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Transmission torrent client review

Open source torrent client with an ad-free interface

Transmission
(Image: © Transmission)

Our Verdict

Transmission is one of the rare torrent clients that comes with a solution for embedded hardware like NAS and home servers. It is free, open source, and offers impressively fast performance levels.

For

  • Fully-featured client
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Clean interface
  • Dedicated app for embedded devices

Against

  • Lacks a built-in search engine
  • No proxy server support

Transmission is one of the most widely used, feature-packed and lightweight torrent clients that is available for all the major operating systems.

A lightweight BitTorrent client, it was initially out on macOS and Linux, before making its way to Windows as well.

One of its biggest advantages is that Transmission comes with a visually appealing and easy-to-use interface. This open source application offers customization of settings and an extensive range of features, making it one of the preferred torrenting options out there.

Version and platforms

Transmission is available as a free download for macOS (10.10 or higher), along with Windows 7, 8 and 10. It is also provided for almost all the major Linux distros including Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, Mandriva, CentOS, Debian, Puppy Linux, Arch Linux, Slackware, FreeBSD, Gentoo, Pardus, OpenBSD and NetBSD. A native Transmission app is also available for various embedded systems as well.

Transmission

(Image credit: Transmission)

Features

Transmission is a feature-packed torrent client offering almost every function a torrent user will need. Key capabilities include support for encryption, download scheduling, remote management and IP filtering. Unlike other clients, Transmission uniquely supports embedded systems like NAS, personal servers, HTPCs and the Raspberry Pi.

The Transmission client comes with a host of advanced features, providing both remote and local access. The availability of a web interface, command-line tools and optional Daemon support, among other things, makes it a highly capable app.

Users also get fast download speeds, with Transmission outperforming some other torrent clients. It’s possible to download files from multiple peers, and upload your own files with ease. Users can also cap the download speeds of each file.

This torrent client offers a wide range of add-ons that can be used to further enhance its feature set. Support for the Kodi plugin sets Transmission apart from the rest of the BitTorrent clients out there, and RSS feed support is a benefit here too.

A further advantage here is the open source nature of the client, the transparency of which should help when it comes to keeping the software free of malware or other threats.

Mac users can also experience a few Mac-specific features including Dock and Growl notifications, plus automatic updates using Sparkle and Universal Binary.

Transmission

(Image credit: Transmission)

User experience 

Transmission provides a better user experience compared to the complexity of competing services such as uBittorrent, Tixati and Vuze.

What makes Transmission great from the user experience standpoint is that it can be configured to download files from folders, RSS feeds or any other source without having to control it manually. Downloading automatically from preferred sources as soon as the content is made available is a very helpful feature indeed.

Transmission desktop clients can be remotely controlled, too, like most other torrent apps.

Transmission’s interface is easy to use. In fact, it has the most barebones UI of all torrent clients, and strikes the right balance between functionality and simplicity. Its minimal UI, with no distracting adverts, is another highlight.

Transmission

(Image credit: Transmission)

Security

While torrent clients are generally secure and safe enough to use, open source software may sometimes get unofficial builds that potentially contain malware payloads. These payloads can create a backdoor for hackers, allowing them to access your files and even control your computer.

Transmission has been guilty of unknowingly sharing such harmful installer files from its official site in the past. While developers were able to quickly remove the malicious client, it did impact the reputation of the software.

The current Windows installer file shows a healthy VirusTotal score of 0/72 at the time of writing, which means that the file has nothing suspect about it (nothing detected, anyway). It is still worth bearing in mind, however, that since most ISPs track the users who visit torrent sites and throttle their internet speeds based on their downloading behavior, it can be a good idea to use VPN software to get round this and maintain your privacy.

Piracy

While torrents allow users to download their favorite content off the internet, and torrent clients make the process easier, remember that there is, of course, copyrighted material online, and downloading that is breaking the law. Of course, TechRadar does not support or endorse piracy or illegal downloads.

Final verdict

Transmission is a good choice for those looking for a minimalist yet powerful torrent client. However, it does lack some features seen in rival and equally powerful products, like an integrated search engine or proxy server support.