How to Use ‘apt-fast’ to Speed Up apt-get/apt Package Downloads Using Multiple Mirrors

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In this editorial, we take a look at a great and powerful utility called apt-fast that you can use to speed up downloading packages by APT or Aptitude.

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apt-fast is an open-source shell script wrapper for the popular APT and Aptitude package managing tools that helps to speed the downloading of packages on Debian systems.

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It’s main function is to remarkably speed up the downloading of packages by apt-get or aptitude by downloading packages in parallel, with numerous connections per package.

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Read some of the following articles, that discusses about APT and Aptitude along with their usage with examples:

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  1. What’s Difference Between APT and Aptitude
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  3. 25 Useful Commands of apt-get for Package Management
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  5. 15 Useful APT Commands for Package Management
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  7. Learn Package Management with Aptitude in Ubuntu
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Requirement for running apt-fast utility, is to have aria2c or axel download managers.

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  1. How to Install Aria2 Command-Line Download Manager
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  3. How to Install Axel to Speed Up FTP/HTTP Downloads
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How to Install apt-fast on Ubuntu 16.04-14.04 and Linux Mint 18/17.x

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Firstly add the the PPA for apt-fast package as follows and then update your system.

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$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:saiarcot895/mypparn$ sudo apt-get updatern

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Thereafter, run the command below to install apt-fast tool:

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$ sudo apt-get -y install apt-fastrn

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During the apt-fast installation process, you will be prompted to perform some package configuration as follows.

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In the screen below, you can set the number of connections allowed, remember, you can also configure it later in the apt-fast configuration file using the _MAXNUM directive.

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Configure apt-fast Maximum Connections
Configure apt-fast Maximum Connections

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Next, you can also choose to suppress the apt-fast confirmation message every time you want to install a package. But leaving the default value is okay, therefore, choose <No> and hit Enter to advance.

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Configure apt-fast
Configure apt-fast

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How to Use apt-fast?

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After successfully installing apt-fast, simply use it the same way you run apt or aptitude commands.

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The apt-fast configuration file is: /etc/apt-fast.conf, you can further increase your download speeds by adding multiple mirrors and distribute load, make sure to add nearest mirrors.

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Official mirror lists for Debian and Ubuntu/Linux Mint:

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  1. Debian: http://www.debian.org/mirror/list
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  3. Ubuntu: https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+archivemirrors
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You can add them to whitespace and comma separated mirrors in the configuration file as follows:

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For Debian

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MIRRORS=( 'http://ftp.debian.org/debian, http://ftp2.de.debian.org/debian, http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian, ftp://ftp.uni-kl.de/debian' )rn

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For Ubuntu/Linux Mint

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MIRRORS=( 'http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu, http://de.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu, http://ftp.halifax.rwth-aachen.de/ubuntu, http://ftp.uni-kl.de/pub/linux/ubuntu, http://mirror.informatik.uni-mannheim.de/pub/linux/distributions/ubuntu/' )rn

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Important: To use mirrors in /etc/apt/sources.list or /etc/apt/sources.list.d/, you also need to add them to /etc/apt-fast.conf as well.

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$ sudo vi /etc/apt-fast.confrn

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Configure apt-fast Mirrors
Configure apt-fast Mirrors

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You also view the man page for apt-fast and apt-fast.conf as follows:

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$ man apt-fastrn$ man apt-fast.confrn

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Let us dive into how apt-fast works by installing git package as follows:

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$ sudo apt-fast install gitrn

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You will be asked to confirm whether to download package or not, enter Yes/Y to continue. The image below shows apt-fast working – downloading git package using several connections.

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Install Packages Using apt-fast
Install Packages Using apt-fast

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After downloading the git package, you will again be asked to install it by entering Yes/Y and press Enter to proceed with the installation process.

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Some important apt-fast commands:

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$ sudo apt-fast updatern$ sudo apt-fast upgrade rnORrn$ sudo apt-fast dist-updatern

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In case a downloading process stops or breaks, run the command below:

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$ sudo apt-fast clean rn

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For more information, visit the apt-fast Github repository.

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Conclusion

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Here, we reviewed a powerful shell-script front-end for apt and aptitude that helps you to boost download speeds while installing packages on your Debian-based systems such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint and many more.

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What is you experience with apt-fast? Do you think it works well for you? Then give us your thoughts plus any other questions you would like to ask, via the feedback form below.

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