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7 Best Free Torrent Clients (November 2020)

Last updated: November 15, 2020 By Dean Chester

BitTorrent client - how it works

BitTorrent is evolving and torrent clients are evolving with it. You will find out in this article which of them are the safest and most functional. I will tell you about the 10 best torrent programs and give recommendations on tuning them and using them safely.

 Table of contents:

My name is Dean Chester and I have been researching torrenting and secure Internet access for over 10 years. A torrent-client is the main tool for downloading files via P2P / BitTorrent. It is a special program or app that processes a .torrent file or magnet link received on torrent sites, determines the addresses of computers with the same torrents, connects to them, and downloads the necessary files.

Since the capabilities of the BitTorrent protocol are constantly evolving, torrent clients must support all relevant features to be safe and optimized for downloading at maximum speed. Outdated BitTorrent clients can contain vulnerabilities, especially dangerous due to direct connection to dozens and hundreds of unknown computers.

⚠️Torrent clients don’t protect you from the risks of downloading and distributing copyrighted material. Also, in many countries, the use of BitTorrent is prohibited and can be punished with fines.

Always use a VPN to visit torrent sites and download torrents. This will reliably hide your network activity and make you anonymous on the Internet. At the same time, VPN is legal and practically doesn’t slow down web surfing and downloading torrents. A VPN is available for any device and is easier to install than a torrent client.

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Protect Torrenting

WARNING:
The article has a research nature and doesn’t call for copyright infringement or otherwise breaking the law. Before downloading torrent files, please make sure that they are in the public domain and that their use isn’t copyrighted.

Best tested torrent clients

All software presented in this article is totally free. They have been checked for viruses and vulnerabilities and tested in real downloads of torrents taken from torrent trackers and torrent search engines.

The programs are sorted in order of popularity for ease of use and ease of installation.

Select your torrent client according to the following criteria:

  • Popularity (number of visitors and number of downloads)
  • Usability rating
  • User rating

Data were taken from open sources and tested on Windows 10 and Android.

Compare the popularity of torrenting software according to Google Trends:

Comparison of interest in the main torrent client according to Google Trends

As you can see, the most popular BitTorrent client in 2020 is µTorrent.

In terms of search interest, it is more popular than all other torrent clients combined.

For comparison, I will give data from SimilarWeb. This is the website traffic of the two best torrenting programs:

Comparison of the number of visitors utorrent.com (µTorrent) and qbittorrent.org (qBittorrent)

As you can see, over the past 6 months, µTorrent's traffic has dropped significantly, but still remains much higher than that of its closest competitor qBittorrent.

What conclusion can be drawn from this? 

In such controversial areas of Internet activity as torrenting, public opinion is of great importance. UTorrent is the most popular torrenting software today. Thanks to this interest, the functionality and capabilities of the program are maintained at the highest level. Looking ahead, I will say that it also showed excellent results during the tests.

Read on to learn more about each of the torrent clients and how to use them properly.

1. qBittorrent

  • Number of product website visitors: ~ 2 million per month
  • Convenience (out of 10): 10
  • User rating *: 4.2
  • Presence of advertising: No
  • Bundled software: No
  • Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, Linux

*- the score corresponds to the score from Google Play

What do you need from a torrent client first? Fast and easy installation, intuitive interface, maximum automation during initial installation and download. The software should be suitable for users of any level.

qBittorrent is just such a completely free cross-platform torrent client without ads.

It has everything you need to download torrents quickly, is regularly updated (according to my observations, about once a month), and has initial settings sufficient to download materials as quickly as possible.

Features:

While everything is simple with the desktop version, the mobile version of qBittorrent has some peculiarities. It is available in two versions - free and paid. The free version is rated rather poorly by over 1000 users - only 3 points (data from the Google Play Store). The paid version is significantly superior to the free one and has a rating of 4.2. In total, the app has been downloaded more than 100k times.

