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Optimizing Halite For Speed

Introduction

optimize-halite-speed-halite-bittorrent-client-iconThis guide shows how to speed up downloads in the freeware bittorrent client Halite.  All bittorrent programs need to have their incoming and outgoing communications flow freely in order to achieve the highest download speeds and that is what this guide is about.

This guide was put together using information given by the developers of bittorrent programs at their forums, guides and FAQs.  There are no secret tricks, just the real basics of proper set up of a bittorrent program.  Following these simple steps should result in increased download speed.

These are the basic principles of optimizing a bittorrent client, like Halite, for speed: 

  • Choose a proper port to avoid ISP blocks and conflicts with other programs
  • Forward that port through any software firewall and router to allow incoming connections
  • Adjust internal settings based upon upload capacity of the internet connection to allow room for outgoing communications and to distribute upload efficiently. 

There are some programs that claim to optimize speed in Halite.  Such programs are a scam and generally contain adware or spyware.  I have seen it said, by the developers of all bittorrent programs, that nothing will increase your download speed in a bittorrent client more than the basic steps set forth herein.

The screen shots are from Halite 0.3.1 Dev 766.

If you are not using Halite, there are several other specific guides for other clients and a general guide here:
Optimizing Bittorrent Clients

Choosing A Proper Port

To avoid messing up a network connection that is already cleared, first check and see if your communications are blocked or are already clear.  Have Halite running while testing the port.

Click to Test Your Port  Success-just go to Adjusting Internal Settings.   Error- follow all steps.

The port setting in Halite is at Settings>Ports

optimize-halite-speed-halite-settings-button-location-image

The UDP port should be set to the same as the listen port.  Also DHT should be enabled and the number of half-open connections should be set to 8.

optimize-halite-speed-port-choice-dht

If you failed the port test above, then you should first set your port to a proper one.  The most important choice here is to avoid using a port within the 6881-6999 range. This was the range originally used by bittorrent programs and is often blocked by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). (If your port was in this range, change and re-test).

The safest choice is a port in the 49160-65534 range as this will avoid ISP blocks and possible conflicts with other applications.  This range used to be 49152-65534, but apparently Vista and Windows 7 grabs some of those ports in between.   Vuze-Wiki: Port is Blacklisted

Windows users, if you want to make certain there is no conflict.  Go to the command prompt and type in netstat -a >c:\log.txt  This will check to see which ports are being used and save a log text file at C:\.  Looking at the text file, you will know which ports to avoid.

Also, there is no need to select a range, so leave the box for range selection unticked.

Introduction
A router will block incoming communications unless an exception is made.  All software firewalls will block incoming communications and most will also block outgoing communications, unless an exception is made.  If you are "firewalled", then other people will not be able to initiate connections with you (see Why Is Being Firewalled Bad).
As there are many firewalls and routers, this guide can not give explanations as to each.  However, there are guides available, on the internet for most firewalls and routers and this guide will link you to them.

Software Firewall - The permission should be set to allow TCP and UDP in both directions.  Generally, you will have a choice to set permission for  the Halite port or for the  Halite program.  Setting permission for the port is the safer choice.  You can check these options for guides:

  • The help file of your software firewall is the best place to look
  •  The µTorrent forum  has some guides posted (substitute Halite for µTorrent in guides)
  •  PortForward.com Firewall Guides(choose firewall and then µTorrent-there are no Halite guides-again substitute Halite for µTorrent in guides) also has some guides.

Router - There are two choices here.  The easier way is to use UPnP.  However, this has a possible security issue.  Using UPnP allows any program to create a port mapping through the router without consent of the owner.  Note:  Given the recent findings of Rapid7 regarding security flaws in UPnP, it is generally suggested here that manual forwarding be used.  If you still want to use UPnP, then it would be a good idea to test and see if your device is vulnerable to attack through UPnP.

The other choice is to manually forward the port through the router.  This does not have that security issue, but involves going through several steps to accomplish.  Using the guides linked herein, this should not be that difficult and is the preferred method.

