Aria2 – A Multi-Protocol Command-Line Download Tool for Linux


In today's digital age, downloading files is a routine task for many of us. Whether it's downloading a large file, such as a video or a software package, or multiple files from different websites, we all have to deal with downloads. Fortunately, there are tools available that can help make task of downloading files easier and more efficient. One such tool is Aria2, a multi-protocol command-line download tool for Linux.

What is Aria2?

Aria2 is a lightweight and versatile download utility that allows users to download files from various sources using multiple protocols. It supports HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, BitTorrent, and Metalink protocols, making it a powerful tool for downloading files from internet. Aria2 is a command-line tool, which means that it is controlled using text commands in a terminal window. Although this may seem daunting to some users, it is actually very easy to use and can be more efficient than using a graphical interface.

Installing Aria2

Before you can start using Aria2, you need to install it on your Linux system. Fortunately, Aria2 is available in most Linux distributions' software repositories, so it can be installed using distribution's package manager. For example, to install Aria2 on Ubuntu, you can open a terminal window and type following command −

sudo apt-get install aria2

This will download and install Aria2 and any necessary dependencies. Once installation is complete, you can start using Aria2 to download files.

Downloading Files with Aria2

Downloading a file with Aria2 is a simple process. You need to open a terminal window and type aria2c command followed by URL of file you want to download. For example, to download a Linux ISO file, you can type following command −

aria2c https://mirror.digitalocean.com/linux/ubuntu/ubuntu-20.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso

This will start download process, and Aria2 will display information about download, such as download speed, remaining time, and percentage of completion. By default, Aria2 will save downloaded file to current directory.

Downloading Multiple Files with Aria2

Aria2 also allows you to download multiple files at once. To download multiple files, you need to create a text file containing URLs of files you want to download. Each URL should be on a separate line. You can then pass name of text file to aria2c command using -i option. For example, if you have a text file called files.txt containing URLs of three files, you can download all three files using following command −

aria2c -i files.txt

Aria2 will start downloading all three files concurrently, which can save time compared to downloading each file individually.

Using Aria2 with BitTorrent

Aria2's support for BitTorrent protocol makes it an excellent tool for downloading large files, such as Linux distributions or software packages. To download a file using BitTorrent, you need to pass .torrent file to aria2c command using -d option. For example, to download a Linux distribution using BitTorrent, you can download .torrent file and then type following command −

aria2c -d ~/Downloads ubuntu-20.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso.torrent

This will start download process, and Aria2 will display information about download, such as number of seeds and peers and download speed.

Using Aria2 with Metalink

Aria2 also supports Metalink protocol, which allows you to download files from multiple sources simultaneously. Metalink files contain information about different sources of a file, such as HTTP and FTP servers.

To download a file using Metalink, you need to pass URL of Metalink file to aria2c command. For example, to download Ubuntu 20.04.3 desktop ISO using Metalink, you can type following command −

aria2c https://mirror.digitalocean.com/ubuntu-releases/20.04.3/ubuntu-20.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso.metalink

This will start download process, and Aria2 will download file from different sources listed in Metalink file, which can increase download speed.

Controlling Aria2 Downloads

Aria2 allows you to control download process in various ways using command-line options. For example, you can limit download speed using --max-download-limit option, which can be useful if you want to limit impact of downloads on your network. You can also set maximum number of connections using --max-connection-per-server option, which can help you optimize download speed based on your network capacity.

You can also pause and resume downloads using Aria2. To pause a download, you can press Ctrl + C keys in terminal window. This will pause download, and you can resume it later using same aria2c command. Aria2 also supports resuming interrupted downloads automatically, so you don't have to worry about losing progress if download is interrupted.

In addition to its features, Aria2 is an open-source software with an active community that provides support and regular updates. This means that bugs are fixed quickly, and new features are added regularly. Furthermore, Aria2 is highly configurable, and users can customize it to their liking using command-line options or configuration files.

Another useful feature of Aria2 is ability to download files in segments. This means that Aria2 can split a file into multiple parts and download them simultaneously. This can increase download speed significantly, especially when downloading large files from servers that limit download speed for each connection.

Aria2 also has a built-in feature that allows users to verify integrity of downloaded files using checksums. This ensures that downloaded file is not corrupted, which can save time and prevent issues caused by corrupted files.

One of most significant advantages of using Aria2 is its low resource usage. Aria2 is a lightweight tool that consumes minimal system resources, which means that it can run efficiently even on low-end hardware. This makes it an excellent tool for users who have limited system resources or want to download files without slowing down their system.

Furthermore, Aria2 is a cross-platform tool that is available for Linux, Windows, and macOS, which means that it can be used on different operating systems without any compatibility issues. This can be beneficial for users who use multiple operating systems or work in a heterogeneous environment.

Another advantage of using Aria2 is its ability to support remote downloads. This means that users can download files from a remote server using a different computer or device. To achieve this, Aria2 provides a built-in web interface that allows users to control download process remotely using a web browser. This can be useful for users who want to download files on a remote server or access files from a different location.

Lastly, Aria2 provides users with detailed download statistics and logs, which can help users monitor download progress, identify any issues, and optimize download speed. statistics include download speed, remaining time, and percentage of completion, among others. logs provide detailed information about download process, including errors and warnings, which can be helpful for troubleshooting issues.

Overall, Aria2 is a versatile and powerful tool that provides users with many features and benefits. Its support for various protocols, low resource usage, cross-platform compatibility, remote download capabilities, and detailed download statistics and logs make it an excellent choice for Linux users who want to download files efficiently and effectively.

Conclusion

Aria2 is a powerful and versatile download tool that can help you download files efficiently from various sources using multiple protocols. Although it is a command-line tool, it is easy to use and can be more efficient than using a graphical interface. With Aria2, you can download files faster, control download process, and pause and resume downloads easily. If you're a Linux user, Aria2 is a tool worth trying.

Updated on: 02-May-2023

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