How to Start Torrenting
Most computer devices and operating systems are capable of using torrents to download files. However, for practicality purposes, torrenting is mostly tied to desktop and laptop computers. This is also due to the fact that downloading a torrent file can take a long time.
If you want to download torrents, here is what you need:
- Torrent website – The first thing you need to figure out is where to download torrents. There are several popular torrent sites you can find online, but you have to choose a website that won’t get you in trouble. As much as possible, stay on the safe side of the law. Make sure to check out the torrent repositories that legally offer movies, TV series, games, software, books, and other content.
- Torrent client – The other requirement when downloading torrent files is the torrent client. This is a small app that reads the metadata on the torrent file and facilitates the downloading of the file. Most torrent clients work the same way, but small subtleties mean a lot of difference when choosing torrent software. Torrent clients usually come free of charge, but you need to choose one that is reliable and won’t annoy you with ads.
2020 Best Torrent Clients
There are so many torrent clients on the internet today, and it is a challenge looking for reliable software to download your torrents with. Because most torrent apps are free, users usually suffer from annoying ads just to be able to download the content that they need. Others, who are more unfortunate, get infected with malware and other potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).
To make things easier for torrent users, we’ve listed here the best torrent clients in the industry today. We’ve also indicated the torrent clients for Windows and torrent clients for Mac, so you can choose which app suits your device the most. Let’s look at them one by one:
Best Free Torrent Client for 2020: qBittorrent
qBittorrent is an example of a software that balances speed and simplicity while delivering high-quality service. While some torrent programs try to offer every conceivable feature and others try to keep things as simple as possible, qBittorrent strives to provide the best of worlds. This free torrent client aims to meet the needs of its users while consuming as little CPU and memory as possible.
Unlike other torrent clients that live on delivering ads to support its operations, qBittorrent operates on a donation basis instead. You also don’t have to worry about any bundled software maliciously being installed on your computer. qBittorrent is developed by a group of volunteers who want to provide an open-source alternative to its major competitor, µTorrent.
qBittorrent boasts of a well-integrated and extensible torrent search engine, media player, encryption, sequential prioritization of torrents, IP filtering, bandwidth scheduling, and torrent creation. Plus, the user-interface looks a lot like, if not better than, µTorrent.
If you’re searching for a cross-platform torrent software that provides the essentials without being overly complicated, qBittorrent is perfect for you. It is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.
Best Torrent Client 2019: uTorrent
It is an incredibly lightweight torrent app developed and maintained by BitTorrent itself. It has been around since 2005 and it has millions of users around the world. In fact, it is the most popular torrent client outside China.
The uTorrent app has been the leading torrent software ever since it came to be. uTorrent is a handy and useful app that doesn’t eat up too much of your system’s resources. This incredibly small application is even smaller than a digital photo. You can download it in a few seconds and proceed to install the app in less than a minute.
However, make sure to read everything during the installation process and don’t just click randomly. The uTorrent app is known to come with bundled software that would be installed along with the torrent client. Go through each step carefully and opt out of any bundled software. Once you have installed the app, you’ll see the simple user interface that any beginner can appreciate.
uTorrent is the best torrent client for 2019 because of its host of amazing features, including download prioritization, scheduled downloads, built-in media player, torrent streaming, third-party plugins, and various deep customization options.
But one major downside of using uTorrent is having too many ads. Since the torrent app is free, it earns revenue by delivering ads to its users. Sometimes the ads can be so irritating, which is probably uTorrent’s way of forcing users to upgrade to the Pro version. A lot of users argue that the most recent versions of uTorrent are a little too heavy on the advertising, especially at the top part of the app window, causing a lot of users to be disappointed.
The Pro version costs $69.95 a year with a few more features added. By upgrading to Premium, you no longer have to worry about ads, plus you’ll get virus protection, a CyberGhost VPN connection, and the capability to watch torrents without waiting for them to finish downloading. If you think the Pro version is too expensive, you can instead choose the stand-alone advertisement-free subscription for $4.95 a year.
uTorrent is available for Windows, macOS, and Android devices.
Vuze is a feature-packed torrent program, if you don’t mind seeing the ads. It has a clear, well-designed interface and the app is packed with a wide range of useful features.
