Difference Between uTorrent and BitTorrent


Both uTorrent and BitTorrent are common torrenting programs that enable you to upload files to the network for others to download or download files online uploaded by others. uTorrent and BitTorrent are literally based off of the exact same closed source codebase. In this article get to understand, how uTorrent and BitTorrent differ from one another, to enable you make an informed decision when deciding which one to use.

What Is uTorrent?

uTorrent is a free piece of software that is used to download large files in a file sharing environment. The program was launched in September 2005 and was built by Luvig Strigeus and it is part of BitTorrent’s portfolio. It has 100 million users worldwide and is available in 67 different languages.

The program was designed to use minimal computer resources while offering functionality comparable to larger BitTorrent clients such as Vuze or BitComet. μTorrent became controversial in 2015 when many users unknowingly accepted a default option during installation which also installed a cryptocurrency miner. The miner was removed in later versions, but had already done irreversible damage to μTorrent’s reputation.

The program is designed to work on the major mobile and desktop operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Android and OS X.

μTorrent is shipped as a single stand-alone compressed executable file, installed at first run. Recent versions have included the ability to install themselves on first run. Small executable size is achieved by avoiding the use of many libraries, notably the C++ standard library and stream facilities, and creating substitutes written specifically for the program. The executable is then compressed to roughly half of its compiled and linked size using UPX.

What you need to know about uTorrent

  • BitTorrent Protocol: uTorrent is designed to work with the BitTorrent protocol, which is a decentralized P2P file-sharing protocol. It enables users to download and distribute files in a more efficient manner compared to traditional centralized downloading.
  • User Interface: uTorrent has a user-friendly and lightweight interface, making it easy for users to manage their downloads and uploads. The interface provides information about the progress of downloads, the number of seeds and peers, download speed, upload speed, and more.
  • Torrent Files: To initiate a download using uTorrent, users need to obtain torrent files or magnet links. Torrent files are small metadata files that contain information about the file being shared, its size, and the network of users who have parts of that file. Magnet links are URLs that contain cryptographic hashes of the target file, making it easier to share and discover torrents.
  • Downloading: After obtaining a torrent file or magnet link, users can add it to uTorrent. The client then connects to the BitTorrent network and starts downloading the file in pieces from multiple sources (peers and seeds). This method allows for faster downloads and efficient use of available bandwidth.
  • Seeds and Peers: uTorrent connects to both seeds and peers to obtain different pieces of the file simultaneously, speeding up the download process. Seeds are users who have already downloaded the complete file and are now sharing it with others. Peers are users who are in the process of downloading or have only partial parts of the file.
  • Prioritization and Scheduling: uTorrent allows users to prioritize specific files within a torrent, so they can choose which files to download first. It also supports scheduling downloads, allowing users to set specific times for downloading or limiting download/upload speeds during certain hours.
  • Bandwidth Management: uTorrent offers features for managing bandwidth usage. Users can set download/upload speed limits, allocate bandwidth to other applications, and set different priorities for torrents in the queue.
  • RSS Feeds: uTorrent supports RSS feeds, allowing users to subscribe to content from various sources and automatically download new items as they are published.
  • Remote Access: uTorrent offers a web-based interface and mobile apps that allow users to remotely manage and monitor their downloads from other devices.
  • Security and Privacy: uTorrent has implemented features to enhance security and privacy, such as support for encrypted connections and the ability to block specific IP addresses or devices.
  • Advertisements and Optional Offers: In the past, uTorrent has been criticized for bundling optional offers and displaying advertisements during the installation process. However, it’s important for users to carefully review the installation options and decline any unwanted additional software.

What Is BitTorrent?

BitTorrent is a communication protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing, which enables users to distribute data and electronic files over the Internet in a decentralized manner. BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files, such as digital video files containing TV shows and video clips, or digital audio files containing songs. 

To send or receive files, users use a BitTorrent client on their Internet-connected computer. A BitTorrent client is a computer program that implements the BitTorrent protocol. BitTorrent clients are available for a variety of computing platforms and operating systems, including an official client released by Rainberry, Inc. Popular clients include μTorrent, Xunlei Thunder, Transmission, qBittorrent, Vuze, Deluge, BitComet and Tixati. BitTorrent trackers provide a list of files available for transfer and allow the client to find peer users, known as “seeds”, who may transfer the files.

BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files, such as digital HD videos files containing TV shows or video clips or audio files containing songs. The use of BitTorrent may sometimes be limited by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), on legal or copyright grounds. Users may choose to run seedboxes or virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent these restrictions.

The BitTorrent protocol can be used to reduce the server and network impact of distributing large files. Rather than downloading a file from a single source server, the BitTorrent protocol allows users to join a “swarm” of hosts to upload and download from each other simultaneously. The protocol is an alternative to the older single source, multiple mirror sources technique for distributing data, and can work effectively over networks with lower bandwidth.

What you need to know about BitTorrent

  • Decentralized Architecture: BitTorrent operates on a decentralized model, where users (peers) share files directly with each other without relying on a central server. This distribution model reduces strain on individual servers and accelerates download speeds.
  • Torrent Files: BitTorrent uses torrent files, which contain metadata about the files being shared, including their names, sizes, and structure. These files do not actually contain the content itself but act as pointers to the actual data.
  • Swarm Sharing: BitTorrent breaks files into smaller pieces, allowing users to download and upload these pieces simultaneously. This fosters efficient and faster downloads as multiple peers contribute to the distribution process.
  • Seeding and Leeching: Users who have downloaded a file and continue to share it with others are called “seeders,” while those who are still downloading are “leechers.” A healthy balance between seeders and leechers ensures smoother distribution.
  • Download Prioritization: BitTorrent clients allow users to prioritize specific files or pieces within a torrent for download. This feature is particularly useful for users who only need specific content from a larger torrent.
  • Selective Downloading: Users can select which files within a torrent they want to download, allowing for flexibility and efficient resource allocation.
  • Magnet Links: Instead of downloading a separate torrent file, Magnet links allow users to start downloading directly by clicking on a link that contains the necessary information to join the torrent swarm.
  • Integrated Search: Some BitTorrent clients offer integrated search functionality, enabling users to search for torrent files directly within the client interface.
  • Resilience and Availability: BitTorrent can continue to operate even if some peers go offline, as other active peers can pick up the sharing load.

uTorrent vs BitTorrent: Key Differences

Points of Comparison uTorrent BitTorrent 
Description uTorrent is founded in 2005 as adware and owned by BitTorrent from 2006. BitTorrent founded in 2001 as an adware, it also owns uTorrent. The abbreviation is ‘BT.’ 
Created by Ludvig Strigeus created it.Bram Cohen and David Harrison co-created it.
Co-relation Client company of BitTorrent. Parent Company of uTorrent. 
Approach Small approach as it’s just a client company. Broader approach as it is the owner of around 25 torrenting firms. 
Updates  It distributes Alpha and Beta updates regularly. It distributes Stable updates and not very often. 
Market Share 68.6% of the market it rules.The 6.6% market is secondly covered by it.
Popularity Most of the market owned by uTorrent, so it is obviously popular than BitTorrent. BitTorrent is the second most to rule the market. 
Downloads It downloads slower than BitTorrent. It downloads faster than uTorrent. 
Linux OS It does support Linux OS with its Web Version. It does not support Linux OS. 
Security uTorrent has the risk of malware. BitTorrent does not have malicious risks. 
Ads More and risky.Lesser and secured than uTorrent and well-managed. 
Software Size Up to 1 MB space it takes.3 MB space it requires.
Application Space 51 MB is the size of the application.The application is 67 MB.
Languages Availability Available in 67 languages all around the world.It is available in 17 languages.

Key Takeaways

  • BitTorrent is a a peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) communications protocol which is used to distribute data and electronic files over the Internet. 
  • uTorrent is a better option if you are worried about wearing out your operating systems. While BitTorrent is about 3MB, uTorrent is under 1MB, making it a much lighter option.
  • BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files, such as digital HD videos files containing TV shows or video clips or audio files containing songs.
  • While BitTorrent and uTorrent are both compatible with the major platforms — Mac, Windows, and Android — you can also use uTorrent with Linux.
  • uTorrent is always being updated. While BitTorrent only allows the release of stable versions, uTorrent releases its alpha and beta raw products, so while you will get a rougher version with uTorrent, you will also get a new feature or two and the latest innovations.