All good things come to an end, including the dominance of uTorrent. Alternatives are available, however, and we’ll show you which are the most reputable and functional clients. After choosing the best alternative to uTorrent, continue with our guide to learn how to stay safe while torrenting with a VPN.
When it first started, uTorrent (also known as µTorrent) was one of the most popular and best-loved torrent clients. It was lightweight, easy to use, and had all the features you needed to download and manage your torrents.
However, in the last few years the uTorrent software has become much less reputable. Now when you install it, it comes bundled with a bunch of unrelated and unwanted extra software (known as bloatware or, less politely, as crapware) which will be installed onto your computer too. The uTorrent software used to be open source, but now it is closed source and it makes money from its large, clunky advertisements which appear on the interface.
For all these reasons, many users are turning away from uTorrent. What used to be the best name in the game for torrent clients is now not up to the standards of discerning users. So what are the best alternatives to uTorrent in 2017? If you want a torrent client that will manage your torrents effectively and be more pleasing and safe to use than uTorrent, then read on for our recommendations.
Before Using Torrents, Get a VPN
If you’re going to use torrents, you need to be wary. We’ll get right into the torrent clients in a moment, but first we need to talk about security issues. Torrents can be used for downloading legitimate files, such as open-source software which is distributed through torrents in order to save on expensive hosting space. However, torrents can also be used to access copyrighted content illegally.
READ MORE: Best legal torrent sites for safe downloads
You need to be especially careful when using torrents, as when you download from a torrent you are also hosting the file. This is due to the way that torrents work: when you are downloading a file you get it in pieces, and while your software is downloading the next pieces it is also hosting the already downloaded pieces for other users to download from you. This means that technically, when you are using a torrent, you could be hosting illegal content for download.
Of course it can be risky to download copyrighted content, but hosting copyrighted content is a much more serious offence. If you are caught using torrents, you could be liable for a very steep fine or for prosecution.
To keep yourself safe and private when torrenting, we strongly recommend that you get a VPN. This will help to keep you safe by encrypting all of the data which is sent out over your internet connection. This encryption blocks all 3rd parties like your ISP from seeing what you’re downloading from the internet.
Our Recommended VPNs (and How We Picked Them)
When it comes to selecting an VPN, you need to research carefully if you want to use torrents. Not all VPN providers allow you to use P2P downloads like torrents over their servers, especially not the free VPN services you sometimes see advertised. If you’re going to torrent, then you want a VPN which fulfils certain criteria:
- No restriction on file types so you can torrent freely
- No usage caps so you won’t run out of bandwidth when you’re downloading large files
- Decently fast connections so you don’t have to wait forever for your files to download
- Powerful encryption to keep you safe and ensure no one can see your activity
- A no-logging policy to avoid any potential problems with law enforcement or copyright holders
With these criteria in mind, there are a couple of VPN providers that we particularly recommend for torrenting:
A trusted VPN provider which is geared towards torrent users is NordVPN. Their 256-bit AES encryption is virtually impossible to break, and together with their massive array of 5,600+ servers in 60 countries, you’re well equipped for anonymity. If you’re willing to sacrifice some speed for extra security, try the double VPN specialty server for an extra layer of cryptography; otherwise, check out the P2P-optimized servers for a better balance of speed and privacy. NordVPN will never tattle on you either, as they keep zero activity logs which could be used to identify your torrent traffic.
Excellent connection speeds, a robust but lightweight app, zero caps on usage or restrictions on P2P traffic make NordVPN the ideal partner for any heavy torrent user.
Read our full NordVPN review.
- Unblocks American Netflix
- Extensive server park of over 5,400 different servers
- Torrenting/P2P explicitly allowed
- Strict zero logs policy on both traffic and metadata
- 24/7 Live Chat.
- Some servers can be unreliable
- Refund processing can take up to 30 days.
IPVanish is a top choice for power users, and they are a company who explicitly welcomes torrenters to their service. One of their great strengths is how fast their connections are, so you can download at high speed and starting enjoying your content straight away. They allow all kinds of traffic over their connections, including P2P downloads like torrents, so that’s no problem. They also have no caps or limitations so you can download as much as you want without worrying about hitting a cap or being throttled.
Most importantly, they have excellent security with strong 256-bit encryption and a strict no-logging policy. With access to over 1,300 servers in more than 60 countries, you’ll always be able to find a server that suits your needs.
Read our full IPVanish review.
Alternative Torrent Clients
Once you have a VPN to keep you safe, you can start using torrent clients. These are the ones we think are the best:
qBittorrent is a strong contender for the best replacement for uTorrent, thanks to its easy-to-use interface and the fact that it has no ads. It is a cross-platform client, meaning that you can install and use it on Windows, Linux, or OS X, so it’s good for every user.
