Diana the Valkyrie

Download accelerators.

If only there was such a thing, wouldn't it be nice? Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a free lunch.

Download accelerators do two things.

1. Multiple connections

They try to download a file, by opening many connections to the web server, and each connection tries to download a part of the file. They're all working in parallel, so maybe you'd think that the download would be faster? No - actually, it will be slower.

Suppose you have DSL, and can download at 500 mbps, that's about 60 kilobytes per second. If you try to download two things at once (or two parts of the same file), then each one downloads at 30 kilobytes per second. If you try to download with ten parallel connection, then each one downloads at 6 kilobytes per second. If you try to download through 100 parallel connections, then each one gets 0.6 kilobytes per second.

But actually, it's worse than that, because each connection has an "overhead", which subtracts a little from your downloading speed. If you have one connection, then that overhead is only there once, but if you have ten connections, then you have ten lots of overhead.

There's one situation where this would actually make downloads faster, and that's if you're downloading from a server that restricts the speed you can download at. But none of our servers do that. So, your download accelerator is making your downloads slower.

If you want faster downloads, get a faster DSL. In some areas, you can get 8 megabit DSL, which will download 1 megabyte per second. In most areas, you can get 2 mbit DSL. It'll cost you a bit more, of course, but there's no such thing as a free lunch. Look at the costs with your ISP, then make the decision.

2. Spidering

You can tell the software "download everything that's linked on this page". That's fine for a small site, but for the large megasites that we run here, that can be hundreds of gigabytes of stuff. You might leave it running overnight, and when you see what's happened in the morning, you'll delete everything you downloaded.

Other problems with download accelerators

3. Failure to give the password

Some download accelerators don't give the username/password when they need to, and as a result, they try to download stuff and aren't allowed to. That wouldn't matter, but sometimes, they'll keep trying. Several times per second. Again and again and again.

Or they'll give the wrong password, several times per second, again and again, and as you can imagine, that looks like a hacking attempt to the web site defences.

So why don't we allow download accelerators?

Because they chew up the resources of the server - it can only handle so many people using it at once. One person making 10 failed connections per second, chews up a chunk of resources without actually getting anything useful. One person making 100 simultaneous connections to download a big file (and he won't actually get the file any faster) chews up a chunk of resources.

If you find that the web site defences have blocked you from using the site, email us, and we'll get things sorted out.