When I use wget to download a large file, it gives me "56M/s". I want to know if it means 56 megabits per second or 56 megabytes per second. Thanks!

Like this:

 231,997,440 61.4M/s   in 4.0s
  • Seems like pretty poor form for Wget to not at least specify an uppercase or lowercase B to clarify this. – Jeff Welling Oct 2 '13 at 16:35

It's megaBytes. Apart from anything else, if you divide the file length (231997440 bytes) by the time (4.0s) you get the same answer (give or take).

Edit: if you merely want to set the text output for the rate, so it displays eg "MB" instead of just "M", it's free software, you can always recompile it yourself. But it may be worth checking if there's a newer version of wget, since both mine (1.11.4 and 1.12) seem to display the B:

2011-08-22 09:12:06 (3.53 MB/s) - “openmoko.odp” saved [3635800/3635800]
  • thanks! Can i set the rate unit by myself ? for example , i want 'wget' shows 56MByte for me . – larry Aug 22 '11 at 7:58
  • 1
    Sorry, I don't quite get the question. Do you mean you want wget to display the rate in "units" of 56MB/s? – MadHatter Aug 22 '11 at 7:59
  • I mean wget display the rate in "units" of 56MByte/s – larry Aug 22 '11 at 8:09
  • In wget 1.12, the progress bar displays "M/s" (i.e., no "B") but the summary after the download says "MB/s". – Paul Price Jan 20 '15 at 1:57

The output shown is in Megabytes/second you may also see Kilobytes/second and I guess but very unlikely bytes/second.

If you want to rate limit the download to a specific spped you can use the --rate-limit switch

--rate-limit=56M will limit the download to 56Mb/s.


Limit the download speed to amount bytes per second. Amount may be

expressed in bytes, kilobytes with the ‘k’ suffix, or megabytes with the ‘m’ suffix. For example, ‘--limit-rate=20k’ will limit the retrieval rate to 20KB/s. This is useful when, for whatever reason, you don't want Wget to consume the entire available bandwidth.

This option allows the use of decimal numbers, usually in

conjunction with power suffixes; for example, ‘--limit-rate=2.5k’ is a legal value.

Note that Wget implements the limiting by sleeping the appropriate

amount of time after a network read that took less time than specified by the rate. Eventually this strategy causes the TCP transfer to slow down to approximately the specified rate. However, it may take some time for this balance to be achieved, so don't be surprised if limiting the rate doesn't work well with very small files

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.