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Do a Google search for “BitTorrent Client” and it will come up first, but is µTorrent really the best client out there? In short: pretty much.
Sure, there are other clients, but few match µTorrent for features. Which is odd because as a 1.1 MB portable app, µTorrent is one of the smallest clients out there. There’s some compression at work there, sure, but it’s impressive none-the-less.
And yes, there are ads, but you can turn them off. And yes, the interface can feel cluttered, but you can customize it. It’s a program that goes a long way to treating its users right, even if it gets a bad rap sometimes. Still, it’s long been among the most popular torrent clients out there – so much so that BitTorrent Inc bought it out.
Features. So Many Features
We all know µTorrent ably manages multiple torrents, allowing you to queue them to run in order or download several simultaneously – but that’s not all it can do. Exploring the features can become overwhelming, so let’s quickly run through a few of its best ones:
Magnet Links: Not uncommon at this point, but with µTorrent you can open any torrent – even those newfangled magnet links. So you’ll be able to open nearly anything.
Scheduling: Take full control of when µTorrent does and doesn’t download during the week. Whether you want to free up bandwidth for your regular 9pm online gaming session or keep bandwidth free for movie night, µTorrent’s scheduler gives you a calendar to configure:
RSS Support: Plenty of torrent trackers offer RSS feeds of searches – which are commonly used to do things like regularly download new episodes of TV shows.
Streaming: Partway through downloading some music? Listen now, with streaming. It certainly is a little gimmicky, but great for ensuring you’re downloading the correct song. This works with external players or µTorrent’s built-in media player.
µTorrent Remote: Control everything about your downloads from any device with a web browser – provided your computer is running µTorrent.
Built-in Tetris: More of an easter egg than a feature, but still cool: there’s a full-blown version of Tetris rolled right into µTorrent. Just open the “About” screen and press “T” to play.
Hide Features: Feel overwhelmed by the clutter in the interface? You can turn off almost any element. Start by turning off whatever you want in the “Options” menu.
Yet Still: Tiny
It’s easy to look at that feature list and think of µTorrent as a bloated mess. Easy, but not exactly true: the PC version is around 1.1 MB, meaning it’s smaller than most MP3 files. The Mac version’s a little heavier at 4.15 MB, but not much. Resources usage isn’t bad either.
So while µTorrent is more feature-filled than before, it remains among the smallest clients out there. And the customizable interface means you need not see features you don’t want, making it also a pretty clean-looking option.
Well, except for the ads. About that…
Turn Off Ads In µTorrent
There’s one downside, if you care about that sort of things: ads. Some are for the paid version of the software; others are for dating sites. Even this, however, can be turned off entirely. Click “Options”, then “Preferences”, then “Advanced”. Search for the following items, then set each to “false” by clicking them:
It’s also worth noting that µTorrent, while installing on Windows, tries to install some pretty pesky toolbars.
Be sure not to install these, because they will annoy you and won’t particularly help you. You may be wondering whether µTorrent offers enough features to be worth all of these annoyances, and you’re not entirely wrong . But it’s a feature-filled, lightweight program – and there aren’t many of those.
Still, there are alternatives out there.
Yaara outline 4 Bittorent clients, and all are worth checking out. Here’s a rundown of her analysis, and how I feel these top contenders rank next to BitTorrent.
If you want more features, you’re crazy. You’re also in luck: Vuze offers just about every feature you can imagine – and several you can’t.
All this is baked into a piece of software that runs on Java, so don’t expect a speedy interface.
If you want something simple and open source, Deluge is worth checking out.
It doesn’t offer many features out-of-the-box, but extensions let you add things like RSS. If you prefer open source software, and don’t mind configuring things a little, this could be great.
Yaara’s favorite, however, was Tixati.
This relatively new client “has all the options an average person could want, but still feels lightweight enough and easy to understand.” If that sounds good to you, check Tixati out.
Of course, there’s also the official BitTorrent client, but that’s basically µTorrent with a different icon. Seriously.
To me µTorrent is the best balance of features to performance – it remains a lightweight player despite doing almost everything a torrent client conceivably should. Master the µTorrent preferences and there’s not much you can’t do.
But I want to know what you think. Am I wrong about µTorrent? And if so, which is the true superior client? Sound off in the comments, everyone!