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Guns don’t share illegal files. People share illegal files. Or, wait, how does it go again? What I mean to say is, BitTorrent has a bad reputation for its piracy potential, but it shouldn’t. BitTorrent is a tool that allows people to share and receive files 4 Things You Didn't Know About BitTorrent 4 Things You Didn't Know About BitTorrent What do you think of when you hear the word “BitTorrent”? It probably depends on who you are. If you're an average Internet user, you think of free stuff. If you’re the president of a... Read More with other people and there are legal uses for BitTorrent 8 Legal Uses For BitTorrent: You'd Be Surprised 8 Legal Uses For BitTorrent: You'd Be Surprised Like HTTP, which your browser uses to communicate with websites, BitTorrent is just a protocol. You could use your browser to download pirated content, just as you could use a BitTorrent client to download pirated... Read More  unrelated to downloading illegal files.

Torrenting is so popular that there are dozens of great clients out there, but many of them are packed with bloat and extra features that the average user will never use. What if you want a clean, simple, and easy client instead?

Sometimes you want to pop open your torrenting client and download a range of items as soon as possible. Maybe you want to do this on an old computer that rattles and whines with every spin of the hard drive. Maybe you just don’t care for all the bells and whistles. A lightweight BitTorrent client is exactly what you’re looking for, and thankfully there are several good ones from which you can choose. Here are the ones I’d recommend.

Note: If you’re a complete newbie to the concept of torrenting, fear not. We have a fantastic beginner’s guide to BitTorrent written by our very own Saikat and it’ll get you started off on the right foot.

Tixati [Windows, Linux]

lightweight-bittorrent-tixati

As of right now, Tixati is my BitTorrent client of choice. I’ll admit that it’s not the most beautiful client around – frankly speaking, it’s actually quite ugly – but it certainly gets the job done without hogging too many resources. Just look at the screenshot above and you’ll get a sense of what Tixati is all about: sharing files! You’ll find no built-in media managers, social networking, or web browsing here.

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With regard to performance, I’m impressed. I don’t know if it’s all in my head or what, but my own experience is that Tixati’s speeds are faster than other competitive torrenting clients. When prioritizing files, they do indeed download much faster than files with low priority. Perhaps it has something to do with Tixati’s special algorithms for efficient peer selection. And best of all? No spyware, no malware, and built-in encryption for improved security.

Hadouken [Windows]

lightweight-bittorrent-hadouken

Hadouken is one of the more recent creations in the realm of BitTorrent clients. The thing that separates Hadouken from pretty much every other client is that it runs as a headless Windows service, meaning that it doesn’t have an actual program interface that shows up in the taskbar or the system tray. In fact, the only way to use Hadouken is to install it, then interact using its Web-based interface.

The cool thing is that the Web-based interface is actually based on uTorrent’s Web UI, which means Hadouken’s interface will be familiar to a lot of you. On top of that, Hadouken has a powerful plugin system that can be used to implement a whole slew of features – sending emails, unpacking files, mounting images, etc. – at your whim.

Once Hadouken is installed, you need to go to your browser and type in the following to access the Web-based interface:

URL: http://localhost:8080

Username: hdkn

Password: hdkn

MiniGet [Windows]

lightweight-bittorrent-miniget

At first glance, MiniGet doesn’t look like anything spectacular. There’s no real eye candy and it looks about as barebones as it gets when it comes to torrenting clients. Well, that’s what we’re looking for, right? Like its name implies, MiniGet is all about being as small as possible while still providing power and efficiency in file sharing, and it accomplishes this by throwing out ALL features that aren’t absolutely essential.

MiniGet can handle the HTTP, FTP, and BitTorrent protocols. It can handle Magnet links, DHT, web seeds, as well as NAT traversals (also known as NAT punchthrough). And, of course, it can pause and resume downloads. Those are the core features deemed necessary by MiniGet. You won’t find much more, but at least it results in a tiny CPU and RAM footprint.

qBittorrent [Windows, Mac, Linux]

lightweight-bittorrent-qbittorrent

Ever since µTorrent sold out and went down the drain, qBittorrent was considered to be its replacement. There are a lot of similarities between the two, namely that they’re both simple, straightforward, and lightweight (this is before  µTorrent began to bloat up). This is no surprise since the creator of qBittorrent originally intended qBittorrent to be the µTorrent for Linux as there were no good alternatives at the time.

qBittorrent handles all of the core features you’d expect in a torrenting client – encryption, priorities, IPv6, etc. – as well as some neat advanced options, such as sequential downloading and remote control of the client through a Web-based interface. All this comes wrapped up in a package that’s lightweight and easy on the resources, which is why qBittorrent remains as one of the best torrenting clients ever.

