In computer networks, to download is to receive data from a remote system, typically a server such as a web server, an FTP server, an email server, or other similar systems. This contrasts with uploading, where data is sent to a remote server.
A download is a file offered for downloading or that has been downloaded, or the process of receiving such a file.
Downloading generally transfers entire files for local storage and later use, as contrasted with streaming, where the data is used nearly immediately, while the transmission is still in progress, and which may not be stored long-term. Increasingly, websites that offer streaming media or media displayed in-browser, such as YouTube, and which place restrictions on the ability of users to save these materials to their computers after they have been received.
Downloading is not the same as data transfer; moving or copying data between two storage devices would be data transfer, but receiving data from the Internet would be downloading.
Downloading copyrighted content without appropriate permissions may constitute copyright infringement.