There are a huge number of free BitTorrent clients floating out there in Internet space. Ever since its public launch in 2001, developers from all over the world have been working to improve and streamline the protocol, providing users with the best torrenting clients available.
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 – word of mouth does them just fine. But here is a list of some great BitTorrent clients that are less popular and unique in their own right.
Don’t know what BitTorrent is? Are you interested in how it works? Check out this article on how BitTorrent works by our very own Tim.
qBittorrent isn’t obscure by any means, but it still has a long way to go before it becomes a household name. But does it deserve to become a household name? In my opinion, yes. It most certainly does.
This client has high goals – to leave a small memory footprint, to be intuitive for users, to be aesthetically pleasing, and to be powerful in performance and customization. Basically, it wants to do everything – and luckily for us, it succeeds. Think of it as an open-source and cross-platform alternative to uTorrent.
BitLord is an offshoot of the once popular BitComet. It’s written in Python and GTK+ and boasts a tagline of being the “easiest torrent downloader“. Is it much easier than the big name beasts like uTorrent? Not particularly. But it’s definitely on par in terms of ease of use and visual goodness, so it deserves some commendation for that.
This client is packed full of unique features – a torrent RSS reader, a torrent search engine, safety scores for torrents searched, and more. On top of that, it has all of the common features that one would expect from a torrent client, like super seeding, bandwidth throttling, and blocking IP ranges.
Tixati’s website claims that it is “one of the most advanced and flexible BitTorrent clients available“. It comes without ANY spyware, ads, or gimmicks – and it never will. You’ll find all the basic features here, like magnet support, connection encryption, and bandwidth throttling. Tixati runs native on Windows and Linux and the installation is easy. No Java or .NET required.
Tixati also boasts a great advantage that allows you to download torrents at ultra-fast speeds, all thanks to peer choking and unchoking algorithms. If you need your torrents fast, then Tixati will ensure that you get your files as quickly as possible.
Because of the BitTorrent protocol’s design, user privacy can often be placed in jeopardy. If a third-party asks for data regarding your torrent activity, many clients will hand over that information. In steps OneSwarm, which is a torrent client that prioritizes user privacy over all else.
How does it protect your privacy? For one, it rewrites the source address when sending network packets. For another, OneSwarm will forward your network packets through multiple intermediaries to further obfuscate you as the source.
The client uses a few other techniques as well, and the website links to a number of published papers detailing peer-to-peer privacy and how OneSwarm circumnavigates the issues.
BitThief is a torrent client that began (and continues) as a research project at ETH Zurich. The basic principle of the BitTorrent protocol is that it is user-operated – if there are no contributors, then there will be no files to download. However, BitThief is an attempt at creating a torrent client that contributes nothing. It is a pure leecher without any seed.
The creators of BitThief wanted to make a point – BitTorrent will collapse if the protocol is not modified to prevent individual selfishness and lack of contribution. However, even if you don’t really care about the research behind it all, you can still download and use BitThief. Just know that some metrics will be sent back to the research group for analysis of the performance of their exploit tactics.
As of a few years ago, BitSpirit commanded an impressive 2% share of the BitTorrent client market, even beating out well-known program FlashGet. It was written in C++ and released as freeware like most torrenting clients. In recent years, however, it seems that BitSpirit has fallen out of development, seeing as the latest build was released at the very end of 2010.
Still, the program works just fine. It has a very clean and sleek interface reminiscent of the latest versions of uTorrent. As old as it is, perhaps it was the inspiring design behind it all. When all is said, other than an “always on top” download tracker, there is nothing particularly fascinating about BitSpirit. It’s just out there for anyone you’re looking for a different client.
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