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Deluge vs Transmission

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These two applications have a completely different approach on how a torrent client application should be/work, and have caused many disagreements to the Linux users community all these years. On this article, we will try to examine the pros and cons of each application, and determine which one is the best.

Applications and OS

Transmission is the default choice for many main GNU/Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora and openSUSE, due to the simplicity of its interface and the lightness of the whole application. Many users love Transmission for being easy to use and as straight forward as a torrent client can be.

For this comparison, I will be using Transmission version 2.51.


Deluge is the most popular alternative to the default Transmission, as many users prefer it for the “familiar” user interface and the feature richness that is offers. Security, stability and configurability are just a few more virtues found in Deluge.

For this comparison, I will be using Deluge version 1.3.5.


The system I will be using for this comparison is Ubuntu 12.04 LST 64-bit with GNOME Shell 3.4.1. It is the “mainstream” choice that will reflect most people’s experience when using these two applications.



Torrent Download

Usually, the first time you are going to see a torrent client is when you begin to download a torrent. This is when you start checking for the existence of things like torrent information, or the ability to determine upload and download limit speeds etc. I will be using the exact same torrent file on both clients and see what happens!


Transmission is really a fantastic combination of power and simplicity. Everything seems to be “smart” about this application. Every little option, every detail that matters, every tool that you may need is placed according to how often the developers believe you may need to use something. Press the following images for larger.

Transmission will offer any information you want to know about the torrent file you are downloading, like peers, what speed you are getting/giving to specific peers, torrent availability and tracker information.

The options you have on the download itself cover every possible need. You can set priorities, download/upload speed limits for the specific torrent and maximum peer connections allowed.

The only thing that I found a bit annoying was that to see all the info and to choose the desired setups, you’ll need to open a new window. I can think of many times when this could be annoying and dysfunctional.


Deluge uses a classic approach that will remind you of the popular μTorrent. Everything you want to know, or tune to your liking is to be found in the same window with the downloading torrents, separated in different tabs. Press images for larger.

All the options and information I had when using Transmission is available in Deluge too, but it seems like everything is more accessible here. For example to move a torrent up or down on the queue, all you have to do in Deluge is to press the appropriate buttons that are present on the main screen while in Transmission you have to right click the torrent, and then search for the option to click it.

I really think that the one-window with tabs on the lower bottom is the easiest for someone to get on with.

The average download speed on Deluge was slower (1.4MB/sec vs 1.8MB/sec), but I can’t evaluate this negatively as it is only natural to get different download speeds at different times because of the different peers you are going to be connected with every time.


Torrent clients’ first concern should be the lightness of the application. Downloading a torrent is usually not a primary task for a user, nor something that is finished in a few seconds so while clients download users do other things with their computers like browsing, playing games, watching movies, writing this article etc.

Fortunately, both Deluge and Transmission are very light, and the effect of their operation on the performance of a modern computer is almost negligible. In my computer, the 64-bit editions of the applications had the following RAM consumption:

Transmission ~ 25MB

Deluge ~ 45MB


Defaults are not perfect for everyone. Torrent clients should offer large configurability margins to the user, and fit every “weird” need that one could have.


Transmission is offering advanced settings like the stopping of seeding after some idle time, or after a predefined ratio has been reached, the option for scheduled activation within a specific time spectrum and even the option to set a secondary set of speed limits that you can access right away from the main screen by pressing a turtle button. The WebUI activation is only a click away too!


Deluge may be lacking of scheduled activation timers and the little turtle that will make your life easier, but it offers a more complete set of configuration tools. You may tune the user interface and its behavior to your liking, change the values of nearly anything related to torrent downloading, change proxy settings, set the cache size and many more that you can’t do on Transmission.

The best thing though are the plugins. There are 8 plugins included by default that will allow you to activate things like a scheduler (so it doesn’t lack after all), WebUI, an extractor, a labeler etc. Apart from these default plugins, you can download 23 more provided by 3rd parties, that will extend the abilities of Deluge greatly!


I choose to use Deluge because it seems to me that the way it works is more distinct than Transmission. Maybe I am just another case of a wontedness, but this is the way I feel.

To be fair though, Transmission left me with the sweet taste of simplicity and a self-urge to keep using it for a while and see if it suits my everyday needs in a more “smart” way than Deluge.

Both torrent clients are top-class, and both have different “target markets”, so in the end of the day, there are no winners or losers. There is only what you feel that fits your needs best, and for me this application is Deluge.

Transmission       Deluge

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  • alex285

    I have forgotten that you had an Ubuntu.. No further comments :)

  • Valerio Mariani

    Thanks the interesting comparison. I did not know about deluge.  By the way,  can I ask you which GTK theme are you using.  It looks really nice

    • Bill_Toulas

      Of course! I am using the Elementary GTK theme that you can find here

      • Valerio Mariani

        Thank you, I ‘ll go and check it out. By the way, keep up the good work with the website, I think you are doing Gnome a great service. I am a KDE guy but I have been using Gnome recently and I think that while most of the criticism aimed at Gnome recently ise somewhat justified, clearly there is a lot of thought that the developers put into it (usability, code-base, etc.) and I think that with some improvements the workflow it encourages makes you really more efficient

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  • gorlok

    Deluge FTW! I miss so many options on Transmission, that I can’t use it. Deluge is fully configurable. Transmission is a big WTF for me.

