Tips For Downloading

Occasionally we receive emails from people who are having trouble downloading a particular release. We try to make the downloading process as simple and straightforward as possible, but despite our best efforts sometimes things go awry. This page has some tips and suggestions that might help you, if you are encountering difficulty downloading one or more of our releases.

My download never even begins when I click the download link.

Earth Mantra uses the Internet Archive to host all of our releases, for a lot of very good reasons, the biggest of which is that we want our content to be available for the long term, not just a few years. The Internet Archive has an incredibly huge hosting facility, and hosts our content across a very large number of servers. Further, as you might imagine, they consume an incredible amount of network bandwidth. As it is with any large collection of servers on a big network, at any given point in time one of those servers might be inaccessible, or may be experiencing temporary network congestion, or may be experiencing some other intermittent problem. So the first thing to try if you are having trouble downloading is simply to give it a few hours before you try again. Usually most such problems are cleared up transparently by the Internet Archive hosting staff within a short period of time.

My download is incredibly slow. It wasn't this slow yesterday!

See the previous tip. The Internet Archive is a vast collection of servers, and it is inevitable that one of them might be on a congested link at any point in time. Your best bet is simply to try again later. Continually retrying just makes the network congestion worse.

My download begins but gets stuck before completion.

Another potential cause is the fact that due the way we use the Internet Archive, they zip up the content on demand, as you download it. We do it this way intentionally, because it has some big benefits. The downside is that some versions of some browsers on some operating systems occasionally have trouble with this approach. A typical symptom is that the download gets very close to finishing but then gets hung up and never quite completes. To resolve this, you can try using a different browser. Or, you can go to the Internet Archive page for the release (the "Release Mirror Site"), and simply download each piece of the release separately.

One other suggestion is to use a download manager to download our ZIP files. One that we use and love is a plugin for FireFox called DownThemAll, which is a very powerful and easy to use tool, and is available for nearly every platform. In our experience, it makes downloading files from the Internet Archive, and indeed from just about everywhere, to be a much more reliable and frustration-free process. It is also free, so we can recommend it wholeheartedly. You may find similar success with another robust download manager as well.

I downloaded the ZIP file okay, but when I unzip I get an error.

This usually simply means that the zip file was corrupted during the download. Our downloads happen via HTTP, which is very fast but does not have any proper error checking. And as we all know, the Internet is not perfect. So sometimes a ZIP file can be corrupted during the download itself. A single bad bit during the download is enough to render the entire ZIP file corrupt. The only solution for this is the obvious one: download it again and hope that the second time there is no such corruption. Also please consider using a download manager (such as DownThemAll) to assist with the download, since a download manager typically can detect problems with downloads that a regular browser download cannot.

I downloaded the ZIP file multiple times, and still cannot unzip it.

If you've downloaded the file repeatedly, are sure it is not being corrupted during the download, and it still won't unzip, then most likely the problem is that the ZIP file is incompatible with the tool you are trying to unzip it with. The Internet Archive zips up our content using a tool based on the Info-Zip ZIP library. Despite being in very widespread use and despite being very well supported, there are certain unzip tools that are not always capable of reading a ZIP file created using it. For example, the built-in unzip capability in certain versions of Macintosh OSX seem to sometimes (but not always) have problems; in these cases we recommend trying Stuff-It to unzip instead. Paradoxically, sometimes the problem is that Stuff-It cannot unzip the file, but the OSX unzip tool can. Your mileage may vary.

So really the best thing to do is to simply try a different unzip tool, if the one you are using seems incompatible. Worst case, you can download and install and use the command-line tools from the Info-Zip site, which will almost certainly resolve the problem.

Downloading releases one at a time is a hassle. Is there an easier way?

Again, our strategy is to keep things as simple as we can, the theory being that simpler is usually more reliable. However, because of the way we use the Internet Archive, there are a few tricks you can use to automate downloads, especially if you have a tool like DownThemAll installed. See this PDF (derived from this blog entry) for an easy way to download every release in our catalog in one shot.

These are great tips, but they didn't solve my problem.

If so, then please contact us, and let us know. Be sure to let us know the precise version of operating system, browser, and unzip tool you are using, and please describe the issue you are seeing as clearly as you can, especially if there are any error messages. We can't promise we'll be able to diagnose every single problem, but we certainly will give it our best shot.