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Axel – The command line download accelerator for Linux

Axel download ManagerAxel is a simple and effective command line download accelerator for Linux. It opens multiple connections with the download server. It splits a single file into many different parts and downloads these multiple parts all at a time through multiple connections, there by improving the download speed. Axel also provides a number of options to configure it the way you want so that you can fully monitor and master your downloads. This article will give a brief introduction to axel, its usage and configuration options.

Unlike most other programs that is used to download files from the internet, Axel downloads the files directly to the destination file specified (or to the user directory if unspecified), using one single thread.

Installing Axel

In debian systems like ubuntu, linux mint etc, it can be installed by using the following command.

sudo apt-get install axel

In Fedora or other rpm based systems, it can be installed by

sudo yum install axel.

Axel Usage

Axel downloads a single file as multiple parts as well as, it can also be used to download multiple files. The common syntax for axel is

axel [options] [url1] [url2] [url3] [url4] …

The url1, url2, url3 etc are the links pointing to the files to be downloaded.

Some of the options for using axel are given below

–max-speed=x, -s x

This option allows you to specify speed of download(bytes per second) here and Axel will try to keep the average speed around this specified value.This option is extremely useful if you don’t want Axel to use your entire bandwidth.

–num-connections=x, -n x

This option allows you to specify alternative number of connections.

–output=x, -o x

This option allows you to specify the location to which the file is to be downloaded and its filename. If unspecifed, Axel will download it to the user home directory.

–search[=x], -S[x]

Axel can do a search for mirrors using the search engine. This search will be done if you use this option. You can specify how many different mirrors should be used for the download as well.

The search for mirrors can be time-consuming because the program tests every server’s speed, and it checks whether the file’s still available.

–no-proxy, -N

Don’t use any proxy server to download the file. Not possible when a transparent proxy is active somewhere, of course.


If you want to see more status messages, you can use this option. Use it more than once if you want to see more.

–quiet, -q

No output to stdout.

–alternate, -a

This will show an alternate progress indicator. A bar displays the progress and status of the different threads, along with current speed and an estimate for the remaining download time.

 –header=x, -H x

Add an additional HTTP header. This option should be in the form “Header: Value”. See RFC 2616 section 4.2 and 14 for details on the format and standardized headers.

–user-agent=x, -U x

Set the HTTP user agent to use. Some websites serve different content based upon this parameter. The default value will include “Axel”, its version and the platform.

–help, -h

A brief summary of all the options.

–version, -V

Get version information.

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