The best free torrent clients for 2023: faster, safer downloads for PC and Mac

Mainline DHT, short for the distributed hash table, is an alternative mechanism to trackers that some BitTorrent clients use to find peers for file sharing. BitTorrent introduced the Mainline DHT system and is now used with several popular torrent clients, including uTorrent.

uTorrent for Windows


uTorrent, developed by BitTorrent Inc., is free software for file-sharing and peer-to-peer activities. It functions as a torrent client, enabling users to download and share torrent files effortlessly. This versatile application facilitates downloading various types of content, including games, videos, eBooks, movies, and much more.

Due to its impressive attributes, uTorrent has gained substantial popularity as a leading BitTorrent client. Its notable features include exceptional speed, a lightweight design, and a user-friendly interface. Moreover, this client caters to a wide range of users by offering compatibility with various platforms, including Android and Mac, and even provides a portable version for added convenience.

Features of uTorrent

uTorrent includes everything you would expect from a complete, reliable torrent downloader—highly detailed stats, support for RSS feeds, automatic shutdown, a download scheduler, and more. This software is missing a couple of things—a full torrent search tool and a built-in player to preview your downloads.

This software lets you play media in streaming as you download, rate, and comment on torrent files, drag and drop files to share them and disable the UDP tracker.

Ideal for all user levels

uTorrent is easy enough to use for everyone, no matter their level of computer expertise. Still, it also includes dozens of configuration settings that will please the most tech-savvy users. Also, it has several beginner-oriented guides to make sure everybody can make the most of it.

This program is ready after a quick installation process, although there are quite a few prompts to install browser add-ons etc. Plus, a handy built-in speed test simplifies the initial setting. The program takes up a minimal hard drive and PC resources, which enables you to have a good amount of torrents downloading and still be able to use your PC without any lag.

How to use uTorrent

uTorrent is a software client that allows you to send and receive files using the BitTorrent protocol, a technology developed specifically for sharing files on a peer-to-peer basis. Once you install this software on your PC, the default settings will automatically launch whenever you access a torrent file on the Internet. For basic usage, you don’t need to do anything else.

How to download using uTorrent

Locate a torrent file on the Web, and click on it to download the torrent file. It is essentially a set of instructions for uTorrent to begin locating and downloading the content from a wide range of peer sources around the internet. Note—you should only download content that is legally available to you. Foss bytes maintains a list of legally available torrents.

Why is uTorrent so slow?

Sometimes, uTorrent downloads very slowly, and that can be frustrating. This is usually due to slow network connections or congestion—some public Wi-Fi providers block or rate-limit torrent access, which can contribute to the problem. Also, this program sometimes requires a lot of CPU power and bandwidth, and if you have a lot of other applications running and competing for bandwidth, things can really slow down.

How to speed up uTorrent

Fortunately, there are several options to speed up uTorrent. Here’s how to make uTorrent download faster in most cases. For more in-depth instructions, take a look at this complete guide on how to speed up uTorrent downloads.

Allot more bandwidth to the torrent. Simply right-click on the file you want to prioritize and adjust the bandwidth allocation to high.

Add new trackers. This adds new seeds and peers to your torrent download and will increase uTorrent download speed in most cases.

Connect directly to seeds with UPnP – choose “Enable UPnP Port Mapping” from the connections section of the preferences menu to allow direct connections to seeders.

What is seeding in uTorrent?

Seeding involves sharing torrent files with other individuals by keeping your client account open. Even after downloading the torrent files, they continue to be distributed to other clients. Moreover, by leaving your torrent to seed, you contribute to sharing these files among multiple users. Seeding your files until the upload-to-download ratio reaches at least 1.00 is considered an excellent torrenting practice.

How to turn off seeding in uTorrent

BitTorrent clients rely on peer-to-peer sharing, so finding an option to prevent sharing can be difficult. If you want to avoid uploading or seeding from your system with uTorrent, change the number of upload slots per torrent to zero in the Bandwidth settings.

What is Mainline DHT?

Mainline DHT, short for the distributed hash table, is an alternative mechanism to trackers that some BitTorrent clients use to find peers for file sharing. BitTorrent introduced the Mainline DHT system and is now used with several popular torrent clients, including uTorrent.

What does uTorrent Web do?

uTorrent Web presents a web-based version of the well-known uTorrent torrent client. This version lets you download and handle torrent files directly from your web browser, eliminating the need for separate software installation. Moreover, it offers the convenient capability to stream media files while downloading. A notable benefit of utilizing uTorrent Web is its user-friendly nature, characterized by an intuitive and straightforward interface.