Vuze, formerly known as Azureus, claims to be the most powerful torrent software on Earth today. Although this claim might be a bit over the top, it has the capability to back it up.
Vuze comes in two versions: the stripped-back Vuze Leap and the fully-fledged Vuze Plus. Both versions support torrent download, media playback, and provide support for magnet file links. However, the Vuze Plus includes integrated virus protection and the power to preview media files.
One of Vuze’s main selling points is its interface. Despite the advanced features, the app interface is so easy to navigate and even new users won’t have any trouble using the torrent app. Vuze also supports bandwidth limiting, integrated metasearch, IP filtering, and robust settings and features. However, be careful when you install Vuze because you might accidentally install the bundled antivirus trial.
Vuze is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux computers.
It is an extremely lean and simple, but very powerful tool for beginners in torrenting. Its simple user interface makes things a lot less confusing. However, while the interface is easy to use, Deluge looks completely different from the widely used uTorrent and qBittorrent torrents, so this will be initially unfamiliar to use for first-timers. It might take some time to get used to, but everything will be a breeze once you get the hang of it.
It is one of the oldest torrent clients ever developed and is still a heavy favorite among users. The app has also been recently updated to allow users who are tech-savvy to build their own torrent software from scratch. It is one of the most lightweight torrent clients available today, so you don’t have to worry about Deluge taking up much of your limited hard drive storage.
Users can also integrate this torrent app with popular browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox, to make torrenting even simpler. But unlike uTorrent, you don’t have to install any unwanted software. Plus, you can schedule the downloading of torrents and organize them by batches.
Deluge can run as a standalone desktop application, as well as a client-server at the same time. It is compatible with Linux, Windows, and macOS devices.
uTorrent and BitTorrent are so similar that they share the same features across the board. This can be expected since BitTorrent is also the one behind the operations of uTorrent. BitTorrent is also one of the earliest torrent clients that are still being widely used today. It is extremely small in size and very resource-friendly — it has very little to no consumption in terms of system resources, making it an ideal app to download torrents from.
It is also equipped with a simple-looking and easy to use interface, which is quite useful for first-timers. So if you are going to download a torrent file using this program for the first time, you won’t have any problems navigating around the app and you should get the hang of it immediately.
BitTorrent is free to download, but you’ll have to suffer from being bombarded by ads. If you can’t tolerate them, you can upgrade to the premium version for $19.95. The ad-free upgrade already includes file conversion, an antivirus protection, and a built-in HD media player. Unfortunately, the Pro version is only available to devices running on Windows OS.
However, if you only want to download torrent files and you don’t care about the annoying ads or other fancy features, the free version should be good enough for your needs. The free version is already equipped with fast download technology, built-in bandwidth booster, and remote downloading.
Aside from Windows, the app is also available for Mac users and recently, an Android version has been released for mobile users who want to download torrent files on their phones.
Downloading torrents on a Windows device is very easy because you have a lot of torrent programs to choose from. But if you’re using a Mac, your options are very limited.
Plus, with the system and software updates that Apple constantly introduces to Mac users, other torrent clients that are not designed specifically for macOS will no longer work as smooth as they do on Windows. This means that even popular torrent programs like uTorrent, qBitTorrent, and others may or may not work properly.
Fortunately, Transmission provides quality torrenting services that are compatible with macOS. This lean and robust torrent software is easy to install and use on a Mac.
The simple and easy to use UI of the Transmission app is a reflection of Apple’s minimalism. You don’t get annoying pop-up ads, flash videos, or unnecessary toolbars. Because it’s an open-source project, Transmission does not offer any payware alternative for torrent users to enjoy its other features.
The developers have also ensured that configuring the app requires just a few clicks. It takes just a few tinkering to get the torrent program up and running, which is almost the same as a plug-and-play scenario.
If you want to install Transmission, you need to download it from its website or other trustworthy sources since the app is not available on the Mac App Store. And if you’re using Transmission version 2.90 or other older versions for Mac, make sure to update to the latest version. Earlier versions of Transmission have been found to distribute malware to devices they are installed on.
