host server enables some sort of limitation/ connection. Regardless of such claims and marketing super-ads, you won't exceed your Internet connection bandwidth.
Furthermore, there are several optional features that are often supported (for example, download schedule). This works best for dial up users. The program calls your ISP, logs in, starts downloading your file(s), and once it's done, it disconnects. Similarly, some have features that let them search for mirror servers or allow the user to customize the GUI.
Now that we've covered the basics we're ready to move on and start reviewing!
More Web Hosting Articles Articles
More By Barzan 'Tony' Antal