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Optimizing qBittorrent For Speed

Introduction

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-qbittorrent-iconThis guide shows how to speed up downloads in the freeware bittorrent client, qBittorrent. 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 qBittorrent, 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 qBittorrent.  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.

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

 

Accessing The Options Screens

Parts of this guide involve accessing the Options screens of qBittorrent.  The Options screens can be accessed through "Tools" (then Options) in the menus on the upper left of qBittorrent or through the Options icon up top in qBittorrent.

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-qbittorrent-accessing-options-screens-tools-menuoptimizing-qbittorrent-speed-access-options-toolbar-icon

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 qBittorrent running while testing the port.

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

You can see the port used by qBittorrent at Tools>Options>Connection

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-qbittorrent-port-number-location

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.
 

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.  Note that PortForward.com does not have guides specific to qBittorrent.  Choose a µTorrent guide and substitute qBittorrent where µTorrent is indicated.

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 qBittorrent port or for the qBittorrent program. Setting permission for the port is the safer choice. 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 - The Easy Way Enable UPnP in qBittorrent and router.

In qBittorrent the setting for UPnP is at Tools>Options>Connection

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-qbittorrent-upnp-settings

Manual Forwarding-The Preferred Way

  1. UPnP (NAT-PMP) Must be disabled in qBittorrent (see image above)
  2. Use the Static IP Guide
  3. Set permission for qBittorrent 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 Halite running while re-testing the port.

Adjusting Internal Settings

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

 optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-speedtest-net-settings-button-location

 

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-speedtest-net-speed-measurement-kilobytes

optimizing-qbittorrent-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.

optimizing-qbittorrent-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

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-upload-settings-calculator-kilobytes-entry

The calculator will automatically give the proper figures to adjust bandwidth and queue  options in qBittorrent.

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-calculator-upload-setting-for-qbittorrent

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-calculator-qbittorrent-upload-slots-connections

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-calculator-qbittorrent-queueing-results

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

Speed In qBittorrent at Tools>Options>Speed set the upload limit and leave the download limit box unticked

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-do-not-use-these-numbers

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-qbittorrent-upload-speed-entry-location

Connections/Upload Slots in qBittorrent at Tools>Options>Connection are the settings for connections and upload slots

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-do-not-use-these-numbers

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-qbittorrent-connections-upload-slots-settings-location

Queueing in qBittorrent at Tools>Options>BitTorrent are the settings for maximum active torrents.  Torrent Queueing should be enabled.  The max active and max uploading torrents should both be set to the "Max active torrents" setting in the calculator.

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-do-not-use-these-numbers

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-qbittorrent-queue-settings-location

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.  Setting a different port for DHT is not necessary and causes extra work on clearing the network connection.
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.

The settings for these options in qBittorrent is located at Tools>Options>Bittorrent

optimizing-qbittorrent-speed-qbittorrent-dht-pex-lsd-encryption-settings

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 Zima on 23. May 2013 - 17:07  (107995)

Sometimes changing these advanced options maybe helpful:

1. Maximum number of half-open connections

2. Exchange trackers with other peers

3. Always announce to all trackers

by mr6n8 on 24. May 2013 - 15:36  (108014)

2 is definitely a valid point.

3 probably will help get started faster, but eventually the client would find all peers anyways.
It is actually a violation of the basic bittorrent protocol to announce all trackers at once, but since uTorrent (and BitTorrent) do this (and they are a huge percentage of the market), it is OK.

1 should not be messed with. That was passed around when Windows put a limit of 10 max half open connections on their systems. Changing half open connections has been proven to be of no help.

Anyways, when I get some time, I will add 2 and 3 in to the guide (with credit to you).

Thanks

Steve

by Zima on 27. May 2013 - 4:57  (108056)

Good. Thanks.

by Jim Allen (not verified) on 10. November 2012 - 8:14  (102107)

Great help. Thank you. Very clear. There have been a couple of changes to the menuing of qB's settings, but >shoe-size IQ sufficient to negotiate. I'm using v3.06.

by mr6n8 on 10. November 2012 - 13:34  (102117)

Thanks for that.

I will be updating the screen shots and info in the guide.

Steve

by Belen (not verified) on 11. September 2012 - 19:50  (99128)

Hi Steve, great article, I'm a bit of a newbie in the matter, but it's definitely the best help I've found on the internet for setting torrents software.

I don't really know much about configuring networks and routers, etc, but I've tried your tutorial a couple of times following every step and adapting it to my computer if necessary and couldn't get it to work.

