Motrix is a cross-platform, open-source download manager for Windows, Linux and macOS

Everyone has a favorite download manager. IDM has been my go-to choice for nearly a decade. But as an enthusiast, I test new ones from time-to-time.

Motrix has been on my radar for a while, I gave it a fair shot. The program is cross-platform and open-source.

Motrix has a dual-pane GUI and a sidebar, and the design is modern. The Tasks tab is the primary screen, it has three tabs of its own, for accessing ongoing, paused and completed downloads. To begin a new file download, click on the + button on the sidebar. The application will automatically pick up a URL that is in the clipboard.

Motrix add a new download

The speed meter in the bottom right corner indicates the current download speed, though you can also view this information in the download progress displayed in the right pane of Motrix’s interface.

Motrix add a new download advanced options

You can rename the file, set the folder in which to save the file to. Click on the advanced options button, and you can add a user-agent, referrer and a proxy. The download manager sits in the system tray, and has a menu with options to quickly start a download.

Motrix can download torrents too, you may drop a file onto the second tab of the “new download” page to start the process. Or, you can paste a Magnet URI link in the first tab, and the app will recognize it, fetch the torrent’s metadata and start downloading the content. The program will seed the torrent automatically.

Motrix torrent download

Head to the Stopped tab, which is basically your paused/completed downloads section, and you can interact with the file. It has buttons to restart the download, delete it, and a copy link button. The last option supports normal URLs, as well as magnet links, which I find very useful. Double-click on a downloaded file to open its location in Windows Explorer.

Motrix is based on Aria2 like uGet and Persepolis Download Manager. The program does not have official browser extensions, but works with third-party add-ons that support Aria2. Head to the Settings > Lab section, and you will find the recommended extensions. I used YAAW, and set 16800 as the port, and toggled the interception of downloads to Aria2c. The program suggests using the Aria2 Download Manager Integration add-on for Firefox, and while it is no longer being maintained, it does work with Motrix. To use it, go to the RPC Server tab in the extension, and choose the same port, i.e., 16800.

Motrix with Aria2 browser extension

Motrix is an open source Electron app, it is available in an optional portable version. The program uses about 125-130 MB of RAM when running in the background. What surprised me was that the resource usage while downloading remained in a similar range, which for an Electron application is not bad at all. I’m guessing that’s because Aria2 is doing the heavy lifting here, so the download manager’s interface is fairly light on resources.

Motrix resource usage

The drawback with Motrix is that you don’t have extensive control over torrent downloads (compared to a proper program like qBitTorrent). If you use a magnet link with Motrix, you can’t select the contents of the torrents to download specific files. For that, you have to use the torrent file, which then opens the selective download screen.

Motrix add a new torrent download

There is no way to view the information about peers, which also means you can’t add any either. To add trackers, go to the Advanced settings page and paste the list of URLs. This isn’t the most convenient option, but it’s better than nothing. If you’re looking for more refined controls, I’d say you’re better off with qBitTorrent or PicoTorrent.

Motrix sets itself as the default torrent downloader without prompting the user, that was a bit annoying for me. The program cannot be used to download videos, which was perhaps what surprised me the most, as nearly every download manager I’ve used supports this feature. Also, the program does not maintain the download history, so it’s like you start fresh every time you close and reopen it.

Aside from those issues and the lack of updated add-on for Firefox, Motrix is a decent download manager. The download speeds were excellent, I have no complaints here. If I wanted a lighter one (and wasn’t using IDM), I’d go for Neat Download Manager or XDM. PyIDM, HTTP Downloader, AM Downloader are some other good options that you may want to consider.

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