How to integrate downstream utilities in your library

Utilities that allow your library to download files from the Hub are referred to as downstream utilities. This guide introduces additional downstream utilities you can integrate with your library, or use separately on their own. You will learn how to:

  • Retrieve a URL to download.
  • Download a file and cache it on your disk.
  • Download all the files in a repository.


Use hf_hub_url to retrieve the URL of a specific file to download by providing a filename.


>>> from huggingface_hub import hf_hub_url
>>> hf_hub_url(repo_id="lysandre/arxiv-nlp", filename="config.json")

Specify a particular file version by providing the file revision. The file revision can be a branch, a tag, or a commit hash.

When using the commit hash, it must be the full-length hash instead of a 7-character commit hash:

>>> hf_hub_url(repo_id="lysandre/arxiv-nlp", filename="config.json", revision="877b84a8f93f2d619faa2a6e514a32beef88ab0a")

hf_hub_url can also use the branch name to specify a file revision:

hf_hub_url(repo_id="lysandre/arxiv-nlp", filename="config.json", revision="main")

Specify a file revision with a tag identifier. For example, if you want v1.0 of the config.json file:

hf_hub_url(repo_id="lysandre/arxiv-nlp", filename="config.json", revision="v1.0")


cached_download is useful for downloading and caching a file on your local disk. Once stored in your cache, you don't have to redownload the file the next time you use it. cached_download is a hands-free solution for staying up to date with new file versions. When a downloaded file is updated in the remote repository, cached_download will automatically download and store it for you.

Begin by retrieving your file URL with hf_hub_url, and then pass the specified URL to cached_download to download the file:

>>> from huggingface_hub import hf_hub_url, cached_download
>>> config_file_url = hf_hub_url("lysandre/arxiv-nlp", filename="config.json")
>>> cached_download(config_file_url)

hf_hub_url and cached_download work hand in hand to download a file. This is precisely how hf_hub_download from the tutorial works! hf_hub_download is simply a wrapper that calls both hf_hub_url and cached_download.

>>> from huggingface_hub import hf_hub_download
>>> hf_hub_download(repo_id="lysandre/arxiv-nlp", filename="config.json")


snapshot_download downloads an entire repository at a given revision. Like cached_download, all downloaded files are cached on your local disk. However, even if only a single file is updated, the entire repository will be redownloaded.

Download a whole repository as shown in the following:

>>> from huggingface_hub import snapshot_download
>>> snapshot_download(repo_id="lysandre/arxiv-nlp")

snapshot_download downloads the latest revision by default. If you want a specific repository revision, use the revision parameter as shown with hf_hub_url.

>>> from huggingface_hub import snapshot_download
>>> snapshot_download(repo_id="lysandre/arxiv-nlp", revision="main")

In general, it is usually better to manually download files with hf_hub_download (if you already know which files you need) to avoid redownloading an entire repository. snapshot_download is helpful when your library's downloading utility is a helper, and unaware of which files need to be downloaded.