Bit Torrent has become a very popular method of file sharing because of it’s extremely fast transfer rates, but if you don’t know how to properly configure your computer and your torrent client, you may be stuck at 10 KB/s. In this article, I will go over a variety of things that effect how fast your files transfer. Some people are just lucky and have an insanely fast internet connection, so they’re always able to download files incredibly fast; however, other people (like me), aren’t so lucky, and have to put in a little work to take full advantage of Bit Torrent’s high-speed method of sharing.
First, lets talk about seeds and leeches. A “seed” is a person who is supplying a file that is being shared over the internet. Seeds are good. Seeds are your friend. A “leech,” also know as a “peer,” is a person who is downloading a file, but has not yet fully downloaded it. Leeches are bad. Leeches are not your friend (hence the name). When a leech finishes downloading a file, they become a seed.
Before you start downloading a file, check the “seed to leech ratio.” This is a number that will tell you how many people are sharing the file, and how many people are downloading the file. You always want to choose the file with the highest seed over leech ratio (i.e., more seeds than leeches). Despite popular belief, the file with the most seeds will not be the fastest file if it has more leeches than seeds (e.g., a file with 10 seeds and 5 leeches, will be faster than a file with 100 seeds and 500 leeches).
Now that you understand how that works, you’ll need to forward your ports. What is “port forwarding?” Port forwarding is how you open up ports in your in your computer to allow information to be imported and exported. If you’re directly connected to the internet through a modem, you shouldn’t have to worry about this; but if you’re behind a wireless router, you will definitely need to open your ports. Unfortunately, due to the fact that port forwarding is different for every person, depending on their router and torrent client, I am not going to explain how to do that in this article. I suggest going to PortForward.com. There you will be able to find a tutorial for your specific needs.
Most torrent clients allow you to set an upload/download limit. You want to take advantage of this. Most people would assume that setting your upload limit to 0 and your download limit to “unlimited” would make your files go faster. This is FALSE. Doing that will only choke-out your internet connection and cause everything to go slower. You need to do a speed test to find out what your maximum upload/download speeds are. Type “speed test” into Google and a bunch of websites will come up. Any of them are fine. Once you know your connection speed, convert your maximum upload speed in Kbps to KB/s by dividing it by 8 (e.g., 1200 kbps = 150 KB/s). You should set your upload limit at 20% of your KB/s (e.g., if your maximum KB/s is 150, set your upload limit to 30 KB/s). Do the same conversion for your download speed and set your download limit to 80% of your maximum KB/s.
If you follow all of these steps properly, your download speed should increase to your maximum download limit. Once and a while, you will come across a file that is just slow. Don’t worry about.