Is uTorrent safe?

Despite its potential for digital piracy, an aspect worth highlighting about uTorrent is its legality as a software. The software is entirely legal and without malware, ensuring a safe and private experience, mainly when used with a VPN. However, it’s important to note that this software does not offer protection against downloading malicious files that may compromise the security of your device. Therefore, exercising caution in selecting and extracting torrents is crucial to safeguarding your system.

How to stop uTorrent from opening on startup in Windows 10?

uTorrent sets itself up by default to start whenever Windows starts, but sometimes this is unwanted. To turn this off, go to the General section of the Preferences window under the Options Menu. Then uncheck the Start uTorrent when Windows Starts option in the Windows Integration section.

Is there another option than uTorrent?

If you require an alternative client, you may want to consider qBittorent, Vuze, Transmission-Qt, Deluge, FrostWire, and BitComet. These are all viable options to fulfill your needs.

Is uTorrent worth it?

uTorrent offers comprehensive features, including detailed stats, support for RSS feeds, automatic shutdown, and a download scheduler. The software is suitable for users of all levels, with user-friendly aspects and advanced configuration settings. uTorrent Web is a browser-based version that enables direct torrent file management and streaming while downloading. While uTorrent is legal and safe, caution should be exercised in selecting and extracting torrents.

  • User-friendly interface
  • Handy connection test for faster set-up
  • Extensive torrent download information
  • Small footprint on drive space and system resources

The best free torrent clients for 2023: faster, safer downloads for PC and Mac

Best free torrent clients qBittorrent on a laptop against a gray TechRadar background

The best free torrent clients on PC and Mac will make downloading so much easier and stress-free. Grabbing files directly from a server can be frustrating as you often deal with long wait times and slow speeds. Not only because you’re just dealing with a single source, but also because you might be competing with other users for bandwidth.

On the other hand, a torrent client makes faster download speeds and shorter download times possible. That’s due to the fact that the client will grab parts of that file from multiple sources and simultaneously download those different bits, then put the file together like a jigsaw to use.

Luckily, there are excellent free torrent clients out there, offering their downloading services without charging you a single penny. And, since we’ve used, tested, and reviewed many of them, we thought we’d share the best ones in this guide for your convenience. There are options below that are streamlined for those that just want to get started without fuss as well as ones with more advanced features.

We’ve highlighted what we like and dislike with each to point you to the one that meets your needs best. That includes considering user experience, bloatware, or ads, which you can sometimes circumvent with some of the best VPNs for torrenting and even integration with other apps. To let you find out more about each pick, we’ve even included links to our reviews.

No matter which free torrent client you choose, they’ll improve download times, especially on larger files. And, as long as you have enough space in your internal or external hard drive to store your digital haul, you’re golden.

Stay safe with a VPN

Why you can trust TechRadar

We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The only way to keep yourself safe and anonymous when torrenting is to use a VPN. A VPN encrypts all your internet activity and passes it through a secure tunnel so that no one can see what you’re reading or downloading – not even your ISP or the VPN service itself. One click and you’re protected. This also allows you to unblock sites like The Pirate Bay, or access foreign versions of Netflix. The best VPN service according to our tests is ExpressVPN which effectively costs just $6.67 per month and has a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

ExpressVPN – best VPN service
is our favorite VPN overall. It’s price a bit higher than most, but what you get in return is well worth it. Exceptional privacy, above-average speeds, and 24/7 support just to name a few.

NordVPN – the biggest name in the business
One of the most well-known names in the business is also one of the best. With NordVPN, you’ll get great speeds, easy to use apps, and abundant customer support.

Surfshark – easy to use VPN that’s great value
Want fast? We’ve got fast. Surfshark tops our list of fastest VPNs and brings along other great features as well. The service keeps getting better and better, the apps are clean and concise, and the price? It’s hard to beat.

The best free torrent clients for 2023

1. qBittorrent

A balance of speed and simplicity: the best free torrent client

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux | Features: Built-in RSS feed support, built-in search engine

No advertisements
Handy extra tools
No bundled software
Fewer extensions than some

qBittorrent is the perfect compromise. Some torrent clients offer every function imaginable while others keep things as simple as possible. This free torrent client, on the other hand, sits right in the middle, aiming to “meet the needs of most users while using as little CPU and memory as possible.”

