Is uTorrent Safe

Contents

In fact, uTorrent’s setup files contain unwanted software, the free software version includes invasive adverts, and the company has a history of accidentally distributing malware to user devices.

uTorrent Review

If you’ve ever torrented anything, there’s a pretty good chance you used uTorrent to do it. Although hugely influential in the early days of torrenting, other BitTorrent clients have done much to improve while uTorrent made the controversial decision to monetize the software with ads and a paid version.

uTorrent is by far the most popular BitTorrent client in the world. It’s also one of the few to use a freemium ad-supported model, and for a brief time it bundled a bitcoin miner with its desktop client — a fact that caused a great deal of controversy among BitTorrent users. Yet, how does the freemium torrent client hold up? This uTorrent review will answer just that and more.

Key Takeaways: Torrent Files Safely With uTorrent

  • If all you need is a simple way to download torrent files and don’t care about much else, uTorrent is an adequate choice, but there are far better alternatives out there.
  • The free version is supported by ads, which can be disabled through a slightly arduous process. The paid plan unlocks features like torrent streaming and automatic file conversion, but neither of these work as well as they should.
  • uTorrent is a good option if you have an Android device and want to use one torrent client across all your devices.

μTorrent — commonly referred to as uTorrent (since most people don’t have Greek letters on their keyboards) — tries to pack in a lot more functionality than just a simple torrent client, especially if you opt for the paid Pro version of the software.

Not all of these features work as well as we’d hoped though, so it’s a bit of a mixed bag. If you’ve already read our list of the best torrent clients, you know we’re not terribly impressed with uTorrent, and this review should help explain why.

If you’ve never torrented before, we recommend checking out our explanation of what torrenting is, as well as our how to torrent guide, as that will give you a better understanding of the terms used in this review. However, if you already have a passing familiarity with torrents, then we can get started and dig into whether uTorrent deserves its spot as the king of torrent clients.

    What Is the Problem With uTorrent?

The biggest problem with uTorrent is that its free version is ad-supported and the software isn’t open source. It also puts certain features, like torrent streaming, behind paywalls when other clients offer it for free. However, many users abandoned uTorrent because it started to bundle a bitcoin miner with the software, which it then stopped doing after a few months due to backlash.

Yes, uTorrent is currently safe to use, as long as you protect yourself with a VPN if you’re downloading copyrighted material. It no longer packs a bitcoin miner, as it did for a few months in 2015.

uTorrent and BitTorrent (the client) have been functionally identical (besides the color scheme) since 2007. Which one you choose comes down to whether you prefer green or purple.

uTorrent Review: Strength & Weaknesses

  • Easy to use features
  • Remote access
  • Android app
  • Scheduler
  • RSS support
  • Ads in free version
  • Browser only search engine
  • No torrent streaming on free version
  • No sequential downloads on free version
  • Pro features barely work
  • Separate paid version for uTorrent Classic & uTorrent Web
  • Lacking security features
  • Terrible customer support

Ease of Use

90 % – Excellent

If all you’re looking for is a simple way to download torrents and you don’t care too much about all the bells and whistles, uTorrent is a decent pick. In fact, uTorrent created what has now become the standard BitTorrent user interface used by many other clients.

Unfortunately, uTorrent is bundled with multiple pieces of unwanted software, including McAfee antivirus and RAV Endpoint Protection. It even used to include a crypto miner for a brief period of time in 2015, though it was discontinued due to intense backlash.

After installing uTorrent Classic, you can run the setup guide, which tests your network and device capabilities to adjust the client to the optimal settings.

uTorrent Classic

There are two main versions of uTorrent. The first one is called uTorrent Classic and is the old-school desktop version of the software. Although its layout has undergone some minor tweaks over the years, it looks largely the same as it always has (as does pretty much every other torrent client out there).

uTorrent includes a search engine in the menu bar at the top of its client, which you can configure for any search provider you want (for example, a torrent site like The Pirate Bay). However, searching simply opens up a browser window with the search engine in question, which hampers its usefulness significantly.

uTorrent Web

uTorrent Web is mostly a carbon copy of the Classic version, except it runs in your web browser. That said, it doesn’t have anywhere near the number of settings you can tweak and customize, which means it’s a significantly stripped-down torrenting experience compared to uTorrent Classic.

