Speed Up Your Torrents, Tips from a BitTorrent Developer

BitTorrent is without a doubt the best way to share large files, as long as you follow some basic rules, that is. We asked one of the leading BitTorrent client developers for some tips and tricks so you can speed up your BitTorrent downloads.

bittorrent download speedThere are several ways to optimize your BitTorrent download speeds. One of the easiest ways is to join a private torrent tracker, but there are others.

Since there’s always a lot of debate about what works and what doesn’t, we decided to ask an expert to share his thoughts with us. Olivier Chalouhi, developer and CTO of Vuze (formerly known as Azureus) was kind enough to give us some of his own tips and tricks. Since Olivier was the person who initiated the Azureus Open Source project in 2003, which went on to create one of the most popular BitTorrent clients ever, if anyone knows how to get the best out of your torrent client, he does.

Here are some of Olivier’s tips for optimizing your torrent download speeds. There tips work with every BitTorrent client, except for the last one.

1. Seed.

Downloading speeds will be sub-optimal for everyone unless everyone plays their part and seeds. Private tracker sites are a great example of how the overall speed of the swarm increases when everyone is seeding and downloading in equal measure. So, play your part in seeding and tell others to as well.

2. Be connectable.

Make sure you’re not “firewalled” by opening up your incoming ports or by enabling UPnP in your router, otherwise you’ll be leaving bandwidth on the table.

3. Manage your upload speed.

It is all about striking a balance. You don’t want the upload speed to be too high, nor do you want it to be too low. Ideally you want to set your upload speed to be 80% of the maximum possible line speed.

TF note: Want an easy life? Try this handy settings calculator, works for all clients

4. Select the right torrents.

Your download will be faster if you choose to download a torrent where there is a good balance of seeds and peers. For instance, Vuze ranks its search results according to the number of seeds and peers to make this easier.

5. Be realistic.

Check the swarm average and if you’re already above average, then you just need to be patient. If you’re below average, go back and check some of these other things I’ve mentioned.

6. Get a Friend Boost.

I wouldn’t be a Vuze developer if I didn’t give a plug for the Friend Boost feature we recently developed :). When you create a network of Friends on Vuze, you agree to seed content to each other on a preferential basis. That is, if one of your friends has a torrent that you want, you will be able to directly use a portion of their bandwidth to get it. In most cases this will increase your download speed.

Obviously, ways in which to actually implement some of these tips will differ from client to client. If you want to find out how to do it on Vuze, you can check out our wiki.

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