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best torrent clientAre you a torrent user? What do you normally do when you want to download files using a torrent network? The common steps are you go to one of the torrent tracker sites, search for the file(s), download the torrent file, open the torrent file using your preferred torrent client, and finally, wait for the download to finish. As you can see from this description, you rely on the torrent sites to find the files that you are looking for. So far, the whole ecosystem runs on that very principle.

But there’s a new torrent client in town called Tribler (currently available only for Windows and Mac) which offers an alternative method of sharing files using torrent. This client allows users to connect directly to other users to search, download and share files – without the need for centralized torrent servers.

The Decentralized Client

The main interface of the client consists of a search field and a tag cloud field called “Network Buzz” – showing currently popular keywords. Those who don’t want to be bothered by the details can go straight to the search field.

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In terms of searching speed, Tribler virtually gave me instant results, complete with the download button. You can sort the list by popularity, size, or name.

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Aside from the files, Tribler also showed some “channels” (the term it used for the sources/peers that provide the file) in the search result.

01c Search Result - Channels.jpg

If you want to, you can browse the available channels and view them by several categories: Popular, New, Updated, Favorites, All and My Channel. You can peek inside one of the channels by selecting it.

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Inside a channel is the list of available files that it hosts. Click on the file to reveal more information about it. You can choose to download or play (stream) the file by choosing one of the available buttons. You can also add the channel to your favorite, or mark it as spam.

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Your favorite channels will appear inside “Favorite“. To add more items to the list, select another channel from the Popular list and click the “Mark as Favorite” button.

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My Channel” is the place where you can manage all your files; the ones that you’ve downloaded and the ones that you are willing to share. Since you can search for other users’ channels by searching for their username and vice versa, you can utilize Tribler as an alternative way to directly share files with your friends, family, and co-workers.

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The “Shared torrents” tab inside “My Channel” will list down all the torrents that you share.

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While the “Manage” tab allows you to monitor RSS feeds periodically for new torrent files and to add new torrent files that you’ve downloaded from another source. This means that Tribler can also be used as a normal torrent client.

03c My Channels - Manage.jpg

All your currently downloaded files are listed under the “Library” menu. And as any other torrent client, you can Stop, Resume, and Delete those files. Other common features are the ability to view what’s inside the package and look at the list of trackers and peers.

04a Library - Download.jpg

If you decide that you don’t want to keep one of the downloaded files and decide to delete it, you’ll get the confirmation window with the options to completely eliminate it from your computer.

04b Remove torrent.jpg

Settings & Few Notes

If you decide that you want to keep Tribler for a little bit longer, you might want to visit the “Settings“. The “General” sub-menu gives you the option to change the nickname or your computer and the profile image. This is also the place to change the location where Tribler should save the downloaded files.

05a Settings - General.jpg

While the “Connection” sub-menu deals with the port used for incoming/outgoing torrent connections, the “Bandwidth” lets you customize the download and upload rate. If you are looking for options for media playback, it’s located under “Misc“.

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After using Tribler for a while, I felt that this client reminded me of the old version of Napster. As with other decentralized peer-to-peer clients, the quality of the search and downloads relies on the number of available peers on the network. I think the current Tribler user base hasn’t reached the point where users can comfortably find and download whatever that they are looking for – yet.

What’s your opinion of the best torrent client? Have you tried Tribler? What do you think of Tribler’s features? Share your thoughts and opinions using the comment below.

  1. Aibek
    February 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Check out this link, http://www.tribler.org/trac/wi...

  2. Anonymous
    January 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I would love to see this in Linux. For now, anyone know of an alternative that runs in Ubuntu?

  3. Nouman
    January 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I tired it too and it works like a charm. Great tool indeed.

  4. Blamma
    January 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Can't get it to work. Tried on multiple occasions

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