Download torrents without a torrent client (or when torrent traffic is blocked) – with BitLet

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There are times when downloading torrents using a torrent client is simply not possible, such as when using a PC where you cannot or do not want to install a local torrent client, or if downloading from networks where torrent traffic is blocked (say by your ISP or network admin), just to name a few scenarios.

Instead, it is possible to use a free Java online applet called BitLet, which lets you download torrents in your browser just as you would any normal file. It promises a high degree of privacy (see below), and runs on any browser that supports Java.

First things first: Will this method bypass blocked torrent traffic?

It should, but I have read reports on the net that sometimes it will and sometimes it won’t. My advice: test it, but give it time to start working, as in my experience many downloads with BitLet simply take a long time to kick into gear.



Step by step:

(1) Find and download the torrent metafile. This is the “.torrent” extension file that you will find in torrent sites. It is typically very small (4K-20K,  or so, although it can be larger).

Technically, all you need is the link to the .torrent metafile. However, it may be better to download the .torrent file locally, just so you know you have the correct .torrent file you seek, as many torrent sites are full of “download” buttons and links that are not .torrent files or that lead to ads or other sites.

Click to download torrentMake sure it is a torrent file


(2) Go to Bitlet.org, then

(2.1) Note that Bitlet requires Java to run. If in doubt, go here to check if your browser has it. Next, you may need to give some permissions as illustrated below. Go ahead and run the Java applet and allow it to communicate with the networks that you want it to communicate with (note: if in doubt, go ahead and allow both public and private).

Run java applet. Go aheadAllow it ro run on networks

(2.2) In the Bitlet.org download screen, click on “select local torrent” button and browse to the .torrent file you downloaded in step (1). Next click on “download

Bitlet.org screenshot1


(3) At this point, you will be asked to browse to a folder to download to, and then the download dialog should open (see below). Wait for it to finish and you’re done.

Bitlet.org screenshot2 - downloading

Note the following:

  • Downloading: It may take a long time for your download to start; possibly a lot longer than it would if you had been using a local desktop downloader such as uTorrent. Try waiting a while even if the status button is red.
  • Multiple downloads: You can download multiple files simultaneously
  • Privacy: BitLet is private, or at least it WANTS to be. I quote “there is really no way for us to associate that information with you and/or your IP address (and we like it that way)”. The information they do have is not specific to you personally; see their privacy policyfor more info. NOTE: BitLet will *probably not* give you anonymity from the authorities, if that is what you are after. See the notes section below.
  • Uploading/seeding: You may be uploading/sharing the file with others as you download (see the red up arrow). Click on ‘settings’ to change the max upload speed, although the minimum you can choose is 4K/sec. If you want, leave the download dialog open after you are done downloading to seed.
  • Bookmarklets: for Firefox and IE, go to this page to get BitLet bookmarklets that can be used to download any torrent file via BitLet from any page. For Chrome, check out the new BitLet Chrome Extension.
  • Pausing and resuming: you are able to pause and resume the download as with any torrent client.

The verdict: a nice service if you need it. Can be somewhat unreliable and slower than a local client such as uTorrent (torrents can take a long time to start downloading, and may be slower to download than in a local client), but on the other hand using BitLet may mean the difference between downloading and not downloading at all, and in any case you can use it when you need it.

Check out Bitlet here.