Normally, video streaming and torrent downloading are done using separate apps. But with WebTorrent Desktop, torrent users can already play videos, music, and audiobooks without waiting for the file to finish downloading. Users can even stream videos to Chromecast, DLNA, and AirPlay.
Although this lightweight torrent client is still in beta version, its performance can be considered pretty decent, considering that the app is also able to connect to Transmission, WebTorrent, µTorrent, and BitTorrent peers. It can communicate with peers running other clients and also talk to web pages such as instant.io.
Its other features include ad-free downloading, drag-and-drop customization, and peer discovery via Distributed Hash Table (DHT), tracker servers, and peer exchange. WebTorrent Desktop is an open-source client that you can download for Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu.
Just like Deluge, BitLord has been around for a long time already. It may not be as popular as the other torrent clients, but it is still one of the best programs in sharing files and searching content via torrent today. The interface is clutter-free and has a simple navigation that is fit for beginners.
You can also stream content instantly using its built-in player or via Chromecast even if the file is still being downloaded. BitLord’s automatic subtitle feature, password protection, downloads organizer, torrent creation, and torrent feedback list are some of the advantages of this app over other clients.
The platform is ad-free, which makes for a great first impression. No pop-up or banner ads distract you from the file you are downloading. BitLord is a small file that is easy to install. When you click on the installer, it will automatically download the files required to complete the setup. Depending on your internet connection, the installation should be done in just a few seconds to a few minutes.
If you have a security software, such as an antivirus program, running on your system, it is recommended that you disable it temporarily. Your antivirus might flag the torrent software as a harmful program and delete important files, rendering the program unusable.
BitLord is compatible with Macs and Windows computers.
Based on the name of the software, Tixati sounds more like a game than a BitTorrent program. However, Tixati is actually a powerful torrent app that features a classic UI and top-notch functionality.
It has a wide array of configuration settings, a highly detailed user interface, encrypted chat rooms, easy installation process, detailed bandwidth limits, and drag-and-drop torrent management.
Unlike other torrent clients that have been flagged with malware, or other false positives, Tixati is safe from these issues. Whether you are using it on Windows or Linux, the installation process is relatively simple and straightforward. The torrent download speed is also top notch, as long as your network allows it.
One of the benefits of using Tixati is that you don’t have to be frustrated about ads. This torrent program does not serve advertisements, spyware, and other annoying content since it is a closed-source tool. This, in turn, protects the users from harmful malware and PUPs. Tixati stays afloat by relying on donations from users so they don’t have to shove ads to their users’ screen.
Tixati, however, only works with Windows and Linux computers so Mac users will have to use another torrent app.
The next torrent client on our list is BiglyBT. It is an open-source software, but the amazing thing is that it is completely ad-free. This torrent software also doesn’t install unwanted third-party software on your computer. BiglyBT traces its roots from popular torrent clients, such as Vuze and Azureaus, so users of these platforms can enjoy similar features offered by those other torrent programs.
BiglyBT’s features include ability to download and seed to WebTorrent peers, rate limiting, swam merging for uncompleted torrents, remote control access using an Android app, categorized torrent lists, and highly accurate meta-search. It’s UPnP Media Server and DLNA support enables devices to communicate faster.
What is more impressive is its improved integration capability through VPN detection and its I2P support, allowing users to download files anonymously. Plus, it also has media playback and media conversion features.
BiglyBT is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android devices.
What Is Torrenting?
When you hear the word torrent in the digital world, it actually refers to a file that includes metadata holding information about the content you want to download. A torrent file usually comes with the .torrent extension, but it does not store the actual content to be distributed.
The information contained in the file will be used by a torrent client, such as uTorrent, Transmission, or BitTorrent for the actual distribution of the file. This allows torrent users to easily download torrent files to their devices.
Because torrenting has made downloading files a lot easier, a lot of torrent users unknowingly download copyrighted materials. This practice is widely frowned upon around the world, and some countries even prohibit illegal torrents by imposing fines and other penalties. However, this doesn’t mean that all torrents are not safe. There are a lot of legal torrent sites out there that offer content that is safe to download.
Is Using a Torrent Client Illegal?