Conclusion

Sometimes you need a big all-in-one torrenting solution, and there are plenty of options out there if that’s the case, but when you need little more than the core functionality of a client, the ones listed here will serve you well if you ask me. And if none of these fulfill your torrenting needs, you could always check out these lesser-known but still effective BitTorrent clients 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 .

Which BitTorrent clients do you use when you want something lightweight and easy on the resources? Are there any that I missed? Please share them with us in the comments!

Image Credits: Feather Via Flickr

  1. Jim from PA
    October 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    For Windows, although the latest version of uTorrent has advertising built-in, you can download an older version that is free of advertising. I use version 3.0. It is still light, fast, free, and the best. You can get it here:
    http://www.oldversion.com/windows/utorrent-3-0-2

    For Linux, I like Deluge...enjoy.
    Jim from PA.

  2. James B
    October 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    I use Vuze for one reason only: it's the only client on OSX i know that supports interface binding, which is absolutely critical if you use a VPN to cover your ass and don't want to get caught with your pants down when it fails. As it were. You know what I mean. Ahem.

  3. Jamie
    September 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks for this article. I have been using uTorrent for years with no issue, so it was time to try something new. Tixati is awesome. Simple interface, easy to use and easier to configure RSS downloads. Thanks!

    • Joel L
      September 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      Tixati is my favorite as well. Glad you liked the article!

  4. Gravity D
    September 25, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    yup though I have only 4 GB of RAM and my other (even older) laptop has only 2 GB of RAM but I don't think uTorrent takes a lot of memory but anyhow, people do have different choices and I appreciate it.

    note for those people who have enough RAM but doesn't want to install yet one more software so use torch as the browser, almost identical to the Google chrome with in-built torrent support and with a eye-soothing user interface :)

  5. IceWolf
    September 25, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Agree with fristys. I also have 16GB RAM and I don't think 30-40MB are a concern. Not even for 8GB. And for a PC, in 2013, 8GB aren't too much.
    Why should I try incomplete or featureless software when utorrent works perfectly?
    Of course, I don't agree with the direction it takes (bloating itself with media players and such), but at this time it works.

  6. Michael F
    September 25, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I've been using Transmission for Mac OS X for many years, and found it to be overall a very good client - easy to use, stable, not a hog. A quick glance at their website shows they have clients for many Linux distros, too, though I haven't tried them.
    http://www.transmissionbt.com

  7. fristys
    September 25, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Utorrent uses around 30-40 mb of ram. Considering that I have 16GB of ram, I think I'm not going to cry about it.

  8. Audi
    September 25, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Tixati's 'light background' actually looks great.

  9. Nash J
    September 25, 2013 at 1:52 am

    Utorrent works just fine

  10. smaragdus
    September 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    I will suggest some other torrent clients:
    baretorrent - http://baretorrent.org/
    Deluge - http://deluge-torrent.org/
    Halite - http://www.binarynotions.com/halite-bittorrent-client/
    Yet Another uTorrent - http://www.yetanotherutorrent.com/

    As for the reviewed ones here, I have tested qBittorrent, Tixati and MiniGet. qBittorrent is the best (although quite far from the best ever torrent client- utorrent 1x), Tixati is not bad, while MiniGet is a bare bones download manager that can also download torrents, so featureless that is almost useless.

    As for Hadouken- I would never waste my time with such a crap.

    • Joel L
      September 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks for sharing. I will have to check those out.

  11. tromaster
    September 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    µtorrent 2.2.1 or older are also lightweight alternatives. Pretty good article, thanks!

  12. daniel999
    September 24, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Very interesting. I am still using µtorrent and its consuming 35 mb of ram, so I dont feel the need for a change (On the other hand, Firefox consuming almost 700mb may need some action). But I am curious about how light this Tixati is on resourses (and there is no data in the article), so I may give it a try in my old linux netbook.

    • Jamie
      September 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      Tixati is using 48MB on my system, so actually not light weight, but still a great app.

    • Joel L
      September 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      With an active torrent, my Tixati is using about 19MB RAM. That number may increase with additional torrents as well as your settings options.

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