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how to speed up torrent downloadsFor 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:

how to speed up torrent downloads

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.

speed up torrent download

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.

speed up torrent download

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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.

speed up torrent download

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.

torrent 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 What Is A Static IP Address, How Do I Get One & Its Advantages / Disadvantages What Is A Static IP Address, How Do I Get One & Its Advantages / Disadvantages Read More 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.

torrent 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 What Is The Definition Of A Virtual Private Network [Technology Explained] What Is The Definition Of A Virtual Private Network [Technology Explained] Read More – 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 9 Easy Ways To Never Get A Virus 9 Easy Ways To Never Get A Virus It's a curious fact that the people who are most worried about viruses get them more often. With a little basic training you can completely avoid the problem of viruses and malware, so you can... Read More 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.

how to speed up torrent downloads

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.

Conclusion

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.

  1. jordan mccafferty
    February 11, 2016 at 4:50 am

    i currently can only connect to the internet through a wifi hotspot that i don't pay for. i have no actual subscription to a service im only able to use my laptops wifi capabilities to connect to an unsecured neighbors internet. can i still use the information you've provided with my current situation or do i need to actually buy and install my own internet service? please help me im stuck in the stone age and need to find a way to make it work. thank you for your time and valuable information

  2. Dylan Britto
    January 2, 2016 at 6:45 am

    how do you find port forwarding

  3. Maninder Singh
    October 30, 2015 at 8:50 am

    is this trick work in india toooo

  4. Aditya Pal
    August 10, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Thanks a lot!!!!
    It had doubled my original speed in torrent.....

  5. John
    March 11, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Thank you you save me!
    John, from Greece

  6. Yash
    February 2, 2015 at 12:31 am

    Hey, I used to get amazing torrent speeds in my new Internet connection. Don't know how but for a month, I got like 5-6 mbps speed for torrents but I had an internet plan of 1mbps only. Its obvious that I wouldn't get 5-6mbps torrent speed in a 1mbps connection. One day I did some router configurations for my gaming and the torrent speed got down and never came back. Can you place help me regain it?

  7. Dharmik Sankhala
    July 7, 2011 at 8:14 am

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

  8. Chris b
    June 16, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    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
      June 17, 2011 at 8:23 am

      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?

  9. Ranjeet Varma
    June 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    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
      June 17, 2011 at 8:24 am

      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
        July 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm

        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....
        thanxxx

      • ranjeet varma
        July 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm

        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
        http://genesis.1337x.org:1337/announce
        &
        http://torrent-download.to:5869/announce
        i hope up speed will increase with more trackers in case if some trackers don't work.

    • pankaj
      July 31, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      would u tell me the trick

  10. CODE
    June 16, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    How about BitTorrent ?

    • James Bruce
      June 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm

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

  11. Thinkreallydifferent
    June 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

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

    • James Bruce
      June 16, 2011 at 1:55 pm

      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...

      • Thinkreallydifferent
        June 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm

        are there any public torrent proxies that works?

        • James Bruce
          June 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm

          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

        • King Justin85
          July 14, 2011 at 5:55 am

          http://www.peerblock.com/releases is the best i have found.

  12. KAUSHIK
    June 16, 2011 at 10:10 am

    HI I HAVE PROBLEM USING U TORRENT . I HAVE BOUGHT NEW MACHINE WITH LICENCED WINDOW 7 HOME BASIC INTO IT. WHEN EVER I TRY TO START U TORRENT MY SYSTEM CRASHES AND ALWAYS SHOWS ME BLUE SCREEN AND IT REBOOTS..  CAN ANY ONE HELP ME WHY ? IS IT ANYTHING DUE TO VIRUS ?

    • Kevin Dunn
      June 16, 2011 at 10:25 am

      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
        June 16, 2011 at 10:47 am

        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. 

      • Tina
        June 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm

        Agreed, using call caps is very rude!

    • Dominique-René J. M. Pelland
      June 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm

      Did you download uTorrent from their website?

  13. Thomas Sheeley II
    June 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    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
      June 16, 2011 at 9:29 am

      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
        June 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm

        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
          June 17, 2011 at 8:33 am

          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?

  14. Justin9
    June 15, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    how can we do this in a mac

    • James Bruce
      June 16, 2011 at 9:30 am

      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?

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