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free download managerA large majority of people still use their web browsers to download files from the internet ditching their download managers when internet speeds started increasing. Is that a wise move?

Let’s face the facts. Any internet browser slows down dramatically when downloading a large batch of files. In addition to that, these web browsers often use but a single connection to the download server – not even using your internet connection to its fullest potential – and support only some internet protocols.


Even with the most ridiculous add-ons to date, an internet browser just doesn’t make it a ‘real’ download manager, whether through lack of functionality, or because it’s being held back by its main feature; surfing the web. If you regularly have to work with large files, a download manager can work wonders. Meet SoMud.

SoMud

Actually, calling SoMud a download manager would be an injustice. SoMud is at home in many areas and we’ll try to cover the most prominent features in this article, but you can expect some pleasant surprise features if you start using the application. Nevertheless, downloading files is SoMud’s bread and butter and the context in which we’ll review the application.

free download manager

SoMud is a cross-platform application, which means it’ll run on both Windows and Mac OS X. It is currently not available for Linux, although that might change in the future. You can use the application to download via HTTP/FTP and BitTorrent.

Torrent Search and Download

BitTorrent, one of the most famous (and notorious) examples of P2P, connects to a large swarm of fellow downloaders and puts available small parts of the file that has already been downloaded. This allows the download to happen without the interference of a file server, but also forces people to upload while they download.

free download manager

Like all torrent applications, SoMud can start downloading when you open a .torrent file. Far less time consuming, you can use SoMud to search and download without leaving the application window, much like Vuze. The application automatically searches some of the more popular Torrent sites and aggregates the results. Using SoMud, people don’t have to jump to and fro between three applications, or even know much about P2P.

Using SoMud’s integrated search didn’t always produce the best results – you get those when you really know where to look, it was a feature I particularly enjoyed.

HTTP Download Manager

As mentioned, SoMud also sports HTTP (and FTP) download functionality. This works pretty much like you’d expect. SoMud breaks the file into a set number of pieces and requests server access for each one (shown below). Although this won’t improve your internet connection, it will add to the server-allocated speed, which is usually lower than your actual internet connection. You can also add multiple mirror URLs (different links to the same file) to improve download speeds.

free download manager

Especially interesting when downloading audio and video, SoMud allows you to preview the file before it’s finished downloading. This option can be accessed from the download details, also shown above. If you’re worried about anonymity, you can even configure SoMud to download via proxy. All in all, an impressive array of features.

Online Video Download

Although not exactly aesthetically pleasing, SoMud can search different online video websites (e.g. YouTube) at once and syst the results. You can preview the video inside the application and add it as a download with the click of the button.

free download manager

Personally, I think we’ve seen our fair share of YouTube downloaders, but it’s a good feature to top the list. With streaming video becoming ever popular, it won’t do to keep our focus completely on relatively old-fashioned file servers.

Do you use a download manager? Tell us why, and which application you prefer in the comments!

Image credit: Shutterstock

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