Torrents are best way to download large files. Torrent use Bittorrent protocol which is has several advantages over traditional client server file sharing. In spite of this many user complain of slower speed when using torrent compared to direct HTTP/FTP download. The problem is that most people do not know the basics of this protocol or have their Bittorrent client misconfigured. This guide is divided into 2 sections. Click to navigate quickly:
To use torrent effectively you should at least know basics terms. Don’t worry it’s not very difficult. If you already know this then skip to the next section.
Peer-to-Peer: In a regular file sharing each person downloads a file from a central server. Bittorrent is a distributed protocol in which there is no central server having file. A file is broken into pieces of predefined size and each user may have all the pieces or some of the pieces. User having a piece can upload it to others and download pieces he/she does not have from others. Thus user simultaneously acts as client and server in traditional sense.
Peer: A computer that takes part in upload or download of a torrent. There are 2 types of peers:
Leecher: A peer having partial file(some pieces).
Seeder: A peer having whole file(All pieces). A leecher becomes a seed when it has whole file.
Tracker: A server that coordinates sharing between seeders and leechers.
Bittorrent Client: Most operating systems do not have the capability to download torrents by default. You need a software to download torrent. There are many options: uTorrent, BitTorrent, Vuze and Transmission.
.torrent file: This is not the actual file but contains information about seeders and leechers. This a small small file having size in kilobytes. It can be thought as pointer to the actual file. You have to first download this file. Open this file with your bittorrent client and then the actual file will be downloaded.
Fact: Bittorrent protocol was designed by Bram Cohen in 2001. It now accounts to more than 33% of all the traffic on internet!
Top 10 ways to Increase torrent speed:
The following section will show you how to increase torrent speed. We have used uTorrent in these steps because of its popularity. But you can find similar options in other clients.
1) Port forwarding:
If you are behind router then you need to forward the port used by your router. Normally a router will block all incoming connections to your computer. Port forwarding will help other peers to “see” your computer. To check if your port is forwarded first we find out the port used by Bittorrent client. In uTorrent open Options menu then Preferences>Connections. Copy the port number.
Now visit this page: http://www.yougetsignal.com/tools/open-ports/ to check whether this port is open. If it is open then you don’t need to do anything. If not then you can enable port forwarding in two ways:
Automatic(UPnP): This is the automatic method. What it does is that it allows bittorrent client to automatically open ports of your router when required. Just open uTorrent preferences again and go to Connections. Make sure that Enable UPnp port mapping is checked.
UPnP should also be enabled in your router settings.
This method has some security issues. Apparently some malware can also use this feature to open ports. Therefore we have also covered manual method that does not have this problem.
Manual method: This method varies from router to router. Here we have used Netgear WGR614.
Open http://routerlogin.net/(for Netgear router). Others may try 192.168.1.1 or 172.16.0.1. For Netgear username is: admin and password is: password.
Click Port Forwarding from left.
Add custom service and fill the boxes as shown in image.
For those who want to know more about this topic read this excellent guide by HowToGeek.
2) Choose a healthy torrent:
This is something you should do before downloading a torrent. Select the torrent having maximum seeders compared to leechers. It is more important have higher percentage of seeders than the number of seeders. For example, one torrent has 100 seeds and 200 leeches (33% seeds) and another torrent has 500 seeds and 2000 leeches (20% seeds) then you should go with the first one. This is not an exact science. A lot depends on the quality of seeders. Even a single seeder can give you good speed. Always read comments before downloading to get an overview of the speed.
3) Add more trackers:
This is our favourite method. Many times you cannot find a healthy torrent. Using this method you can increase speed of slow torrents. Copy the hash code of the torrent you are downloading. In uTorrent click on the torrent then select Info tab from below. There you can find the hash code of torrent. Just google the hash code and download the same torrent from different sites.
When adding the torrent you will get a message that message that torrent is already in the list. Just select Yes.
After doing this the number of peers will increase. The speed will not increase instantly. Wait at least 4-5 minutes for the trackers to update.
4) Download and upload speed:
All bittorrent clients allow setting maximum download and upload speed. First you should find out your actual speed. Head to www.speedtest.net and find your download and upload speed. The speed test provided by your ISP usually shows inflated results so avoid it. Use the following rules to set set your speeds:
Upload: 80% of maximum upload speed. Never set it it unlimited to leave some room for other activities.
Download: 100% if you only want to download torrent. But if want to surf at the same time then decrease it a bit to say 90%.
For example, If your download speed is 500 KBps and upload speed is 256 KBps then
Upload: 256*0.80 = 205 KBps
Download: 500*0.90 = 450 KBps
To set these in uTorrent goto Options>Preference>Bandwidth
5) Maximum connected peers per torrent:
This is another important setting. Use the following rule for this setting:
1.4 * upload speed
If your upload speed is 256 KBps then it should be
1.4 * 256 = 358
Also make sure that maximum global connections is set more than above setting.
6) Automatic settings:
uTorrent has a tool for automatically setting speeds and maximum connections. Hit ctrl + G or select setup guide from options menu. Run the test and save the result. You can also manually select upload speed from the dropdown menu. Select the speed that is nearest to you upload speed. DO NOT select higher speed. It will not give better result.
Bittorrent accounts for more than one one third of all the internet traffic. There many ISPs throttle the speed when they detect bittorrent traffic. To overcome this enable encryption for outgoing connection.
Also make sure allow incoming legacy connections is enabled.
8) Peer exchange, DHT and local peer discovery:
Peer exchange and DHT(Distributed Hash Table) will enable your bittorrent client to find more peers. Local peer discovery helps to find peer from the same ISP. If you are on LAN it can even find peer on LAN. Make sure your settings look like this:
9) Download selected files:
Often a torrent has many files and you only want a few of them. Then select only select the files you want not the whole torrent. The files will download quickly and you will also save bandwidth.
10) Ensure a good share ratio:
It is ratio of data uploaded to data downloaded. Some trackers especially private ones require a share ratio of 1 or more.
share ratio = Upload/Download
If you like this article or face any problem then please comment.