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Torrenting is not a sin; it’s a medium of communication that describes how files are shared BitTorrent & Magnets: How Do They Work? [Technology Explained] BitTorrent & Magnets: How Do They Work? [Technology Explained] As we recently reported, The Pirate Bay has switched from using .torrent file downloads to magnet links with no opt-out policy. The tracker has offered magnet downloads for a good while now, but this is... Read More . Can it be used in sinful ways? Sure. Can it be used in righteous ways, too? Absolutely. In fact, a remarkable amount of filesharing is done through completely legal torrents 11 Online Sources to Find Legal Torrents 11 Online Sources to Find Legal Torrents Recent events have seen well-known torrent directories like BTJunkie closing their doors or being threatened with closure, leaving many people wondering about the legalities of torrents and which directories are still open to find them... Read More .

Regardless of what you torrent — and let’s face it, not all of us are shining examples of filesharing nobility — it’s important to consider how you torrent. There are several high-quality torrent clients available for Linux users and it can be difficult to know which one is best to use.

After a few days of research, I’m confident that I’ve found the perfect one. Are you using it?

uTorrent

uTorrent, which is technically pronounced “micro-torrent” but commonly called “you-torrent”, is one of the most widely used clients today. Its initial burst in popularity can be attributed to the same thing that made Chrome so popular at debut: fast, lightweight, and free.

But those days are long gone. uTorrent today is only a shell of what made it so great all those years ago, which can probably be attributed to being acquired by BitTorrent Inc. Nonetheless, uTorrent isn’t a lost story just yet.

linux-torrent-clients-utorrent

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Most power users recommend sticking with uTorrent 2.2.1, which was released back in March 2011. This is the last build before uTorrent started going download with bloated features and adware. A quick Google search will turn up a handful of sites that still offer this old version for download.

Despite being four years out of date, the 2.2.1 version of uTorrent is feature complete. It supports download scheduling, bandwidth priorities, automatic downloads from RSS, and exchange encryption. The file is barely 1MB and rarely uses more than 5 to 10MB of RAM.

The catch is that you’ll need to run it through Wine Run Windows Applications on Linux (or Mac) with WINE Run Windows Applications on Linux (or Mac) with WINE Read More . It’s not the most elegant solution, I admit, so feel free to skip this one. Otherwise, uTorrent is still a viable choice for Linux users.

Deluge

Once uTorrent started going downhill, many Linux users found refuge in Deluge, a client that aspires to the same values that uTorrent once held: lightweight, fast, and free. Deluge wins out, however, because of its platform independence.

linux-torrent-clients-deluge

This wonderful torrenting client started off on shaky ground but has really proven itself over the years. What sticks out to me is that it can be interacted with through multiple interfaces: a console UI, a web UI, and a graphical UI built on top of GTK+. That pretty much covers all use cases.

Its feature set is about as complete as it gets, including speed limits, a bandwidth scheduler, and password protection. However, if you need more than what it offers by default, Deluge can be extended through its rich selection of plugins.

If you want something that’s close to uTorrent but available natively on Linux, Deluge should be your main consideration. There’s a lot of good to be said about it and not much bad.

qBittorrent

Of the uTorrent refugees who didn’t switch to Deluge, most of them ended up using qBittorrent. It makes sense considering how qBittorrent’s interface is self-described as “uTorrent-like”, plus it shares a lot of uTorrent’s features, so uTorrent fans should feel at home here.

linux-torrent-clients-qbittorrent

qBittorrent supports all of the various torrenting extensions and provides the kind of torrenting control that’s expected of most clients these days, such as queueing, prioritizing, and sequential downloading.

It also has a few advanced features, like RSS support with download filters, IP filtering, and a built-in search engine that integrates with most of the famous torrent search sites. And a running instance of qBittorrent can be accessed remotely over the Internet using a web interface that’s nearly identical to the graphical one.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of similarities between uTorrent, Deluge, and qBittorrent, so if you’re stuck on a decision between these three gaints, pick the one that has the most appealing interface for your tastes.

