How To Increase BitTorrent Download Speeds and Privacy

Posted Nov 14, 2010

Every now and then I find myself in a discussion about BitTorrent. BitTorrent is one of the best existing file-sharing clients available since the demise of LimeWire, KaZaa, and Napster. But how do you get the most out of it while maintaining privacy?

Remember To Randomize and Forward Router Ports

If you are using a router, then it is likely that your ports are closed. This means that your download speeds are generally slower. You will need to specify with your router which ports you want open for BitTorrent traffic. This is known as port forwarding. Go to Options -> Network -> and click Randomize Port During Launch or Randomize Port Each Start.

If you have the option to Enable UPnP port mapping, Enable NAT-PMP port mapping, and Add Windows Firewall exception if those options are available. I would also click Automatically map port if that is an option too.

Encrypting BitTorrent Traffic

Another option you have when using BitTorrent is the ability to encrypt your connection. This may not necessarily work with every type of torrent downloading software, but uTorrent has the option. When using uTorrent, go to Preferences -> BitTorrent and then select “Enable” on the Outgoing Encryption. If you do not see a faster connection, you can also try using “Force.”

If you have a specific torrent that not a lot of people are seeding, I would recommend clicking the Allow Incoming Legacy Connections checkbox. This way any peers you connect to will use an encryption and your ISP will not throttle you as much.

If you are using the Transmission torrent downloading software, go to the Peers pane in the application preferences and open up the Encryption section. Click the “Prefer Encrypted Peers” box and the “Ignore Unencrypted Peers” box. If you notice that there are not a lot of seeds connecting to the torrent, then uncheck it again to see if it helps with the speeds.

Set Your BitTorrent Client Speeds

Many people are not aware that you can control the bandwidth of your upload speeds and download speeds. Uploading high speeds will slow down the Internet for everyone else on your network, especially if you are sharing popular files. You can control your upload/download speeds in the Network section of Preferences.

Enable A Scheduler Of BitTorrent Downloads

uTorrent and Transmission have simple Scheduler features that lets you set a time for when you want to upload or download files. Some people to prefer letting stuff limit download speeds during the day and then speed up substantially overnight.

In uTorrent, go to Options, Preferences, and find Scheduler. Checkmark the Enable Scheduler box and click on the corresponding boxes. I have seen this feature on uTorrent for Windows, but not on the Mac.

Block Peers That Are Snooping On You

Sometimes you do not want hackers snooping on you. Hackers sometime post fake torrents to track those who are downloading. Transmission users have a blacklist feature built-in. Below is list of steps on setting it up:

-Open Transmission’s preferences and head to the Peers pane.
– Check the box that says “Prevent Known Bad Peers from Connecting” under the Blocklist section
– Hit the “Update” button to make update the list of bad peers and check-mark the Automatically Update Weekly box to kit it up to date.

– Download PeerBlock and set it up
– Peerblock lets you block P2P, advertising and data tracker servers, malicious spyware, educational institutions, or import/create lists.