Disadvantages:

  • More often than not, the software noticeably loads the processor even in standby mode. This is usually an additional 3-10% on a medium-sized computer. But I have had cases when the qBittorrent app “grabbed” 30% or more.
  • Slightly outdated appearance

URL for free qBittorrent download

QBittorrent main window for desktops

2. µTorrent (uTorrent)

  • Number of product website visitors: 10-40 million per month
  • Convenience (out of 10): 9
  • User rating *: 4.6
  • Presence of advertising: Yes
  • Bundled software: 3
  • Supported platforms: Windows, Android, Web

*- the score corresponds to the score from Google Play

The most popular software for the entire existence of torrent clients. More than 100 million downloads on Android alone and tens of times more for desktops. µTorrent is so popular as it is also the strongest P2P client. It has many extensions for managing torrent networks, creating torrents and magnet links.

I did not rank µTorrent at the top of the Top 10 due to the shortcomings described below. But despite them, you are unlikely to find more complete support for all the features of the BitTorrent protocol in other programs. This is because µTorrent is supported by BitTorrent, although it isn’t their official product.

Features:

Supports not only .torrent files and magnet links but also .btsearch files. These are core BitTorrent search engine files that contain information about search engines in XML format.

Support for all BitTorrent technologies.

Built-in media player.

Shows ads in both mobile and desktop versions.

Has a paid version ($19.95 per year), which will allow you to watch video materials without waiting for the end of their download and doesn’t contain ads.

It is possible to watch movies online using the µTorrent Web without installing the app.

Disadvantages:

  • “Dislikes” when using a VPN. This prevents the app from loading ads.
  • When installing, it tries to install at least 3 additional programs that aren’t related to torrenting. It is necessary to carefully remove the checkboxes during installation.
  • The mobile version contains intrusive ads that interfere with work.

UTorrent Free Download URL

UTorrent main window for desktops

3. Vuze

  • Number of visitors to the product website: ~ 450 thousand per month
  • Convenience (out of 10): 8
  • User rating *: 3.8
  • Presence of advertising: Yes
  • Bundled software: 1
  • Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, Linux

*- the score corresponds to the score from Google Play

The next torrent client I recommend is Vuze. This is a product of Azureus Software, Inc. Interesting is that it allows you to determine the country of the peer’s. This makes downloading torrents more intuitive.

I also liked the ability to output the built-in media player to a TV connected to the same WiFi as the Vuze computer.

The program allows you to limit the download speed, select a network interface, perform IP filtering, and many other functions that even very experienced users will appreciate.

Features:

Has two versions: Vuze Free and Vuze Plus. The free version contains ads. The paid one, in addition to disabling ads, provides additional useful features: Play Sooner for the built-in media player and a built-in antivirus.

Disadvantages:

  • Low rating for mobile version - problems with working in the background and may not support Android 10 or higher.
  • In terms of functionality, it isn’t too different from qBittorrent, which has no ads.

Free Vuze Download URL

Vuze main window for desktops

4. Bitport

  • Number of product website visitors: > 300k per month
  • Convenience (out of 10): 7
  • User rating *: 3.7
  • Presence of advertising: No
  • Bundled software: No
  • Supported platforms: Web, Android + Web, iOS + Web

*- the score corresponds to the score from Google Play

Bitport can download files without installing software. To launch it, a web browser and Internet access are enough. In fact, Bitport is a web interface for remote torrenting (cloud-based platform). You can download files to the Bitport server, and from there to your device, but without using P2P / BitTorrent.

This model has significant drawbacks, which I will discuss below. Among the advantages are safer downloading and the ability to disable the control device while the cloud-based BitTorrent platform is running.

Features:

Bitport has 1 free and 3 paid plans. Frankly speaking, it's very inconvenient to use it for free. Allowed to download only one torrent per day, limited free space and download speed, connection to the server only via the insecure http protocol.

Paid plans range from $5 to $15 per month. They don’t have the above restrictions.

If you liked Bitport because it allows you to download torrents securely, then consider buying it. You can make your torrenting even more secure by using a VPN with regular torrent clients. At the same time, a subscription, for example, to Surfshark will be much cheaper - from $2.21 per month.

Bitport can also work with iOS. There's even an app for that in the Apple App Store.