UPnP  - The Easy Way UPnP is temporarily hard coded always on in Halite due to an issue with underlying software.  For now, UPnP only needs to be enabled in router.

Manual Forwarding-The Preferred Way

  1. Use the Static IP Guide
  2. Set permission for the Halite port.  This should be set to allow both TCP and UDP communications.
    You can check these options for guides:
  • The help file of your router is the best place to look
  • Portforward.com µTorrent Router Index has guides for most routers (there are no guides specifically for Halite.  Use µTorrent guides and screen shots from this guide)

Click Here to Re-Test Port    Success-Proceed to next step.   Error- re-do steps or seek help in Forums.  Have Halite running while re-testing the port.

Adjusting Internal Settings

Introduction
The  most important setting here is to cap upload in  Halite to 80% of your overall upload capacity.   Setting upload in Halite is a fine line.  The more upload you give, the more download you will get from other peers. However, if upload is set too high, or to unlimited, then download speeds will suffer as outgoing communications (acknowledgment signals, resend requests etc) will be interfered with. Other adjustments are made here to distribute your upload so that you receive back the most download from other peers.

Speed Test: Speedtest.net (Click for Test)
First the upload capacity of your internet connection must be determined by taking an online speed test.  Speedtest.net has test locations worldwide and will highlight the one closest to you.
To take the test you must have Flash installed and javascript enabled.

Before taking the speed test, press Settings in the upper right of the speedtest.net page.  This will take you to another page.  At the bottom of that page is the "Global Settings" options.  Set "Speed Measurement" to kilobytes and press "Save" .  This will facilitate entry into the calculator below and will lessen confusion as qBittorrent shows speeds in kilobytes.

 optimize-halite-speed-speedtest-net-settings-button-location

 

optimize-halite-speed-speedtest-net-speed-measurement-setting-kilobytes

optimize-halite-speed-speedtest-net-save-settings-button

You should stop all internet activity, including torrents, before taking the test and the test should be taken a few times to obtain a reliable average. Results will now show in KiloBytes. It is the upload rate that is important here.

optimize-halite-speed-speedtest-net-results-kilobytes

Another Way To Test Upload Speed
For most people these test results will be reliable (Comcast users see Note).  However, you may wish to do a double check on real life upload speed.  When you are active on a torrent with a good number of peers and you are using your upload cap, set upload to unlimited and watch for about 5-10 minutes and see where upload settles in at.  Then input that number into the calculator in the kiloBytes section. 

Note:  Some ISPs will show inaccurate results on the speed test.  If your ISP has anything like Comcast's PowerBoost, then your results will show higher than the actual speed of your connection.  PowerBoost provides a burst of download and upload speeds above your provisioned download and upload speeds for the first 10MB and 5MB respectively.  Since the speed test involves relatively small files, this will skew results upward. 
If you have PowerBoost, or something similar, my findings from my own results and those of others is that the actual speeds are 60% of the test result.  So if you get 200kB/s for upload at the test, you should enter 120 in the kB/s box in the calculator.  Using Google ("speed result" x .6) will get the proper number to enter in  the calculator and this actually turns out to be very accurate.  You should end up with the calculator showing a cap that is about half of the test result.

Calculator Azureus Upload Settings Calculator
Once you have an average upload speed for your connection go to the online Azureus Upload Settings Calculator. Although designed for Azureus, this calculator will work for all bittorrent clients.
This calculator was created by the8472 a contributor to Vuze (fka Azureus) and part of the team that created Bittorrent Protocol Encryption.

