Two Simple Tips To Speed Up Program Downloads / Upgrades in Fedora

I’ve been playing with the latest version of Fedora since the past few days. Much like how Ubuntu has a command-line based software installer called apt-get, Fedora comes with yum.

I was trying to update my Fedora install to the latest version of packages and noticed that all my downloads were incredibly slow.

Slow Downloads in Fedora

No doubt, this was a result of the mirrors selected being overloaded/ saturated or just too slow. Here’s 2 tips to improve your download speeds.

Yum Plugins – FastestMirror And Axelget

In addition to Yum’s support for delta RPMs(which is awesome) yum also supports plugins. Two incredibly helpful plugins that help improve download speeds are

  • FastestMirror
  • AxelGet


FastestMirror connects to each mirror, times the connection and sorts the mirrors that yum can use thereby improving the download speeds. Installing fastest mirror is quite easy, type in

yum install yum-plugin-fastestmirror

To install the plugin. You’ll need to have root privileges, else this will fail. Once installed, confirm that it is enabled by checking for presence of below files in  /etc/yum/pluginconf.d/fastestmirror.conf

verbose = 0
socket_timeout = 3
enabled = 1
hostfilepath = /var/cache/yum/timedhosts.txt
maxhostfileage = 1

You can even explicitly set to exclude specific mirror by adding,

to the above file, replacing with your specific mirrors.


Axel is a pretty well-known command line download tool. Much like how IDM/FDM work, Axel uses the same concept of splitting the current file into multiple pieces and downloading them simultaneously, instead of one download at a time. Axel is the same tool which powers apt-fast, a tool to speed up program downloads / upgrades in Ubuntu. Setting up axelget is a bit more involved process.

sudo cp axelget.conf /etc/yum/pluginconf.d/

sudo cp /usr/lib/yum-plugins/

To confirm that the plugins are working, do a yum update. Yum should list out all the plugins in use

[[email protected] sathya]# yum install git
Loaded plugins: axelget, fastestmirror, langpacks, presto, refresh-packagekit

That’s about it. With these two plugins, your downloads should be much faster.

Note: This should work for all distros supporting yum, I’ve tested this only on the current version of Fedora though.

Speed Up Program Installs / Upgrades in Ubuntu

If you’re an Ubuntu power user, you’re probably aware of apt-get. apt-get is a command line tool often used for installing and updating new software in Debian based distributions such as the very popular Ubuntu.

Now, if you’re familiar with apt-get you would have probably noticed that apt-get downloads the files with a single connection. Now what if there was a way a file could be split up into multiple pieces and each piece could be downloaded independently, similar to what download managers such as FlashGet / Internet Download Manager would do ?

Enter apt-fast. apt-fast is an apt-get supplement/replacement script by Matt Parnell. Basically apt-fast does pretty much the same thing as apt-get does, except that the download part of it is handled by axel. The result being that your program installation downloads finish faster. A lot faster. Up to 26-times, according to Matt.

Here are the steps in setting up apt-fast:

Install axel

Even though apt-fast can detect and auto-install axel if it’s not installed, let’s do it by ourselves. As usual, it’s apt-get to the rescue.

sudo apt-get install axel

Download apt-fast script

Download from here. Save it to your home directory.

Setup apt-fast

Before we can start using apt-fast we need so setup certain things – permissions and the like. First, move apt-fast to /usr/bin

sudo mv ~/ /usr/bin/apt-fast

Note: sudo is required here since a regular user does not have permissions to write to /usr/bin directory.

Give permissions to apt-fast to make it executable

sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/apt-fast

Wrapping it up

That’s about all that is required to setup apt-fast. So now, instead of using apt-get to install software, just use apt-fast. Axel will download the software, and apt-get will perform the installation. The below screenshot should how the downloads look like now.

apt-fast downloads

Use MDownloader to Quickly Download Files From File Hosting Services

There are quite a good number of file hosting services out there which lets users host large files and share the download link with anyone. Some of the very popular file hosting services are Rapidshare, Megaupload, Snapfiles where you have certain limitations and have to wait for a timer to complete before you can start to download any file.

All these file hosting services are great but there are some disadvantages. The first disadvantage is on the download limitation, you can complete a maximum of one or two downloads in the time span of 24 hours. Another disadvantage is when you are downloading a large file using a browser and there is a power cut or something, your download crashes in the middle.

Hence I have made a switch and now use a full featured desktop app for downloading large files from free file hosting services.

MDownloader is a free utility for Windows which lets you download files from most of the file hosting services. You can download multiple files in one go, don’t have to wait for the timer to finish, don’t have to fill up those boring captchas and can schedule downloads at your convenience.

The application works just the same way as other download managers grab the download links, put them in the queue and hit the Downloadbutton. There is a quick paste button available at the MDownloader toolbar which lets you quickly paste URL’s from Windows Clipboard. The best thing about MDownloader is that you can pause and schedule downloads when you want. This is really helpful when you do not want to stay awake just because a file download is in progress.

Apart from downloading files, MDownloader can also be used to upload files to several file hosting services. You can also use the RSS monitor function in MDownloader to monitor a list of RSS feeds for newer downloads and selectively download the files you want.

Techie Buzz Verdict

MDownloader is a very useful application for downloading files from file hosting services. The program requires .NET Framework to be installed on your system and works perfectly in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Techie Buzz rating: 4/5 (Excellent).