We think nothing of downloading anything online that catches our fancy. We find a good song, we click MUSIC DOWNLOAD. We stumble upon that great old movie that we really liked, we click DOWNLOAD. There’s this cool new game, we click DOWNLOAD. Does it matter what P2P client we’re using? Are we using the best? How do we know these things?
How many are there anyway? This list only features the 10 best, or most used or most popular or most powerful of the lot. There could be many more coming out as we write this and they could be the latest and greatest of their time, but for now just read on.
See how your own P2P client fares in comparison to those in this list
uTorrent or micro-torrent, is hands down still the most popular or most widely used P2P client today. It doesn’t take up too much of your computer’s resources in terms of file size and memory requirements. It is often described as lightweight, efficient and feature-filled. People like it because it is very user-friendly, using tabs, menus and drag-n-drop functionality. It has a built-in search capability for the best torrent sites. It is virtually bug-free and keeps a stable download speed.
Vuze used to be called Azureus, equally popular as uTorrent. This app is powerful and feature-heavy, allowing you to play music and any media (Yes, including HD videos). It can also run media on your Xbox, PSP or iPhone. One cool feature is that it allows various plug-ins and add-ons. Being multi-platform some of the other features are: it can handle simultaneous downloads from a single GUI window, it has an embedded tracker, 27-language function, PeerGuardian IP address filtering etc. It might be a good idea to give it a try for a few days, cool as it is, there might be some features you won’t have use for, so go see first if you’d like to keep it.
Tixati has download speeds that are at least as fast as Vuze or uTorrent, but much more than speed, its overall profile puts this baby well in the running as one of the best torrent clients today. It is a smooth torrent app from the same people responsible for the WinMX OpenNap protocol. Tixati is doing very well with magnet links, DHT and especially PEX. It doesn’t contain any Spyware and certainly no Ads! Other features include a detailed view of the swarm, very efficient per choking/unchoking algorithms for fastest possible downloads, advanced bandwidth charting, bitfield graphs showing completeness of downloaded files etc.
4. Transmission Bittorrent
This client is for Mac and Linux users. It is an open source, cross-platform P2P client that designed for powerful yet simple usage. Transmission uses less CPU than any other GUI client or even less than some non-GUI clients, and it has the lowest memory footprint than any of the major BitTorrent clients. Despite its size, Transmission does not lack in power, boasting of features just like all the other leading clients: a web interface, peer exchange, encryption, magnet links, µTP, DHT, UPnP and NAT-PMP port forwarding, tracker editing, webseed support, watch directories etc.
BitLord is open source and very well designed for high-speed distribution of huge files in the 100MB or GB range. It supports selected downloads, download queue, simultaneous downloads, fast-resume, disk cache, chatting, IP-filter, speed limits, proxy and port mapping. It has an excellent built-in search capability that’s smart enough not to visit bad websites. You can add RSS feeds from torrent sites to Bitlord so you can keep tabs on your favorite torrents, without having to look for files.
We want it simple and fast and so we want BitTorrent. It takes full advantage of µTP and maximizes network bandwidth without adding to congestion. It is plug-n-play making it a breeze to install and set-up. BitTorrent is a smart client as well, automatically adjusting bandwidth usage depending on your network and internet access. This is especially useful so that you don’t get interference even when playing games while streaming video at the same time, not to mention chatting on Skype on the side.
7. Deluge Torrent
This is another full-featured, cross-platform P2P file transfer client. That means it is for Windows, Linux, Unix and OS X users. It features various user interfaces; web, console and GTK+. It supports plug-ins enabling it to offer more functionality. This client was designed to be lightweight and unobtrusive so that your download activities do not monopolize system resources. Some of the other features are Encryption, Local Peer Discovery, Mainline DHT, UPnP and NAT-PMP, Web seed, Private Torrents, Proxy support, speed limits (Global and per-torrent), RSS (via Plugin), Configurable bandwidth scheduler and more.
8. ABC (Another Bittorrent Client)
There is something to be said about products in general who have a no-nonsense approach to functionality, never mind the frills. ABC is one such product and can further be described as a solid improvement for the bittorrent P2P software. It is based on BitTornado, an extension from the original bittorrent core system, and written in Python/wxPhython code languages. Features include simultaneous downloads in a single window, prioritized queueing system, supports pause/ stop/ resume/ queue/ and remove operations, displays torrent details, supports BitTornado super-seed mode, configurable display to show stats-seeds-trackers, upload options can be set on timers, and many more.
9. Ares 2.1.8
Ares is another open source file sharing app that allows users to share any of their digital files including audio, video and documents. Users can easily publish their files through the Ares P2P network. They can also search and download just about any file shared by other users. This latest version released Feb 2012 supports Shoutcast radio stations. Ares can perform fast simultaneous downloads from several users sharing their files. It has a cool built-in audio/video player which enables users to preview the files during the download process. Ares has an efficient organizer for your download library. Ares is available for free. Its source code is likewise free and available for anyone to add their own features and customize their own version.
iMesh is a robust P2P file sharing client available in 9 languages and comes with online social network features. The ability to download from multiple sources, now called “swarming” had its origins with iMesh. Even the Pause and Resume features were first introduced by iMesh. It features smooth visuals and a simple layout with clean and efficient library organization.
There are many others that can be considered as popular as those on this list, and with comparable features, but have had some bad reviews (albeit unverified) over the years for various reasons. These reasons could be anything from “clients leaking DHT data and should therefore be passed off for another client” or that some clients “contain spyware”, etc.
For non-technical people, (like the majority of music or movie download junkies) too much information can sometimes be more confusing rather than informative. It is often easier just to read as little information as we can survive on, and learn the rest by testing or trying out a few things.
Why not begin with this list. Pick one. Try it for a few days. If you think you’re okay with it then by all means stay with it. If later on you are feeling more “download-savvy”, and perhaps in possession of a little more understanding of the technical issues than before, pick another more sophisticated client and try that one. One thing for sure, whichever of this lot you pick, you would have picked right.
We’d love to hear how you fared. Your comments will be very much welcome.