However, this may be right up your alley. If you’re not interested in configuring your torrent client to be perfectly optimized to your system or connection and just want something that works, uTorrent Web might not be a bad idea. That said, uTorrent Web only works on Windows and macOS.

uTorrent on Mobile

One of the biggest strengths that uTorrent brings to the table is that it has an officially maintained mobile app. Predictably, it’s only available on Android, since Apple takes a hard stance on BitTorrent clients on its app store. The app lets you not only control uTorrent on your desktop remotely, but also download torrents directly to your Android device.

Remote Access

uTorrent also offers remote access through a web browser, not to be confused with the fully fledged web client we discussed earlier. This allows you to access your installation of uTorrent from a separate device via a browser, but it doesn’t let you download files onto the device you’re connecting from.

Security & Privacy

Given that some internet service providers will crack down on BitTorrent traffic, regardless of the legality of what you’re downloading, security and privacy are of paramount concern for torrent users, especially so if you’re downloading copyrighted materials.

Support for VPN Services & Proxies

Without a doubt, the best way to protect yourself when torrenting is by doing it only through a virtual private network (VPN). By using a VPN with a strict no-logs policy, you ensure that your ISP (and anyone else, for that matter) is unable to see what’s happening on your internet connection. Read our torrenting VPN guide for VPNs you can trust to protect you.

While this isn’t something a torrent client can accomplish on its own, it can facilitate it. Some BitTorrent clients have the ability to bind to a network interface (such as that of a VPN) to ensure that no traffic slips by unprotected. Unfortunately, uTorrent doesn’t have this feature, as it only allows you to bind to an individual IP address rather than a specific network interface.

There is proxy server support in the settings, but a proxy server does next to nothing to protect you while you’re torrenting, so this doesn’t count for much.

Protocol Security

uTorrent also doesn’t support v2 of the BitTorrent protocol, which features an enhanced cryptographic hash function for greater protection from cyberattacks. There is an option to enable encryption, but the built-in protocol encryption for BitTorrent traffic is notoriously unreliable and unsecure, so you’re better off turning it off and using a VPN instead.

An admittedly more niche security feature is the ability to download torrents over I2P, which again uTorrent doesn’t support. That said, not a lot of torrent clients support I2P, but Vuze (check out our Vuze review) and Deluge (read our Deluge review) are notable examples.

uTorrent Pro Antivirus

The final part of uTorrent Pro’s security features is the antivirus functionality. It’s hard to say exactly how well this works, but supposedly it will alert you if it discovers malicious data in any of your torrents. If you have a habit of downloading torrents of uncertain origin, you should probably consider getting a dedicated antivirus software instead.

uTorrent does have automatic updates, which can help prevent cyberattacks, but unfortunately, it does very little to protect users while torrenting. Although you can certainly take all the steps you need to stay safe on your own, many other clients make it much easier to do so.

Performance

Using as little of your valuable system resources as possible was uTorrent’s initial raison-d’être (it’s technically called “MicroTorrent” for a reason). Indeed, the application has a very small footprint, even after growing significantly in scope over the years.

uTorrent has a download size of just 1.68MB and takes up a similar amount of disk space with its installation folder (depending on the number of updates and torrents you’ve added).

In terms of system resources, uTorrent is incredibly lightweight. Even with multiple torrents running simultaneously, it’s rare to see a noticeable impact on any system resources other than perhaps the hard disk if you’re not running an SSD. uTorrent was stable around 35MB of RAM consumption, and generally hovered between 1.5% and 3% CPU usage (on a Ryzen 7 processor).

However, uTorrent Pro uses significantly more RAM, as the antivirus feature consistently takes up around 300MB of RAM on its own. It also takes up more space, with the uTorrent Pro install folder ballooning to over 800MB.

Torrent Downloads

Download and upload speeds largely depend on the individual trackers of each torrent file. That said, we did perform some speed tests and comparisons. For this test, we downloaded three separate movies from the internet archive.