The answer depends on how you use the app. By itself, a torrent software is a legitimate app. You can use it to download any type of content that you want. However, it can also be used to download files that are protected by copyright, making torrenting an unlawful act.
Downloading content that infringes on the owner’s copyright is illegal. You can get penalized for downloading pirated content. ISP providers are known to throttle the user’s bandwidth when they detect torrenting activities. Some copyright monitoring agencies also send out warning letters to users who download torrents, while government agencies usually impose fines. Depending on where you are located and the severity of your country’s anti-piracy laws, you can even get jailed for torrenting.
However, there are also certain contents that are safe to download using a torrent client. The movies and motion pictures that have entered the public domain for various reasons should be safe to download. These are the movies that were released without copyright notices, were not registered, or have failed to renew their copyright licensing. The types of movies are now available for the public to download for free or stream online. On top of these copyright-free movies, you can also download open-source programs, as long as you observe their legitimate use.
When downloading torrents, always use the best VPN or Virtual Private Network. A reliable VPN will hide your IP address from ISPs, the government, and other watchdog groups, thus protecting your online privacy.
How Does Torrenting Work?
Before we elaborate on how torrenting works, let us first define some common terms you might encounter when dealing with torrents:
- Peers – These are the users that are actively downloading or uploading the torrent files. In simple terms, this word refers to every member of the file-sharing or P2P (peer-to-peer) network.
- Seeders – There are the users who have finished downloading the torrent files on their device. Since they are done downloading, they are now seeding the files and allowing other users to take packets of data from their computers.
- Leechers – These are the users who are currently downloading the file. They are taking packets of data from the seeders in order to complete their downloads.
- Indexers – This refers to the torrent websites. These websites serve as repositories of torrents, where you can search for different types of media and download the torrent that you need.
- Trackers – These are the bridges between peers or the members of a P2P network. These are the URLs and servers that facilitate the file transfer by routing small pieces of data between seeders and leechers.
- BitTorrent clients – These are specialized applications required for downloading torrent files. If you want to download torrents, you need to have a BitTorrent client installed on your computer.
When you download something from the Internet, you just need to click the download button or link for the files to be saved on your computer. Torrenting is a bit more complicated than that, but it makes the download process a lot easier. Instead of taking a file from a single server then downloading it to your device in one whole go, a torrent, which is also known as a tracker, will break up the big file and divide it into little pieces of data, called packets.
These packets are located on a server in their entirety, called the seeder, but are also shared throughout the network of devices that are downloading the same file you do. These peers, also called leechers, each have slightly different portions of the same file. The torrent file you opened monitors who has which packet and rotates the seeder you are downloading from.
Each leecher (the users downloading the file) also acts as a mini-server in the process. This minimizes the overall network load and makes downloading possible for people who are running on limited bandwidth. The disadvantage is that while you’re downloading the file, you are also uploading at the same time, causing your Internet connection to be strained.
Because of this, the download process using torrent turns out to be slower than when doing a direct download. It is usually a lot slower in the beginning, but the speed starts to pick up as you go along. This due to the fact that your computer’s download speed and upload speed have a direct relationship: the more you can upload bits and pieces of the torrent, the faster you can download other pieces in return.
Another element that slows down torrenting is when the download connection is not stable. You will experience more interruptions than when you do direct downloads. If you have a very fast internet connection, the difference will be negligible. People with slower connections, however, may find themselves annoyed at the frequent slowdowns.
Some Torrenting Tips
Torrenting is a great way to share and download large files over the internet, particularly software, apps, games, and movies. Choosing the right torrent app and downloading the torrent file is just one half of the picture. To make your download a lot faster, here are some tips you should consider:
- Limit your upload rate. The more you contribute to the torrent, the faster your download will be. But if you’re in an urgent situation, you can choose to limit your upload rate so your bandwidth can focus more on downloading.
- Find a torrent file that has many seeders. The more seeders the torrent has, the faster the download will be.
- Do not download unnecessary files. When you download torrent files, sometimes you don’t have to download everything inside the torrent files. You can unselect them to speed up your download.
- Use a VPN. ISPs are known to throttle torrent traffic. When you use a VPN, your torrent traffic is hidden from the eyes of your internet service provider. It will also protect your identity and keep away cybercriminals.