The method by which users access and save software or other files to their own computers from a remote computer.
Downloading happens whenever you’re online, because everything we do on the Net involves downloading at some level. When you view a website, your device first needs to contact that site’s server and then download the current content, so it can display it on your screen. This type of downloading typically happens in the background and the files are only temporarily stored in your computer’s cache.
When most people talk about downloading, however, they are usually referring to the more active process of selecting a file to save to your computer or mobile device. It may be a picture that you right-click on and choose “save as” or a program from your favorite app store. Anytime you select a file to save or open from the Internet, your device first has to download that file from its respective server.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are downloaded files saved?
That depends on the type of file, your browser configuration, and your own preferences. When you download media files, such as pictures, videos, and music, you will usually be asked where on your computer you want to save that file. In that case, you can select anywhere on your device. Your browser may also have a default location where it saves all files. If you’re not sure where that is, check your browser’s settings. You can also change the default location if you want files saved elsewhere, or move the file once it is downloaded. Program or installation files can also be downloaded straight to your temporary cache, meaning your computer will hold on to the file long enough to install the program, but won’t keep it permanently.
Can I download files from non-Internet sources?
Absolutely. If you have a home or other local network set up, you can share files on one computer and then download them to any other devices on your network. Many mobile devices now have a file-sharing option, which simply means you temporarily network your device with another and then transfer files or information between the two devices. The receiving device downloads the information from the other. Anytime you connect two devices and transfer content between them, whether over the Internet or locally, downloading is occurring.
Do I have to download an entire file all at once?
Most modern web browsers allow you to pause a download and resume later. This can be very useful if you have limited Internet connection, are trying to preserve your mobile data, or if the download is tying up too much of your bandwidth and affecting the performance of other online applications, such as a streaming movie. If your browser does not allow you to pause, there are also download managers available that allow you to pause, prioritize, and even schedule your downloads.