5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed

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featured speed   5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download SpeedFor many people, the distributed peer-to-peer download power of torrents isn’t all it’s made out to be. If you’re feeling drowned in fake files, choking from ISP speed throttling, and sick of being told you’re unconnectable – this guide is for you. We’ll have your torrent downloads in tip-top shape in no time. Note, I’m not touching on security here. If you’re paranoid about your ISP or the RIAA, your only solution is to run everything you do through a VPN and be done with it. If you follow everything I show you here, your torrent overview screen should soon be capable of looking like this:

fast   5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed

Open Those Ports!

Your first step how to speed up torrent downloads is to ensure you can actually be connected to from other peers. The latest version of uTorrent is able to test this for you, so launch the Setup Guide from the Options menu. If you have an older uTorrent, you can test specific ports using this tool.

setup guide   5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed

By default, uTorrent will attempt to auto-configure your router using uPnP, which solves so many problems. If your router isn’t compatible, this will fail – but you can perform the following steps to forward the ports correctly.

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setup guide detail   5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed

Open up a command prompt from Windows, and type ipconfig. Find the IPv4 address of the form 192.168.x.x and note it down.

ip config   5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed

Open up uTorrent Options-> Preferences -> Connection , and choose your own port or note down the one it has chosen for you. Make sure “randomise port each start” is not checked.

utorrent connections   5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed

Open up your router config page and look for PORT FORWARDING. Yours may be different, but they are all basically similar. Name the forwarding rule, add the first and last port you want forwarded (just enter the same value in this case), and the IP address or the machine you want forwarded to.

Note that if your network is running an automatic addressing scheme, you may need to reconfigure this if you shut down and are given a new address. You can read my previous tutorial here on how to reserve a permanent IP address from your router.

Be sure to re-test when you’re done, though you may need to restart your router.

ISP Throttling & Traffic Shaping

Assuming you’ve gone through all the other steps in this guide and your torrents are still slow, then it’s quite possible that your ISP is shaping your traffic somehow.

This tool from Glasnost can help you tell if your ISP is throttling your speed and specifically tests torrent protocol.

If you find you’re being restricted, you have two possible courses of action. The first is to switch your ISP to one less draconic. In the UK at least, I know Virgin Media are very open about their traffic policies, and do perform some outright speed restrictions (not just on your torrent traffic) if your download/upload goes beyond a certain point during peak times. In general though, they have the least restrictive of any UK ISP.

virgin media traffic management   5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed

Your second option is to use a VPN to encrypt your traffic, making it impossible for your ISP to inspect what you are actually doing. Bear in mind this only works if they are “shaping” your traffic for specific protocols, rather than placing general restrictions on the total amount of traffic you can use. We covered some free solutions before, and you can read a complete explanation of what a VPN is here – but when choosing a service for you it’s important to note that most VPN services explicitly DON’T allow torrent traffic, and certainly not any that are free. The best two paid services I know of that do allow unlimited torrent traffic are vpntunnel.se and torrentsecurity.com

Enable DHT Or Join A Private Tracker

I extolled the virtues of private trackers with their ridiculously fast download speeds and high quality torrents last week in my 9 Easy Ways To Never Get A Virus article, but be aware that private trackers generally don’t allow peer exchange and DHT to be enabled because it prevents the system from counting your ratio correctly, effectively letting certain users “cheat”. So personally, I would recommend you DISABLE DHT and join a good private tracker or two, but if you can’t find your way into one…

Make sure DHT and peer exchange is enabled from the connections screen. This will have the fortunate side effect of meaning you can still find peers even when the tracker is down.

Windows Firewall

Make sure the firewall exception is on, or turn off the Windows firewall entirely. Again, do this from the connections screen of uTorrent options if you wish to add an exception.

In my opinion it’s another of those unnecessary security precautions like anti-virus that ends up causing far more problems that it’s worth. To turn off the firewall completely, click Start and type “firewall“. Open the first option in the Control Panel results, and you’ll see a link on the sidebar to completely disable it.

firewall setup   5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed

Don’t Be A Leech

If you set your torrent client to severely restrict the amount of uploading it can do, and basically just leech the files, most private trackers will restrict the amount you can download too. Make sure you are fully able and willing to give back to the community.


What kind of speeds do you get for torrents, and is that your ISPs fault? Do you have a restrictive ISP and would like to shame them in the comments? Do you still use public trackers? Go ahead and tell the world in the comments! Alternatively, ask for ISP specific advice in the ever growing tech questions community we have here at MakeUseOf.

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how can we do this in a mac

James Bruce

If you’re using uTorrent, the interface is basically identical. On a mac though, you neednt worry about firewall settings. What client are you using, maybe I can write something more specific for you?

