What is progressive download? - Definition from WhatIs.com


progressive download

Part of the Internet technologies glossary:

What is progressive download?

A progressive download is a process that allows the user to access content before the data transfer is complete.

The user experience with a progressive download is so similar to that offered by streaming media that many users may not notice any difference between the two. However, with downloaded content, it is not possible to fast-forward through any part of a file until it is stored on the user's device. Although there is always some delay associated with playing downloaded content, the lag may be brief enough to escape detection. 

Progressive downloads can offer a better experience over slower connections -- because the file plays from the user's device, the quality of a progressive download is not affected by bandwidth.

Most media players offer progressive download as a feature.


Learn More About IT: 
> Streamingmedia.com explains the difference between streaming media and downloads.

This was last updated in March 2009
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms


  • Remote Procedure Call (RPC)

    - Remote Procedure Call (RPC) is a protocol that one program can use to request a service from a program located in another computer on a network without having to understand the network's details. (SearchSOA.com)

  • cloud computing

    - Cloud computing is a general term for the delivery of hosted services over the internet. These services are broadly divided into three categories: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. (searchCloudComputing.com)

  • WAN (wide area network)

    - A wide area network (WAN) is a geographically distributed telecommunications network that interconnects multiple local area networks (LANs). (SearchEnterpriseWAN.com)


  • Internet technologies

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet technologies, including definitions about port numbers, standards and protocols and words and phrases about how the Internet works.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.