Internet Download Manager (IDM) is a popular free download manager for Windows computers. The developers claim that IDM increases your device’s download speed up to five times. Is this a marketing trick?
We will walk you through the IDM download process and compare your download speed for different files on different platforms. This article also covers factors that affect IDM download speed and how to configure the app to improve download performance.
5x download speed – How is that Possible?
Internet Download Manager uses “dynamic file segmentation” technology to speed up the downloading of files to your computer. It splits a file into eight segments and downloads them individually.
The white bars in the download progress area represent the segments, while the blue bar highlights the progress of the downloaded section of each segment. IDM separates each segment with a pink line.
When IDM successfully downloads a file segment, it reassigns the connection to help other segments. IDM cuts a slow-performing segment in half and reduces the time it takes to request the segment from the host server. IDM (re)assembles all downloaded segments into a single file and saves it to your computer.
In short, IDM makes eight different requests to the same server to download the eight file segments. Eight heads are better (and faster) than one, right?
Think of IDM’s download segmentation technology as sending eight store clerks to pick up 32 cases of milk from a truck. They can each carry four boxes and get the job done faster than having an employee do the job.
IDM uses a similar approach. It sends eight (or more) requests to servers and maximizes your connection to download files. Segmentation technology ensures that your Internet connection bandwidth is used properly to download files. IDM can increase download speed or shorten download time if:
- The file host server is congested
- The server has a download speed limit.
- There are too many people downloading the same file at the same time
Please note that Internet Download Manager (IDM) does not increase internet speed or improve network performance. The application may download a file faster than your web browser, but the download speed cannot exceed the capacity of your connection.
If your connection has a maximum download speed of 2 Mbps, IDM cannot download files at 2.1 Mbps or higher. In fact, you don’t need IDM if your browser can use your network’s download speed.
IDM put to the test
We downloaded a 23.9MB video file from Google Drive and Dropbox using IDM and Google Chrome’s built-in downloader. All files were downloaded to the same computer, on the same Wi-Fi network, within the same minute. There may be some fluctuation in connection speed, but it should be minimal.
Chrome downloaded the video file from Google Drive and Dropbox in 19.21 seconds and 17.45 seconds. We integrated IDM into Chrome and downloaded the same file in 11.38 seconds (Google Drive) and 13.72 seconds (Dropbox).
We perform another comparison on a music file (6.94) hosted on Google Drive and Dropbox. IDM downloaded the file in 2.44 seconds (Google Drive) and 2.82 seconds (Dropbox). Using the native Chrome downloader, downloading the same file took 6.18 seconds (Google Drive) and 6.42 seconds (Dropbox).
IDM also had the shortest download time for other file types (PDF, EXE, ZIP, etc.). So it is clear that Internet Download Manager increases download speed and shortens download time.
Factors Affecting File Download Speed
The time it takes for Internet Download Manager (IDM) to download a file depends on these factors:
- Connection strength: The connection performance of your ISP (in your region) affects the speed of downloading files in IDM. As mentioned above, the download speed of IDM cannot exceed your network capacity. Disconnect some devices from your router to free up bandwidth. Contact your ISP if you are still not getting the advertised network speed you paid for. We also recommend that you read our tutorial on how to get faster internet without paying for it.
- Time of day: You will get accelerated download speed when there are fewer people simultaneously requesting the same thing from the server. Midnight or early morning are some of the best times to enjoy high-speed downloads.
- Active Internet applications: Having too many programs using the internet in the foreground or background can slow down the download speed of IDM. Closing unnecessary apps or browser tabs can speed up your download speed. Likewise, pausing other ongoing activities that consume a lot of bandwidth (online gaming, video streaming, etc.) can increase your download speed.
- Host website/server: It is almost impossible to download a file (or different files) from multiple websites at the same speed. File download speed varies with server technology, server configurations, data transfer technology, etc.
Some websites intentionally limit download bandwidth for regular/non-paying users, while premium/paid subscribers enjoy unlimited download speeds.
- The version of IDM you are using: IDM is a paid app that offers a 30-day free trial. IDM’s one-year license for one computer costs $11.95, while a lifetime license costs $24.95. According to IDM, the registered version makes better use of your bandwidth for faster download speed than the trial version. Registered IDM also unlocks “logical download optimizer” which further increases file downloads.
New versions/builds of IDM often come with new features and bug fixes that improve download speed and performance. Select Assistance in the menu bar and select Check for updates to update IDM.
Configure IDM for optimal download performance
This section explains how to change Internet Download Manager connection settings to improve download speed and performance. These settings ensure that IDM makes full use of your connection when downloading files from the Internet.
1. Disable Speed Limiter
IDM has a “speed limiter” which allows you to set a maximum file download speed. Disabling the feature ensures that IDM uses all available connection bandwidth to download files.
Open Internet Download Manager, go to downloads tab, select Speed limitand select Switch off.
2. Select the broadband connection type
Configuring IDM to use the best connection type can also improve download speed and performance.
Open IDM, select downloads in the menu bar and select Choice.
to go to the Link tab, select the tab Connection Type/Speed drop-down menu and select Broadband: Direct connection (Ethernet/Cable) / Wi-Fi / Mobile 4G / others. Select Okay to save changes and close the dialog window.
3. Increase or decrease bandwidth connection type
IDM can split your file into up to 32 segments and download each segment using different connections. The default connection limit is eight, but you can increase it to 32 at any time. Increasing the maximum connection limit (to 16 or 32) may increase the download speed of IDM on a broadband connection.
Instead, reduce the number of concurrent connections for dial-up or modem connections. Downloading files over too many connections on a dial-up link can overload the website’s server and slow download speeds. Here’s how to set the maximum IDM connection limit:
Start IDM and select Choice in the toolbar.
Open the Link and select your preferred connection limit from the max. default with. the number The drop-down menu. Select Okay to save changes.
Faster downloads with IDM
Using a download accelerator is a proven trick to get faster download and download speeds in Windows 10. Basically, Internet Download Manager (IDM) is a download manager that uses your connection bandwidth efficiently to download files. It might not be up to 5x faster than your web browsers, but it certainly does a better job. With IDM, you’ll enjoy accelerated download speeds and advanced features like scheduled downloads, automatic virus checks, and more.