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Torrenting is a fast and efficient way to obtain large files by acquiring it in shared pieces from your peers, but a torrent file is useless without a great torrenting client to seek out, download, and arrange it.
In this article, we compare qBittorrent vs BitTorrent to discover which client is the best for your torrenting needs.
By the way, always use a VPN. Check out our 5 best VPN providers for both qBittorrent and BitTorrent:
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In order to assess these two torrenting clients, we’ll be looking at:
- ease of download
- ease of installation
- design and interface
- safety and security
- sser ratings and reviews
- comparative speeds on desktop and mobile
Ease of download
qBittorrent is a free torrenting client that comes in with a 19.2MB download size. This client has multiple helpful features, such as an integrated search engine, advanced download filters, a plethora of supported BitTorrent extensions, sequential downloading, torrent queuing and prioritizing, a torrent creation tool, and IP filtering.
The download for the latest version, 4.1.3, has multiple access points from the homepage and is very straightforward.
BitTorrent is also free, and its initial file size comes in at a low 1.3 MB, with an additional 51.4MB downloaded upon installation. The download is easy to locate from the homepage, which is very clean and modern. The client offers “ultra-fast” file delivery, free and unlimited downloading, and bandwidth booster.
BitTorrent also offers additional features, such as HD streaming and VPN services, but only as paid features.
Ease of installation
qBittorrent’s installation is quick but navigating to the download is confusing and at times seems convoluted.
The landing page is cluttered and can leave you questioning exactly which hyperlink to click.
Once you do choose a hyperlink, you are redirected to a separate website, fosshub.com, to continue with selecting the download that matches your system.
There is no warning you are going to be directed to a new web page, and a user could easily be concerned that they’ve been directed to a malware link.
After selecting the appropriate file, the client downloads very quickly and redirects to your computer’s installation system, and there is no additional download time.
The client is finally ready to open!
The installation of BitTorrent isn’t nearly as fast as qBittorrent but the user can navigate to the download easily and efficiently.
Clicking download from the homepage, from either the main page or the banner, automatically triggers the appropriate system download to begin (you can select a different system from the homepage if necessary), while redirecting you to a download confirmation page hosted on the same website.
With BitTorrent now downloaded, an installation guide begins which asks you to navigate through a series of privacy agreements and recommended downloads (Opera, Macbooster), before installing the rest of the BitTorrent client’s 51.4MBs.
The Macbooster offer is already checked “no,” but a user could easily accept the Opera installation without noticing if they are moving too quickly. BitTorrent is ready to use after the final 51MB download.
Design and interface
When comparing qBittorrent vs BitTorrent, we see that they have exceedingly similar interfaces.
Both clients have an action bar at the top of the client which a search bar accompanies (though you must have Python installed to use the qBittorrent search engine).
There is a list of status types and organizational folders on the left, and a gridded file listing system in the center of the client. Upload and download speeds are listed at the bottom of both clients, with transfer information listed just above them.
The biggest difference between the two clients is that qBittorrent seems to opt for button organization:
whereas BitTorrent uses a tabbed system:
qBittorrent advertises that it is a completely free client with no ads. You can choose to donate to qBittorrent, but there are no additional features provided for those who donate. The Android controller app for qBittorrent does have a paid version for $2.49 that removes ads.
Though BitTorrent is technically free, it does have paid options. These range from removing ads from the client, removing wait times to watch torrents, converting files, playing files in HD, playing files on the go, offering malware protection, and adding VPN services.
The prices for these options range from $4.95 up to $69.95 yearly. It is important to note that the $4.95 version of BitTorrent is the version most closely comparable to the free qBittorrent specs.
Safety and security
qBittorrent boasts on their website that their download is completely clean, and users will not find any malware within their download.
They seem to take concerns on this matter seriously, which may be why they opted to source their download through fosshub.com rather than sourceforge.com, where users complained about malware being installed on their computers. Additionally, qBittorrent offers the ability to set up SSL certificate for users who plan to use the remote options.
