Torrents have a bad reputation, but there are plenty of legitimate and legal reasons to download them. While you can’t use BitTorrent itself on a Chromebook, there are great alternatives available.

Torrents are synonymous with downloading illegal content like pirated movies, music, and other media, but there are also legal reasons for torrents. Any file can be shared as a torrent, and sharing a file as a torrent means there’s no single server bogged down handling all the traffic. You can legally download public domain movies, text and other media of the Internet Archive, and even full Linux OS images via torrents.

Configure a VPN

Torrents are also one of the easiest ways to get a malicious file onto your computer. This should not be a problem on a Chromebook, but it doesn’t hurt to take an extra precaution before downloading the entire internet. A VPN is easy to use on Chromebooks and will give you extra peace of mind. It will also help your ISP to bother you, as many of them are looking for torrent traffic and will make you angry whether you are downloading illegal content or not.

We already have a great guide to connecting to a VPN on your Chromebook, so we’ll point you there for more details on setting it up. Once you’ve done that, we’ll look at some good torrent clients for your Chromebook and how to set them up.

Soon: How to Connect to a VPN on a Chromebook

Download Torrents with JSTorrent

JSTorrent is available for $3 on the Chrome Web Store, without trial version or free. You will need to set a download directory the first time you open JSTorrent. Start by selecting “Settings”. Next, select “Choose” next to “File download location”.

This will open the Downloads folder in your Chrome file browser. Select “Open” to use it as your JSTorrent download directory or select “New Folder” if you want something different.

From here, you can configure JSTorrent to automatically open Magnet links typically used for sharing torrents. Click on “Configuration” at the bottom of the settings screen.

Click the overlapping squares in the right corner of the address bar. Next, select the bubble next to “Allow”, then select “Done”.

With that out of the way, head to the site where your torrent is located and click the magnet link or download the torrent file. For this I will download a public domain film public domain movies.

Open the Files app, then right-click on the name of the torrent file. Select “JSTorrent”, and the app will open and start downloading your media. You can see the progress of all your downloads in this window or in the notification area.

You can also download a file by pasting the torrent URL at the top of the window.

Once the download is complete, you are ready to open the file!

Download Torrents with Deluge

Deluge is a free torrent client for Linux operating systems, and more and more Chromebooks can install desktop Linux apps. Before you start with this specific guide, you’ll need to enable Linux apps for your Chromebook.

Once you’ve enabled support for Linux apps, start by opening the Terminal app.

Type “sudo apt-get install deluge”, then press Enter. Next, press “Y” and then Enter to continue the installation.

Close the terminal when the installation is complete. Open the Files app, then right-click on the name of the torrent file. Select “Copy”. Then select “Linux Files” on the left side.

Right-click again, then select “Paste.” Open Deluge from the app drawer. Select “Add Torrent” at the top, then select “File.”

Select your username on the left, then double-click the torrent file you copied to the Linux folder. Select “Add”.

The torrent download will begin and before too long you’ll be ready to watch your movie or read the archive!

You can also download the torrent by URL. Select “Add Torrent” at the top, then select “URL”. Paste the URL, then click “OK”.

That’s it! The torrent download will start. The file will be in the “Linux Files” folder in your Files app once the download is complete.

Whatever method you use to download a torrent, remember to be careful. Although Chromebooks are more secure than Windows or macOS computers, downloading a file from a dubious site is never a good idea. With that in mind, happy downloading!