All of these had relatively few but stable peers, and we used an internet connection with a stable 15 Mbit/s download speed, which should ensure the most consistent results possible.

Movies: Time
Night of the Living Dead (201MB) 3m25s
Charlie Chaplin (319MB) 5m58s
Nosferatu (741MB) 11m55s

As you can see, uTorrent did reasonably well given the conditions, and we wouldn’t call it slow. However, as shown in our uTorrent vs qBitTorrent comparison, uTorrent takes significantly more time than it needs to.

Features

When you first open uTorrent and look at the settings panel, you’d be forgiven for feeling instantly overwhelmed. Spread through 18 separate tabs are settings and preferences that you can tweak, covering everything from basic things like speed limits to the ability to transfer files directly from the torrent client to paired external devices.

Caps, Queueing & the Scheduler

uTorrent lets you set limits on your connection in several different ways. You can limit how many peers you can be connected to at any given time or per torrent, set a maximum bandwidth for uploads or downloads, or define a seeding ratio or minimum time that uTorrent should reach before it stops uploading or shuts down completely.

You can also enable uTP (or μTP, short for micro transport protocol) which will ensure that the client doesn’t take up all your available bandwidth. This makes it possible to use the internet with other programs while you’re downloading on a limited connection.

If you want torrents to run only during specific times of the day — at night, for example — you can use the scheduler. This tool splits the week into one-hour chunks that you can set to one of four statuses: full speed, limited, seeding only and off. Finally, you can set a hard transfer cap for uploads or downloads (or both) that uTorrent won’t exceed.

BitTorrent Protocol Settings

uTorrent supports DHT (distributed hash table) and Peer Exchange. These both help peers communicate with each other about other peers, reducing the reliance on a central tracker located inside the torrent file or magnet link.

Local peer discovery (which looks for peers on your local network without going through your ISP) is also supported, but this is only really useful if you’re on a large shared local network, such as in student housing or a hotel. On your local network, uTorrent lets you adjust port-forwarding settings and enable both UPnP and NAT-PMP port mapping.

There’s also a fully fledged torrent creation tool that lets you create a torrent out of any file or folder on your device and automatically add it to uTorrent for seeding.

RSS Downloader

You can subscribe to a torrent RSS feed through uTorrent, which lets you automatically download torrents without manually adding the file or magnet link each time. You can add parameters and arguments to the RSS feed to filter out content by quality, episode numbers and title. You can check out our guide on how to download torrents automatically to learn how to set it up.

Labels & Directory Mapping

Besides automatic RSS downloads, uTorrent has more features to help you automate your torrent and file management. Each torrent can be assigned a label, which then has a directory associated with it. The torrents can be assigned labels either automatically by the RSS downloader or manually from a dropdown when you add the torrent or magnet file.

BitTorrent Speed & BTT Tokens

RainBerry Inc., the developer behind uTorrent, was purchased by a blockchain foundation called TRON back in 2018, and the purpose for this acquisition was quickly made clear when they launched the BitTorrent Token (or BTT for short).

The idea behind BTT is that as you seed popular torrents, you earn BTT, which you can spend to speed up your bandwidth on other downloads.

Unfortunately, from what we could tell, you earn significantly less BTT from seeding than it costs to get “increased bandwidth” later on. Additionally, while this is a potentially interesting idea, especially if you’re into cryptocurrencies, it feels somewhat counter to the foundational philosophy of the BitTorrent network being a place for equal and free distribution of information.

The fact that BTT built into the uTorrent client also isn’t great from a usability standpoint. The point of uTorrent has always been to be as minimalist as possible (hence the “micro” part), but with its new ownership this clearly takes a backseat to engaging in crypto-evangelism to an already established (and enormous) user base.

uTorrent Pro: Media Player, Streaming & File Conversion

Finally, we get to the Pro section of uTorrent’s features. Besides removing ads (which you can technically do yourself by tweaking the free version), uTorrent Pro’s headline features are the media player, the ability to stream torrents while they’re downloading and automatically convert files to formats supported by other devices.

Unfortunately, all of these features are severely flawed and limited. The media player only works with certain types of video files, notably excluding anything encoded in x265 — which is an increasingly common format for video torrents — and the same is true for the file conversion.