Disadvantages:

  • Strong restrictions on the free version
  • Downloading finished files from Bitport may take longer than downloading immediately with a classic torrent (P2P) client
  • High price for the unlimited version

URL for free registration with Bitport

Bitport panel appearance

5. BitTorrent

  • Number of product website visitors: > 3 million per month
  • Convenience (out of 10): 8
  • User rating *: 3.8
  • Presence of advertising: Yes
  • Bundled software: 2
  • Supported platforms: Windows, Web, Web + Mac, Android

*- the score corresponds to the score from Google Play

Official product of the BitTorrent company. In fact, it is a µTorrent clone. The same interface, options, the presence of ads, and attempts to preinstall unnecessary software. You can read more in the µTorrent description block.

I was interested in the online version of the client - BitTorrent Web.

It is a cloud-based torrenting platform with a handy app that can be installed on Windows and Mac. There is a free version (almost useless due to strong restrictions) and 2 paid plans: from $19.95 to $69.95 per month.

Features:

Support for all BitTorrent developments.

Disadvantages:

  • Lots of advertising
  • No version for Mac and Linux

BitTorrent Classic Free Download URL

BitTorrent Classic Main Window

6. Transmission

  • Number of product website visitors: > 450 thousand per month
  • Convenience (out of 10): 7
  • User rating: No
  • Presence of advertising: No
  • Bundled software: No
  • Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Web

Do you want your torrent client to be simple, lightweight, ad-free, and not trying to install unnecessary programs? Then I recommend Transmission. This is a professional P2P client with nothing superfluous.

Transmission will be of particular interest to Linux users as it has a console version that is available for all distributions.

It is also one of the best torrent clients for Mac.

Features:

The most compact client. Works fast even on the weakest computers. Doesn't accept magnet links. Developers can access the open-source Transmission code.

Disadvantages:

  • No built-in media player
  • Not suitable for Android devices

Free download URL Transmission

Main window of the Transmission app

7. Deluge

  • Number of product website visitors: > 430 thousand per month
  • Convenience (out of 10): 7
  • User rating: No
  • Presence of advertising: No
  • Bundled software: No
  • Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

Another free open source torrent client, Deluge, has a simple, intuitive interface, maximizes CPU power consumption, and is ideal for running a laptop on battery power.

There are some difficulties with the initial set of parameters, so I advise beginners to get more information from the Deluge forum.

Features:

You can use the Deluge source code for your own development. Supports most Linux distributions. Can be difficult for inexperienced users.

Disadvantages:

  • No built-in media player
  • Not suitable for Android devices

Deluge Free Download URL

Deluge app main window


Advanced BitTorrent client settings

In most cases, there is no need to change torrent client settings. But there are three cases when it makes sense to go to Options and change something:

  1. Torrenting overloads the channel and interferes with other devices on the network.
  2. You need the most secretive download.
  3. The client doesn’t see seeders, but it is known what they are.

Let's take a look at all the items in turn. The second step can be skipped if you are using a VPN with Kill Switch (the best of them are presented below in the article)

1. Torrent client bandwidth limitations (step-by-step manual)

The P2P network that BitTorrent is powered by can completely deny internet access to other devices on your home network. This happens while downloading files due to a large number of simultaneous connections with tens or hundreds of other computers.

This is especially true when the Internet speed is less than 10-20 Mbps.

In order to limit the "appetite" of torrent software, you need to specify the maximum permissible downloading and uploading speed.

How to properly limit the speed of torrenting?

  1. First, start downloading files without restrictions and note the maximum speed that is indicated in the torrent app.

    Determining the maximum download speed

  2. Remember your value and stop the download.
  3. Go to options for the torrent program and find the Speed ​​section.
  4. Change the value of the Global Rate Limits as follows - set Upload at 0.3 - 0.5 Mbps, and Download at 50-75% of the value that you received in the 1st paragraph. For example, if you had this value 3.1 Mbps, then specify 2 Mbps.
  5. Click OK.

2. How to improve the safety of torrenting  

As you know, for anonymous and secure torrent apps, you need to use a VPN. But if you have a regular VPN without the Kill Switch function for blocking traffic leakage, then you are at risk if your Internet connection drops and then restores.

VPN apps don’t protect your traffic when you reconnect. It is important to prevent BitTorrent traffic from leaking into the network without protection. To do this, you need to block the connection.

You can prevent unencrypted data leakage by selecting the network adapter to use in the torrent client settings.