Thomas Sheeley II

Awesome tips James! I get the feeling this was in response to me asking for some advice in your show & tell post. B-)

Out of curiosity, what speed level are you at with your isp? (Am I correct in guessing you’re in the UK?)

I think I’ve already got most of these done on my setup, but I’ll be double checking it later for sure.

James Bruce

Coincidence Thomas~ I actually wrote this two weeks ago. 

My ISP is Virgin Media, at I have the top tier available to me at 50mb/s, which I definitely get. The upload I’m promised is 1.5mb in my area, unfortunately even having an engineer sent out to optimize stuff I only ever get 1mb due to crappy cabling. Still, its good enough. 

Thomas Sheeley II

Well, that’s some coincidence then. It fits the bill for what I was looking for, so I’m sure not gonna argue with it. ;-)

50mb… Great Scott! I’m puttering along at a whopping 3mb in Southern California. Between streaming Netflix and Hulu thru my PS3 and our various gaming habits, my wife and I sure put it to good use tho.

James Bruce

Yes… 50mb was a bit of a let down after the 100mb down/10mb up fibre-to-home connection that I had in Japan (and for half the price I pay for this, with TRUE unlimited bandwidth). It shocks me how one country can be so far ahead of the rest of the western world. Honestly , our telecoms companies are so bad it hurts. Why can Japan do so much better?



Kevin Dunn

My advice; Do not use all caps. No-one will help you if you use caps in this way because you are effectively SHOUTING at the reader. Would you help someone who SHOUTS at you?

James Bruce

lol. Kaushik, your problem is very vague I’m afraid. Blue screen of death can come from any number of things, but if it only happens with uTorrent… maybe:

– some parts of windows werent installed right, corrupted?
– network driver is dodgy?
– try the latest version

Really, it could be anything. I’d suggest you reinstall that “licensed” copy of windows and make sure everythign is updated. 


Agreed, using call caps is very rude!

Dominique-René J. M. Pelland

Did you download uTorrent from their website?


Any advise for a 1Mbps home broadband pity home user for the same topic?

James Bruce

Well, the same advice still stands, but I’m afraid getting by on 1mbs connection is going to be difficult no matter what. Optimizing speed can only go so far…


are there any public torrent proxies that works?

James Bruce

by public, i assume you mean free? itshidden.com offers a free solution, but its time limited and very unreliable. http://www.your-freedom.net/ is another solution that I found someone say they used for torrents , but their TOS probably doesnt allow this really. You could give that a try though


How about BitTorrent ?

James Bruce

You mean the client? No one actually uses that, do they?!?!

Ranjeet Varma

i hav a 256 kbps net connection and using some tricks of mine i got about 20 mbps speed in utorrent
i’ve made these tricks myself (i’m a bit of hacker) but when i tried it on my friends pc it wasn’t working so maybe these tricks work on only my isp.
i’m more than satisfied by this speed coz i can download a 1.5 gb movie in just about 10-12 minutes:)

James Bruce

I very much doubt that you turned a 256kbps connection into 20mbps one. Perhaps youre confusing your upload and download speeds. Care to share your hacks?

ranjeet varma

our isp has a login system for us to use internet, so if v hav to use d net v must first login into isp using our id & pswd. after logging in i start utorrent and let the trackers b updated. after all d seeds hav been updated, i logout from our isp and the  speed springs to probably unlimited. my friend told me that it’s something called as “UNCAPPED SPEED” & works on many isp’s which r less secure.
dis was accidentally discovered by my small brother who is 11 yrs old.
once while he logged out from isp while torrent being running he saw that blast in speed.
hope that this trick works on most of who try this….

ranjeet varma

my down speed goes to about 15-20 mbps and up speed hangs somewhere between 4-6 mbps. i don’t know why.
cud u please name any trackers which i cud use to upload via torrent.
i currently use
i hope up speed will increase with more trackers in case if some trackers don’t work.

Chris b

I have AT&T Uverse, and I am supposed to get 10mb dl and 1.5mb?? upload…  However, when I download torrents (via public or private trackers), my speed maxes out at 700kb/s.  I have followed the advice given here and other sites, but I still get maxed out.  Any suggestions?

James Bruce

Chris, have your testing your regular internet speed with http://www.speedtest.net first? That will give you a baseline figure to work from, and then youll be able to see if your torrents are actually running slow – it could just be that like many ISPs, your promised speed and actual speed are complete BS. We have laws against that in the UK now. I think given that your torrent speed is obviously hitting some kind of plateau, it’s either that your real connection speed is precisely that, or your ISP is doing something to you torrent traffic. Are you able to get higher speeds doing a straight internet download or using Usenet?

Dharmik Sankhala

James Bruce :- does dis tricks even works in india or only in UK????