Transmission

In contrast to the previous three clients, Transmission is all about simplicity and ease of use. Not that the other clients are overly complex or difficult, but Transmission is especially designed to be straightforward and intuitive.

As such, several Linux distros Distro Watch: The Best Linux Distributions For 2014 Distro Watch: The Best Linux Distributions For 2014 We're halfway through 2014, and a handful of Linux distributions have already made a big splash in the community. Which distributions are the best ones for this year? Let's take a look. Read More come with Transmission as the default torrenting client.

linux-torrent-clients-transmission

If you need to conserve resources, Transmission is the best choice. According to a benchmark test in 2010, Transmission ranked as the best client in terms of CPU usage and RAM usage while downloading. Details may have changed since then, but Transmission’s commitment to a small footprint means guaranteed performance.

Transmission also has multiple frontends that integrate with various desktop environments It's Your Choice: The Top 10 Linux Desktop Environments It's Your Choice: The Top 10 Linux Desktop Environments From Gnome to KDE, from MATE to Unity, there's a lot of choice out there. Where should you start? Overwhelmed? Start here. Read More , including Qt, GTK+, and even the native Mac interface. (Yes, Transmission is available on Mac OSX.) Like qBittorrent, it can also be accessed through a web client.

While functionality can be extended through addons, I’d only use Transmission if barebones torrenting is all you need. For anything more, I’d be inclined to consider one of the others on this list.

Tixati

Tixati was my preferred torrenting client on Windows 6 Lesser Known BitTorrent Clients That You May Not Know About [Windows] 6 Lesser Known BitTorrent Clients That You May Not Know About [Windows] If you know about BitTorrent, then you’ve likely already heard about the big name programs - uTorrent, Vuze/Azureus, BitComet, BitTornado, etc. They’re so well-known in fact, that they don’t really need any more publicity -... Read More , so you can imagine my relief when I found out that it was also available natively on Linux. Does it hold up to all of these other clients, though? Is it unique enough to be set apart and distinguished from its competition?

I think so. When I think of Tixati, I see the best of all worlds.

linux-torrent-clients-tixati

Tixati is both lightweight and lighting fast. I don’t know if it uses some kind of proprietary downloading algorithm — it’s not open source so we can’t check — but torrents downloaded through Tixati feel faster. It comes as a single executable file with no installation required, so it’s portable as well.

As far as torrent control, it has everything you’d need: queueing, priorities for individual torrents as well as the files within each torrent, bandwidth sizing, and more. You can also view real-time graphs for information pertaining to bandwidth usage and packet rates.

The only downside is an interface that looks strange if you’re coming from uTorrent or another client inspired by uTorrent’s design. Tixati looks primitive, maybe even underdeveloped, and you might be tempted to overlook it based on that alone. But trust me: Tixati is fantastic.

What Do You Use for Torrenting?

Having tried all of these options, I have to say that I’m still a fan of Tixati and have no plans of switching to anything else. It doesn’t lack in anything and it’s easy to get over its unconventional interface. Tixati is a winner.

There’s been a lot of fuss over the Pirate Bay’s recent demise The History Of The Pirate Bay: Will It Return? The History Of The Pirate Bay: Will It Return? The world's most resilient BitTorrent site has been shut down shut down. Again. Will it return – and does it even matter? Read More and some are cautioning that torrenting may no longer be safe Why Safe Torrenting Died With The Pirate Bay Why Safe Torrenting Died With The Pirate Bay As far as "popular" torrenting is concerned, the comparative safety that existed at The Pirate Bay is gone, and safe torrent downloads with it. Read More . If you’re a pirate and intend to continue torrenting illegally, be sure to avoid these common torrenting pitfalls 4 Torrenting Pitfalls to Avoid and What to Do Instead 4 Torrenting Pitfalls to Avoid and What to Do Instead Read More .

So which client do you like best for torrenting on Linux? Are there any that I missed? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

  1. Sado
    July 3, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    I always called ?Torrent mutorrent.

  2. oasisfleeting
    May 6, 2016 at 3:08 am

    it's actually microtorrent, not utorrent. That is not a U.

