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One of the biggest complaints about Google’s Chromebooks in their lack of ‘regular’ software that Windows and Mac users are accustomed to. While we have long-espoused the virtues of stateless web-based computing Everything You Need To Know About Switching To A Chromebook Everything You Need To Know About Switching To A Chromebook Chromebooks run a slimmed-down operating system optimized for getting on the web with just the Chrome browser and Chrome apps. Can you switch to a Chromebook? Read More , it is an unfortunate truth that if you require specialist software for your job or hobby then a Chromebook would not make an adequate primary machine.

A particular area where Chromebooks have lagged behind traditional computers is in their lack of a functional and reliable BitTorrent client. BitTorrents used to be vilified as the domain of illegal music downloads and pirated films, yet they are increasingly being used by reputable companies as an effective and efficient method of distributing software. If you’re not sure what a torrent file is, try reading MakeUseOf’s free Torrent Guide eBook.

Has the Chrome OS finally managed to catch up to its rival operating systems to provide a high-quality BitTorrent client? MakeUseOf investigates…


JSTorrent is not free, but it is the original and arguably the best BitTorrent client available in the entire Chrome Web Store.

Available for €2.29, the app can handle files up to several gigabytes in size and can comfortably run on the lower-end Chromebooks which use an ARM processor rather than an Intel one.

The app is equipped with a media player which can stream files as they are downloaded, and has the ability to download files directly into either a Chromebook’s Downloads folder or onto an attached external hard drive.

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Despite critics’ beliefs that Chromebooks don’t work offline Chromebooks Don't Work Offline? Debunking the Myths Chromebooks Don't Work Offline? Debunking the Myths One of the biggest criticisms aimed at Google's Chromebooks is that they are online-only machines – ergo, no Internet, no point. How true is this statement? Read More , this app is yet another one to add to the ever-growing list that do work when you’re not connected to the Internet. The offline functionality means you can view and manage your torrents at any time, which is useful if you are dealing with a long list of concurrent downloads. Finally, as you would expect with any traditional client, JSTorrent allows you to select which files within the torrent you want to download and also supports private trackers.

A January 2014 update saw the introduction of a new, clearer user interface along with sortable columns and computer standby prevention. The developer has indicated they plan to continue adding new features over the coming months with the aim of making the app mirror a typical desktop client experience as closely as possible.

Using the app is simple and straightforward. Once you find the link to a torrent you want to download, just open JSTorrent and paste it into the search bar. Alternatively, you can download a torrent file directly onto your machine and open it using JSTorrent, which will then begin the download process.


If you don’t want to pay for the app you can find the latest beta version on GitHub, though you will be required to unpack an extension every time you reboot your device. It also goes without saying that a beta version may also have bugs and issues that are not present in the main stable release on the Chrome Web Store.


If you don’t want to pay for JSTorrent and you are not comfortable using GitHub, there is no need to worry – you still have options available to you.

Bitford is slowly gaining popularity as an alternative client, though with approximately 5,000 users it still trails well behind JSTorrent which has almost 20,000 users.

Like JSTorrent, Bitford runs on JavaScript – the consequence being that there is no need for additional components to be installed before it works and there is no requirement for a locally saved native app.

The extension is designed to allow playback of media files while they are being downloaded and also provides you with the ability to save files both locally on your Chromebook and in your online Google Drive space. One drawback is that the extension does not currently support magnet link integration.

The app has an extensive user interface, giving experienced BitTorrent users plenty of customisable settings whilst still working ‘out of the box’ for less confident users or those who have no interest in tweaking and modifying the settings.

Any Others?

Which BitTorrent clients do you use on your Chromebook? Have you downloaded torrent files with either JSTorrent or Bitford? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below.

  1. Vladimir
    August 10, 2016 at 8:32 am

    After trying to install and run this client multiple times with no success, I gave up. However, I found the solution - now I am using It is a cloud-based torrent downloader. It's also available as Chrome app. Basically, you paste your torrent url there, it downloads the file(s) for you, and then you can either play it from seedr, or download it to your device. They give you 2gb for free, which is more than enough for my music needs. They have paid versions, but I am fine without them.



  2. Victor
    April 12, 2016 at 4:34 am

    Chromebook needs to have more torrent clients programmed for it. Come on we would like to torrent with a normal torrent client such as utorrent available on Chromebooks.

    • branique
      July 2, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      There is A utorrent extension

  3. anthony
    February 27, 2016 at 4:04 am

    I want to get garrys mod

  4. Krissy
    December 30, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Why on earth did i pay for this Piece of crap app??? Or the Chromebook for that matter. AWFUL.... Just AWFUL!

