Transmission Review

With a vast ecosystem of torrent clients, choosing a practical and convenient one is tricky and varies widely by person. “Transmission” looks to kick your torrenting experience up by at least a gear, but just how useful is it, and how much can you trust this client?

We’ll go over basic system requirements, possible ways to use the client, and how well it works.

Basic System Requirements

Like many P2P clients, Transmission doesn’t limit you to one operating system. The download page should be a bit overwhelming at first, but that demonstrates how seriously its creators take the development process and your system’s security.

It works with most Linux distributions, Windows, and Mac OS X. This is because the client natively supports various UI schemes across platforms. You can even install it on a web server and access it remotely!

You’ll notice that there is an SHA-256 hash for each download link. The goal is to make sure that you get each file as it was meant to be. That way, your download won’t be a target of a “man in the middle” attack. That’s when a server masquerades as another, often delivering similar content but with malware.

You can use various tools, usually included in your operating system, to get the SHA-256 hash of each executable after downloading it. That ensures that you’re getting the real product.

The Case for Transmission

Though it’s far from the most popular P2P clients, there are many reasons you may wish to use this software. One of its most significant benefits is that it’s open-source, unlike many popular ones.

In other words, a volunteer development team actively manages the project, reads bug reports, and fixes issues. This also means that researchers (and you!) can examine the source code, report vulnerabilities, and have the development team fix issues as they’re found!


Certain competing torrent clients may appear slicker because of custom UIs. But those can be disrupted by annoying, repetitive advertising. Due to Transmission’s open-source nature, you can say bye to advertising within your torrent client!

The clean and ad-free user interface of Transmission

The fact that no hidden product is installed during the main setup feels like a breath of fresh air. In addition, it doesn’t contain any other popular adware that usually tries to infiltrate the P2P community.

Unlike other torrent clients, Transmission does not use a “paywall.” Every feature is free to use. In other words, there are no pop-ups, adware, fees, mandatory Twitter or Facebook likes, or “bundled software”!

Transmission has a Flat Learning Curve

A typical user complaint about torrent clients is that they’re too tricky to figure out. Of course, this is partly because torrents are, by nature, reasonably complex to manage in a secure manner. Coming up with both an intuitive UI and figuring out how to do so without sacrificing features is no easy task when it comes to P2P clients.

It’s no coincidence that the Ubuntu Project, a Linux OS designed for average users, chose Transmission to be the default package as the BitTorrent client. Though Transmission has different “modes”, the default configuration is always set to “Just Work”. Therefore, users can simply set directories in which they want files to go and be all set.

Of course, it would be better to go a bit further than the “Just Work” mode. Though it makes demonstrations easy, this does not cover all the security bases for an adequate torrenting experience.

Level Up as You Go

One of Transmission’s more unique features is that you can “level up” as you get more familiar with the software. Taking advantage of its community forums, you can learn how to perform more advanced operations. That will allow you to take advantage of features that are absent in the Just Work mode. In almost no time at all, you can work your way up from newb to expert!

System Impact

A primary concern for many users is how much of a “footprint” any given P2P client will have when installed on their machine. Transmission is computationally inexpensive, meaning that it doesn’t take up many of your device’s resources. When benchmarked by various Linux tools, it actually takes up fewer resources than many so-called “headless clients” (those without a GUI).

It takes advantage of the GTK+ graphics library, meaning that it integrates like a native application on nearly any operating system, including Mac OS X! If enabled, it will also take advantage of taskbar notifications and other Mac features. It works just as well as a native Windows and Linux application.

Transmission Main Features

So, what more advanced features does Transmission have to offer? This tool is full of them! And we’ll discuss the main ones.

Transmission options and features

Client-Side Encryption

The Transmission BitTorrent client takes advantage of Protocol Encryption (PE) for BitTorrent. However, you shouldn’t look at it as a substitute for a good VPN service, but rather as an add-on for one. This feature scrambles the headers of packets sent between your computer and other devices. It will make it harder for your traffic to be identified. It also obfuscates what precisely is sent.

Here are a few good VPNs you can use with Transmission:

  • Torrent Friendly
  • P2P Optimized Servers
  • Best VPN Overall
  • Torrent Friendly
  • P2P Optimized Servers
  • Great Price/Quality Ratio
  • Torrent Friendly
  • Good Set of Features
  • Unlimited connections

Slick Web Interface

Transmission has one of the sleekest web interfaces known to torrent clients. Though this is a feature of many, Transmission’s web interface could be a program of its own. It allows a configuration for remote access in an easy way, but you’ll need to adjust firewall rules accordingly.

The web interface can do almost everything that the desktop application does; the two work side-by-side as a multithreaded process. Notably, settings that affect how the desktop application operates can be altered via the web interface. If you choose to use the web interface, make sure you follow Transmission’s suggestions for securing it! It’s a great convenience tool, but it also opens up your computer for potential attacks if you are not careful!

Specific Settings

Users can edit various settings using either the desktop application or the web interface. For example, you can alter the maximum upload and download speeds, ban peers or limit the speed with individual peers, and tweak just about anything.

It also supports watching directories on private trackers. This means that it can alert users when a “release” is available from a private tracker and automatically download it so it’s ready as soon as possible.


Transmission is a great software to consider making your main torrent manager. It’s great for those who are frequently on the go but need access to torrents. The main pitfall it has is also its greatest strength: it is open-source. In the meantime, that means it’s automatically upgraded and managed for free.

However, since no company profits from it, it could also end up a dead project. Overall, it’s worth a look at a minimum.