Streaming is the popular way to access movies, music, and other digital files these days. But sometimes you want a local file. Perhaps you’re going somewhere without Internet service or simply want to save money by avoiding data overages.
Torrenting is a popular way to transfer files. This peer-to-peer protocol is based on the BitTorrent platform created in 2004. It predates blockchain technologies like cryptocurrencies and the Tor Browser (although Tor was in development a decade earlier).
To use torrents, you’ll need a BitTorrent client, a torrent file, and preferably a VPN. A secure VPN is especially necessary when downloading copyrighted material. Torrents have long been associated with piracy, and both government regulators and TV, movie, music, and app development studios actively track and litigate transfers of their intellectual property via the DMCA.
Because it’s decentralized, BitTorrent is difficult to take down. The websites hosting torrent files have a much harder path. But it’s not illegal to use a BitTorrent program. Just be mindful of what files you share using it.
With that being said, here are the top desktop and mobile BitTorrent clients. Keep in mind the mobile apps are for Android, as iOS doesn’t allow torrenting without jailbreaking your iPhone.
QBitTorrent is everything you need in a torrent client. It’s free, open-source, cross-platform, lightweight, and dependable. Although it looks basic on the surface, it has a rich feature set and is highly configurable. It supports remote control, IP filtering, port forwarding, encryption, prioritization, torrent creation, and more.
If you’re looking for a sleek BitTorrent client that’s supported by a large community of users, look no further than qBitTorent.
Not only has Deluge been around forever, but it’s a bare-bones BitTorrent client that focuses on functionality over flash. You won’t get bogged down with ads, and it supports private torrents, proxies, bandwidth scheduling, browser integration, and more.
In fact, Deluge has a wide variety of third-party plug-ins that let you configure it to be and do whatever you want. If you want customization, Deluge is the perfect BitTorent client for you.
Utorrent is one of the most popular and widely used BitTorrent platforms in the world. It’s powerful and doesn’t take up much hard drive space or computing power. It’s also supported by BitTorrent, Inc. However, uTorrent has lost luster in the past five years, however, because of highly obtrusive ads.
It’s not uncommon for video ads with sound to play and distract whatever else you’re doing on your desktop. The installation process also tries convincing you to download a bunch of junkware.
BitTorrent is almost an exact duplicate of uTorrent, with a few minor exceptions. First, BitTorrent supports web-based seeding, commenting, and reviewing. Most torrent sites offer this information, however, so it’s only useful to a very niche market.
You’ll also find some private trackers work better on BitTorrent than uTorrent. Other than that, it’s the same program with the same fatal flaw of obtrusive advertising.
If you’re not tech savvy, torrents themselves could be a bit difficult to get used to. Vuze makes it a little easier with a simple interface that’s dumbed down for the lowest common denominator. Like other clients on this list, it supports bandwidth limiting, IP filtering, throttling, and other standard torrent features.
You will find ads on Vuze, but they’re not as obtrusive as those on BitTorrent and uTorrent. You can also preview media files and search within the browser to save the step of finding reputable torrent sites.
Flud is a relative newcomer to the BitTorrent space, but it’s a great app to use on mobile devices. There are no speed limits, and it’s a free app that only costs $1.50 to remove the ads. Prioritize files, limit bandwidth, and set to only download on Wi-Fi with its feature set. This is an essential Android app for file-sharing enthusiasts.
FrostWire started as a fork of the popular LimeWire P2P platform. Since then, it’s been upgraded with a built-in media player, torrent search, and more. While these features aren’t as great as, say, a dedicated media player, they could help you if you’re strapped for storage space on your smartphone or tablet.
FuTorrent is another newcomer to the BitTorrent market, but the app is gaining traction for its frictionless approach to downloading. The free version is ad-supported, and it’ll cost you $4.49 to remove them. It’s not as great as Flud, but with a few years of development, it could be.
Torrnado isn’t a BitTorrent client in and of itself. Instead, it’s a remote control program for the Transmission torrent software. This means it allows you to start, stop, delete, pause, and configure your desktop torrent client remotely. It’s very handy if you want to download a torrent while on the go but don’t want to clog up your phone or incur data overages.
TTorrent is one of the most popular BitTorrent apps in the Google Play store, and with good cause. It supports nearly all torrent protocols with all the features torrent users expect. It supports magnet links, encryption, RSS functions, IP filtering, and much more. It also has one of the best-looking UIs of any torrent apps. You’ll need to pay $4.99 to remove ads, but it may be worthwhile, especially if you use Transdrone or Transdroid, which it also supports through its web interface.