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BitTorrent torrent client review

The big daddy of torrent clients

BitTorrent
(Image: © BitTorrent)

Our Verdict

A clean, feature-rich, light and fast torrent client, BitTorrent is a great choice in all these respects, but the slightly concerning VirusTotal result needs attention.

For

  • Loads of features
  • Neat and intuitive interface
  • Free to download and use

Against

  • Bundled software may be irritating
  • Distracting ads with free version

BitTorrent is the official torrent client of the BitTorrent protocol, the largest decentralized peer-to-peer protocol. It is used to transfer large files and data over the internet.

BitTorrent, the company behind the BitTorrent client, also makes another similar and highly popular torrenting app called uTorrent.

BitTorrent boasts over 100 million monthly active users, accounting for a considerable chunk of internet traffic.

Pricing

BitTorrent comes in four main variants, some of which have different versions within.

BitTorrent Web is available for both Windows and macOS, and is the standard client used to download content. While the macOS version is available for free, it does not offer support beyond macOS Catalina 10.15. The Windows client, meanwhile, is available in three different versions itself:

  • Basic: This is the vanilla flavor of the client, which is free to download, ad supported, and closed source.
  • Pro: Offers enhanced security, blocks threats, and displays information like file size, resolution, seeds and leeches. It also offers after-sales support, and is available for $19.95 per year.
  • Pro+VPN: Includes all Pro features plus it comes with CyberGhost VPN, which supports five devices, and helps bypass content censorship. This package costs $69.95 per year.

BitTorrent Classic is only available for Windows PCs, and is the original desktop app. It has four different versions available:

  • Basic: The free version of the classic BitTorrent client. It is ad supported and closed source.
  • Ad-free: No adverts are here, plus it uses less bandwidth, and you get premium support, all for $4.95 a year.
  • Pro: Offers enhanced security, blocks threats, comes with a built-in format converter, media player, and it offers premium support. An annual subscription costs $19.95.
  • Pro+VPN: Includes all Pro features plus CyberGhost VPN which supports five devices, costing $69.95 per year.

BitTorrent Android is the Android version of the torrent client available in two different variants, Basic and Pro, with the latter being priced at $2.99.

BitTorrent Remote is a standalone client to remotely manage torrents on your host PC.

BitTorrent

(Image credit: BitTorrent)

Features

The BitTorrent Classic client comes with a set of advanced capabilities that should work for any user, helping to ensure fast and efficient torrent downloads.

For starters, you get the ability to download multiple torrent files simultaneously, and it’s also possible to assign different priority levels among those multiple downloads, so if there’s one you really need in a hurry, that can be made to happen.

BitTorrent further allows you to schedule downloads to automatically begin at different times of the day (or indeed night).

The ability to get the bundled VPN is obviously useful from a security point of view, and indeed in terms of online privacy. As is the wide choice of options for clients, as detailed above – more choice is always good, and the ability to manage your torrent activities remotely is a definite plus point.

BitTorrent

(Image credit: BitTorrent)

Interface

BitTorrent is easy to use software which benefits from a truly clean and visually appealing user interface with plenty of options.

Apart from the adverts on the basic version, the interface is neat and streamlined, making it one of the best torrent clients to go with in terms of minimalist design. The less used menus and options are hidden out of the sight within the interface, yet can easily be summoned when required.

User experience

Impressive performance levels help to make for an enjoyable experience, and on an overall level, BitTorrent is very easy to understand and use. The lack of a steep learning curve and the ready availability of the free version make this app a tempting choice.

Security

While BitTorrent is the industry leader in torrent clients and is broadly considered safe to use, a couple of points should be noted in terms of security. Firstly, the client code is closed source, so entirely dependent on the developers for updates and security patches (and not as transparent as open source rivals).

Furthermore, scanning the BitTorrent installer with VirusTotal flagged up 4 warnings (out of 72 antivirus apps), which is not a large amount, but at the same time, may be a slight concern. That said, in some cases these can be false positives, but still, it's worth bearing in mind that some other clients score a clean zero in this test. Equally, it is generally advisable to use a good VPN application while using torrent clients to download content anyway, just for extra security (and privacy).

Piracy

While torrents allow users to download their favorite content off the internet, and these clients make the process easier, remember that there is, of course, copyrighted material online, and downloading that is breaking the law. Of course, TechRadar does not support or endorse piracy or illegal downloads.

Final verdict

BitTorrent has always been one of the most popular clients for downloading torrents. It facilitates genuinely fast downloading of large files, and is offered in more than 20 languages. Overall, it is a great option for efficient and effective torrent downloads, but the potential security issues we discussed in the review are a slight concern.

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