Optimizing µTorrent (or BitTorrent) For Speed

 
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Introduction

Optimizing-utorrrent-speed-uTorrent-iconThis guide shows how to speed up downloads in the freeware bittorrent client,  µTorrent. 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 will also work for users of the BitTorrent client as the µTorrent and BitTorrent clients are identical.

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 µTorrent, 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 µTorrent.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.

This guide will work for all versions of µTorrent and BitTorrent 6.1 (and later). Screen shots are from µTorrent 1.8.2 as the options menus had been changed starting with that version.

If you are looking to increase your download speed in µTorrent for Mac, see Optimizing µTorrent For Mac.

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

There are several other help articles for and BitTorrent here at Gizmo's.  A listing is on this page:

µTorrent & BitTorrent Help

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 µTorrent running while you test the port.

The port that µTorrent uses is at Options>Preferences>Connection
The port number in your µTorrent should be entered at the port test site.
The Randomize port each start option should be disabled as this could affect router and firewall settings and rarely serves any useful purpose.

Optimizing-utorrrent-speed-utorrent-port-number-location

Enter the port number from your µTorrent here at the test page and press "Check":

Optimizing-utorrrent-speed-canyouseeme-port-entry-locaton

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

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 and the press "Enter".  This will check to see which ports are being used and save a text file called "log" at C:\.  Looking at the log.txt file, you will know which ports to avoid.

Forwarding The Port

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 µTorrent port or for the µTorrent program. Setting permission for the port is the safer choice.
If you are using Windows Firewall, then all you have to do is go to Options>Preferences>Connection in µTorrent and enable the Add Windows Firewall exception option.

Otherwise, you can check these options for 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 (NAT-PMP in Apple) - The Easy Way Enable UPnP (NAT-PMP in Apple) in µTorrent and router.

Options>Preferences>Connection

utorrent-preferences-connection-upnp-image

Manual Forwarding-The Preferred Way

  1. UPnP (NAT-PMP) Must be disabled in µTorrent (see image above)
  2. Use the Static IP Guide
  3. Set permission for µTorrent port. This should be set to allow both TCP and UDP communications.
    You can check these options for guides:

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

Adjusting Internal Settings

Introduction
The most important setting here is to cap upload in µTorrent to 80% of your overall upload capacity. Setting upload in µTorrent 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.

Note:  (Thanks to Roderunner for reminding me of this)

µTorrent does have a built in speed test and Setup Guide (Options>Setup Guide) that will automatically adjust settings in µTorrent. This is a slightly quicker process than this guide.  However, my testing of the Setup Guide settings versus the calculator of this guide showed better speeds with this guide. 

First of all, the setup guide only offers settings for certain upload rates.  So if your upload rate falls outside their offerings, the settings will not be as precise as those in the calculator below.  Even if your upload rate matches one of the offerings exactly, the automatic settings of µTorrent for that rate are not as effective as the ones given by this calculator.

There is not much more involved in entering the settings from the calculator into µTorrent and the increase in download speed will make it worthwhile.
 

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 µTorrent shows speeds in kilobytes.

 speedtest-net-settings-button-location

 

speedtest-net-kilobytes-setttings

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.

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

azureus-upload-settings-calculator-kBs-entry-image

The calculator will automatically give the proper figures to adjust various options in µTorrent.
Calculator-utorrent-settings-location-image


 

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

 
utorrent-preferences-bandwidth-settings-location-image
 

utorrent-preferences-queueing-settings-location-image

Peer Sources & Encryption

Having the proper peer sources enabled, such as Peer Exchange (PEX) and Distributed Hash Table (DHT), will help download speeds as they will help you find additional seeds and peers for a torrent.  Local Peer Discovery should be enabled as it supposedly searches for peers on your ISP or those on an extended network or on a LAN party. it can be very useful on a LAN party.  I have not found it to make much of a difference when not on a LAN or extended network.

Encryption was primarily designed to thwart Internet Service Providers interference with bittorrent.  Having encryption enabled and allowing incoming legacy (non-encrypted) connections will provide you with the largest pool of seeds/peers to select from.