Because the torrent streaming only works with the built-in media player, this means it has the exact same compatibility problem.

At the end of the day, uTorrent has the core features that it needs to have. Its main problem now is the lack of torrent streaming on its free version (check out our qBitTorrent review for an example) and the fact that all its Pro features don’t work as well as they should.

uTorrent Features Overview

Pricing & Support

20 % – Terrible

uTorrent is something of a rarity among torrent clients in that it actually has a paid version. Although it was initially a completely free download, a “Plus” version was introduced in 2011 that came with a built-in file converter, antivirus and media player. Almost exactly a year later in 2012, uTorrent 3.2.2 released what was the first version to feature ads for free users.

Fortunately, it’s possible to tweak the uTorrent settings under the hood to disable the ads, replacing them with an empty space. Still, doing so is pretty cumbersome and likely to revert with every update.

uTorrent Web vs uTorrent Classic

The first thing to be aware of if you’re considering buying uTorrent Pro is that there are two separate products — uTorrent Classic and uTorrent Web — and purchasing a Pro license for one doesn’t get you access to the other.

The prices below are without local taxes, which will vary depending on your billing address.

Is uTorrent Safe?

JP Jones is our CTO. He has over 25 years of software engineering and networking experience, and oversees all technical aspects of our VPN testing process.

  1. Guides
  2. Torrenting & File Sharing
  3. Is uTorrent Safe?

Our Verdict

You can use uTorrent safely in conjunction with a VPN, but it’s not secure as other torrent clients like qBittorent. uTorrent itself is not a virus, but the application includes bloatware and invasive adverts. It has also distributed maleware and cryptomining software to users in the past.

Is uTorrent Safe

uTorrent is a well-known torrenting client, initially released by Rainberry, Inc (previously BitTorrent, Inc) in 2005.

It’s now the most popular torrenting client outside of China, with over ten times BitTorrent’s market share. uTorrent’s web application counts more than one million daily active users, and over 2 billion total installations.

However, there have been many safety and privacy concerns surrounding uTorrent over the years. For this reason, we put the uTorrent application through in-depth security tests to find out if uTorrent is really safe to use or not.

EXPERT ADVICE: For extra security, use a safe torrent VPN with uTorrent, like ExpressVPN. It hides your IP address and torrent activity, and you can try it risk-free for 30 days.

Our research found that uTorrent isn’t inherently dangerous, but it does pose several risks to your privacy and security.

In fact, uTorrent’s setup files contain unwanted software, the free software version includes invasive adverts, and the company has a history of accidentally distributing malware to user devices.

While you can download and use uTorrent safely, we recommend using a safer torrent client like qBittorrent, which is open-source.

What’s In This Guide

  • Is the uTorrent App Safe?
  • How to Use uTorrent Safely
  • How to Configure uTorrent Safely
  • Safe Alternatives to uTorrent

What’s In This Guide

  • Is the uTorrent App Safe?
  • How to Use uTorrent Safely
  • How to Configure uTorrent Safely
  • Safe Alternatives to uTorrent

Is the uTorrent App Safe to Use? (Full Tests & Results)

Torrenting always presents some risks to your safety, whichever client you use. However, you can offset these risks with caution.

uTorrent is hugely popular, and it’s technically not unsafe. The application doesn’t currently contain malware, and it effectively downloads and distributes torrent files.

However, uTorrent isn’t the safest torrenting client available on the market.

There are two versions of uTorrent for your computer:

  • uTorrent Classic: This is the desktop client, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It’s designed for bulk downloads, with a feature to turn off the app or your PC when it’s finished downloading, and a scheduler for downloads. It supports simultaneous torrent downloads.
  • uTorrent Web: This enables you to download torrents and play films in your browser while they’re still downloading. It includes a safe torrent scanner to help you find safe torrents when searching the web. If you’re using macOS with Catalina 10.5 or later, you have to use uTorrent Web. There’s no desktop application.

We put both versions of uTorrent through a series of safety tests. We found that both versions are safe to download.

However, compared to qBittorrent, uTorrent presents a higher risk to your privacy and security.

