Download cache


This is an experimental feature subject to breaking changes in future releases.

Conan implements a shared download cache that can be used to reduce the time needed to populate the Conan package cache with commands like install, create.

This cache is purely an optimization mechanism. It is completely different to the Conan package cache, (typically the <userhome>/.conan folder). It is not related to the short_paths mechanism for long path in Windows, nor to the short_paths cache folder. The cache will contain a copy of the artifacts, it is not a new location of files. Those files will still be copied to the Conan package cache, which will not change anything, its behavior, layout or location of any file.

This cache (whose path can be configured in the conan.conf file) will store the following items:

  • All files that are downloaded from a Conan server (conan_server, Artifactory), both in the api V1 (without revisions) and V2 (with revisions). This includes files like, but also the zipped artifacts like conan_package.tgz or conan_sources.tgz.
  • The downloads done by users with the or tools.get() helpers, as long as they provide a checksum (md5, sha1, etc.). If a checksum is not provided, even if the download cache is enabled, the download will be always executed and the files will not be cached.


The cache computes a sha256 checksum of the download URL and the file checksum whenever is available. As not always the file checksums are available, the download cache will not be able to correctly cache artifacts with revisions enabled if a proxy suddenly and transparently changes a existing server and moves it to a new location, without the clients changing the URL too.

Activating/deactivating the download cache

The download cache is activated and configured in the conan.conf like this:


It can be defined from the command line:

$ conan config set storage.download_cache="/path/to/my/cache"
# Display it
$ conan config get storage.download_cache

And, as the conan.conf is part of the configuration, you can also put a common conan.conf file in a git repo or zip file and use the conan config install command to automatically install it in Conan clients.

To deactivate the download cache, you can remove the entry download_cache from the conan.conf with the command:

$ conan config rm storage.download_cache

Concurrency, multiple caches and CI

The downloads cache implements exclusive locks for concurrency, so it can be shared among different concurrent Conan instances. This is a typical scenario in CI servers, in which each job uses a different Conan package cache (defined by CONAN_USER_HOME environment variable). Every different Conan instance could configure its download cache to share the same storage. The download cache implements interprocess exclusive locks, so only 1 process will access at a time to a given cached artifact. If other processes needs the same artifact, they will wait until it is released, avoiding multiple downloads of the same file, even if they were requested almost simultaneously.

For Continuous Integration processes, it is recommended to have a different Conan package cache (CONAN_USER_HOME) for each job, in most of the cases, because the Conan package cache is not concurrent, and it might also have old dependencies, stale packages, etc. It is better to run CI jobs in a clean environment.

Removing cached files

The download cache will store a lot of artifacts, for all recipes, packages, versions and configurations that are used. This can grow and consume a lot of storage. If you are using this feature, provide for a sufficiently large and fast download cache folder.

At the moment, it is only a folder. You can clean the cached artifacts just by removing that folder and its contents. You might also be able to run scripts and jobs that remove old artifacts only. If you do such operations, please make sure that there are not other Conan processes using it simultaneously, or they might fail.


Installation of binaries can be accelerated setting up parallel downloads with the general.parallel_download experimental configuration in conan.conf. You might want to try combining both the parallel download and the download cache for extra speed.