10 Ways to Speed Up Torrent Downloads

Saikat Basu 20-02-2009

Imagine 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 The Torrent Guide for Everyone This beginner's guide is a great introduction to peer-to-peer file sharing with BitTorrent. Get started with torrent downloading in a safe and responsible way with our tips here. Read More and apps to convert info hashes to magnet links 4 Easy Info Hash to Torrent Magnet Converters How do magnet links and info hashes help you download torrent files? How do you convert info hash to magnet files? Read More .

Note: MakeUseOf doesn’t condone the illegal use of torrents. Using torrents for illegal purposes is done entirely at your own risk. We assume no responsibility for any legal issues you may encounter.

Your ISP is where it starts

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 for broadband speed test and this article by Tina on ways to increase your connection speed Increase the Speed of Your Internet Connection Read More . There are many other bandwidth testers like DSLReports which is included in the speed test within uTorrent.

Choosing the right BitTorrent client

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 Transmission vs uTorrent [Mac Only] Read More post

Go for healthy seeds and peers

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.

increase torrent downloading speed by choosing healthy seeds

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.

Get through the firewall

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.

10 Ways to Speed Up Torrent Downloads windows firewall

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.

Limit your upload rate

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

Go to a different port

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.

Increase the number of Max Half Open TCP connections

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.

increase the half open tcp connections

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.

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

Experiment with Protocol Encryption

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.

10 Ways to Speed Up Torrent Downloads protocol encryption

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.

Bandwidth and connections

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.

10 Ways to Speed Up Torrent Downloads bandwidth

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

Some common sense

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. If your Torrent connection isn’t working at all, you may want to look into some ways you can bypass Torrent connection blocking 5 Ways to Unblock a Torrent When It's Not Working Here are some effective ways you can bypass torrent connection blocking by ISPs to unblock and download legitimate torrents. Read More . And if you’re on the lookout for torrent sources, try these free torrent sites Top 10 Free Torrent Alternatives to The Pirate Bay The Pirate Bay is a shadow of its former self. Head to these sites for some of the best Pirate Bay alternatives for free torrents. Read More .

Related topics: BitTorrent, ISP.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. qhjvxsbogp
    January 20, 2020 at 10:40 am


  2. Aljohn M. Mangaya
    November 24, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Is there a limit to this? What I mean is if I have a 15 mbp/s internet connection, then I am currently getting a 1.2-1.6 mbp/s downloading speed, does it get any higher? When I test my internet speed test in, I get around 11.7 mbp/s, it means if I divide it by 8, my maximum downloading speed will be around 1.5 mbp/s. I did the steps you've written above and I can't see any difference in speed.

  3. Kruziikrel
    August 25, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    helped me get from 0.5 mb/s to 2.5mb/s

    thanks a lot

    • Saikat Basu
      August 27, 2016 at 6:41 am


  4. guddu
    June 3, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    lol decreased my speed from 60 kB to 10KB

  5. wayne
    February 13, 2016 at 4:42 am

    Thanks for your time but to be honest i got nothing out of it, I'm still no better off cheers

  6. jonnitz
    November 27, 2015 at 7:00 pm


  7. ravi
    February 21, 2015 at 9:37 am

    is the upload speed should maximum...???
    to complete the download faster

    • Saikat
      February 22, 2015 at 4:44 am

      Try with 80% of your ISP speed.

  8. Rashid Ahsan Khan
    December 27, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    WTF!!!This didn't increase my download speed but instead decreased it from 95 kbps to 1 kbps

  9. Abhijeet
    February 10, 2010 at 12:24 am

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

  10. Blitzpenny
    February 9, 2010 at 4:08 am

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

  11. shadow
    January 19, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    damn works!

  12. Taimur Khan
    December 30, 2009 at 9:41 am

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

    [Broken Link Removed]

    enjoy ..

    • Saikat
      December 30, 2009 at 11:59 pm

      Thanks for this...trying this out now.

  13. Wow.
    December 29, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Terrible guide..

  14. Eu
    December 16, 2009 at 8:41 am

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

  15. rakeshor
    December 14, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    great guy ..thnxs so much

  16. JASEEM
    October 17, 2009 at 3:50 am

    Its really good,thaks

  17. Joe Hill
    September 24, 2009 at 2:00 pm

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

  18. AmBrew
    August 27, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    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

  19. Ken
    July 25, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    I prefer Sharezilla.

  20. JD
    May 9, 2009 at 4:40 am

    Hay nice post keep it up man :)

    for torrent downloading Visit:

  21. who cares
    April 29, 2009 at 11:19 am

    nice post. i'll try this too =)

  22. tony
    April 12, 2009 at 8:20 am

    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.

  23. Drake Mallard
    March 24, 2009 at 4:41 am

    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?


    • Saikat
      March 26, 2009 at 12:18 am

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

  24. penguinfcker
    March 6, 2009 at 4:37 am

    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.

  25. RobotTank
    March 6, 2009 at 2:18 am

    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

  26. muze
    March 2, 2009 at 1:21 am

    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.

  27. João Pereira
    February 24, 2009 at 6:19 pm

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

    For vista see the following:

  28. Paul Dong
    February 23, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    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.

  29. Ben Jones
    February 23, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    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.

  30. Adam
    February 23, 2009 at 10:26 am

    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".....

    February 21, 2009 at 8:12 pm

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

  32. Smithed
    February 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    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?

  33. lololollololol
    February 21, 2009 at 2:41 pm


  34. MavereX
    February 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm

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

  35. Jay
    February 21, 2009 at 6:53 am

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

    • Peter
      October 5, 2009 at 8:55 pm

      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 ;)

  36. Shrapnel09
    February 21, 2009 at 9:59 am

    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.

  37. Sergio
    February 21, 2009 at 3:52 am

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

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


  38. thomas
    February 21, 2009 at 2:40 am

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

    • Saikat
      February 21, 2009 at 9:32 am

      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.

  39. gviz
    February 21, 2009 at 1:56 am

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

    • Steve
      December 22, 2014 at 2:27 am

      is this james bond? how did you decipher such a complex code

      no one cares

  40. VAMSY
    February 20, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    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.

    • Saikat
      February 21, 2009 at 9:23 am

      That's an idea. Thanks Vansy...will work on that.

  41. Versatile Ninja
    February 20, 2009 at 8:10 pm

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