We found unwanted software bundled in uTorrent, along with invasive adverts. The torrent client isn’t open-source either, which means it can’t be independently inspected for security.

The table below summarizes uTorrent’s strengths and weaknesses:

  • The premium subscription includes malware blocking, antivirus, and CyberGhost VPN
  • Supports IP binding to stop your public IP address from leaking
  • Integrated support for SOCKS5 proxy
  • Installation includes unwanted software
  • Free version includes adverts
  • Advert was used to distribute malware in 2018
  • Not open-source
  • Users must pay for the safest software version

Below is a more detailed overview of what makes uTorrent potentially unsafe to use:

uTorrent installs unwanted software (bloatware)

Several different applications have been bundled with uTorrent since 2009.

In 2010, uTorrent bundled the Conduit Engine adware. Users reported it was installed without permission and was hard to remove.

In 2015, uTorrent came bundled with software called “SearchProtect” which was similarly hard to remove or opt out.

While the bundled software has changed over the years, the policy hasn’t. When you install uTorrent, you must be careful to avoid unwanted bloatware.

During the installation process, we were offered McAfee WebAdvisor and Adaware Web Companion. If you accept to install these programs, they will change your homepage, default search engine, and new tabs to Bing.

While these web security applications are legitimate, they’re unnecessarily bundled with uTorrent. Also, some antivirus programs flag them as potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).

uTorrent makes it deliberately difficult to opt out of these additional downloads:

uTorrent Bloatware

uTorrent makes it difficult to opt out of additional downloads.

Consent forms are disguised to look like part of the uTorrent installation process, which is deliberately misleading.

Moreover, there is bloatware you can’t avoid. uTorrent silently installs the DLive and TronTV streaming features.

Additional programs have their own privacy policies and mechanisms. In other words, they can potentially monitor and record your downloads and behavior within the application.

uTorrent includes adverts and shares your personal data

uTorrent includes ads in the free versions of its classic software.

To remove ads from the desktop client, you’ll have to buy a subscription. Or, you can manually turn them off in the settings. If you’re using uTorrent Web you cannot disable ads at all.

Ads are risky because they can be used to distribute malware. In 2017, an advert in uTorrent was compromised and used to distribute malware called Meadgive, which attempted to use a vulnerability in Flash to install ransomware.

Including ads in the software also raises questions about who is tracking your behavior. uTorrent’s privacy policy says that Rainberry, Inc shares your personal data with its advertising partners for personalized advertising.

Additionally, the ads make the client slower than it used to be.

Here’s an overview of uTorrent’s four subscription levels and their advertising policies:

There is also a uTorrent Android app that supports bulk downloads, music and video playback, and a WiFi-only mode to save your mobile data.

You can use the Android app to remotely add torrents to uTorrent Classic on Windows. The app is free, but you can pay $2.99 to remove ads and access power-saving features.

uTorrent’s previous security vulnerabilities

In 2018, Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy found a vulnerability in uTorrent that enabled a hacker to plant malware on a user’s computer.

uTorrent created a fix, but it didn’t fully address the security vulnerability. Instead of fixing the client’s flaw, they blocked Ormandy’s exploit.

Vulnerabilities and patches are a fact of life in software development. Software is complex, and errors slip in.

Sadly, uTorrent didn’t handle this vulnerability well (or quickly), which raises doubts about their commitment to user security.

Is uTorrent a virus or malware?

uTorrent itself is not a virus, but third-party security software often flag it. This is most likely due to complaints that uTorrent tricks users into installing unwanted software.

We ran the uTorrent client through popular antivirus software, and 28 out of 66 flagged uTorrent as malicious.

Moreover, the installer for the web client was also flagged as malicious by 11 out of 58 virus scanners.

EXPERT ADVICE: Although uTorrent is not a virus, there may be illegal copies of the software that contain viruses or malware. To be safe, always download from the official uTorrent website.

Does uTorrent include a cryptominer?

A cryptominer is an application that uses your computer’s processors to mine cryptocurrency.

Cryptominers use your computer’s resources, which means they can slow your device down significantly.

In 2015, uTorrent bundled the Epic Scale cryptominer in version 3.4.2. It mined Litecoin and sent the currency to an unknown owner.

