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BitTorrent is a communication protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P), which enables users to distribute data and electronic files over the Internet in a decentralized manner.

Torrent client comparison

Each of us seeks something different for a torrent client, thus there is a wide set of software, you just need to find the one that's best for you. In my case I'm searching for a client that:

  • Scales well for many torrents

  • Is robust

  • Is maintained

  • Is popular

  • Is supported by the private trackers: Some torrent clients are banned by the tracker because they don't report correctly to the tracker when canceling/finishing a torrent session. If you use them then a few MB may not be counted towards the stats near the end, and torrents may still be listed in your profile for some time after you have closed the client. Each tracker has their list of allowed clients. Make sure to check them.

Also, clients in alpha or beta versions should be avoided.

  • Can be easily monitored

  • Has a Python library or an API to interact with

  • Has clear and enough logs

  • Has RSS support

  • Has a pleasant UI

  • Supports categories

  • Can unpack content once it's downloaded

  • No ads

  • Easy to use behind a VPN with IP leakage protection.

  • Easy to deploy

I don't need other features such as:

  • Preview content
  • Search in the torrent client


RTorrent is entirely different from familiar open source torrents clients like uTorrent or Deluge. All the above-described torrent clients for Linux offer a graphical user interface, but rTorrent is a text-based app used in Terminal.

RTorrent is written in C++ and demands an extremely low resource but provides a large scale of various features.

You can use Rutorrent to have a graphical frontend.

I've been using rutorrent for 3 years with binhex docker image but I've come through some issues. Let's see how it fulfills the needs:

  • Scales well for many torrents: Nope, at least not for my case, once it reached 600 torrents it started behaving weird. Suddenly it stopped downloading and uploading without apparent reason. The web interface started failing, the docker was left unresponsive for big periods of time, with no trace in the logs.
  • Is robust: Nope, I had big issues trying to keep the image to the latest version. The solution of the maintainer was to start from scratch and import all the data.
  • Is maintained: In theory it is but the latest release is of July 2019
  • Is popular: It is, 3.7k in github and widely used in the torrenting community.
  • Is supported by the private trackers: Yes
  • Can be easily monitored: There are some prometheus exporters, but I haven't tried them yet.
  • Has a Python library or an API to interact with: looks like there exists but the latest commit is of 2014.
  • Has clear and enough logs: Not at all, at least binhex image, the logs have not helped me debug the problems. And the rtorrent logs are very difficult to read.
  • Has RSS support: Yes
  • Has a pleasant UI: more less, there are more modern interfaces, but I ended up using the stock.
  • Supports categories: yes
  • Can unpack content once it's downloaded: yes
  • No ads: yes
  • Easy to use behind a VPN with IP leakage protection: Yes thanks to binhex docker
  • Easy to deploy: Yes thanks to binhex docker.


  • Scales well for many torrents: looks like it does but I'd have to try it myself.
  • Is robust: It's what I've read, but we'd have to test it.
  • Is maintained: Yes, last commit is of 5h ago, last release was last month, nice insights with 15 PR merged this week, 7 new, 9 closed issues and 21 new.
  • Is popular: I think it's the most popular, 18.4k stars in github and recommended everywhere.
  • Is supported by the private trackers: Yes
  • Can be easily monitored: There's this nice prometheus exporter with it's graphana dashboard. With the information shown in the graphana dashboard it looks you can do alerts on whatever you want.
  • Has a Python library or an API to interact with: yup
  • Has clear and enough logs: We'll have to use it to check this point.
  • Has RSS support: Yup
  • Has a pleasant UI: The stock one is a little bit outdated, but there are newer Vue based interfaces.
  • Supports categories: yup
  • Can unpack content once it's downloaded: yup
  • No ads: yup
  • Easy to use behind a VPN with IP leakage protection: yup, another image done by binhex, it doesn't have much support, but what can you do.
  • Easy to deploy: yup

Some nice features I like about qbittorrent:

  • It disables DHT and PEX for private trackers: You can enable all 3 of those options and your private torrents will stay private. You can verify this by viewing the trackers tab on a private torrent and the status for DHT/PEX/LSD will be "Disabled" and the message column will say "This torrent is private".
  • It works better with the *arr family than rutorrent.


Deluge versions 2.x is not supported by some trackers


If you search for something entirely free, open source, and comes with minimum configuration, then the Transmission torrent client is one of them. It supports cross-platform like Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and Unix-based systems.

This powerful torrent client for Linux is incredibly lightweight and a system optimizer that doesn’t take many resources from your system. It’s neat, simple, and comes in plug-and-play mode. Transmission is perfect for users who want to download Torrents and nothing else.

Not supported by private trackers


Frostwire is out of the analysis as it has ads and it's not supported by private trackers.


Not supported by some private trackers.


Not supported by private trackers.

Tracker comparison conclusion

If you need to use private trackers, you're pretty much tied to rtorrent or to qbittorrent. As I've used rutorrent for a while I'm going to try qbittorrent.

Private tracker torrent client configuration

Private trackers require you to configure your torrent client in a way so that you don't get kicked.

  • Disable DHT: DHT can cause your stats to be recorded incorrectly and could be seen as cheating.
  • Disable PEX(peer exchange): This can also let outside people get access to the tracker's torrents.