10 Ways To Speed Up Torrent Downloads

bittorrentlogo   10 Ways To Speed Up Torrent DownloadsImagine being on the autobahn with the accelerator down and then you realize that you are driving a wrecked car. The plight is not so uncommon on the information superhighway too.

Torrent users would attest to the fact that half of our time is spent looking for ‘healthy’ torrents and the other half trying to download (and a bit of upload too) at the maximum speed. The former is mandatory; the latter thankfully is within the realm of tweaking.

If you are the one who thinks that your torrent download speeds could do with a boost then keep reading. Below, you’ll find a few tips on how to speed up torrent download speed. And if you’re new to Torrenting, don’t forget to check out the official MUO Torrent guide.

  1. Your ISP is where it starts

  2. Check the maximum download and upload speeds allowed by your ISP. Most ISP’s have specific bandwidths for both uploads and downloads. Obviously your torrent download speed won’t cross the cap set by the ISP. Go over to this article on Speed.io for broadband speed test and this one by Tina on ways to increase your connection speed. There are many other bandwidth testers like DSLReports which is included in the speed test within uTorrent.

  3. Choosing the right BitTorrent client

  4. Use the better clients out there like uTorrent, Vuze or the BitTorrent client itself. Wikipedia lists about 51 of them supporting the BitTorrent protocol. The choice of client used should always be updated to the latest version. The screenshots here depict uTorrent. The settings should be similarly configurable for other clients too. Mac users shuld also check our Transmission vs. uTorrent post

  5. Go for healthy seeds and peers

  6. A peer is any computer participating in the download and upload of a torrent file. A seed (or seeder) is anyone who has one complete copy of the file being shared across the torrent network. A leech (or a leecher) is the person who does not have the complete file yet but has joined the network to download it. A leecher becomes a seeder when he downloads the entire file and then shares it across the network.

    healthy seeds   10 Ways To Speed Up Torrent Downloads

    For high torrent speeds, the best bet is in numbers. The greater the number of seeders, the healthier the torrent and the better the chance of higher speeds. The rule of thumb says to choose the torrent files with a high number of seeders and preferably lesser number of leechers i.e. a higher seed-leecher ratio.

  7. Get through the firewall

  8. Firewalls can block all incoming BitTorrent connections coming through. To ensure otherwise, a firewall should be manually configured to accept the connections and let it through the client. Windows XP has the Windows Firewall. Configure the firewall installed to accept the connections by checking the BitTorrent client on the allowed list i.e. Options – Preferences ““ Connection – check Add uTorrent to Windows Firewall. Also, check the Windows Firewall exception (if you keep it enabled) in your client too. Shutting down the firewall is not recommended as it leaves the computer open to attack.

    windows firewall   10 Ways To Speed Up Torrent Downloads

    Note: If the home computer is behind a router, it also should be configured through the feature called Port Range Forwarding to enable torrent traffic. The router documentation should have specific information on this.

  9. Limit your upload rate

  10. A peer to peer network is all about sharing alike, but an unlimited upload rate hits the download rate too. Using the speed tests, find out your maximum upload speed and then set your client’s upload rate (Global Upload Rate in uTorrent) to about 80% of your maximum upload speed. You can also try varying your upload speeds ““ keep it high initially and then gradually bring it down towards the middle of the download.

    Note: Mind the speed units ““ it may be given in kilobits per second (kb/sec) or kilobytes per second (kB/sec). 1 kilobyte = 8 kilobit

  11. Go to a different port

  12. The default port for the BitTorrent protocol is any between port numbers 6881-6999. ISPs throttle traffic on these ports as BitTorrent sharing involves high bandwidth usage. It’s easy to configure a different port in your torrent client. Use some number above 10000 to get around ISPs and also avoid problems with other applications. By default, the uTorrent port is randomized each time it starts. Set a specific port by not enabling the Randomize Port setting.

  13. Increase the number of Max Half Open TCP connections

  14. This figure specifies how many connections a torrent client should attempt to establish simultaneously at any given time. Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) or newer, limits this to a default of 10 as a barrier against virus multiplication. But that’s a bummer for torrent speeds as torrents too need a large number of simultaneous connections.