Some users claimed Epic Scale was installed in the background, without permission. Others stated there was a prompt during the uTorrent setup process.

From the number of user complaints, the process was clearly not transparent enough. uTorrent later cancelled its deal with Epic Scale, and it no longer bundles the cryptominer.

uTorrent is not open-source

uTorrent is proprietary software, and the source code is not available for inspection.

Therefore, third-party security researchers can’t scrutinize the code quality, or verify how the client uses your personal data, unless uTorrent gives them access.

The closed nature of uTorrent was one of the motivations for the qBittorrent project, which provides an open-source alternative.

Is uTorrent legal?

uTorrent is legal to download and use in most countries, including the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and most European countries.

However, using uTorrent to download copyrighted movies, music, and software is illegal.

When you download torrents (leeching), your torrent client also shares (seeds) content for others to download. You may be threatened with legal action or a fine if you are caught distributing copyrighted material, which is illegal in most countries.

How to Use uTorrent Safely

Whichever torrenting client you use, torrenting itself is risky.

In addition to the uTorrent vulnerabilities we’ve highlighted above, you may also be at risk of:

    Exposing your IP address: Copyright trolls can see that you’re torrenting and threaten you with legal action through your ISP.

If you’re concerned about your anonymity and security while torrenting, here’s an overview of how to use uTorrent safely and securely:

1. Download uTorrent from the official website

Unofficial copies of uTorrent circulating online may include malware, viruses, or other unwanted software. If you want to download uTorrent safely, make sure to download the application from the official uTorrent website.

2. Disable the adverts in uTorrent

You can buy a subscription to disable uTorrent ads in the desktop and Android clients. Prices start at $4.95 per year on the desktop and $2.99 on Android. You cannot disable ads on uTorrent Web.

If you want a version of uTorrent that doesn’t include adverts at all, you can also download version 2.2.1. This was the last version not to include ads, and it remains popular in the torrenting community.

There are three risks in doing this:

  • The old version is not available from the uTorrent website, so you need to make sure you download from a trustworthy source like oldversion.com.
  • Version 2.2.1 was released in 2011, so it’s likely to have security vulnerabilities that have since been patched. There may also be incompatibilities with recent operating system updates.
  • The old version of the software is unsupported by uTorrent itself.

Although uTorrent version 2.2.1 doesn’t contain ads, it is 10 years old and therefore could be vulnerable to old exploits that have since been patched. The safest version of uTorrent is usually the latest iteration with the ads removed by subscribing.

You can use the settings to turn off the adverts in the free version of uTorrent Classic.

To turn off the ads in uTorrent:

  1. Select Options in the menu bar and select Preferences.
  2. Select Advanced in the window on the left.
  3. Using the filter box, search for the following options, select them, and then select False at the bottom to turn them off. If an option is already False, leave it set as False:
    • gui.show_plus_upsell
    • offers.sponsored_torrent_offer_enabled
    • offers.left_rail_offer_enabled
    • offers.sponsored_torrent_offer_enabled
    • gui.show_notorrents_node
    • offers.content_offer_autoexec
    • Bt.enable_pulse
  4. Select Apply.
  5. Restart uTorrent.

This will remove the ads from the free version of uTorrent Classic. However, it will not remove the links to DLive and Tron TV.

EXPERT ADVICE: Some VPNs such as Surfshark include an ad blocker, but these are unlikely to be effective against the ads in uTorrent. They can help to block connections to malicious sites, though.

3. Use a secure VPN with uTorrent

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) hides your public IP address, so copyright trolls and other users in the torrenting swarm can’t identify you.

VPNs also encrypt your internet connection so your ISP can’t monitor your downloads. Using a VPN is essential for anonymous torrenting with every torrenting client, including uTorrent.

Here’s how to use a VPN with uTorrent:

  1. Subscribe and download a safe VPN application. We recommend ExpressVPN.
  2. Choose a VPN server in a nearby location for optimal speeds.
  3. Enable the VPN kill switch and any manual leak protection settings.
  4. Test for data leaks using a VPN leak test tool.
  5. Activate uTorrent.
  6. Download your torrent files.
  7. Keep your VPN on until your torrenting client is turned off completely. The client may share files after you have finished downloading.

