Download Accelerator is a software that offers improvement on your download speeds. Usually, you’ll see an advertisement that would say “Download this software now and experience 300% increase in your download speeds!” But does it really increase your download speed. It actually does not but to better understand how it works; let me show you what it really does.
Download Accelerators downloads parts of the file at the same time which aims to maximize your bandwidth. It will seem that you are downloading faster but you are actually downloading, most likely, at your internet provider’s rated speed. I’d like to clarify that if you have a 384 kpbs connection; download accelerators are not meant to allow you to go over your bandwidth. It just manages your downloads efficiently so that every time you download a file, it would use the entire bandwidth and you’d complete the download in a shorter period of time compared to downloading the file without the Download Accelerator. Let me give you an example so you’d have a better grasp on how they function.
Let’s say you’re downloading a 100 megabyte file from Site A and you have a 1 mbps DSL internet connection. Your connection translates to a 128 kilobytes/sec download speed. Without a download accelerator, you are limited to 2 things. Your internet connection’s download speed/bandwidth and the upload speed of the site you’re downloading from. Let’s say that Site A is just a small website it has an upload rate of just 256 kbps. That means if you download the file directly without a Download Accelerator, even if you have a 1 mbps connection you can only download your file at 256 kbps (32 kilobytes/sec) at a time. It would take you around 53 minutes to finish the download without the Download Accelerator.
However, let’s say you have a Download Accelerator with you that do 8 connections at the same time (you can set how many connections you want at a time). This means that the Download Accelerator will attempt to download 8 parts of the file at the same time. Let’s have the same specs as the last example. This time, you have a Download Accelerator handy. The Download Accelerator divides the file into several parts and downloads them at the same time. Let’s say you set your Download Accelerator to have 4 connections. You can now connect to Site A 4 times (256 kbps x 4 = 1 mbps). This means that you are now downloading at your maximum bandwidth of 1 mbps. Instead of taking 53 minutes, your file will be completed in 14 minutes or so. After all the parts have been downloaded, your Download Accelerator will rebuild the file for you to be able to use it. See how efficient it is?
The next question is, is it safe to use them? It actually depends. Most of the download accelerators offer the same feature such as multiple connections to maximize your connection and you can pause and restart most of your downloads anytime you’d like. But then, there are some that contains viruses and spyware so you have to be careful which Download Accelerator to choose. To name a few, Internet Download Manager and Download Accelerator Plus are among the popular choices and are safe to use. There are a few of them which do not help maximize your speed at all.
Are there any limitations? Yes there are a lot. Some websites do not allow multiple connections from the same computer or better yet from the same IP address (it is how you are identified throughout the internet). These are usually sites that offer premium downloads (pay to download sites). There are also files that your Download Accelerator might not be able to download and some sites do not offer Resume support (pause and resume your download). Some sites do not allow multiple connections to save on bandwidth thus some of them do not show the file and only has redirectors to the files in an attempt to thwart your Download Accelerator from capturing it. But then, some of the new Download Accelerators (or new versions of current Download Accelerators) have features that could go past these. As with any other software or product, always read reviews from different people especially those who are using them. See if it is worth the effort to install it (functionality and features) and better yet, pay for the full version of the software to support the developers. Again, Download Accelerators do not increase your bandwidth it just maximizes your connection to avoid wasting time and bandwidth.