    A patch has been available for a while from LvlLord which modifies the TCPIP.sys file in Windows to allow a higher number of TCP connections.

    tcpip patch   10 Ways To Speed Up Torrent Downloads

    After running the patch, you have to set the number of connections in your torrent client. For example, in uTorrent go to Options ““ Preferences ““ Advanced – net.max_halfopen. Set any number from 50 to 100. But see that net.max_halfopen is set lower than the value set in TCPIP.SYS. Always check if it is still patched because Windows updates sometimes overwrite it.

    max half open tcp connectio   10 Ways To Speed Up Torrent Downloads

  15. Experiment with Protocol Encryption

  16. Some ISPs love to act like Big Brothers and constrict bandwidth for P2P protocols. Protocol Encryption in most of the torrent clients helps to override this bandwidth shaping. Enable outgoing protocol encryption and put a checkmark on Allow Incoming Legacy Connections.

    protocol encryption   10 Ways To Speed Up Torrent Downloads

    With protocol encryption, ISPs find it difficult if not impossible to detect that the traffic is coming from BitTorrent. Experiment with enabled, disabled and forced options because you could be getting better speeds with encryption disabled. Non-encryption makes a torrent connection compatible with someone who is not using encryption but as a minus it makes the torrent detectable to an ISP with a bandwidth restricting policy.

  17. Bandwidth and connections

  18. Your BitTorrent client’s settings options will let you enter figures for ““

    Global maximum number of connections gives the maximum number of connections that a BitTorrent client can make for any P2P exchange. Setting this too high does NOT mean higher speeds. Setting it too high would take up useless bandwidth and too low a figure would miss out on peers. For my 256kbps connection, I have a setting of 130.

    Maximum number of connected peers per torrent gives the maximum number of peers that a BitTorrent client can connect to for any P2P exchange. Experiment by setting this number close to the available peers for a particular torrent. For my 256kbps connection, I have a default setting of 70.

    Number of upload slots per torrent gives the maximum number of peers that a BitTorrent client will upload to for any P2P exchange. A low setting may affect downloads. For my 256kbps connection, I have a setting of 3.

    bandwidth   10 Ways To Speed Up Torrent Downloads

    uTorrent has a Speed Guide which handily calculates the figures for a particular connection.

  19. Some common sense

  20. Most BitTorrent clients allow us to view the individual files in a download. You can selectively disable the download of files you don’t think necessary.

    Familiarize yourself with the customization settings of your particular client available in the Help files or at the website FAQs.

Some useful resources:

BitTorrent User Guide
uTorrent FAQ
Vuze FAQ

Optimizing the speed of torrent downloads is a lot of trial & error and a bit of patience. Do you have some tips to speed up torrent download speed? Any that you have successfully tried out? Maybe we can put some wind beneath the wings with your comments.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

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38 Comments -

0 votes

Versatile Ninja

This is a great guide, should help out the newbies definitely!

0 votes

VAMSY

Thanks for posting those tips. I have been looking for such tip from quite some time. It would be helpful if post similar article on viewing Youtube videos faster also.

0 votes

Saikat

That’s an idea. Thanks Vansy…will work on that.

0 votes

gviz

The torrents in your screenshot are for Seven Pounds with Will Smith. Next time try solid blocks of color to obscure text.

0 votes

thomas

is this a joke? A patch from LvlLord is a freaking virus.
awesome

0 votes

Saikat

That’s what is called a false positive according to the site and many forums too.This is what the site itself says –
Some AntiVir Software vendors added the patcher into their virus-definitions. The patcher is often detected as ‘Tool/EvID’. But as a first info:
The patcher ist NO VIRUS.
Some virus and trojanwriter uses the same technique to increase the limit. After that its easier for them to spread to other computers in the internet. This runs without knowledge of the user. So he is not informed about what’s going on.
With the patcher here, every user can decide on his own if he wants to change the file and if yes how high the limit should be. Also the user will be warned if he chooses to high limits, as already infected machines will spread existent viruses and trojans easier to the net. So everybody can choose on its own and is not forced to. The patcher itself does not contain malware.
The virus-notification therefore should be seen as an information that this program contains the functionality to increase the limit. If that program is not known or has not been installed you can delete it.

0 votes

Sergio

Another great post by the team. Thanks guys! :D

I used Tip #9 and it inmediately boosted my download speed from 26kbps to 32kbps.

Thanks!

0 votes

Shrapnel09

For point #1, you might make use of the recently made public M-Lab tools. You can test your ISP for speed and protocol limiting.

404techsupport.com/2009/01/29/m-lab-isps-finally-with-metrics

0 votes

Jay

If you are using Utorrent set your upload speed to 6kbps, setting it to 5 will limit your download speed but 6kbps won’t.

0 votes

Peter

I hope you turn the UL speed back to ‘unlimited’ or whatever after the download is finished otherwise it’s not a very nice tip ;)

0 votes

MavereX

Teehee DSL Reports.. it hasn’t been called that for years! It’s BroadbandReports.com now, and has been for a good 3-4 years :P

0 votes

lololollololol

rtorrent

0 votes

Smithed

Protocol encryption won’t help. The nature of the traffic itself identifies the protocol. It’s a bit like having a stealth fighter with a radar signal the size of a seagull, but how many seagulls travel at over mach one?