  • Erics Mesa

    I use Ktorrent and I love it

    • Bill_Toulas

      Ktorrent + its plugins are a powerful combination, but it is completely irrelevant to woGue…
      I would say that Ktorrent is closer to the way Deluge works though. Really the best choice for KDE users in my opinion!

  • bulletmark

    Unity is the default UI and “mainstream” choice on Ubuntu, not Gnome Shell. Only a tiny percentage of Ubuntu users would be using Gnome Shell. I have used Transmission for years but frequently try Deluge also to see where it’s at. I always seem to prefer Transmission which is simpler but does everything you ever need. Also, the remote web interface on Transmission is neater and works better on a phone screen compared to Deluge. BTW, you really have to also consider qBittorrent as another superb linux bittorrent client nowadays.

    • alex285

      “Unity is the default UI and “mainstream” choice on Ubuntu, not Gnome Shell. Only a tiny percentage of Ubuntu users would be using Gnome Shell.” Interesting thought, but it is still a thought, can you count? :) ..I disagree in the “tiny” percentage.. Check Ubuntu software center about G. Shell. Check all distros that don’t want to use Unity for some reason. Check users contributions in two projects.
      Check Canonical’s plans to release an upstream Ubuntu Gnome Spin. Then think again :)

      • bulletmark

        In your blog post above you say that using gnome shell on ubuntu is the “mainstream” choice which just is not correct. Far and away most ubuntu users would be using unity of course. This is not a argument about the merits of unity v gnome shell btw. I use ubuntu 12.04 but I personally use and prefer gnome shell there also. My point is that “mainstream” implies “most” which is just not true, at least for ubuntu.

        • alex285

          Oh I see, yes you’re right.  It could be called mainstream inside here thought :)

        • Bill_Toulas

          Well…the mainstream was a reference to the distribution itself and not Ubuntu combined with Gnome Shell, but whatever the confusion I believe that almost half of the Ubuntu users are using GNOME Shell right now. I am just guessing from what I see and hear. If you have any numerical evidence of what you claim (tiny percentage), just share with us please. 

        • Freak Andelle

          Oh come on, this is not about Gnome Shell nor Unity. It’s about bittorrent clients! (it was clearly a reference to Ubuntu 12.04)

          Deluge won me over because it lets me change folder- and filenames. It also has a great daemon-client mode which I use all the time.

  • Charles

    Great review. Personally I use Deluge in server/client mode. One machine running the deluge daemon, and all the other ones in the house running as clients. We have multiple computers in the house, and it frequently happened that two of us here tried to download torrents simultaneously. With my deluge configuration all the torrent go to one queue (which seems to be faster than multiple downloads) and I can control the bandwidth usage from one single location. All downloads go to my home server.

    Transmission looks like a great client, but I was wondering, does it have the capability of being used with multiple clients? without a webui?


    • MM

      Same thing here. The server/client(not the webui one) capability is the greatest advantage of deluge over transmission when you have a home network. And it works great with flexget.

  • Scoobynz69

    I run torrents on a headless NAS, due to resource efficiency Transmission is more desirable than Deluge for this. That said, both miss an important feature which is an integrated search function in the web interface for searching torrents from work (which has a restrictive policy). If either were to add this they would become my winner.

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  • sNeK oNe

    What about qBittorrent? It’s in the standard repo’s and has options for labels (and move to label dir on complete) which basically makes it a better client than both Deluge and Transmission. Deluge has “labels” but no complete on move for said labels, which kind of defies the whole point imho..

    • Bill_Toulas

      Well…qBittorent is using the Qt toolkit which is nice, but this website is called worldofgnome, and we only care about applications that use the GTK+3. toolkit and doesn’t destroy our system’s optical of functional consistency. No matter how great qBittorent may be, you will never get to know about it in

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  • Massimiliano Adamo

    I came to the same conclusion as you. I use deluge and I think only vuze can compete for number of features with deluge (but vuze is java….).
    I would also say that some people tends to say that torrent transfer is faster with deluge… and I’ve got the same impression.
    In my opinion, the only downside of deluge, is:
    – the daemon is written in python. Even if the daemon is quiescent (you’re not downloading/uploading) it uses sometime 5% of CPU, whereas a daemon written in C uses around 0 and 1. When you download it use even more.
    – it’s not multi-user. Even Transmission is not multiuser. If you need a multiuser torrent you need to use torrenflux (or any of its forks).

    • Massimiliano Adamo

      In the forums I read that downloading with deluge is twice as fast.
      I’ve had the same identical impression.

  • Jj

    Deluge kept ticking me off last year. Can’t remember exactly but I remember it having to do with not even being able to add a torrent the way I wanted. Like, some info was not accessible. I wanted more than Transmission but for everything it made up, it lost in functionality and stability when it loaded.
    My memory’s a bit off and it’s 7am.
    I suppose it’s all a matter of your needs, because where one is lacking the other has it.

    • Mike

      Have issues with Transmission running in read-only mode. No ability to add nor remove torrents.

      I am awaiting GNOME Transfers, because I want some reliable and well-integrated downloading experience, and I am sure GNOME guys can provide that.