Since the rise of music and movie sharing sites that skirted the grey areas of the legal system, torrents and peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing may seem like dirty words to many people. However, torrents and torrent programs are just tools, and they have their uses. Many companies use them to share large files while some use torrents to share large software downloads to save money.
It’s much cheaper to use P2P sharing if hundreds of people download your software each week. The bandwidth costs alone on such a thing can get pretty expensive. So many companies have opted to use P2P sharing via torrents and torrent software as a way to offset this cost. The popular Linux distribution Ubuntu uses torrents, but they give you the option of using a direct download as well.
There are some security risks involved if you participate in P2P sharing and you may end up paying a little more for bandwidth since it uses your computer and internet connection to serve the files to others once you download it. Your computer becomes part of the sharing network, but no one can see your data. The torrent handles that part. All anyone else knows if they're getting the files.
If you think using P2P filesharing or torrent software makes you a pirate, those days have passed, and it's safe to assume no one will question you for using this technology. Well, provided you don’t download anything you shouldn’t or didn’t pay for in the first place. That said, the next trick is finding reliable torrent software that’s easy to use and not cluttered with ads.
We’ve done most of the research for you on which torrent programs are the best to use with Windows 10. Most of them are free which is a bonus. However, free software often comes with ads and those ads can get pretty intrusive. We searched for software that met specific criteria including minimal advertising. Ranked from most to least significant, this is how we graded each torrent program:
A tiny ad in the corner or something of that nature is acceptable, but some software is prone to splashing large ads that cover your screen and won’t go away. None of the torrent programs for Windows 10 on our list use intrusive or annoying advertising schemes. This was a critical part of the selection process since we found that most torrent software includes a lot of ads.
The software must be reliable and easy to use. That translates into an easy installation and a basic configuration out of the box. They should all work immediately after installation without you needing to setup anything unless you want to change some things to suit your needs. Safety and security are also part of this section since the software allows for random remote connections to your computer.
Customer opinions play an important role in selecting anything that goes on a best of or top 10 type list. The people that regularly use the software are its reputation, so we listen to them. Since most of the torrent programs that made the cut are free, so the price wasn't a significant concern during the research and selection process.
Only one of the torrent programs on our list of the best torrent programs for Windows 10 comes with a price tag attached to it. Vuze, which you can read about below, offers a free and paid version. The paid version removes the ads, so it’s technically free if you don’t mind the tiny ad in the corner. For these reasons, the cost of the software didn’t play a role in our selection process.
The Best Torrent Programs
You can pretty much rely on the order these programs got listed in starting with our favorite. We included our favorites first and worked down the list to the honorable mentions. They all work well and will get the job done, but some got higher marks from users or came with added features that gave them a little edge over their competition.
This is arguably the best torrent program for Windows 10, MacOS, and Linux. It’s free and open-source but contains no ads or any annoying addon software. It’s a complete solution that works immediately after installation. All you have to do is tell it where to find the files you want to download and wait until it’s finished.
One thing that gave this torrent program an advantage over the others on the list is the installation and setup process. It’s simple and adds an exception to Window’s firewall for you. Windows firewall is notorious for complaining about torrent programs and ignoring their requests to connect to other computers. This small bonus feature saves time and reduces stress for less experienced users.
You can add URLs to the program manually or let it set itself up as the default application for torrent files. If you choose the latter, when you click on a torrent link online it will automatically open in qBittorrent and begin downloading based on your current configuration. Many other torrent programs expect you to set up any file associations after installation, so this is another nice bonus perk.
One of the best features this software comes with is the simple interface. Everything you need to know is on one screen from download time remaining to any errors that may pop up. You can click on anything that's currently downloading or in the queue to download and see all the information about that link at the bottom of the application window.
This torrent program almost made the top of the list as the best torrent program for Windows 10. It’s free and doesn’t contain any ads. Like qBittorrent, it’s a complete torrent tool that works immediately after installation with minimal setup required. It’s been around since 2006 which is a good indication it works, and the developers plan to keep making it better.
