Fast Debian downloads

By combining a few Debian scripts, you can increase your download speed by more than 50 percent. Bruce shows you how.

Over the years, a rich ecosystem of applications has grown around Debian package management. In fact, the available choices are so numerous that some are easy to overlook, especially since some scripts are not in the official repositories of any distribution. Finding compatible scripts can require a lot of searching, often resulting in frustration.

Setting out to maximize download speed, I found several layers of scripts or tools: netselect [1] to find the quickest mirrors for my location, aria2 [2] or Axel [3] to serve as download managers, and apt-fast [4] to make the other scripts’ modifications easy to use by placing them in a single command. The procedure can take some time, but, considering that it can increase download speeds by more than 50 percent, the effort seems worthwhile.

Step One: Determine the Fastest Mirrors

In earlier versions of Ubuntu, you could have the fastest mirror selected for you by choosing Settings | Repositories | Download | Other | Best Server. However, this feature has been dropped in the past few years.

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