It boasts an integrated torrent search engine, media player, encryption, prioritization of torrents and the files within those torrents, IP filtering and torrent creation, and it’s the closest open-source, junk-free equivalent to uTorrent. It also offers a minimalist and ad-free user interface, which we found to be easy to use and download content off the internet. During our testing, it’s proven to be secure as well, which isn’t surprising because it is open-source software. If you’re looking for a cross-platform torrent client that covers the essentials without getting overly complicated, qBittorrent is great.

2. Vuze

A feature-packed torrent client if you don’t mind the ads

Operating system: Windows | Features: Built-in search function

Clear, well designed interface
Expandable via plugins
Contains ads
Bundled antivirus trial

Vuze (formerly Azureus) claims to be the most powerful BitTorrent client on Earth. We’re not sure how it ranks on other planets, but it’s certainly a serious contender for that title. There are two flavors: the stripped-back Vuze Leap, and the fully-fledged Vuze Plus. Both offer torrent download, media playback and support for magnet file links, but Vuze Plus adds integrated virus protection and the ability to preview media files.

One of Vuze’s key selling points is its interface, which we found during testing to slice through the jargon and make even the more advanced features accessible to new users. In fact, setting up Vuze is extremely easy, even for first-timers. Vuze also offers bandwidth limiting, IP filtering, and all the other features you’d expect from a robust torrent client. Definitely one of the first options to consider.

3. Deluge

A customizable client that can be as lean or powerful as you want

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux | Features: Can be customized to a great extent with different plugins

Cross platform
Expandable via plugins
Browser integration
Interface is a little sparse

Deluge has been around forever, and it can be as simple or as powerful as you want it to be, making it one of the most versatile free torrent clients out there. That’s because it’s extendable via plug-ins. During testing, we found that to be its greatest strength, being customizable with the help of different plugins. That effectively enables you to build your own personalized version of Deluge.

Fancy something that resembles uTorrent without the unwanted software? No problem. Want to add alphabetical downloading, move downloaded files to specific directories according to the file type, adjust speed according to network conditions, create pretty graphs, schedule everything, integrate with Chrome or Firefox, or batch-rename downloads? That’s not a problem either. And, while it may look plain and slightly outdated, especially next to Vuze and other rivals, its simple interface and wide-ranging features allow it to hold its own.

4. uTorrent

An incredibly lightweight client maintained by BitTorrent itself

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Android

Download scheduling
Very small
Runs on the web
Contains ads
Additional bundled software

uTorrent, also known as µTorrent, has been around since 2005 and it’s the most widely used free torrent client outside China. It’s attracted some criticism over the years, however: it’s ad-supported and many users argue that the most recent versions are a little too heavy on the advertising and bundled software front. Make sure you read each step of the installer carefully and uncheck any software you don’t want to install.

That aside, uTorrent is useful, effective and doesn’t gobble up too much of your system’s resources: the entire app mainly runs in your web browser. Although it isn’t the official BitTorrent app, it’s been maintained by BitTorrent for the last decade.

It’s worth noting that uTorrent has a record of security problems, the most recent of which had the potential to let hackers control key functions of the client and spy on users’ downloads. BitTorrent has since released a patch for the vulnerability.

5. BitTorrent

BitTorrent’s own client, with web-based seeding and comments

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Android

Simple to configure
Download scheduling
Very small
Contains ads

You might be wondering why BitTorrent has its own torrent client when it also maintains uTorrent – especially when the BitTorrent app is a rebranded version of uTorrent.

Are you still following us? However, while the apps are functionally identical there are a few key differences: BitTorrent offers web-based seeding, commenting and reviewing, and you may find that the BitTorrent client is welcomed by private trackers that don’t like uTorrent.

Still, if you’re looking for a free torrent client, uTorrent is a great option – could be a good choice if you’re new to torrenting and want a client that will give you an easy introduction. We found it to be very simple and easy to use as well during testing, benefitting from a clean yet visually appealing interface with plenty of options. Meanwhile, impressive performance levels help to make for an enjoyable experience.

Are torrents legal?

Torrents have a bad reputation due to piracy, but they aren’t illegal in themselves and have lots of legitimate uses, including downloading open-source software and material that’s in the public domain.

It all depends on the content you’re downloading. Provided the copyright holder has given permission for the file to be shared this way it’s fine, but using torrents to download content you’d otherwise have to pay for is not legal.

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