Which is better, uTorrent or BitTorrent? Find out the similarities and the differences between the two torrent clients and decide which one should you use in 2020.
Most people who torrent files online use either uTorrent or BitTorrent, as these two are the most popular torrent apps right now. At this point, you might be wondering what’s the difference between the two. Aren’t they the same? Which one is better? Wonder no more because we are going to explore the similarities and the differences of BitTorrent and uTorrent to help you decide which client you should use.
Similarities between uTorrent and BitTorrent
Let’s start with the similarities since your first thought as a new torrent user may have been that these two software look pretty much the same. Which one is a copy, and which one is the original? You’d be surprised to note these similarities between uTorrent and BitTorrent:
- Developed by BitTorrent, Inc.: None of them are forks as they are both developed and managed by the same company. BitTorrent came out first in 2001, while uTorrent followed four years later.
- Ads are shown in both clients: BitTorrent was ad-free at first, but right now, both BitTorrent and uTorrent carry advertisements on their free basic plans.
- Payment methods: Both clients accept credit cards, PayPal, and crypto as payment methods. Even their checkout pages look the same.
- Pricing plans: uTorrent and BitTorrent have the same basic pricing annual pricing plans – the basic plan which is for free, and a Pro plan which is $19.95 per year.
These are some of the most basic of ways that two pieces of software can be similar, but where they differ can be impactful.
Differences between uTorrent and BitTorrent
On the surface, uTorrent and BitTorrent may look identical. However, there are notable differences between the two that I’m going to outline here:
- File size: uTorrent’s installer for desktop is larger in size at 2.8MB, while BitTorrent is at 2.5MB. You’ll see a significant difference on their Android versions with uTorrent’s download size of 12.63MB and BitTorrent’s size of 7.04 MB.
- Frequency of upgrade: uTorrent is being updated more frequently since it is a testing ground for new features. This is also the reason why it has a larger file size. On the other hand, only stable (and tested) updates are released on BitTorrent.
- Supported operating systems: Both clients work on MacOS, Windows, and Android, but only uTorrent is available for Linux, on Ubuntu and Debian versions of the operating system.
- Space occupied by ads: In BitTorrent, ads are more prominent since they take up a bigger space compared with uTorrent.
- Views: While uTorrent has an upgrade button at the top of the torrent list window, BitTorrent has a Toggle Torrent View button. With this button, you can refresh the window or hide the list of torrents.
- Additional pricing: While the free and Pro plans are the same, ButTorrent is experimenting with also having a $4.95 Ad-Free plan, and a $69.95 Pro + VPN plan.
The Pro + VPN plan comes with a one-year subscription with CyberGhost as the VPN provider. Check out this CyberGhost review, and decide if this VPN provider suits you.
Differences based on operating systems
The performance of BitTorrent and uTorrent on MacOS and Windows is similar except that BitTorrent has a search function that makes it easy to use. Aside from this, you can download multiple files simultaneously with BitTorrent, while uTorrent can only download one torrent file at a time. This goes for the Android versions of the two clients as well.
Despite this, and the notable difference in the file size, uTorrent seems to be more popular with more than 100 million downloads. BitTorrent, on the other hand, has only been downloaded over 10 million times.
Both uTorrent and BitTorrent are rated equally, but BitTorrent only has 700,000 reviews while uTorrent has three million reviews.
Differences in terms of speed
While torrent download speed ultimately depends on the speed of your Internet connection, there are other factors that affect it, regardless of what torrent client you use – BitTorrent or uTorrent. For instance, the more torrent users, the slower the speed will be. Also, if there are fewer seeds, the download speed will be slower as well.
Our experience with both torrent clients proved that there’s not much difference between BitTorrent vs uTorrent in terms of speed. A download speed of 2 MB/s is fair enough for any of the two clients, as attested by this Twitter user:
Maximizing uTorrent and BitTorrent
You should know that regardless of the torrent client you choose, you can actually maximize the speed by tweaking the torrent client settings. Here are the steps to do this:
- On the menu bar, click on Options > Preferences.
- Go to the General settings tab and look for the When downloading settings. Make sure that the Append .!ut to incomplete files and Prevent standby if there are active torrents are marked.
- On the Connection tab, change the port to 45682, and mark these three checkboxes: Enable UPnP port mapping, Enable NAT-PMP port mapping, and Add Windows Firewall exception.
- Go to the Bandwidth tab and set the maximum upload and download rate (under the first setting, Global Upload Rate Limiting). Make sure these are set to “0” for unlimited.
- Still on the Bandwidth tab, go to the Number of Connections settings and set the Global maximum number of connections to 2,000, and the Maximum number of connected peers per torrent to 1,500.
You may also tweak other settings and see which works for you. Also check out this video for more tips on how to improve download speeds on uTorrent. Since uTorrent and BitTorrent have identical user interfaces, this tutorial works with both:
Just make sure to take a screenshot of your existing settings so you can always revert to the default settings. Also, it looks like BitTorrent Inc., have found a way to speed up downloads by engaging the whole torrent community:
Circumventing ISP throttling
Most ISPs throttle your Internet speed when they detect that you are downloading torrent files. They also do this sometimes when you’re on Netflix, YouTube, or any website that uses a lot of bandwidth, perhaps to encourage users to upgrade their Internet plans.
An effective way to bypass this commercially driven strategy is to use a VPN. With a VPN, your ISP won’t know your online activities, so they can’t throttle your connection. There are VPN providers that work well with all torrenting and P2P downloading.
uTorrent vs BitTorrent: Which is better?
There’s no straight answer to this question, but what we can deduce in this uTorrent vs BitTorrent comparison is:
- They cost the same: Because uTorrent and BitTorrent are developed by the same company, their pricing plans are identical. Their free versions are loaded with ads, and the cost to upgrade is the same for both.
- uTorrent for Android is preferable: This is based on the significant difference in the number of downloads for each torrent client. Although they are rated equally, uTorrent has over 100 million downloads while BitTorrent only has 10 million downloads. The more popular app is obviously going to get better support.
- uTorrent has more features but BitTorrent is more stable: Only the proven and tested features are released on BitTorrent, while uTorrent is like a testing ground for new features. Depending on your preference, one could be better than the other. For example, if you like experimenting on new features, you might prefer uTorrent. However, if you prefer software that is stable and has no bugs as much as possible, then BitTorrent is for you.
- There’s no difference in terms of speed: Torrent speeds depend on other factors, and the torrent client you choose doesn’t really make that much difference. However, you can improve the speed by adjusting some settings as mentioned in the previous section, but the most effective way is to use a VPN to bypass throttling.
uTorrent and BitTorrent are the two most popular choices out there, and this is for good reasons. They are both great pieces of software for downloading absolutely anything you find online.