The main reasons it didn’t come in at number one is that it doesn’t add a firewall rule for you, and it has trouble making itself the default torrent program for Windows 10. Granted, the problem with making itself the default is likely Window’s fault, but we can’t be sure since other torrent programs seem to handle the job without error.
You can add URLs manually or open your Window’s settings and add it as the default application for torrents. The process for doing this varies depending on which Windows version you have due to Microsoft’s strange update schedule. That said, a minute or two of searching online will net you a dozen guides on how to set Deluge as your default torrent program.
The interface for Deluge is similar to qBittorrent and everything in on one screen. You can click through each current download or queued download to see all the details about it at the bottom of the screen. It handles errors better than most torrent programs, and it'll seek solutions for you like updating trackers or restarting a download if it fails. You can adjust or turn these features off in the settings.
This torrent program made the list in spite of serving ads to you while it's running. The adds are small and confined to the bottom left corner of the screen, so they aren't annoying or in the way. There's a paid version that's ad-free and allows you to burn CDs and DVDs directly from the device. As of this writing, it was on sale for $9.99.
During installation, this software tries to add a firewall exception and configure your file associations automatically. It works for Windows 10 Pro, but users that installed it on Windows 10 Home Edition had issues. Many of them reported the firewall rule got added, but they had to configure Vuze as their default torrent program manually.
Aside from the ads and the small issues with installation, this torrent program makes adding URLs manually a breeze. If you configured it as the default torrent program for Windows, torrents you click on with automatically open in Vuze and begin downloading or waiting in the download queue. You can download multiple torrents at once, but this practice may increase download times.
Whether you use the free version or the paid version, the interface is simple and contains all the information you need on one screen. You can scroll through each torrent to see specifics about each link including download times and any connected peers. Vuze takes steps to scan downloads for common malicious software as well. This is a feature other torrent programs lack.
This torrent program is vastly different from any of the others on our list. It’s free and got started as a research project at the Delft University of Technology. It technically has its own department there where Ph.D. students work on the project. It’s the result of the work of three academic generations of students. Its purpose is to act as a torrent client while taking steps to protect your privacy.
We added it to the list because privacy awareness is growing among internet users and Tribler offers a way to protect your privacy while using a P2P network. It won’t protect you from governments and law enforcement but aims to guard against people that try to hitchhike on torrents and get into your computer. This technique is one of several layer-based attacks hackers seem to be adopting.
Aside from the unique privacy features, Tribler works like any other torrent client with some bonuses like a search feature and channels. Many common files that use the BitTorrent protocol, like Ubuntu, can be found using Tribler’s search feature, so you don’t need to use a web browser or any other method to find these files; Tribler can find them and download them for you.
It offers the same features you'd expect to find including the ability to add URLs for downloading manually. The interface design is clean, and everything is easy to find. However, if you want to see specific download information, you'll get forced into a new screen for details. That's a minor fault since it adds a step to checking on your downloads, but its one that's easy to accept.
A Torrent User’s Buyer’s Guide
Since most of the torrent software we reviewed is free, the real choice comes down to what features you need or want to use. That said, with the exception of a few minor installation problems, most of these torrent clients look and act the same. They all feature a one screen interface that gives you all the information you may want at a glance.
However, we recommend trying qBittorrent fist since it is free and doesn't contain ads. It beats the competition but only in some very minor ways like adding firewall rules without failing. If you remove all the other features and just consider user reviews and comments, qBittorrent still wins the tops spot. So, try it first and see if it does what you need before you delve into torrent programs that feature ads.
If you’re concerned about privacy, try Tribler. It doesn't protect you if you use is for foul purposes. Its goal is to give you some protection against layer-based attacks and snooping ISPs. Keep in mind it downloads files much slower than other torrent programs because it uses an anonymity feature similar to Tor. In short, your files make several more stops along the way to confuse prying eyes.
Some Final Notes
Whether you need privacy or speed, one of these excellent torrent programs will work for you. If you’re wondering why we didn’t include some of the popular torrent programs that pop up at the top of search engine results, they’re riddled with ads. Even the torrent programs developed by the developers of BitTorrent comes with ads. We’re sure any of the torrent programs on our list will suffice.
Kent Beck link to his wiki