10 tricks to improve BitTorrent downloads

BitTorrent downloads are not as fast as you would like? Although at the beginning of the century it was estimated that a third of all Internet traffic went through the BitTorrent network, today the story has changed a lot and streaming services and industry pressure against piracy have lowered the use of these peer-to-peer file sharing networks.

However, they are still millions of users who use them on a daily basis for their enormous capacity for distributing large files and as a great alternative to direct downloads. Whether you are downloading public domain movies, Linux operating systems, or any other legally distributed content on these networks (you might be surprised at all the free and royalty-free content that exists on these networks) any user will be looking to get the download to play as fast as possible.

How to improve downloads on BitTorrent

There are some tricks, techniques or tips to adopt, from basic to advanced, that a user can use to improve performance when using this type of network. The improvement of their experience and also that of third parties because an important part of it lies in the generosity of the users themselves when it comes to “sharing” and not just “sucking” from the rest. We told you about this when we explained the basics and workings of BitTorrent. Today we are going to review some more practical issues that we propose from makeuseof.

1.- Check your Internet connection

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the tariff you have contracted determines the performance of your connection. And there are no miracles. Neither in torrent downloads Most carriers have specific bandwidths for uploads and downloads, with maximum limits set to allow for the robustness of their network or to force the user to sign up for better, more expensive service.Â

As such, the torrent download speed will not exceed -obviously- the limit you have contracted. To find out the actual limit and to be able to configure the client you use, you can pre-test the speeds with some of the trial services. One of the best is speedtest.net.

2.- Choose the right client

There are many applications that can work with these files on the major platforms, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android or iOS. But not all of them get the same performance, even on the same computer and connection.

Among the ones we like the most we can highlight qBittorrent (free, adware-free and open source based on libtorrent); Deluge (open source application, free and ad-free) that uses libtorrent as a backend; Transmission-Qt Win (for some the best BitTorrent client for OS X and Linux) and perhaps the best known, a uTorrent that works very well, but lowered its popularity after the purchase by BitTorrent, Inc.

bitTorrent downloads

3.- Keep your BitTorrent client up to date

Like any application, clients for this P2P network improve with each update and fix bugs that may be penalizing the speed of BitTorrent downloads. Try to update it every time a new version is available. In addition, they usually include security patches against known vulnerabilities.

4.- Select Popular Torrents

In this network, the  “Seeds” (Seeds) are key to getting the best performance and effective distribution of the archive, as it refers to users who own the entire archive and are “seeding” it. Also important are the “Points” (Peers), the users who are currently connected to the network.

Both are key to performance so we recommend that you select the most popular torrents, which tend to be the ones with the highest number of seeds y peers. You can view it in any application. Discard the ones that don’t have the complete file, because you will probably never complete it.

5.- Balance upload/download speeds

As in any P2P file sharing network, it is a good idea to be as “generous” as possible when offering your files to other users. The goal is not only moral, but practical. Ideally, we would like to get close to a 1:1 download/upload ratio, but in practice this is impossible because most users do not have symmetrical Internet access services.

As a general rule, set the upload capacity to the maximum that your connection allows without penalizing the performance of your computer or others connected to the network. An unwritten rule, but one that must be followed, is to continue sharing the most requested files even if you have downloaded them in order to contribute to their distribution.

6.- Configure connections

In addition to the upload/download values there is another important group of sections to manage and they are the connection limits: maximum total connections, maximum per torrent and upload slots. Setting the number too high does not mean that you will get faster download speeds in BitTorrent, because you will consume useless bandwidth and may block your connection. However, setting them too low can lead to loss of seeds and peers, and thus reduce performance.

There is virtue in balance. Â Additionally you can set other parameters, such as the folder where you want torrents to be stored or that the opening of .torrent files or magnet links is done automatically in the application you use.

bitTorrent downloads

7.- Configure your firewall

Any modern firewall should allow BitTorrent connections. If there is a problem you will see a popup or notification that you should react to. You can set the BitTorrent client as a block exception in your firewall. For some carriers, it may be necessary to configure the router to allow access to these networks. This is usually configured through a function called “port forwarding”. Your firewall and router documentation should provide specific information about this.

8.- Uses Ethernet and not Wi-Fi

A wired local network is ideal for improving BitTorrent download speeds, along with your best PC at home. Not only is an Ethernet network faster than Wi-Fi, but it has much lower latency and is less susceptible to interference, providing a more reliable, stable and always-on connection. In P2P, always cable and not wireless connections.

9.- Faster speeds with VPN

ISPs use a technique called “traffic shaping†to prioritize traffic on their network. This means that carriers can detect what data is being sent and route it to its destination based on how important it considers the data to be. Typically, torrent file data has a very low priority.

Typically, BitTorrent clients have tools to manage whether data is encrypted or not. However, this is inadequate in the face of ISP packet detection. In this case, it is recommended to use some VPN. With it, you make sure that the traffic configuration does not limit the speed. It should be noted that not all VPNs support torrent.

bitTorrent downloads with vpn

10.- Improve your PC

While Internet speed is the most important section when it comes to improving BitTorrent downloads and almost any PC will be able to connect to these networks, the overall performance also influences and as in any computer task the higher the level the better the experience. Mainly an efficient processor, more RAM or an SSD as a storage unit that should better move the pieces of files that you go getting.

Note. We give due warning as we always do when we talk about these issues: Using P2P networks to distribute content is absolutely legal, but unauthorized sharing of copyrighted files on their networks is just as illegal and punishable by law as doing so by other means. In case you need it, we leave you access to our BitTorrent Guide and Top 10 Most Popular Torrent Sites of 2021.

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