Some VPN services only allow torrenting on selected servers. For example, Avast Secureline has a limited number of P2P-optimized servers. If your VPN isn’t working with uTorrent, exit the torrenting client and try connecting to a different VPN server.

If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to find a VPN that is compatible with P2P activity.

EXPERT ADVICE: To test your IP address in uTorrent, press F5 to show ‘Detailed Info’ and then select ‘Peers’. You’ll see your IP address with the IP addresses of other users in your swarm, and they can see yours too. If you’re using a safe VPN, you’ll see the IP address of your chosen VPN server.

uTorrent’s top subscription tier includes CyberGhost VPN. While CyberGhost is a secure VPN, it’s not one we recommend for torrenting.

In our tests, we found CyberGhost’s torrent speeds to be too slow. It’s average bitrate of 3.9MiB/s is significantly slower than ExpressVPN’s 9.4MiB/s.

If ExpressVPN’s price is too high, cheaper torrent VPNs like Surfshark are a good alternative.

EXPERT ADVICE: We recommend subscribing to a VPN separately to uTorrent. This lets you use a VPN that better meets your internet needs, and not have to pay for a uTorrent subscription.

4. Change your torrenting behavior

Regardless of which torrent client you’re using, it’s critical you torrent safely and follow the safety guidelines below:

  • Check the comments, seed count, and uploader before you download a torrent file. This will help you avoid accidentally downloading a file that is infected with malware. Torrents with many seeders are likely to be more trustworthy.
  • Check that torrent files are in the format you expect, such as MP3 or FLAC for audio, or MP4 or MOV for movies. Downloading .exe or .bat files is extremely risky. Even ZIP, PDF, and Microsoft Office files can exploit vulnerabilities on your computer.
  • Check file sizes, too. HD video is about 105MB per minute and Ultra HD or 4K video is 320MB per minute. If you download a movie and the file size is small, that’s suspicious.
  • If you do download something that looks wrong, delete it without opening it.

5. Use trusted antivirus software

When you torrent files, there’s a risk certain files are infected with viruses or malware.

That’s why uTorrent has added malware and virus blocking features, but only in its premium products.

To be safe, especially if you’re using uTorrent’s free software, we recommend using reliable third-party antivirus software to reduce the risk of accidentally downloading malware.

The table below recommends free antivirus software for Windows, macOS and Android:

Platform/OS Free Antivirus Software
Windows Microsoft Defender, Avira Free Antivirus, or Malwarebytes
macOS Malwarebytes
Android Malwarebytes or Sophos Intercept X

Keep in mind that antivirus software won’t always catch all new viruses. New vulnerabilities may be exploited by malware before antivirus signatures are updated.

How to Configure uTorrent’s Security Features

uTorrent has some built-in security features that can help to protect your privacy and security, including encryption, SOCKS5 proxy support, and IP binding.

In this section, we’ll explain the safest uTorrent settings and how to configure them so you can use uTorrent securely.

How to Encrypt Traffic in uTorrent

uTorrent applies basic encryption via the BitTorrent protocol, which is less secure than VPN encryption.

uTorrent’s encryption disguises torrent traffic as normal browsing activity, but doesn’t mask what files are being torrented.

Bram Cohen, the inventor of the BitTorrent protocol used by uTorrent, has said:

“The so-called ‘encryption’ of BitTorrent traffic isn’t really encryption, it’s obfuscation. It provides no anonymity whatsoever, and only temporarily evades traffic shaping.”

In other words, uTorrent’s encryption can help to avoid ISP throttling, but it won’t make you anonymous.

The BitTorrent protocol is not particularly secure, and ISPs will still be able to identify your torrenting activity through patterns in the data.

If you are using a VPN, you don’t need to encrypt your P2P traffic using uTorrent as well.

To turn on uTorrent’s encryption, follow these steps:

  1. Use the shortcut CTRL+P to go straight to the ‘Preferences’ menu.
  2. Select ‘BitTorrent’ in the window on the left.
  3. Under ‘Protocol Encryption’, select ‘Enabled’ for outgoing connections.
  4. Check the box labelled ‘allow incoming legacy connections’.
  5. Press ‘OK’.
  6. Restart uTorrent.

uTorrent Encryption Settings

You can enable encryption in uTorrent’s preferences menu.