These settings are at Options>Preferences>BitTorrent and should be set as in this image:

utorrent-preferences-bittorrent

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 toorent on 14. January 2014 - 10:45  (113582)

CanYouSeeMe.org - Open Port Check Tool

This page will serve as a free utility for remotely verifying a port is open or closed on your router. It will be useful for users who wish to check to see if a server is running or a firewall or ISP is blocking certain ports or verify network security. If you want to do website hosting on your own or run your own ip camera behind your router it will also helpful.

Your IP: IP Edited out
What Port?

Error: I could not see your service on IP Edited Out on port (49001)
Reason: Connection timed out

Common Ports
FTP 21
SSH 22
Telnet 23
SMTP 25
Web 80
Pop 3 110
IMAP 143
Other Applications
Remote Desktop 3389
PC Anywhere 5631

could u please tell what can i do :(

by mr6n8 on 14. January 2014 - 12:02  (113585)

I have edited out your IP address from your post.

You need to follow the steps to clear the port, or your client, through any firewalls, software or hardware (router), on your system.

by KingKJVKU on 16. September 2013 - 3:45  (110737)

With port test failed from canyouseeme.org, my bittorrent client achieved its highest speed!

But that is just for 10 minutes, My port Test always fails.
Current port is 29484, which is not preferable according to the guide.

What is your reaction?

by mr6n8 on 29. September 2013 - 15:03  (111087)

Not sure what you are asking about, but if it is about why are you getting great speeds with a blocked port, then the answer is here (Why being firewalled is bad - linked in article):
http://bt.degreez.net/firewalled.html

Being firewalled means others can not initiate contact with you. If you find a user who is not firewalled, then you can connect to that user - and through DHT and PEX other users through that user.

So even though firewalled, you can often get good speeds. However, opening the port gives more opportunities to get good speeds as you can connect with a peer who is firewalled. If you and all the others are firewalled, then no transfer will occur. This will not happen often, but may happen - particularly on a torrent with a small swarm of active users.

The main thing on the port number choice is to avoid the 6881-6999 range as this is often blocked by ISPs. Other than that, avoiding a conflict with other programs (and opening that port for communications) is all that matters. No port is faster than other ports.

Hope this answers your question. If not, then let me know.

Steve

by lucasho2312 on 9. February 2013 - 5:49  (105223)

I am trying to find a proper port. All port numbers I checked with the test page resulted in "Error: I could not see your service on port (45694).Reason: Connection refused" though I chose port number in the specific range and avoided those from the log.txt. I already turned of firewall.

I was once successful with finding an unblocked port. After I change my ISP, I noticed a drop in speed of utorrent so I rechecked and found the port was blocked. Plz help cuz I cant find any reason why all were blocked.

by mr6n8 on 9. February 2013 - 12:02  (105229)

Connection refused usually means a firewall issue.

I know you turned off your software firewall. (better to set exception)
Do you have a router? If yes, what is the make and model?

Who is the ISP?
Did they give you any hardware? If so what is make and model of hardware?

by mj104 on 28. December 2012 - 16:50  (104056)

When I check my port test get an error - it could not see service on my IP on port 37124 . reason 'Connection refused'. After which i conducted netstat -a...test and get the following results

TCP [::]:135 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING
TCP [::]:445 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING
TCP [::]:554 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING
TCP [::]:2869 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING
TCP [::]:3587 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING
TCP [::]:5357 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING
TCP [::]:10243 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING
TCP [::]:37124 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING
TCP [::]:49152 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING
TCP [::]:49153 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING
TCP [::]:49154 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING
TCP [::]:49155 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING
TCP [::]:49156 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING

Not sure what port to use ? can you help. The current port is 37124
TCP [::]:49157 DELL-PC:0 LISTENING

by mr6n8 on 28. December 2012 - 23:16  (104061)

Not sure if the 37124 is showing up because you have it set in uTorrent and uTorrent is open when testing, but to be safe try something like 49001.

However, for any port to show open an exception has to be made for that port, or uTorrent, in any firewall, software or hardware (router), on your system.