    • Joel Lee
      May 9, 2016 at 2:41 am

      Yep, but most people know what anyone means when they say uTorrent. :)

  3. L L Cool Jeff
    May 3, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Tixati has issues in Ubuntu with linking Magnet links for downloads. So I stick to Utorrent. Fast, Easy, and Reliable.

    • Joel Lee
      May 9, 2016 at 2:41 am

      Yes, I've had the same issue with Tixati. I've just gotten used to downloading .torrent and launching with Tixati instead. :D

  4. grantjamie
    March 16, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Any chance to have an article about VPNs and other ways of keeping our privacy while torrenting, like Bitport?
    And thanks commenters.! I will give Tixati look.

  5. Saiteja
    January 27, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    ok after reading this....... i have installed qbittorrent, tixati, transmission, deluge.....

    Speed wise: qbittorrent (because its maintaining trackers)
    functionality: tixati
    resources: transmission
    bit of all: deluge

    i personally liked qbittorrent because of its searching functionality and speed

  6. philip
    November 18, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    In my opinion and experience in torrenting, transmission rules, followed by deluge, then qbitorrent, then ktorrent according to my speed tests over time. For me nothing beats transmission when talking pure speed.

  7. John O'Shaughnessy
    October 27, 2015 at 11:30 am

    How come no one mentiions Ktorrent? it's as good as any I've tried before, on windows I used to use ?torrent

    • John O'Shaughnessy
      October 27, 2015 at 11:31 am

      if there's a ? instead of ? or u ...... utorrent

  8. Francesco Magazzu'
    September 19, 2015 at 2:55 am

    Tixati is so fare the fastest client I have tried ... I'm in china at the moment and all other client I have tried are very slow.
    Before I was using utorrent server but Tixati looks faster ( and also has a native interface that is a +)
    Thanks you for sharing it.

    • Joel Lee
      September 24, 2015 at 6:05 pm

      You're welcome, Francesco! Glad it could help. Tixati really is the best. :)

  9. Praveer Verma
    March 21, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Good Article. I have my Laptop running Tixati :) ..... Your article was a surprise. I never thought that there might be other people using it and recommending it too.
    Anyway, thumbs up to Tixati.

    Hey what about rtorrent ? Can you compare rtorrent / rutorrent with Tixati or Deluge ? I am thinking of using rtorrent on VPS due to resource limitations. Please shed some light on it.
    Thanks.

    • Joel
      March 22, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      Glad to see another Tixati fan!

      I've never used rTorrent or ruTorrent so I can't offer any advice, sorry. Would love to give them a test run and see how they perform but I don't know when I'll have enough free time to do that! If you try them out, please come back and tell us your thoughts. :)

  10. Yochanon
    March 17, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    FrostWire.

    • Joel
      March 20, 2015 at 11:01 pm

      I wasn't aware people still used FrostWire! What a trip down memory lane. :)

  11. Silverlokk
    March 9, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Haven't had any issues with Transmission, either on GNU/Linux or FreeBSD. Did have some when I was using OpenSolaris. Kinda “forced” into it because of its support for magnet.

    Do any of the others handle magnet as well?

    • Joel
      March 13, 2015 at 1:59 am

      I'm on Elementary and did not have any issues with magnet links using the clients in the article. For the most part, they're all robust and mature so magnet handling should be fine. If you do run into a problem, please consider hopping over to MakeUseOf Answers to see if someone has a solution!

  12. Akshay Zade
    March 8, 2015 at 5:37 am

    A word of caution about Tixati. Yeah, it feel fast, because it is fast! And it's fast because it is very aggressive about finding peers and seeders. This might get you banned if you're on a private tracker.

    • Joel
      March 13, 2015 at 1:56 am

      Oh, I don't use private trackers so I wasn't aware that it could be an issue. Thanks for the heads up! Is there a Tixati setting that can be changed to make it less aggressive? Or is the only other option to use another client altogether?

