Criticized for bundling bloatware and containing annoying banner ads, one of their biggest faux-pas yet was revealed in 2015: uTorrent bundled the cryptocurrency mining software Epic Scale and essentially tricked users into its installation.
These are prime examples of user deception and exploitation. Can you still trust uTorrent? You don’t have to. Here are five great uTorrent alternatives.
The Best Alternative to uTorrent: qBittorrent
- Can handle magnet links
- Supports BitTorrent extensions like Distributed Hash Table (DHT), Peer Exchange Protocol (PEX), Local Peer Discovery (LSD), Torrent Queueing, and Encryption, which you can set up under Tools > Options > BitTorrent > Privacy
- Search engine
- RSS feed support features advanced download filters such as regex
- Web user interface to remote control the client
- IP filtering
- Sequential download (one after the other)
- Advanced control over torrents, trackers, and peers, including queueing and prioritizing
- Bandwidth scheduler
- Torrent creation tool under Tools > Torrent Creator
Widely considered the best uTorrent alternative, qBittorrent is a free open-source torrent client, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. While open source software isn’t automatically safer, the fact that you could theoretically review the code does make it more trustworthy. Moreover, qBittorrent is free from bloatware and ads, which leads to a smooth installation experience.
The legal notice shown once before launching the software for the first time reminds users of their responsibilities.
The qBittorrent interface is clean and organized. And if you’ve used uTorrent, it will seem familiar, which is not a coincidence. qBittorrent set out to be an open source alternative to uTorrent.
At a glance, you can see the status of all your downloads, and you can view them by category, tags, or trackers. Through the menus at the bottom, you can bring up background information about peers, your downloading and seeding speed, and more.
You can drag-and-drop .torrent files and magnet links onto the tool to initiate the download. If you don’t want the download to start automatically, head to Tools > Options > Downloads and check the box next to Do not start the download automatically.
qBittorrent includes a Search Engine that comes pre-loaded with a selection of Torrent sites that you can search simultaneously. Note that this tool requires a Python Interpreter; the installation files are included. You can enable the Search Engine through View > Search Engine.
You can add additional Torrent sites: open Search, click on the Search plugins button in the bottom right, click Install a new one, and either click Local file if you want to add a qBittorent search plugin you’ve downloaded or Web link if you’d like to add a URL. Use the Search Engine to avoid overblown search websites.
Download: qBittorrent for Windows | Mac | Linux
Runner-Up Alternatives to uTorrent
- Supports Magnet links and DHT
- Encryption under Settings > Network > Connections
- IP filter
- RSS-based auto torrent downloader
- Web interface under Settings > User Interface
Tixati has a no spyware, no adware, and no-nonsense guarantee. Unlike the other clients on this list, however, Tixati is not open source. The installation takes a moment, but it’s free from third-party offers and appears clean.
When you first launch Tixati, you’ll have to confirm your initial configuration, which mainly concerns the download folder, incoming port, and bandwidth throttle (off per default). Next, the Windows Defender Firewall will pop up and you’ll have to give Tixati access to your network.
You can switch between different interfaces, including Transfers, Bandwidth, or the DHT (pictured below). The Home tab displays Tixati’s log file and a summary of all your transfers and incoming connections. Like qBittorrent, Tixati comes with an internal search engine, which lets you avoid potentially seedy torrent sites.
Among the clients covered in this article, Tixati’s interface is the most complex, which is also reflected in Tixati’s comprehensive options. Nevertheless, it’s one of the more lightweight Torrent clients.
- Encryption, set preferences via Edit > Preferences > Privacy > Encryption
- Support for Magnet links, DHT, PEX, and more
- Web interface
- Webseed support
- Watch directories
- Edit tracker
- Limit global and per-torrent speed
- Add bad peer blocklists via Edit > Preferences > Privacy > Blocklist
Like uTorrent, the open-source client Transmission has had bouts of malware infections. Having overcome these unfortunate setbacks, however, it remains the default BitTorrent client on many Unix and Linux distributions, including Solaris, Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, Puppy, and GNOME (an openSUSE flavor).
One of Transmission’s benefits is that it’s a lightweight BitTorrent client. The installation is fast, free from nag screens, and concludes with a brief notification about the tool’s file sharing nature. The interface is functional and minimal.
Note that you have to start a local or remote session before you can download anything. Go to Edit > Change Session to launch a new session. When you first start a Transmission session on Windows 10, the Windows Defender Firewall will pop up to let you know it blocked some features. Click Allow access to give Transmission permission to communicate on your network.
Download: Transmission for Windows | Mac | Linux
- Encryption, set preferences via Edit > Preferences > Network > Encryption
- Support for Magnet links, DHT, PEX
- Web seeds
- Global and per-torrent speed limits
- Web interface
Deluge, originally known as gTorrent, is a free, open source, and cross-platform BitTorrent client that heavily draws features on the libtorrent library. By adhering to the freedesktop standards, it can “work across many desktop environments.”
The installation took a little longer and several more clicks than any of the other clients. Fortunately, Deluge is free from bloatware, toolbars, or ads. The interface is similar to qBittorrent, though slightly more crowded.
You can add additional details to the download section of the client through View > Columns.
Download: Deluge for Windows | Mac | Linux | Unix
Which Torrent Client Will You Choose?
We have a clear recommendation: qBittorrent.
But maybe it’s lacking a feature that another client offers. Whichever client you choose, if you need to share or download sensitive torrent files, we strongly recommend using a VPN that has an integrated VPN kill switch, so that you won’t accidentally leak your IP in case your secure connection drops.
Wondering why Vuze isn’t featured in this list? We tested it and decided not to recommend it. Vuze was the only client on this list that came with bloatware: Avast, the Spigot toolbar, and a Google Chrome extension. Moreover, the free version of Vuze contains animated ads and has a busy interface with unnecessary features. If you’re looking for a clean and trustworthy uTorrent alternative, Vuze isn’t it.