How To Speed Up Downloads

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How To Speed Up Downloads

Post  JaGgEdGe on Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:38 pm

The question we get asked most frequently seems to be about how to increase slow download speeds, and what being unconnectable (having the red warning icon at the bottom of the client window) means. I will attempt to address these questions as fully as possible here so we don't have to keep typing it out wink.gif.

Firstly we must be clear that many torrents just are slow. As a result of the way bittorrenting works, it is not possible to download any faster than the speed at which other people in the swarm for that particular torrent are uploading. Unfortunately, either through ignorance or selfishness, many people severely cap their upload speed and/or stop the torrent as soon as their download is complete rather than seeding back what they have taken. You should ALWAYS seed back until your client shows a ratio of at least 1.00 for that torrent (indicating that you have uploaded to others as much as you downloaded i.e. you have given back as much as you took). If everyone did that then speeds wouldn't be so much of a problem, but hey, the world's an imperfect place.....


How to pick a good torrent

To get good speeds you should look for a torrent which has as many seeds (a seed is a person uploading a complete copy of the file) as possible, and also some leechers (people with incomplete copies). This may seem incongruous, but since leechers upload as they download, it is often better to pick a torrent with a bigger swarm (the term 'swarm' means all connected peers on a torrent, so is the sum of the seeds and leechers). An obvious exception to this would be if a torrent had one or two seeds and hundreds or thousands of leechers, this would be slow because of the small number of seeds having to share the file out among so many people.

Do be aware that fake files (which are sometimes traps by anti-p2p agencies) do get uploaded to mininova (and other torrent sites), while we do remove these as quickly as possible some invariably slip through, it is wise to be a little cautious of files with huge numbers of seeds, these can be fake (and many of them will never fully download). Check the torrent comments before downloading, and if it is a movie which is still in theatres, check on VCDquality to see if that release is listed there (check for the type - cam, ts, dvdscr etc - and the release group). If it is not listed there then it is highly likely to be a fake, don't download it. Be especially wary of torrents claiming to be dvdrips of movies which have only just been released in movie theatres. Always check first, better to be safe than sorry.


How to set up your system to optimise your speeds

While you must bear in mind the limitations mentioned above, there are a few things you can do to get the best possible speeds. I personally use the client utorrent so any specific instructions will be for that, but it should be applicable to any modern bittorrent client.



A major cause of problems is the torrent client being blocked by one or more firewalls. It is crucial that the client is given full permission in your firewall to access the internet and to act as a server. This is generally done in the 'program control' section of your firewall. If you are using a separate software firewall (which is a good idea, as the windows firewall on its own isn't very good), then the windows firewall should be disabled. This is done by clicking 'Start', then 'All programs', then 'Accessories', 'System tools' and then 'Security Center'. Then click on 'Windows firewall' and set it to 'disabled'.

Don't just turn off all your firewalls, this is dangerous!. If you need a firewall then Zone alarm have a good free one Zone alarm free.






It is also important to set your client to use a port number in the correct range. The recommended range for torrenting is port numbers between 49152 and 65535 (just pick a number between those two). In utorrent you change the port number as follows: options>preferences>connection - type the number you want into the 'listening port' box, and make sure the 'randomise port each time utorrent starts' box is unticked. It should be similar in Azureus and other modern clients.




If you are using Norton antivirus/security suite/whatever they're calling it these days, then you need to go into the settings for the antivirus and disable the worm protection feature it has (not the whole antivirus, just that feature). This messes up torrenting.

Also in NOD32 antivirus, you need to make sure that the 'Potentially unsafe applications' feature is not active (this makes getting connectable impossible). This is done by opening the control centre, then clicking 'AMON', then 'setup', clicking the 'options' tab and then unchecking the 'potentially unsafe applications' box.

There may be similar problems with other antivirus programs, if you follow all the other steps in this guide and are still having trouble then try searching google to see if others have had the same problem with that program.





Probably the most important thing to do if you have a router is to forward a port for your torrent client to use for incoming connections. This is called portforwarding and should make you connectable. It is important to do this to maximise the number of people to whom you can connect. If you are unconnectable (i.e. haven't portforwarded) then you can only connect to people who are connectable. If you have portforwarded then you can connect to both unconnectable and connectable people, which has obvious benefits, especially in small swarms!

We sometimes get asked "How do I know if I have a router?", well, if you've got one you'd probably know, but just in case: type up What is a router?

If you connect to the internet via a cable modem or a network which you don't control (such as a university or business network) then you won't be able to portforward. It is essential that you have administrator access to the router to be able to do this. Please don't try to hack into networks you don't have permission to, you could get into big trouble.


To portforward, you need to find out the make and model of your router (generally it will be written on it somewhere), then go to this page http://www.portforward.com/routers.htm and follow the instructions given for your specific router and the client you use. The instructions are generally very clear and given step by step with diagrams, don't be daunted by it. Please note that we at mininova forum are unable to help with the specific portforwarding steps, you need to follow the instructions on the portforward.com site.






Another step you can take to help maximise your speeds in Windows XP systems is to apply the Windows XP SP2 Connection Fix, as detailed in Y2Jacky's tutorial here. I personally haven't found this to be necessary in utorrent, but many people find it helpful.





It is also important that you set your upload speed to 80% of your absolute maximum to prevent it choking your download speed. This is best done by checking your upload speed using a speed tester site (make sure that nothing else is using your internet connection when you test it), or you can just observe what your upload speed peaks at, this is generally pretty accurate. Make sure that you don't mix up kbps and kB/s as they are not the same - 1kB/s is approximately 8kbps. Once you have your absolute maximum upload speed in kB/s, multiply it by 0.8 to get the figure to set the upload speed in your client to. In utorrent, you click options>preferences>connection> then type the number into the 'global maximum upload rate' box and click 'ok'.





Some people find that even after portforwarding and following all the other steps, their download speed is still severely limited. This can be due to traffic-shaping - limiting or blocking bittorrent traffic - by their internet service provider. Modern bittorrent clients such as utorrent, azureus and the newest versions of bitcomet have a feature called protocol encryption which is designed to overcome this.

A list of ISPs which are known to traffic shape is given here - Bad ISPs list - azureus wiki( http://www.azureuswiki.com/index.php/Bad_ISPs) . The number of ISPs which are doing this now is unfortunately growing.

To enable encryption in utorrent, do the following: options>preferences>bittorrent>protocol encryption- enabled. If this doesn't help you can try switching it to 'forced', but only do this if you have to, as it will mean you can only connect to other people using encryption.

Instructions on how to enable encryption in Azureus can be found here - Azureus anti-traffic shaping measures( http://www.azureuswiki.com/index.php/Avoid_traffic_shaping )

Unfortunately if you are on a university network or similar you may find that torrenting and the download of .torrent files is blocked altogether, increasingly this is becoming the case. Some people have reported limited success in overcoming this by using Azureus magnet links or downloading http files (not a feature currently available here on mininova) instead of .torrent files.




Good luck

JaGgEdGe
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