      • akya
        February 11, 2016 at 1:48 pm

        Tixati is already banned on most private trackers.

  13. Karl
    March 7, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Ktorrent!

  14. KT
    March 6, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Ktorrent rules!

  15. Zhong
    March 6, 2015 at 3:42 am

    is there a speed difference between direct download from a browser and using a torrent client? As I've understand is that, download torrents requires collaboration between other people who are downloading the same file while direct download from a website just extracts from their server.

    • Dan
      March 6, 2015 at 6:58 am

      There can be a speed difference. Websites usually have consistent speeds while torrents are dependent on the number and speed of the connected peers. If the website is fast, then you can download it fast, if it is slow, then you will wait awhile. For torrents, it can go fast one minute and slow the next as peers connect and disconnect from the swarm.

      I've seen torrents that are so fast that they can max out my bandwidth, while other times I've had torrents that trickle a few MBs per day.

  16. Evan
    March 6, 2015 at 12:25 am

    I use Deluge right now, but Tixati does look interesting.

    • Joel
      March 13, 2015 at 1:53 am

      Give it a try! Worst case scenario, you don't like it and go back to using Deluge. :)

  17. J J
    March 5, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Tixati , all the way, One of the best!!! Woho!!

    It serves it purpose well, but a small nag, it sometimes consumes a little more memory compared to the others!

    • Joel
      March 13, 2015 at 1:52 am

      Is that so? Hmm, I hadn't noticed. (Not saying I don't believe you.) Even if it does use a bit more memory, I'm okay with it since the rest of Tixati is fantastic. Plus, you and I probably have enough RAM to spare (unless you're on a netbook, in which case it could actually be a bit of an issue!) :D

  18. Dan
    March 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    First thing I'd do whenever I install Linux is uninstall Transmission, it is crap. Then I'd install any of the other torrent clients you've listed (and I've used them all in Linux). In my current set-up I don't have WINE so uTorrent is a no-go. I've used qBittorrent the most but have grown tired of it so I tried Tixati. It does feel faster than the other clients, or maybe it's just a placebo. And just today I started using Deluge since I really hate Tixati's scheduler. qBT has a better scheduler but Deluge's is ok. We shall see how long I'll use it before using something else.

    • Joel
      March 13, 2015 at 1:50 am

      Thanks for sharing. What don't you like about Tixati's scheduler? I actually don't use the scheduler feature very often so I'd love to hear your thoughts on that!

  19. Meena Bassem
    March 5, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    you forgot to mention ktorrent

    • Joel
      March 13, 2015 at 1:44 am

      I had some trouble getting KTorrent running on my system (probably because I'm using a version of GNOME) but you're right, I should've given it at least an honorable mention. The interface is a little too busy for my liking but the functionality itself is pretty good from what I can tell. Thanks for bringing it up!

  20. jamieg
    March 5, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    I used utorrent for years, but found tixati about 2 years ago and haven't looked back. I agree that it feels faster. I actually found it easier than u torrent to setup and use advanced feature.

    • Joel
      March 13, 2015 at 1:42 am

      Tixati is easier, I agree. Plus with the recent news about uTorrent secretly bundling cryptocurrency miners, that's just one more reason to switch from uTorrent!

  21. dragonmount
    March 5, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    "Tixati looks primitive, maybe even underdeveloped"
    Or one can say "simple and uncomplicated."

    Why does "modern" automatically mean preponderance of glitz and eye-candy? In the recent MUO article on how sites looked then and now, the majority of posters preferred the "then" versions. All the glitz and eye-candy do not improve the functionality one bit. In many cases, form gets in the way of function.

    • Joel
      March 13, 2015 at 1:40 am

      "Modern" is more of a descriptor than it is a judgment. Most modern programs tend to have a lot of glitz and eye candy, so I think it's fair to describe it that way. I certainly didn't meant to imply that modern programs *objectively look better*, though some of them do (and some of them don't).

      The way I see it, a pretty interface won't make up for a crappy program, but a pretty interface can make a useful program *even better*. :)

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