BitTorrent is a communication protocol that allows users to share data over the Internet in a private manner via peer-to-peer networks (P2P). P2P is a protocol that allows file sharing amongst users via a network of end-user computers without the use of servers. According to Wikipedia, P2P accounts for 43% to 70% of all Internet traffic and BitTorrent accounts for 35% of that. The reason BitTorrent is so popular is because it allows users to share large files over the Internet in a complete anonymous capacity.
Movies, audio, images, books, etc. are being sent from one user to another via a virtual private network (VPN) by taking small pieces of downloads (roughly 16kB to 32kB) and utilizing a hash function (SHA-1) to create torrent files. BitTorrents are able to remove corrupt files by comparing the hash files. The user receiving the data is receiving from several different users that already have the file in a simultaneous manner. Once data is received by an end user, the original hash file is tested against the new data to ensure it is the correct data and it is error free. The entire process is very extensive and resilient. A BitTorrent client is required to download the various pieces of data and test against the original hash file. The same is true for uploading data in this capacity. One thing that is important to note is the notion of ‘tit-for-tat’ in the BitTorrent world. The more users share files with other users the faster the download speeds are, this helps with leeching or mooching off of others. In other words, users cannot just download files all the time, they must be willing to upload and share with other users.
There are thousands of BitTorrent utilities available, but outlined below are the 5 best BitTorrent clients that you should check out.
qBitTorrent is a cross-platform BitTorrent utility that is open source and very similar to µTorrent. It is completely free and provides the exact same features on all platforms. The best thing about the utility is that once you install it, it is ready to go.
qBitTorrent provides many torrent features such as torrent tracking, a search engine for torrents, a torrent creation tool, torrent querying, filtering and prioritization. The utility also supports IP filtering, bandwidth scheduling, encryption, a web interface remote control, IPv6, Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), and sequential downloading of data. qBitTorrent also has a built-in media player so that users can play the files whether it is music or video.
qBitTorrent is meant to be an alternative to µTorrent. The utility has several great extensions without all of the ads. It may not have the same extra features that the other utilities below do have, but it is fully functional and fast. It is top of the line with a great user interface that is uncluttered and light on system resources.
Previously known as Azureus, Vuze, allows users to transfer files between each other using the BitTorrent protocol, but they can also publish and share original DVD and HD video data. This was one of the most popular utilities at one time, but it has since dwindled in popularity due to the size of the installation, the ads, and lack of open-source.
Vuze is somewhat of a social media platform as well as a BitTorrent utility. Users can chat with other users, add comments, add ratings, publish content, export media, and browse and download data. As far as BitTorrent features are concerned, Vuze includes, but is not limited to the following: encryption, peer exchange, torrent creation, allows for different level of modes, download scheduling priority, tracking, provides a kill switch, and proxy settings.
One of the biggest advantages of Vuze is its ability to use I2P. Invisible Internet Project (I2P) is the ability to send messages to each other anonymously and securely. Vuze is the only utility that offers this ability right now.
One of the negatives that Vuze seems to hang on to is the amount of ads that Vuze includes in its free version. It is almost overwhelming. You can get the Plus version, which is ad free. Also, Vuze is very resource-heavy and includes a lot of extra software that is not necessary. Although, some of these are features that may be important to a user. Pay very close attention when you are installing for the first time to make sure you do not install plugins that you do not need or want.
Last, as mentioned, Vuze is cross-platform utility and is offered on Windows, Max OS X and Linux. However, Vuze does provide a very nice Android app that is ad free. Users can manage their torrenting from their tablet or phone using this slick application.
Transmission is another BitTorrent cross-platform utility that is also free. It works on Mac OS X and Linux and is a default application on many Linux machines. Although Transmission does not officially support Windows, they do have a build that works on Windows called Transmission-QT. Transmission-QT uses libTransmission on the backend to allow better functionality. This is their own code and functionality that allows the utility to function properly. One thing that makes Transmission and Transmission-QT stand out is the fact that you can use a web interface to control it remotely.
Transmission uses a very simple user interface and offers an alert to let users know when downloads are done. Other features included download scheduling, port forwarding, peer exchange, encryption, port mapping, block lists, allows for multiple trackers and many more unforgettable features.
The user interface is one of its highlights because it is so simple. Users will not be confused, it will not take long to learn and it is easy to look at torrent information. It is a powerful, simple interface.
Deluge is a BitTorrent cross-platform utility for Windows, Linux and Max OS X. It utilizes libtorrent as its front and backend. Libtorrent is an open source protocol of BitTorrent. Two gentlemen from Ubutnu Forums started Deluge and released its first version in the third quarter of 2006. The utility uses plugins to support all of its features, which you can turn on and off.
Deluges offers several features including but not limited to the following: encryption, DHT (distributed sloppy hash table), P2P exchange, password protection, bandwidth scheduling, proxy support, Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), and a web interface that allows users to remotely control their desktop.
Deluge is known for its ‘lightweight’ consistency. It is a free utility that offers third-party plugins and this is where Deluge is one of the best in the market. These plugins allow the users to customize their utility to their specifications. It is an easy to use utility that streamlines a user’s needs. It is also known for its speedy installs.
µTorrent is arguably the most well-known and used BitTorrent utility available. In fact, it was developed in 2005 and bought by BitTorrent, Inc. in December of 2006, which is the official company that developed the P2P protocol. Currently, µTorrent has over 100 million registered users outside of China. It is a freeware piece of software that has dominated the industry.
An interesting fact to point out is in reference to µTorrent’s name. There is some significance to the Greek symbol µ in the name. µ stands for ‘mu’ which is the SI prefix for ‘micro’. This refers to the programs minimal use of computer resources as opposed to their counterparts as referenced above.
Some of µTorrent top features include its quick download time, cross-platform ability, included tracker, control over downloads (including stopping and starting), download scheduling, port forwarding, IP filtering, user configurability of interface design, customizable search bar, and verification of torrent integrity via hash file checking. The utility also allows for email alerts to let a user know when downloads are complete. A side note that is worth pointing out is that µTorrent is beta testing a web plugin that allows users to control the utility from another computer via a web browser.
One of the best features that µTorrent has to offer is the ability to control the utility from a mobile app. Users absolutely love this capability and it is a must have in this world of technology.
Unfortunately, µTorrent has incorporated an ad-supported free version of its utility. There is a way to hide these advertisements, but for the occasional user this is not the easiest of jobs. To get around this, just upgrade to the Plus version.
There are several other utilities that are worth mentioning here, but these 5 are the best in the business at what they do and what they offer. BitTorrenting continues to remain popular and will only continue to gain popularity with increasingly cleaver technology.