BitTorrent does not make such broad claims about safety, rather opting to suggest the use of a VPN, one which can conveniently be included with their top tier paid subscription.
The use of a VPN is wise with either client to avoid cyber-attacks as a result of peer-to-peer sharing, but VPNs are not capable of preventing virus or malware attacks on your files.
User ratings and reviews
The Android application versions of qBittorrent and BitTorrent make it easy to download or rearrange files on the go.
The qBittorrent controller app has a 3.7-star rating (the paid version has a 4.2), with the chief complaints being the amount of errors, crashing, and general inability to connect that exists if you are not using a local network. Users feel this defeats the purpose of the remote controller and say it is easier to just stick to the full, computer client.
Additionally, clients do not like that the qBittorrent app only allows downloads remotely to your computer, not directly to the Android device.
BitTorrent’s app, on the other hand, has a 4.5-star rating. The complaints made for BitTorrent’s app revolve around the interface as well as the ad system.
Users dislike the inability to unselect multiple files at once.
Also, users dislike that ads will pop up sporadically as they are about to select something on the screen, causing them to accidentally select the ad. There are still some complaints about the application crashing, but not nearly as many as qBittorrent.
Comparative speeds on desktop and mobile
After testing the speed of both clients, as well as their app counterparts, there seems to be a pretty large difference in overall speed.
qBittorrent’s main client started out slow but sped up toward the end for a total active time of 39 minutes and an average download speed of 200.2 KB/s.
BitTorrent’s main client performed slightly better with an overall active time of 19 minutes and an average download speed of 584.8 KB/s.
The applications both fared far worse. qBittorrent’s app came in with a download speed of 18 KB/s:
whereas BitTorrent’s was slightly better at 78.4KB/s:
qBittorrent vs BitTorrent: the best torrent client is…
When looking at the overall qualities of both clients, BitTorrent appears as the far better value. BitTorrent’s free service has a nearly identical interface to qBittorrent, if not a bit more intuitive and aesthetically pleasing.
The application that accompanies BitTorrent doesn’t require any understanding of IP addresses or server settings to link the two services, unlike qBittorrent.
The application for BitTorrent also allows you to download torrents to your android device as well as remotely access files on your computer.
qBittorrent’s app only allows you to remotely download items to your computer. Considering all those details and the enhanced speed of the BitTorrent client, it comes out as top choice.
Torrenting and internet safety
Torrenting is a great way to download large files quickly, and when used responsibly is a completely legal way to acquire files through peer-to-peer sharing. But, it is important to understand the dangers of torrenting, as well as our personal accountability as users of torrent clients. Peer-to-peer sharing can open you up to hacking and cyber-attacks.
Some torrent clients allow you to set up an SSL certificate to try and negate this, which allows you to prove ownership of your access key, but it isn’t foolproof. This is why some choose to use a VPN, which creates a private network out of a public internet connection.
A common myth is that you have to compromise your download speeds when using a VPN, but this is not necessarily true.
There are many VPNs out there that ensure their clients are receiving top speed downloads while using their services. ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two examples of highly rated, fast VPNs. Staying safe from hackers and malware is important, but it is also vital to be aware of the responsibilities we take on as users of torrent clients.
It is our obligation to always ensure the files we download are legally obtained. Copyright law is very important and the punishment for infringing upon those laws is very real. Digital piracy can land you in up to five years in jail with a fine of up to $250,000. So, be safe, be responsible, and enjoy all that torrenting has to offer!
So, which of these torrent clients are you using in 2021? In the battle of qBittorrent vs BitTorrent, which is your winner?
Let us know in the comments below!
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Jan is a cybersecurity and consumer protection specialist focused on investigations that help readers navigate the complex infosecurity sphere. His research and commentary has been featured in Forbes, ComputerWeekly, PC Mag, TechRadar, ZDNet, The Mirror, Entrepreneur, and many other leading publications around the world.