Enter your average upload speed in the appropriate box

optimize-halite-speed-azureus-upload-settings-calculator-kBs-entry-image

The calculator will automatically give the proper figures to adjust various options in Halite.

optimize-halite-speed-calculator-settings-global

optimize-halite-speed-calculator-halite-torrent-settings

Input Results Into Halite - Screen shots of locations in  Halite of settings to be adjusted 

There is no setting for max active torrents in Halite.  I suggest setting both Active downloads and Active seeds in Halite to the number for Max simultaneous downloads given on the calculator.

optimize-halite-speed-halite-settings-global

optimize-halite-speed-halite-torrents-settings
 
Additional Settings
 
At Settings>BitTorrent all of the options shown enabled in this image should be enabled.   Some will help speed by finding additional seeds and/or peers.  The Smart Ban Plugin will help speed by banning those who send bad data too frequently. 
halite-optimize-speed-settings-bittorrent-peer-sources-screen

Good Torrents

The general rule here is to choose torrents that have a high seed to peer ratio. Seeds have 100% of the content associated with the torrent and are only uploading to peers. Peers also upload to other peers, but are also looking for other peers to upload to themselves and their download capacity is almost always higher than their upload capacity.

This applies even though one swarm has significantly more active users than another. For example, a torrent with 30 seeders and 70 peers (30% seeders) will generally be faster than one with 500 seeders and 2500 peers (20% seeders) as the average upload capacity available to the peers will be higher. (TorrentFreak).

For more information see Good Torrents

Related Articles

Gizmo's Best Ever Freeware Forums

If you still have issues after using this guide and would like some assistance, you may post here or our Forums.  The comments section here is not well set up for ongoing discussions, so the forums are a better place.

When posting on a speed issue, please provide

  • Your speed test result for both upload and download speed in kiloBytes per second (kBps)
  • Your result at canyouseeme, both before taking any steps and after.  Just indicate Success or Error do not post your IP address.

If you have a suggestion or correction for the guide, please post here.

Those who wish to post a thanks may post here or in the forums. I always appreciate hearing from those who this helped and I do read the posts regularly. I used to respond to each thanks, but realized it was clogging up the comments section. I thank all those who have posted their appreciation and all those who will.

So, to those who post a "Thanks", I appreciate it.

Steve

 

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Comments

by spok1234 (not verified) on 20. September 2010 - 20:13  (58156)

Have been using utorrent for years and I was very happy with it. But doesn't work well with my 64bit windows7. Ever since I switched to Halite 64 no more problems.
Some of the things you mention I had done (are the same as utorrent) but your article helped me improve.

Now I have to find out how to seed my torrents with halite and I'm set.

Many Thanks

by Anonymous on 10. April 2010 - 1:48  (47337)

I would like if you explained what the 4 extra option actually do... I am worryed in using anything with "utorrent" in its name.

by mr6n8 on 10. April 2010 - 14:34  (47374)

It is a bit odd of Halite to feature the name uTorrent as Halite users seem to have a great dis-trust of uTorrent.

Like em or not, the uTorrent developers are unquestionably the leaders in bittorrent nowadays.

As to Peer Exchange (PEX), it is a way of connecting to additional seeds and peers through some one that you are already connected to on a torrent. In my experience, this is the most effective connection method.
There are two versions of PEX, one created by Vuze and one by uTorrent. BitComet formerly had its own, but as of version 1.19 it adopted the uTorrent version. Vuze has also added support for the uTorrent version to its client.

All bittorrent clients support uTorrent's version-only Vuze and Transmission (which supports both) support the Vuze version.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_exchange#Clients_supporting_peer_exchange

Halite gets its support for the uTorrent version from libtorrent, which is the underlying software of Halite.

As all bittorrent clients support the uTorrent version, it only makes sense to use this version.

Halite also supports the Mainline (BitTorrent, Inc.) version of DHT (Distributed Hash Table). Again there are two versions, Vuze and Mainline. Again, Mainline is used by most bittorrent clients and only Vuze uses their version. Vuze does have a plugin allowing use of the Mainline.
DHT allows people to connect without the use of a tracker. This allows one to find additional seeds and peers and also allows the use of "Magnet Links", which have no tracker.

Steve

by Anonymous on 1. February 2010 - 6:43  (42531)

thank you

by Anonymous on 26. January 2010 - 16:32  (42143)

Thanks for this - the link to the Az calc was very handy :)

by mr6n8 on 26. January 2010 - 18:42  (42148)

Yes that calc is good.

I started making guides for bittorrent clients once I found that.

Hope it helped.

Steve