Steve

by kwlo7 on 18. December 2012 - 16:09  (103725)

Using the Open Port Check Tool, I've tried multiple port numbers and every one gives the same error result Reason: Connection timed out

is there something i am not doing correctly?
i've tried ports in command prompt, within the range given on this site, and random port #s as well.
I am using uTorrent and Windows 8

by mr6n8 on 18. December 2012 - 16:24  (103726)

Have you set exceptions for uTorrent, or its port, in any firewalls, software or hardware (router), on your system?

That error will generally occur with a router blocking uTorrent, but can also occur from a software firewall block.

No port will show open unless it is cleared through the firewall(s).

Steve

by limmy25 on 21. December 2012 - 12:47  (103834)

im having the same problem, i have checked my router forwarding settings and utorrent is enabled, i even set up a rule in windows firewall to allow utorrent port but im still getting timed out

by kothasanju on 30. July 2013 - 16:53  (109770)

try the port 10076 it should work

by mr6n8 on 21. December 2012 - 13:42  (103840)

What port number are you using?

What other security software do you have installed besides the firewall?

Are you running on a network (work, school, apartment building etc)?

Is it possible to connect the computer to the internet without the router? If so, you can try the test while direct connected to check and see if your router settings are correct.

If you can not direct connect, then try enabling UPnP in the router and uTorrent.

You can also try disabling the firewall during the test and on the above router checks.

These tests will help narrow the issue.

Steve

by limmy25 on 21. December 2012 - 14:02  (103841)

im using 59113

i only installed avast free antivirus

im using my home private network

ill try direct connecting, ive already have UPnP enabled in utorrent and my router

by mr6n8 on 21. December 2012 - 14:34  (103844)

Before trying the direct connect and disabling of the firewall, try disabling Avast while doing the test.

Just took a look around on Avast and it has a P2P shield and a Network Shield which might cause issues. I will look around further.

BTW, what is the make and model of the router?

Steve

by limmy25 on 21. December 2012 - 15:11  (103845)

Okay i tried connecting directly which requires me to enter a username and password, which i dont know why it did not work, i couldnt get internet access, it used to work before i got a router

its a TP-Link WR740N

Edit: i ran the utorrent it says my port is open but its still red, i also tried disabling avast p2p and network shield and still dint work, thats connected to the internet with the router

by mr6n8 on 22. December 2012 - 13:50  (103867)

On the failure to get access on the direct connect, do you connect through a modem both with the direct and router?
If so, you may have to unplug the modem for 5 seconds and replug when switching from router to direct. Anyhow, hopefully that will not be necessary since the port showed open.

If the port is showing open, the red may be because of no active torrents. Did you try running a torrent after the port showed open?
Try running the Windows LibreOffice torrent on this page for a couple minutes and see if the icon turns green.
http://www.libreoffice.org/download-more/

On the router, did you set an exception for the port number and also have UPnP enabled? That can cause issues. One or the other should be chosen.
http://portforward.com/english/routers/port_forwarding/TP-Link/TL-WR740N...

by limmy25 on 22. December 2012 - 15:04  (103869)

i connected through the modem only, yes i was running a torrent when i was testing it, it occasionally turn green for awhile then yelllow for the most of the time, sometimes red

edit: is there a way to use google dns with static ip? my isp block some sites which i watch tv series on

i did everything on portfoward, its still the same and utorrent is telling me now that my port is not open but i still can download

by mr6n8 on 22. December 2012 - 15:33  (103872)

I misinterpreted our answer on the router. I thought you could not get through without router.

Are you testing through uTorrent or at canyouseeme? I put canyouseeme in the guide as a number of blocklists have the uTorrent site blocked.
If the icon is showing green at times, the port should be open. Yellow could mean that you have not received an incoming connection request for a certain period of time.
Are the speeds you are getting anywhere near your result for download on the speed test?
Being firewalled does not mean you can not download. Usually, your outbound communications can still get through and if the other person is not firewalled, then you can connect. The issue is when the other person is also firewalled.

If you have not used it, try the canyouseeme site. I would suggest trying with the rule in the router and without the rule - with UPnP enabled. But do not have both enabled.