In the settings of qBittorrent, uTorrent, and many other clients, there is a choice of the network interface. The default setting directs traffic over a standard Internet connection. But any VPN creates its own virtual interface during its installation. The only problem is finding it. As a rule, most VPNs don’t call it by their own name, but leave the standard “Ethernet 2,3,4…”.

With a little experimentation, you can find the interface of your VPN app and select it.

After that, traffic will automatically stop in case of a connection failure with the VPN server.

The method I described is rarely used, but it can significantly increase the protection of torrenting.

Alternatively, you can use Surfshark VPN, which will do everything for you.

3. How to see all seeds from behind NAT   

If your local network doesn’t allow you to see all computers in the P2P network (peers), then I advise you to try VPN with port forwarding.

This technology allows you to forward the local port of the torrent client to the VPN server bypassing NAT.

An example of a VPN service with Port Forwarding support is Private Internet Access.


Torrent clients and security

Torrenting is a risk zone. Copyright protection techniques have led to the creation of laws that severely restrict the ability to legally obtain free content.

Sites that had posted movies, music, literature, and software either closed or switched to paid subscriptions.

Torrent sites still exist only because they don’t contain the material themselves. They only have files and links to segments of P2P / BitTorrent networks, which have the necessary files and coordinate the work of torrent clients.

This creates some illusion that torrenting is safe. Since the sites aren’t blocked, then it seems that it is completely legal.

In all countries with copyright protection, it is illegal to distribute materials. Torrents are designed in such a way that a file downloaded to your computer automatically becomes available for torrent programs of other users. And the harmless download turns into distribution.

Always use VPN for BitTorrent to mask your network activity.


Top 3 VPNs for torrenting

1. Surfshark VPN is the best choiceSurfshark Logo

  • Super-low price
  • All servers support torrenting
  • Kill Switch
  • MultiHop (Double VPN)
  • Doesn't keep logs
  • Good reviews

The best VPN for torrent clients, Surfshark has everything you need to torrent securely and anonymously. Simple installation in a few clicks, automatic settings, and inconspicuous background work are just the main advantages of this app.

By delving deeper into its functions, you can create a double-secured connection, block annoying ads on torrent sites, set up a list of programs that you need to run without a VPN.

In addition to this, Surfshark provides break-resistant AES-256 encryption and supports Kill Switch.

Surfshark Preview
The best offer for torrenting
 

2. NordVPN is an incredibly balanced appNordVPN Logo

  • Unrivaled connection stability
  • Affordable price
  • Minimum CPU load
  • Kill Switch
  • Double VPN
  • Doesn't keep logs
  • Good reviews

My favorite VPN I'm using right now while writing this article is NordVPN. It is even better than Surfshark - it supports the super-technological NordLynx (WireGuard) protocol, so it practically doesn’t load the processor and has increased speed.

Combined with more than 5,000 servers in 60+ countries around the world, NordVPN distributes the user load so evenly that over several years of testing and using it, it has never slowed down torrenting or Internet speed in general.

The provider has dedicated servers for torrenting but allows P2P connections in moderation at all locations.

NordVPN Preview
Connect to a fast and affordable VPN
 

3. ExpressVPN is the strongest VPNExpressVPN Logo

  • Super high-speed servers
  • Supports all devices
  • Unrivaled level of anonymity
  • Kill Switch
  • Split Tunneling
  • Doesn't keep logs
  • Good reviews

ExpressVPN is arguably the most secure and anonymous VPN. Thanks to the use of diskless servers, the provider is guaranteed not to keep logs. However, even before the introduction of these technologies, the service was famous for its high level of privacy protection.

The second important advantage of the company is the incredible speeds of the VPN. Testing showed real download speeds of 150 Mbps and more. This is more than 3 times higher than that of most good providers.

I should also note the good work of the support service that is filled not with bots, but with real qualified specialists.

ExpressVPN Preview
Connect to a premium VPN
 

Thanks for reading this article. I hope that the information that I have carefully studied and checked will help you not only choose your torrent client but also use it safely and safely wherever you are.

Leave your comments and opinions.

Dean Chester.

VPN-Review - Chief Editor
Dean Chester
Cybersecurity and online privacy expert and researcher. He's been published on OpenVPN, EC-Council Blog, DevSecOps, AT-T Business, SAP Community, etc. Dean has been testing VPNs for 8 years.

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