With over 150 million active users, uTorrent is one popular torrent client. It is a featured-packed torrent client and offers an incredible torrent downloading experience.
However, uTorrent might not be as good or safe to use as it seems to be. In 2018, various antivirus vendors categorized it as malware, riskware, and unwanted software that must be removed. Moreover, other occasions in the past raise questions that either uTorrent is safe to use? Of course, only if you follow some safety measures.
How Good is uTorrent?
uTorrent is one of the best torrent clients using the BitTorrent protocol to download and share P2P files. It offers a sleek and simple design and user-friendly interface that most users like the most. Also, uTorrent comes with a range of features that enhance your downloading experience. Some of the most impressive features that uTorrent offers are as follows:
- SOCKS Proxy: It routes your traffic via a proxy server and hides your IP address while torrenting. Moreover, this feature is also helpful for speeding up the downloading process.
- IP Binding: uTorrent allows the users to configure the Ip binding feature and limits their torrents to a particular IP address. You can even use this feature to bind your connection with a VPN and prevent your IP address and other sensitive information from getting leaked.
- Remote Management: The uTorrent client allows the users to control their downloading process remotely through a web browser.
- Scheduled Downloads: uTorrent enables users to schedule their downloads based on their priority and limit their bandwidth automatically.
Apart from this, uTorrent comes with a built-in search engine, uTorrent encryption, and storage size feature. It comes with four different plans. The first is the basic and free version and won’t cost you any fee. But, the remaining three are the paid packages compared to the basic plans that offer more features and enhanced security to the users. Also, the software offers multiple device compatibility as you can easily download and use it on Android, Linux, macOS, and Windows platforms.
What Are the Safety Concerns Around uTorrent?
It’s always been said that you shouldn’t use the torrent client for downloading copyrighted content because it can put you in significant trouble. Also, this can put your privacy in danger, but even if you’re not using uTorrent with some bad intentions, it isn’t safe to use, and there are various reasons for it. Highlighted below are some of the severe safety concerns around uTorrent client:
Installs Unwanted Software (Bloatware)
One significant flaw of the uTorrent software is that it bundles up with unnecessary software that might compel you to download unwanted programs along with uTorrent. Most of the time, these programs are malicious and compromise your online security and privacy.
uTorrent software was involved in launching crypto-mining attacks and risks users’ privacy. In 2015, the software was used to infect the users’ devices with a bitcoin mining software called Epic Scale that reduces the device efficiency and increases the load time. By stealing the CPU cycles, the mining software earns profit for the third parties when the targets download it on their device.
uTorrent is a closed-source software which means that its source code isn’t available for inspection. The torrent client’s closed-source nature is pretty concerning because it doesn’t offer any way to the third-party security experts to inspect the code or how the apps use the users’ data.
Shady Logging Policy and Company Jurisdiction
Besides these, uTorrent does interrupt users’ experience with intrusive pop-up ads if you use the free basic version. Also, it offers zero anonymity to the users as your IP address is visible to everyone in the swarm and even exposes you to download malicious files.
How to Safely Use uTorrent?
uTorrent is legal to use if you’re using it for downloading non-pirated content. Though it is free from malware, it doesn’t protect the users from downloading malicious files that can harm their device and sensitive data. Considering this and the security concerns, security experts have suggested some of the best ways to use uTorrent safely.
Below is an insight into the best methods for using uTorrent safely:
Use a VPN
To enjoy more control and privacy over your data while downloading torrents using the uTorrent client, you need to use a uTorrent VPN. Using a VPN while torrenting boosts your downloading process while maintaining robust online security and privacy. A VPN benefits the torrent downloader in the following ways:
- It hides your IP address and makes you anonymous over the internet. When you connect with a reputable VPN, it replaces your actual IP address with the one assigned by the VPN provider. By doing so, a VPN also spoofs your location and prevents the ISP and copyright troll from knowing about your online identity.
- A VPN also encrypts the contents of your online data and makes it impossible to see what you’re doing on the web. Because of strong encryption, the snooping eyes won’t see the websites you browse or stuff downloaded.
- By connecting to the P2P-optimized servers, a VPN helps in bypassing the filters and other tools used by ISP to detect the P2P activities. Also, in this way, you can enjoy fast downloading speed.
A VPN provider increases your digital privacy while torrenting but to achieve it, make sure that the VPN you choose possess the following features:
- The VPN should use state-of-the-art AES-256 bit encryption and OpenVPN and WireGuard protocol.
- Ensure that the VPN comes with a built-in kill switch, torrent IP leak, and split tunneling feature that increases your security during torrenting.
- Some VPNs do come with an ad and malware blocker feature. Always pick up a VPN that offers this feature and protect your device from getting infected by malware and viruses.
Besides this, the VPN should follow a strict no-log policy and refrain from collecting users’ activities and connection logs. A VPN offering all the features mentioned above helps regain the top-notch security level during torrenting.
As mentioned above, the uTorrent client doesn’t prevent downloading malicious files. This increases the risk of downloading malware and virus-embedded files onto your device. At times, the malicious actors upload the malware-embedded files to infect your device and get hold of your sensitive data.
