Discover a free-to-use, cross-platform BitTorrent client to download and share files from anywhere. qBittorrent is an open-source software solution, hence it’s completely free. What’s more, being an open-source project also means it’s constantly being updated to make the very best of the latest innovations in P2P technology.
Universal and free of charge
qBittorrent is compatible with Microsoft Windows, MaxOS, OS/2, GNU/Linux and BSD systems, making it the ultimate cross-platform BitTorrent client. Primarily an open-source project, qBittorrent is a GPLv2+ licensed software that’s free, modifiable and redistributable.
Since qBittorrent is also designed to be streamlined, it’s an ideal fit for operating systems running on older PCs. qBittorrent is already present in the original releases of GNU/Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, Debian, openSUSE, Arch Linux, Gentoo and many more besides.
However, don’t be duped into thinking free software such as this is the reserve of Linux. In fact, this P2P software can also run under Android, OS X, Windows and other operating systems including EcomStation, Haiku and Unix.
Nowadays, having a compatible BitTorrent client on all of your devices is an absolute must if you’re keen to make the most of P2P sharing applications.
An open-source project from French developers
qBittorrent was originally developed by Christophe Dumez in March 2006 as part of his thesis when he was a student at the University of Technology of Belfort-Montbéliard.
Even today, qBittorrent is still very much in use thanks to a very active technical support presence, made possible by the generous donations of a large community of contributors, not to mention a dedicated team of volunteers who have made it their mission to maintain the software and introduce constant innovations to improve it.
Available in more than 40 individual languages, it is an international community of volunteers who strive to keep qBittorrent up-to-date and at the forefront of the P2P field, along with the steady stream of generous donations that keep the pulse of this open-source project beating.
qBittorrent from a technical perspective
qBittorrent is programmed using the C++ programming language, while relying on the libtorrent software library. Like qBittorrent, libtorrent is an open-source project that aims to implement solutions for the BitTorrent protocol, while providing support for IPv6 and distributed DHT hash tables that are required in order to find peers in a P2P network.
However, qBittorrent is dependant on other open-source projects in order to stand as the most comprehensive BitTorrent client out there:
• Boost is a library developed in C++ to support tasks and structures requiring linear algebra, pseudo-random number generation, image processing or regular expressions.
• Qttoolkit (version 4 and 5) is a set of applications tools for creating Graphical User Interfaces (GUI). These tools are cross-platform in nature and have very few lines of code that require modification, ensuring the qBittorrent GUI works as well on a Linux or Windows PC as it does on MacOS, Android or embedded UNIX-like systems.
qBittorrent brings together the best aspects of various open-source projects into a single software solution, taking advantage of the many possibilities of P2P via the BitTorrent protocol.
A well-known and reputable BitTorrent client
To send and receive (or “upload” and “download”) files with other users using the BitTorrent protocol, you will need to make use of a BitTorrent client.
Due to mistranslations, it’s not uncommon to hear individuals talk about BitTorrent in terms of a network, even though it’s primarily a protocol as we’ve already discussed. This protocol allows you to be connected and share via the use of software with others using BitTorrent clients other than qBittorrent.
qBittorrent has consistently proved to be an up-to-date choice that supports the latest technological advances in the world of P2P sharing. For example:
When BitTorrent became popular and usage accounted for a significant amount of worldwide internet traffic, some internet services providers decided to install bottlenecks within the network.
This was done in an attempt to make sharing via BitTorrent protocol slower.
The major BitTorrent clients (including qBittorrent) began to develop countermeasures to hide the traces of traffic via this communication protocol in an attempt to circumnavigate such bottlenecks.
The introduction of PHE (Protocol Header Encrypt) and MSE/PE (Message Stream Encryption/Protocol Encryption) made it particularly tricky for ISPs to successfully detect BitTorrent sharing as early as 2009.
Even though using the BitTorrent protocol is still legal, issues arise when you begin to utilise the protocol in order to illegally distribute copyrighted material.
There has already been significant controversy regarding the use of BitTorrent trackers. BitTorrent meta files do not offer any content in and of themselves, but they are what allow for the sharing of files that may be copyrighted content.
Is qBittorrent secure and safe to use?
As it stands, the world of BitTorrent clients offers a great deal of potential solutions to users, but not all of them are particularly useful or even adhere to proper use of the BitTorrent protocol.
QBittorrent is arguably the main competitor of uTorrent, offering more or less the same functionality. In reality, these two P2P clients have the same features, except that qBittorrent is an international open-source project. As such, the software offers Unicode support in more than 70 individual languages.
QBittorrent is designed to be streamlined and lightweight, without compromising on speed. As such, it’s one of the most popular BitTorrent clients currently available.
Unfortunately, as with most open-source software, qBittorrent’s GUI seems to have changed very little for the better in recent years. However, this is all just superficial. Behind a seemingly simple and stripped-back interface lies a full and robust suite of features that make it one of the best BitTorrent clients currently available for download.
Whether you’re a torrent fanatic who loves to download or you’re simply someone who wants to share large files with friends and family, qBittorrent has all the features you need to fulfil your goals.
qBittorrent is a software solution designed to be open-source, unlike counterparts like uTorrent. One thing to take comfort in is that, being open-source, qBittorrent benefits from many updates to rectify bugs and security flaws as they are discovered. What’s more, qBittorrent uses other open-source projects within its larger design, including libtorrent.
Key benefits and features of qBittorrent
Although it’s a free software, qBittorrent is an incredibly powerful solution. In fact, it boasts many features you wouldn’t normally find without the constant intrusion of unwelcome ads.