Like uTorrent used to be, qBittorrent is lightweight and does not take up a lot of system resources. It even looks like the old uTorrent interface, so if you liked the old style then you’ll like this software. The interface is dead easy to use, with menu options the top, torrents sorted by status (downloading, completed, paused and so on) on the left-hand side, and a large panel showing currently downloading torrents on the right. You can pause or resume torrents using the controls at the top of the pane as well as re-ordering the torrents to prioritise particular files.
qBittorrent has the features that you need, like support for both torrent files and magnet links, plus an RSS reader so you can automatically download new torrents when they are added to a particular site. Extra bonus features include the ability to shut down or hibernate your computer once downloads are complete, which is handy is you leave your computer on to download torrents overnight.
There’s even an integrated torrent search engine in the client, which requires just a little bit of installation and configuration. Once you’ve set it up, you can search for torrents from right inside the client, which is very convenient.
Overall, if you are looking for a simple, clean, easy-to-use replacement for uTorrent, then qBittorrent is an excellent choice. Download it at https://www.qbittorrent.org/
Transmission is best known as a torrent client for Linux; if you’ve ever installed any Ubuntu distributions then you’ll have seen Transmission is the default torrent client and comes bundled in the distribution. But in fact the software does support Windows and Mac too, and is becoming more popular for non-Linux users. The Windows version of the software is technically an early-release version, so while it is not fully finalised, it’s still complete enough to use.
A divisive feature of Transmission is its extremely minimal and clutter-free interface. Some people love its clean look, while others find it a little fiddly to use. When you open the program you won’t see many options or toggles, just a list of currently downloading torrents. However, don’t be fooled – there are still lots of features and options built in to the client. To access the options, double click on a torrent to see more information about it and to adjust the options to your liking. It can take a while to familiarise yourself with the unusual layout and interface of Transmission, but once you know how to use it you’ll find that it has many of the features that you want – they just might take a while to find!
It’s worth mentioning that Transmission have had some security problems in the past. Back in 2016, their servers were hacked and the official Mac version of the software which was distributed had ransomware added to it, and there have been instances of malware being added to downloads too. This caused a big hit to the reputation of the software, although the developers have worked hard to clean and secure their product since then. We recommend being careful when you install the software, just to be sure that your download won’t contain any unpleasant surprises.
Get it at https://transmissionbt.com/
If you love to customise your software to suit your needs, then you’ll enjoy using Deluge. This client is open source and cross platform, supporting Linux, Windows, and MacOS. When you first install Deluge, you’ll find that it’s very minimal with just the most basic, stripped-down features. But if you want more features, that’s no problem – you can install plugins which will give you the features you want.
For example, some of the plugins you can find on the developer’s website (http://dev.deluge-torrent.org/wiki/Plugins) include ones to automatically shut down or hibernate your computer once the downloads are complete, to rename batches of files to keep everything neat, to add Growl notifications for your torrents’ statuses, to schedule torrents to download at a particular time, or to displace your statistics in an attractive graph form. These are just a few examples – with a list of many plugins available, you can find all sorts of features and customise your software to your liking.
Because of this plugin-based approach, Deluge is not the best client for someone who is new to torrenting and who doesn’t yet know exactly how to use torrent software safely and easily. In this case, they would be better off using Transmission or qBittorrent. But for advanced users who have lots of experience with torrent clients and who want to customise their software to meet their needs, Deluge is a great choice.
Get it at http://deluge-torrent.org
A final option for an alternative to uTorrent is Tixati. This software is not open source, but it does have support for both Windows and Linux. It’s unique selling point is the integration of chatrooms and private messaging, which is strongly encrypted. If you want to chat without a record of your conversations being available to companies like WhatsApp or Google, then Tixati allows you to do this.
As a torrent client, Tixati has plenty of features, but the interface can be intimidating at first. It might take a while to familiarise yourself with all of the different options and settings which are available to you. But once you’re used to it, you’ll find that you have access to settings for throttling, encryption, and bandwidth management. It has support for magnet links and RC4 connection encryption for added security, plus advanced features like an RSS reader, IP filtering, and event scheduling.
A big advantage of this client is that it is lightweight and fast, and has no ads or spyware in it. Another advantage is the high level of security it uses, making it one of the safest clients for users who are concerned about their privacy.
Get it at https://www.tixati.com/
Each of these four torrent clients makes a worthy replacement for uTorrent if you’re sick of uTorrent’s obnoxious ads and unsecure bloatware. We would recommend each of these clients for different users: qBittorrent is a great replacement for those who want something as similar as possible to uTorrent without the ads, Transmission is good for Linux or Mac users who want a minimal client, Deluge is perfect for advanced users who want to customise their experience, and Tixati is suited to those who are highly concerned about security.
Which torrent client is your favourite? Are you sticking with uTorrent, or do you prefer one of these alternatives? Let us know in the comments below!
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