Run antivirus software in the background to avoid downloading bogus and harmful files onto your device. The best antivirus software scans all the files before downloading and flags the files that contain malware and viruses. Hence, install trusted antivirus software on your device and protect your device from malware and other potential online threats.
Another less secure way to use uTorrent is to switch to a premium version. uTorrent offers both free and paid plans, and of course, the paid version is more feature-packed and reliable to use. The torrent plan comes with four different plans, and here’s an insight into it:
|Various customizable features but isn’t ad-free
|$4.95 per year
|$19.95 per year
|Ad-free, Media player, File converter, and Malware and antivirus scanner tool
|uTorrent Pro + VPN
|$69.95 per year
|Ad-free, Media player, File converter, Malware, and antivirus scanner tool, and One-year subscription to CyberGhost VPN
However, if you still use the uTorrent pro version, you still need to use a VPN since it does not encrypt your data traffic or hide your IP address.
How to Configure uTorrent Setting?
On uTorrent, you need to configure your settings and benefit from the various features offered by uTorrent, such as encryption, IP binding, and setting up SOCKS5 proxy. By doing so, you can make your experience even better while using uTorrent. Below are some necessary configuration settings that you need to make. So, let’s get started:
Like BitTorrent, uTorrent also comes with a built-in encryption feature. However, it doesn’t provide real encryption, works as a proxy server, and disguises your torrent traffic as normal. Also, it somehow manages to prevent ISP throttling and allows downloading the files without significant lagging and slow speeds. To enable the uTorrent encryption feature, you need to follow the steps mentioned below:
- Go to the Preference menu
- Click on Protocol Encryption > Tap on Enabled
- Tik on the box that says, ‘Allow incoming legacy connections.
- Hit on the OK button
- Restart your torrent client.
The uTorrent encryption doesn’t wholly encrypt the data traffic so, it’s less than a VPN. Also, as it works as a proxy, it won’t guarantee higher anonymity and online security. Also, the ISP can track you and learn about your actual identity. Thus, you need to use a reliable VPN provider and enjoy maximum encryption during torrenting.
As mentioned above, IP binding is another impressive feature offered by uTorrent. To use this feature, follow the steps as mentioned below:
- Connect to a VPN
- Open the uTorrent app > Go to the Preference menu.
- Select Advanced > in the Filter field option search for net.bind_ip.
- A Value field will appear; type your IP address.
- Press Set > Tap on OK.
- Restart your uTorrent app.
Unfortunately, if you’re using uTorrent on Android or Mac, you cannot benefit from this feature because it’s only available for Windows devices.
Set up SOCKS5 Proxy
The SOCKS5 proxy proves handy as it hides your IP address and speeds up the downloading process while torrenting. To set up SOCKS5 proxy on uTorrent, below are the step-by-step instructions:
- Go to the Preference menu > Select Connection.
- Under the proxy server option, choose the SOCKS5 option.
- Now, in the proxy field, enter your proxy server address.
- Type in the username and password for your proxy server.
- Tick the boxes to enable P2P connection, authentication, and hostname lookups.
- Now, tick the boxes to disable the local DNS and features that the SOCKS5 doesn’t support and leak your information.
- Press on the OK button.
- Restart the torrent client.
As the SOCKS5 proxy will only hide the IP address and doesn’t encrypt the data traffic, you should use a VPN to maintain your online security.
How to Disable Ads from uTorrent?
Like many other reliable torrent clients, uTorrent also interrupts users’ experience with pop-up ads, especially when using the free version. If you don’t want to invest in the uTorrent premium plan, you can still use the uTorrent ad-free version. By manually disabling the ads, you can get rid of ads while using the uTorrent client in the free version.
To disable the ads on uTorrent, here are the steps you need to follow:
- Launch the uTorrent app and navigate to Options.
- Tap on Preference menu > Advance.
- Various options will appear on your screen. Change the options to False to disable the ads.
- In the Filter field, write some keywords and change their value simultaneously.
- Double-tap on True and select False to change the value to false.
- Once all the values are changed, tap on the OK option and restart the uTorrent app.
That’s it. When you download torrents using the uTorrent client, ads won’t ruin your experience.
Is uTorrent Worth Using on Mac?
uTorrent is among the best torrent clients still widely used today and is compatible with multiple devices and OS like macOS. It has a simple and clean interface that makes it easy to use. Moreover, it comes with impressive features like the integrated search engine, scheduled downloads, and remote access management. All these features enhance your torrent downloading experience on uTorrent.
Besides this, if you worry about the legality of the torrent software, you shouldn’t because it is perfectly legal to use until you’re not downloading any unsanctioned content. However, the security vulnerabilities and shady track record that uTorrent holds are concerning. It has been found to have crypto-miner malware and even logs the users’ data. All these things make uTorrent unreliable to use on Mac. But, if you want to use it, you can, but don’t forget to install a VPN and the best antivirus software on your device.
uTorrent remains a popular choice of users because it offers various features. However, it is undeniable that the torrent client comes with significant security issues. Fortunately, you can still use uTorrent despite knowing that it previously possessed some serious security vulnerabilities and belongs to a company that follows shady policies. Using a VPN in combination with antivirus software lets you safely use uTorrent. So, do use them and enjoy a safe and secure torrent downloading experience.