As to the DNS, better to ask our resident DNS expert at one of the articles here:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/how-change-dns-server.htm
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/how-find-best-dns-server.htm

by limmy25 on 23. December 2012 - 15:04  (103888)

i just went and download libre office from the link u gave me, its shows green then yellow then green and its quite near my download speed for awhile, almost all my speed are from 1 peer, and i think i only have 60 seeds from 1200+ and 2 peers from 250+? it shows (x)1200 seeds and 2(250)peers

by mr6n8 on 23. December 2012 - 15:30  (103889)

Having 60 seeds is just about right for that swarm. There are just under 5 seeds for every peer. The average seed, worldwide, connects to 5 users. That should mean 25 to 30 seeds for you. In any event, having 60 seeds and 2 peers is excellent. (I just ran it on mine for a couple minutes, getting max speed [2MBps] with 70(1530) on seeds and 5(560) on peers).

I think you mentioned in the other post about most of the speed coming from one user. That is not always the case, but is not that unusual.

The turning green to yellow back and forth is unusual. That does lead me to think it has something to do with the P2P shield or Network shield. The P2P shield might be checking the incoming and causing that. Try disabling Avast (not just the shields) for a few minutes while the torrent is active.

Do you have any other anti-malware on the computer? (MalwareBytes, SuperAntiSpyware etc). If you do, then try disabling, one at a time for a few minutes while a torrent is active and see if the changing of the icon color stops.

by limmy25 on 23. December 2012 - 15:57  (103891)

Oh ok thanks, im not getting my full speed though, isp throttling possible or do peer's country matter? i was getting my speed from a peer in my country most of the time but not always near my tested download speed, it drops to 1-2kbps, when i tested another torrent its always yellow for the most of the time and max is only <5kbps

ill try disabling avast, i dont have other anti-malware softwares

edit: i tried disabling avast, dint make a difference

by mr6n8 on 23. December 2012 - 16:03  (103892)

I should have thought of ISP as a possibility - good one.

You can check here to see if yours is on the list of bad ones:
http://wiki.vuze.com/w/Bad_ISPs

If not, let me know which ISP.

by limmy25 on 23. December 2012 - 18:01  (103896)

TMNET from Malaysia, which we call TMNut, the ISP that monopolize most of our country internet :(

should i download vuze?

by mr6n8 on 23. December 2012 - 21:52  (103902)

I do not think Vuze will help. I am familiar with that ISP and have gone through a variety of settings in Vuze (and uTorrent)with people to no avail.

I referred some people to BitLet and for about half of them it worked. BitLet is a browser based bittorrent program, with nothing to install. If you try it, first go to "Settings" and change the port from the default 6881 to a number like you are using now. Best to download a torrent and use the Select Local Torrent" button.
http://www.bitlet.org/

Another alternative is a VPN (Virtual Private Network), but I am unaware of a free one at this time.

A couple of users had better speeds at late night.

They use deep packet inspection and there is really no way around it with the basic options in bittorrent clients.

EDIT: Another option is zbigz which downloads the torrent and then you can download from them as a regular download. I am not sure if they restrict the amount of usage.
http://zbigz.com/

by limmy25 on 24. December 2012 - 6:18  (103914)

bitlet dint work for me :( if im using it correctly

EDIT:though i did find this from zbig website

https://vpnium.com

using it now, pretty good, not getting near my tested download speed but its way better than my throttled speed :)

by mr6n8 on 28. December 2012 - 23:14  (104060)

On the BitLet, was it not working at all? It should work, but still might be slow.

Thanks for the link, I am going to look into that. With a free VPN, there is not going to be good speed, but I am glad you are getting better speeds.

Steve

by mr6n8 on 4. November 2012 - 12:57  (101856)

I have been away from the internet for a couple of months, so I was not able to respond to questions here.

I will be here regularly for the next few months at least, so if you have issues after using the guide, you may post here (or at our fora) and I will respond.

Steve

by hucy (not verified) on 4. November 2012 - 12:50  (101853)

Use Port 45682 :o It should be good ;)and in uTorrent Setting > Advance > bt.allow same ip < make it true* and also net max_halfpen < make it 100* that should do good ;)

by JessieNL (not verified) on 22. October 2012 - 22:34  (101188)

I try to find an open port but so far most are not responding to the test.
how can i find a port that is open?

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