  5. Russ Matthess
    November 9, 2015 at 12:22 am

    So far, not impressed at all with JS Torrent. No matter how large or small the file, it only goes about 50-65%, then stops, even with thousands of seeders online and sharing. Even though it was a few dollars to spend if the developer does not try to resolve the issue I'll rip that money back out of their hands with a complaint to the card company. For now, I say avoid this app, save your money and try the free ones.

  6. David Sloane
    August 23, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    JSTorrent has no play button, contacted the company asking for a solution, received this back.

    Graehl Arts
    Aug 20 (3 days ago)
    to me
    Hi David, due to technical reasons it's not possible to implement such a feature right now. You have to manually go to the downloads folder and open them yourself.

    Sorry :-(


  7. Rico K
    June 17, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Just downloaded mTorrent because the Chrome Web Store ratings for Bitford are pretty low. You might look into that one- I'm giving it a go now.

  8. Sardar Alam
    June 7, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Bitford is very slow. We are not happy with it at all.

  9. Dan Price
    May 21, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    So pleased you found it useful. That's why we have the articles and the comments :)

  10. zennovice
    May 21, 2015 at 8:38 am

    Golly, these are helpful comments. I had been using [paid-for] JSTorrent for some months - happily - then lost the download-part of it in a 'powerwash' [required as a last resort in getting rid of an infuriating intrusive 'your windows has a virus' ad - not applicable of course for chromebook]. I've trawled around with google for a fix, but will now explore Bitford et al. Thank you.

  11. AlkR
    May 12, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Typo: One of the biggest complaints about Google’s Chromebooks "in" their lack of ...
    please change "in" to "is". Please correct.
    Thanks for great article! Chrome stick will be my torrentputer in near future!

    • Dan Price
      May 21, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Ouch, thanks!

  12. Hollie
    April 7, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I cant get bitlord to work properly. Also there arent any options to do anything or delete extra files attached to the torrent. I also am not sure what numbers I am supposed to put in the upload and download spot. I was playing around and changed them, now I dont remember what they were and its not working very well at all. Does anyone know what numbers I should enter in the bottom area.

    • Dan Price
      April 7, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      Bitlord or Bitford? If you've messed up the defaults it might be best just to delete it and reinstall it.

  13. Geoffrey Boltzer
    January 22, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I made the leap to a Chromebook about a month ago...was skeptical at first, but after a month, I'm a believer. I bought the Toshiba Chromebook 2, CB35-B3340. To address Ed's comment above, this is a thin, light and fan-less device that weighs less than 3lbs but has a 13" display (and a good one at that).

    I've used bitford several times now without any problems is a minimalist user interface, but that's OK for is intuitive how to use.

    • Dan Price
      April 7, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Glad you like it Geoffrey

  14. Eric Donawick (
    January 3, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    I currently have been using Bitford on my 13' Toshiba Chromebook CB35, It runs very well and up until a day or so ago, everything ran and downloaded perfectly. I've built another gaming rig and as when you buy a new hard drive, you must also install an OS on to said hard drive. I've tried at LEAST 4 different OS torrents ranging from "Windows 8.1, OSX, and Linux". But it automatically stops around 42%-50%.... It's very unfortunate, I'm trying Ubuntu as we speak. I've heard very good reviews about JSTorrent but have never tried it. There's my 2 cents! Happy New Years everyone.

  15. Wayne
    November 28, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    JSTorrent is good, but I use now. downloads torrents to cloud and they can play them online in HD in browser.

  16. Judy
    June 7, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    What about A VPN to avoid copyright violation problems ?

    • Guy M
      June 8, 2014 at 1:11 am

      Not sure if you'd need a VPN specifically. You could maybe get away with a service like or maybe even a proxy.

  17. Ed
    June 6, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I'm intrigued by these offline apps.

    Does the Chrome Web Store readily explain which apps are offline apps?

    Also, I know I asked this a few months ago (no one had a clear answer), but how are offline apps installed to a Chrome OS system?

    I know the web apps are basically bookmarks to websites, but offline apps, are they installed on the system in similar fashion to the way Linux programs install files in different folders throughout the system? Are offline apps basically "portable" apps and installed in one folder? Are they in a folder of HTML 5, CSS 3, and javascript? Inquiring minds would like to know. Perhaps this would make a good article.

    Once we start seeing a good selection of super-thin, fan-less Chromebooks, I will be in the market for one.


    • Jason L
      June 7, 2014 at 1:56 am

      Yes, there's a little thunderbolt that indicates an app is offline. I don't know where they are stored, however.

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