Best torrent client: 8 we recommend

Top torrent picks to help you find and download files at the best speed

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It may only be 12 years old, but BitTorrent has already become a hugely popular technology, an efficient peer-to-peer file sharing protocol which makes it quick and easy to distribute files across the internet.

There's been considerable controversy along the way. Torrents are often used to share copyrighted material, for instance, while others see them as a great way to spread viruses.

The technology has many legitimate applications, though. You might use torrents to, say, fetch a massive Linux distribution, grab a file from Amazon's S3 storage, or access more than a million files at the Internet Archive, faster and more reliably than with a conventional HTTP download.

There's only one problem: most browsers won't download torrents natively, so you'll need a specialist torrent client to help. Which one? Keep reading for eight of the best torrent clients around.

1. uTorrent

Download uTorrent

Despite being compact and extremely lightweight, uTorrent still comes packed with support for all the standards you'll need (DHT, SSL, SSL, UDP, protocol encryption, UPnP and more), along with plenty of extras (RSS feed reading, and a Boss key to hide the program quickly).

Best torrent client - utorrent

None of this power gets in your way, though. Various tweaks and advanced options are on offer if you need them, but if you prefer a simple life then the default settings are generally fine, and simply clicking a torrent link is usually enough to download it.

While this mix of power and simplicity has helped to make uTorrent the most popular torrent tool around, ads and bundled adware have also earned it plenty of criticism. The program makes multiple attempts to install toolbars and other unnecessary extras during setup, for instance: pay close attention during installation if you want to avoid this.

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2. qBittorrent

Download qBittorrent

QBittorrent is a capable tool which aims to provide a free, open source alternative to uTorrent. For the most part it does very well, too, and provides builds which can run on Windows, Linux, Mac and more.

Best torrent client - qBittorrent

The program is relatively lightweight and straightforward, a well-designed interface making it easy to find your way around. The built-in search engine helps find you what you need, a click or two will start the download, and a few minutes of exploring the program tabs and right-clicking various items will get you up to speed with the basics.

You don't always get the extras available elsewhere; there's no mass of scrolling graphs to highlight current download performance, for instance. QBittorrent delivers the core functionality you need, though, and more (DHT, PeX, encryption, UPnP, RSS reading, IP filtering, torrent creation), and it's a great choice for more experienced torrent users.

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3. MediaGet

Download MediaGet

There's a lot of jargon surrounding torrents, but if the regular clients seem a little intimidating then you do have alternatives. MediaGet, for instance, focuses so much on its integrated search engine that initially at least you may not realise it's a torrent client at all: it's all very simple and straightforward.

Best torrent client - MediaGet

This can't last for long, of course, and once you're downloading the program presents a more familiar screen, with tracker details, peer lists, your file status and more. You can access a few more advanced features, too, setting upload and download speed limits or creating new torrents of your own.

MediaGet is really about ease of use, though, so even its "detailed" screen can be hidden, if you'd prefer. All you'll then see is the basic download status, no more complex than a browser, before you get to view or play the file once it's arrived.

On balance you'll probably be better off taking a few minutes to learn a more advanced client, but if you're simply not interested then MediaGet could be a very acceptable alternative.