BitTorrent peer to peer file sharing is still going strong after all these years. This is even after attempts by several countries to ban tracker sites like The Pirate Bay and others at the ISP level. Even though torrents are mostly associated with downloading pirated and copyright infringing files, there are still many legitimate uses that rely on the same peer to peer (P2P) distribution method.
Lots of free software is offered for download over torrent P2P, such as Linux ISOs. In the past game developers have also used it to distribute game patches and updates. You can even download drivers for utilities like Snappy Driver Installer using P2P. Sadly a number of organizations can block the use of torrent software as it is a huge drain on the network because it connects to many other computers at the same time.
Even your ISP could throttle torrents and slow them to a crawl of only a few KB/s for the same reason. To get around the restriction on using dedicated torrent clients or ISP imposed speed throttling, there are a few things you can try to still be able to use torrents. Here we have 5 methods for you to look at.1. Download Torrents With a Torrent Client Browser Extension
One of the most popular ways to download torrents through your browser used to be the Java based Bitlet tool. Sadly it’s no longer available. An alternative is using a browser extension available for either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Although there are not that many torrent client extensions around, there is at least one for Firefox and two for Chrome that should do the job.
Torrent Tornado for Firefox
Torrent Tornado is a very competent extension that has enough functions for most average users. For getting the torrent into the browser Torrent Tornado accepts .torrent files, magnet links, HTTP URLs, FTP URLs or torrent hashes. Just press the Add new torrent button to start the process.
After adding the source for the torrent, it will show the details for the download and then offer the choice of which files to download from within the torrent. The small Settings button at the top left controls options such as save folder, file associations, memory cache, maximum peers and download speeds.
JSTorrent Lite For Chrome
The Lite version of this app extension is a cut down version of the paid app so it’s more feature limited than it would otherwise be. The biggest restriction is you are limited to 20 downloads before the app stops you downloading. An easy way around this is simply uninstalling and reinstalling the extension to get yourself another 20.
JSTorrent Lite accepts both magnet links and local/remote .torrent files. There’s also the option to stream video files while downloading. Select the video file, click the Files tab and press Stream to open the player window. Adjusting the number of peers or active torrents can be controlled via the Settings window but setting speed limits is not available in this free version.
Bitford For Chrome
If your torrenting needs are quite basic but you want speed controls which JS Torrent Lite doesn’t offer, Bitford is worth a try.
It doesn’t accept magnet links only local .torrent files, so it’s more tricky after visiting sites like The Pirate Bay. Control the upload and download speed via the two boxes at the bottom. Press the Save button to save individual files to your drive or Remove to cancel the download.
2. Download Torrents With an Online Torrent Client
This method has a few advantages. It bypasses P2P traffic shaping from an ISP because the torrent files are downloaded in the browser just like any other file. It also keeps you safe from anti-P2P organizations monitoring copyright infringing torrents. The drawback is most of the available free services are quite limited unless you pay for a subscription.
We are looking at Seedr because it’s one of the more generous free services. Currently, Seedr doesn’t restrict the speed at which you can download the completed files from their servers. The default limit is 2GB which is both the overall storage limit and the maximum size of the torrent file you can download. This can be increased to over 6GB by accomplishing tasks such as inviting friends, posting a review or pinning a Seedr image on your Pinterest.
Seedr accepts local torrent files, magnet links or a URL of a remote torrent file. You can only transfer one torrent at a time to the Seedr servers but can download multiple completed torrents from Seedr. We found the download speed very good and all our files downloaded at the maximum speed. There’s also a Seedr Chrome extension for directly adding links.
If you find the limit at Seedr is not quite enough, there are other services like Torrent Safe or Direct Torrents that offer a 10GB file limit for free. They restrict you to only 3 downloads per month so are for occasional use only (changing your IP address might get you another 3). Other popular names like Filestream, Bitport and especially ZBigZ are too restrictive to be of any great use in our view.
3. Use a Browser With Built in Torrent Client
Over the years we’ve seen a few web browsers incorporate a torrent client into the browser itself. The most notable being Opera although it removed this ability when switching to the Chromium browsing engine in 2012. You can still download Opera 12.18 and use the torrent client, but it’s better to use a more up to date solution.
A more up to date browser that includes a built in torrent client is Torch Browser. There is another called Citrio but it appears to be based on an outdated version of Chromium. In addition to the integrated torrent client, Torch also includes a download accelerator, social sharing button, games portal, music portal, media player, and a media grabber that downloads on page audio and video.
After install simply press the slider then the green button in the Torch toolbar to turn on torrenting and open the torrent client window. It’s possible to just drop a torrent file onto the window or you can open the Add Torrent dialog to search for a file or paste a magnet link into the box. Choose the save to location and which files inside the torrent to download, then press OK to start the download.
The torrent Settings window allows for adjustment of a number of options commonly found in torrent clients. These include randomize or change the listening port, use DHT/PEX/LPD, adjust the number of connections and active torrents, speed limits, seeding limits and video streaming playback options. You’ll want to right click and remove the Torch Offers extension as it’s simply advertising.
4. Using a File Download Manager
While you might not be able to install or run a dedicated torrent client, it may be possible to run a standard file download manager. There are many around that handle normal file downloads but a few free managers are also able to download torrents. Flashget and Free Download manager are two that can handle torrents. We’ll look at Free Download Manager (FDM) as it’s actively supported and kept more up to date.
During install, FDM will offer to associate itself with .torrent files and magnet links. It’s best to leave the setting as is to make things easier. When the program launches you can simply drop a .torrent file onto the window to start a download. Alternatively, press the menu button top right to manually search for a torrent file or press the add button to paste in a remote torrent or magnet URL.
To control speeds, Free Download Manager has Low, Medium or High speed limit modes and a Snail Mode which will concede bandwidth to other traffic. Traffic limit speeds, connections and a few torrent specific options like DHT, used ports and port forwarding can be controlled via the Settings window. Right click on the torrent download to set its own priority, whether to seed, setup scheduling and to force a recheck/reannounce.
5. Multi Host Torrent Converter
It’s worth noting first that a multi host file download service is not free and costs from around €4 Euros for a month depending who you go with. A multi host download service is mainly for heavy downloaders using cyberlocker sites like Rapidgator or Uploaded etc. Some also include other download services like Usenet or BitTorrrent. If you want to get large torrents that free services like Seedr can’t handle, this may be your cheapest paid option.
The one we use is AllDebrid although there are other debrid services like RealDebrid that can handle torrents. Alternatively, you can go for a bandwidth based service such as Premium.to. AllDebrid works similar to the free online clients but instead of downloading the finished files from their servers, the files are uploaded to another cyberlocker site. In this case, UptoBox.com. Then you paste the UptoBox links into the AllDebrid downloader to download like any other files.
Visit the Torrent Converter page and either paste a Magnet link or click the “Torrent File” box to upload a .torrent from your computer. Then click the convert button and do something else while waiting for it to finish. When the process is complete, click on Display Links and then the pointing arrow to send the links directly to the Downloader box. The limits are a generous 250GB torrent size. 30 simultaneous downloads and a 72 hour time limit for the torrent to finish. Large torrents can be split into 1GB chunks for easier management.