Admittedly, qBittorrent does include some advertising in order to be able to continue to support software development and innovations, but it is non-intrusive in nature. You can currently expect the following features and benefits, without having to pay a single penny for the privilege:
• It is the most similar BitTorrent software to uTorrent, allowing most users to delve into the world of free, open-source software with minimal hassle.
• The overall design is incredibly user-friendly and simple, requiring only basic knowledge of internet navigation in order to operate effectively.
• It already boasts an integrated (although optional) search engine feature in order to find BitTorrent metafiles (trackers) in order to commence downloads.
• It will notify you regularly via email about download status of your files, which is particularly handy when you’re downloading much larger files across a big organisation or workgroup.
• It allows you to plan bandwidth use and allocation in relation to your downloads and shares. This means that if your file shares are throttling too much bandwidth and slowing down your internet network connection, you can alleviate the strain. This can be done to either extreme, allowing you to define peak times for sharing and peak times for all other internet activity to best accommodate your online requirements. For example, you can choose to loosen bandwidth restrictions during the hours you’d normally be asleep and not requiring a faster internet connection.
• It already boasts a tool for creating BitTorrent metafiles. As qBittorrent is a legal sharing software solution, it allows for metafiles to be created and shared between a larger group with ease. This is ideal if you’re looking to promote more active sharing activity.
• It is able to utilise port forwarding in order to avoid bottlenecks. IP filtering also adds a technical solution to bypass limitations of internet service providers in this regard. None of these technical solutions are in any way illegal. The practices of internet service providers is in fact far more questionable than any IP filtering and port forwarding activity a piece of software like this utilises.
• The software knows how to map UPnP and NAT-PMP ports. The UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) network protocol allows you to connect multiple devices to your home network more easily and communicate efficiently between these various devices for file sharing applications. NAT-PMP (NAT Port Mapping Protocol) automates the port forwarding process, allowing machines outside of your private network to connect to your home network from behind a NAT (Network Address Translation) gateway that can successfully match IP addresses with each other location.
• The qBittorrent technical team is a very active community that readily responds to various bugs that users may encounter and report on the official forum. This prompt response to such problems demonstrates the success of a reactive strategy, without doubt the norm in the case of open-source software. What’s more, the qBittorrent technical team is well-known as a friendly and pleasant support avenue. Quality service like that isn’t always that easy to find.
• Since the qBittorrent project is an open-source venture (as are many other projects that qBittorrent benefits from) this software is one of the most stable and secure options out there. It’s continually evolving with new technological innovations and advancements in the field of P2P sharing.
• Although the interface might seem a little stripped-back and lacking, it contains all the necessary features required for the average user to successfully utilise this software. One of the biggest benefits of qBittorrent’s graphical user interface is that it is incredibly intuitive and easy to get to grips with. uTorrent users, for example, will have no trouble whatsoever finding exactly what they’re after here, with both graphical user interfaces very similar in design.
• The software supports several different types of BitTorrent extensions, including private torrent metafile sharing, encryption of network connections (your connections will be encrypted and completely protected), support for magnet links and much more besides. This is because qBittorrent is always up to date with new torrent extensions, meaning you’re never left dealing with an antiquated torrent client software solution.
• qBittorrent’s integrated search engine allows for simultaneous searches from several distinct sites indexing BitTorrent’s trackers. This is one of the most interesting features provided by this software, setting it apart from competitors by allowing you to simultaneously search multiple torrent sites for the desired file in the same way as P2P Emule software.
• Searches can be done by category (eBook, music, software…).
• The download process is sequential, meaning that qBittorrent offers streaming capability, with data downloaded in a linear order.
• Access a video or audio preview using a media player installed on your operating system (we recommend the open-source VLC player for maximum compatibility).
• It is possible to remotely control the software via a web interfaced (coded in Ajax). You can remotely control your downloads and shares. This is ideal for those users who are on the move, or those who wish to manage activity depending on the exact location you’re operating from.
• Prioritise your downloads and shares by queuing them in order to save your bandwidth.
• Automatically download content via RSS feeds. This feature is ideal for anyone who wishes to stay up-to-date with current news, with the latest videos of news stories and shows automatically downloaded from sites that offer an RSS feed.
• Distributed Hash Table (DHT) support is implemented, allowing for a “key/value” data structure wherein each piece of data is associated with a key that will ultimately be distributed across your network in an intelligent manner to effectively distribute data storage across all nodes on the network, rather than just one point.
• Also enjoy the benefits of Peer Exchange (PEX) support which, in addition to the effective use of DHT hash tables and BitTorrent tracker sharing, allows for the discovery of new nodes (or peers) to improve your local performance by reducing the load on trackers.
• Protocol scrambling that’s compatible with Vuze (a commercial platform dedicated to video) is also offered. This system implements Protocol Encryption (PE) scrambling, Message Stream Encryption (MSE), as well as Protocol Header Encryption (PHE) scrambling.
• You will also be able to use a proxy server, with the key function here being to speed up your browsing by utilising a caching and data compression system. This will also serve to improve the security of your local network, keeping it protected and anonymous by use of an intermediate server. However, this will ultimately depend on the proxy server you’re using and on your individual security and anonymity requirements.
• A particularly interesting feature is IP address filtering via a shared blacklist that is compatible with P2P networks of both eMule and PeerGuardian. This helps avoid any suspicious file activity in the upstream.
• In addition to all of the above, you will find a raft of first-rate technical functions that combine to deliver an efficient experience and user-friendly controls over your trackers and/or network links.
This less than exhaustive list demonstrates the superiority of qBittorrent over other BitTorrent clients, towering above even the best commercial rivals, such as uTorrent.
However, it’s worth considering in detail what the results would be if we tested these two seemingly similar pieces of software against each other, with one being commercially licensed and the other being completely open-source.