Updated: 07/31/2022 by Computer Hope
Information downloading to the computer

Sometimes abbreviated as DL, D/L, or DLing, download describes copying data from one computer to another, either over a network or modem. For example, each time you visit a web page on the Internet, you download the information on the page, including any pictures, to your computer. The term download is often associated with pictures, songs, videos, and programs.


When you download a file or program, there is a down arrow with an underscore indicating the download has initiated. You can also view and manage the downloads in most browsers using the Ctrl+J keyboard shortcut.

Copying vs. downloading

Many new computer users inappropriately refer to copying files on their computer as downloading. When copying a file from your computer to another drive or folder on the same computer, you're copying that file and not downloading the file. If you're copying a file from a different computer to your computer, you're downloading the file.

Download vs. upload

Downloading is receiving information from another computer or server. Uploading is sending information from your computer to another computer or server. When browsing the Internet, you're mostly downloading information. For example, when viewing this page, your computer needed to download the text and pictures shown on this page. When sharing pictures or videos, playing online games, or participating in an online video call, you'd need to upload.

Downloading a hard copy

Nothing needs to be downloaded when you want to create a hard copy (print out) of a document, web page, recipe, etc. The program you're using to view what you want to print can print without doing a download.

Examples sites from which you may download

Below are some popular websites where you can download many types of files, including audio, video, and games.

What is a good download speed?

A good download speed is at least 25 Mbps or faster. For users who do not play online games or have multiple people watching online videos, you can get away with a slower 10 Mbps connection. If there's only one person using the Internet, you can get away with 5 Mbps. A connection lower than 10 Mbps can experience problems in online gaming, watching videos, and online video calls, especially on a shared connection.


A speed over 50 mbps is considered excellent.

How fast can I download?

A file's download speed depends largely on the speed of your Internet or network connection and the size of the file. A faster Internet or network connection results in a shorter time to download a file.

Buffer, Computer acronyms, Data transfer, Digital distribution, Downstream, Drive-by download, Game terms, Internet terms, Modem terms, Network terms, Pull, Receive, Streaming, Upload