How to Set Up a SOCKS5 Proxy in uTorrent

SOCKS5 (Shadowsocks) proxies route your torrenting traffic through a proxy server that hides your IP address.

Masking your IP address protects your privacy, but it won’t encrypt your traffic or secure your connection.

Differently to a proxy, VPN software hides your IP address and encrypts your P2P traffic simultaneously.

The uTorrent client has native support for SOCKS5. To use it, you’ll need credentials for a SOCKS5 proxy service, which torrenting VPNs like PIA offer.

To set up SOCKS5 in uTorrent, follow these steps:

  1. Use the shortcut CTRL+P to go to the ‘Preferences’ menu.
  2. Select ‘Connection’ in the window on the left.
  3. Under ‘Proxy Server’, select ‘Socks5’ in the dropdown menu.
  4. In the ‘Proxy’ field, enter the address of your proxy server.
  5. Enter the Username and Password for your proxy server.
  6. Check the boxes to enable authentication, hostname lookups, and peer-to-peer connections.
  7. Check the boxes to disable local DNS lookups, features that leak personal information, and connections that SOCKS5 doesn’t support.
  8. Press ‘OK’.
  9. Restart uTorrent.

uTorrent Enable Socks

uTorrent has native support for SOCKS5 proxies.

You can also use Windscribe for torrenting with native support for SOCKS5.

How to Bind Your IP in uTorrent

uTorrent supports IP binding, which restricts your torrents to one specific IP address.

You can use this feature to bind your connection to your VPN or proxy IP address, preventing your true IP address from leaking if either fails.

Put simply, IP binding is an extra security measure in case your VPN kill switch fails.

IP binding is available in the Windows Classic uTorrent client, but isn’t available for Mac or Android.

To set up IP binding in uTorrent, follow these steps:

  1. Connect to your VPN or proxy service.
  2. Once connected, check your IP address and note it down.
  3. Open uTorrent and use the shortcut CTRL+P to go to the ‘Preferences’ menu.
  4. Select ‘Advanced’ in the window on the left.
  5. In the ‘Filter’ field, search for net.bind_ip.
  6. Enter your IP address into the ‘Value’ field.
  7. Press ‘Set’.
  8. In the ‘Filter’ field, search for net.outgoing_ip.
  9. Enter your IP address into the ‘Value’ field again.
  10. Press ‘Set’.
  11. Select ‘OK’.
  12. Restart uTorrent.

Safe Alternatives to uTorrent

You can use uTorrent safely by following our advice above, but there are several inherently safer torrent clients available.

Below we list three secure alternatives we recommend over uTorrent:

1. qBittorrent

Based on our security tests, we recommend qBittorrent as the safest torrenting client. It doesn’t contain malware or ads, it’s open source, and it’s also completely free.

Just like uTorrent, qBittorrent has IP binding and SOCKS5 proxy support. It’s available for Windows, Linux, and Mac, including recent 64-bit versions of macOS.

2. Transmission

Transmission is a popular torrenting client which is being developed for macOS. An early preview version is also available for Linux and Windows.

Transmission is lightweight with a small memory footprint, despite having a graphical user interface.

The torrent client supports encryption, but only at the same security level as uTorrent. However, because Transmission is open source, developers and security researchers can easily scrutinize its source code.

Unlike uTorrent, Transmission has no support for proxy servers. But, it’s completely free and doesn’t offer paid versions.

3. BitTorrent

BitTorrent and uTorrent are both owned by the same company, Rainberry, Inc., so it’s unsurprising they’re extremely similar.

In terms of risk, uTorrent and BitTorrent are just as safe as each other. And just like uTorrent, BitTorrent also features ads. However, Bittorrent manages its ads better, resulting in faster download speeds.

BitTorrent is not tarnished with uTorrent’s shady history with malware, which is its main benefit. The Classic version is available for Windows, while BitTorrent Web is available for Windows and Mac. There is also a BitTorrent Android client.