What is a direct download link?

A direct download link (DDL) is a hypertext link typically provided on an Internet site that can be used to download a file directly from a hosting system. These types of links are used in a variety of ways, both legitimately and illegally, to allow users to share files over the Internet more easily. Companies can use these links to provide customers with easy ways to download various files from a website, including digital manuals, software, and drivers for hardware support. A direct download link can be used to spread illegal or malicious software, so care should be taken by anyone using such a link.

With a direct download link, a file can be downloaded directly from its host site.

In general practice, a direct download link is nothing more than a hypertext link on a web page used to link directly to a specific file rather than another web page. Users can click the link to easily start downloading the linked file through this page instead of downloading a file through another method. Peer-to-peer file sharing, for example, was once a popular way for Internet users to share files and media, often infringing on copyright ownership. As many companies clamped down on these services, however, many users began using a direct link to share a file.

A company may legally use a direct download link to provide customers with links to software or other files offered by the company.

A company may legally use a direct download link to provide customers with links to software or other files offered by the company. Video card companies, for example, may provide multiple links on a single page to files that are digital copies of the user manuals provided with the cards. Other software, such as control center utilities for a specific graphics card, may also be provided via a link and usually allows the user to start downloading that program with a single mouse click. A direct download link can also be used by the same company to provide users with video card driver downloads, and a simple web page layout can make organizing and displaying all these links quite simple.

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As many file sharers have switched to using a direct download link, these links have also become a way to spread illegal or malicious software. Many movies, music recordings, and video games are available for download online, with no payments going to the manufacturers of these products. Not only does this violate copyright laws in many countries, but it can lead to criminal charges of theft against those who download or share these programs. As a direct link can be manipulated like any other type of hypertext link, these links can also be used to spread malicious software in a deceptive manner to those who click on them.

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