0 votes

petfoodz.info

Use the new utorrent 1.9 beta.. with UTP… Very Fast!..

0 votes

Adam

Something to note, though most modern torrent clients allow “selective downloading” of files (I.E. pick what you want only) – this hurts the torrent life as a whole….for example, if everyone is just loading up the latest “Boy Band torrent, and selecting to download only “That Hit Song They Heard on MTV”…..

0 votes

Ben Jones

It’s funny, you have a section at the end called ‘some common sense’ but haven’t used any when making your guide. Specifically point 7.

But that’s a bummer for torrent speeds as torrents too need a large number of simultaneous connections.

is the bas assumption
It does, yes, but 8 connections being established at any one time is PLENTY. At best, you’ll gain by this 5-8 seconds over the ENTIRE torrent, all in the first 60 seconds. On the other hand, the amount of people that need help with their system, because they’ve applied this ‘patch’ (needlessly) and its screwed up their TCP stack, means theres often quite a few every day that come to the µTorrent IRC channel, looking for help.

This ‘patch’ doesn’t help, and isn’t needed, unless your connection is over 50Mbit upload, where it MIGHT be needed.

Go ahead giving bad advice though, because what does it matter to you? Its people like me, and the utorrent support staff that end up cleaning up your mess.

0 votes

Paul Dong

Good work! But does anyone have tips about how to tweak Vuze under Leopard?

I found Vuze to be much faster than any other client i use on Mac, but i don’t know why.

0 votes

João Pereira

The item number 7, Increase the number of Max Half Open TCP connections, is only for windows XP.

For vista see the following:

aadhu.com/2008/01/09/increase-vista-tcpip-max-connections/

mydigitallife.info/2008/12/31/tcp-z-free-download-half-open-tcpip-memory-patcher-for-x86-and-x64-windows-7-vista-and-xp/

0 votes

muze

Biggest help for torrent downloading behind a router, open the port you’re using in step #6 on your router. This can mean the difference between 60 and 600KBps easily.

0 votes

RobotTank

number three shows some blurred out text. It’s not blurred out good enough. The movie is Seven Pounds and the one with the highest seeds reads “Seven Pounds[2008]DvDrip-aXXo”

Not that it’s a surprise that the highest seeds of a dvdrip belong to aXXo. Point is blur a little more guys

0 votes

penguinfcker

y’all should try Deluge. it’s an underappreciated but kickass torrent client. fast, lightweight core functionality with extensibility via optional plugins. its claim to fame is being notably resistant to Comcast’s torrent throttling.

0 votes

Drake Mallard

Interesting tips.

For movies, I’d recommend using VideoLan to watch the a partially downloaded file, so you can check what is really coming down to you hard disk.

I remember this one time when an allegedly piece of software turned out to be a XXX movie. (Which I erased immediately, of course).

Not really a speed-up tip itself, but can save your time and bandwith for other downloads.

By the way… What is it with all this CSI fever about which text is hiding in the blurred image?

DM

0 votes

Saikat

Thanks…I follow the tip you mentioned…though I preferably do not download split and rar-ed files.

0 votes

tony

i am a little new to torrents but i am running utorrent and bit torrent i use the same torrent download on both programs and split the files for both. this seems to help the files out.

0 votes

who cares

nice post. i’ll try this too =)

0 votes

JD

Hay nice post keep it up man :)

for torrent downloading Visit: torrentdownloads.net

0 votes

Ken

I prefer Sharezilla.

0 votes

AmBrew

Awesome guide ! After changing some options which you stated my DL jumped from 15kbs to 190kbs ! ! My 3gig DL isnt gonna take 2 weeks anymore. <3

0 votes

Joe Hill

Thanks man, great guide. Enabling outgoing encyption instantly brought me from less than 120kb/s to a constantly 280!

0 votes

JASEEM

Its really good,thaks

0 votes

rakeshor

great guy ..thnxs so much

0 votes

Eu

i had 1.5 mb/s download speed but suddenly dropt to 1.0 kb/s, and is not increasing. :(

0 votes

Wow.

Terrible guide..

0 votes

Taimur Khan

Better way is to use trackers to increase torrent speed .. just add them to the existing torrents .. here is how to

http://www.vnoma.com/2009/12/increase-utorrent-download-speed-use.html

enjoy ..

0 votes

Saikat

Thanks for this…trying this out now.

0 votes

shadow

damn works!

0 votes

Blitzpenny

thanks a lot for the tips. I really don’t like the second half of the tips. so plz make them user friendly.

0 votes

Abhijeet

Thanks for the tips…it was well written and it really helped me to increase my torrent speed…