I've followed all the steps as best as I could but always get ERROR at canyouseeme with my port 55058.
The situation is that I'm living abroad for a year, so I'm using a small Samsung netbook with WINDOWS 7 STARTER (not the best probably), 2009, Service Pack 1.
I had Zone Alarm as a firewall (the Free version though,last update), but deactivated (since it didn't seem to have an option to allow the port) and tried with Windows Firewall as well and it still didn't work.
Also, I'm living in a place where I the internet comes given with the accomodation so couldn't really login to my router (tried the default user & password admin-admin, but seems it's been changed).
So I tried the "Use UPnP" simple way and still got error.

Any ideas would be appreciated a lot, I wonder if QBITTORRENT would still work at its best speed if I don't get the port read by canyouseeme.

Anyway, and coming from a completely hopeless person with technology, you article was really clarifying and helped me understand some before mysterious stuff to me like routers, IPs, or how firewall works.
So thanks for this big lesson to people like me!
Will check this website for future reference everytime I decide to try myself at mastering the dark side of Windows.
Belen.

by Gggirlgeek (not verified) on 5. February 2012 - 9:50  (88334)

Sigh! Had to give up on qbittorrent and I'm not happy about it.

It kept dropping all of my DHT nodes down to 0 after 2 hours and it just never reached the crazy-fast speeds I was getting with uTorrent (same settings in both.) It also kept losing it's file data so I often had to force a file scan or deal with duplicates. On top of that, when I would delete a file in Explorer it would simply start downloading another copy. Why no error message first?

I really loved the idea of this program. The Auto RSS Downloader works great. It is still truly open source. And the staff in their forum is very helpful and polite (unlike uTorrent's!!) Hopefully later versions will have worked out the kinks.

by Gggirlgeek (not verified) on 5. February 2012 - 9:53  (88335)

Oh, I forgot to say I LOVE the internal file search. It even searched within RSS feeds before downloading.

Very resource friendly too.

by txe (not verified) on 14. December 2011 - 0:58  (84976)

Hi Steve,
Great post, I've learned a lot this matter about. However I'm stuck at Manual Forwarding-The Prefered Way, point 2: Use the Static IP guide, because it's dedicated only to windows users. I use fedora 15, still beginner though. I can't find a way to make static my ip and set this on my router. All guides I've had a look at skip this step or take for ganted you already know how to do so and just advice saying "put your static ip on you router" (just what you ask for) and save it.
I'd appreciate any clue.
This doesn't mean that your guide is not a help, I think actually is one of the best. Congrats.
Txe.

by mr6n8 on 14. December 2011 - 12:22  (85000)

I took a look around on this and it looks very confusing to me, but I am not a command line guy.

Anyhow, maybe this will help:
http://fmartinez1.dyndns.org/2/?p=45

Not sure if, or how, UPnP works in Fedora 15, but have you tried enabling UPnP in qBittorrent and the router? There is a slight security risk, but it is so small it is better to use when manual forwarding turns out to be so agravating.

Hope the guide above helps.

Steve

by Colin Ripley (not verified) on 29. November 2011 - 1:05  (84078)

Good post. I find that most torrent apps in Linux tend to use KiBs, instead of KBs. Can you give me the right conversion factor? I think it is near 2.something. Thanks Colin.

by mr6n8 on 29. November 2011 - 7:10  (84087)

Many places use different terms, but the best I have found is KiB = kibibytes and kB = kilobytes.

The 2 you are thinking of has to do with a KiB = 2 to the 10th power or 1024
Whereas kB = 10 to the third power or 1000
http://wiki.vuze.com/w/Data_units

1000/1024 = 0.9765625 which you can use to convert from kilobyte to kibibyte using Google

So for instance the test in the article shows 164.4kB/s and the calculator gives 131kB/s for the cap with that speed.
131kB = 127.929688KiB so you would use 127KiB

131 x 0.9765625 = 127.929688
131kB = 131 x 1000B = 131,000B
127.929688KiB = 127.929688 x 1024B = 131,000.001B

The rest of the settings of the calculator, connections, upload slots and queue rules, would remain the same as the amount of bytes being transferred is the same.

by Colin Ripley (not verified) on 30. November 2011 - 0:31  (84139)

Thanks mr6n8, I got the 2.something from looking at the download rates on the torrents and the rate showing on a desktop wigget. Not the best converison factor. Colin.

by MidnightCowboy on 29. November 2011 - 4:38  (84081)

There is some useful information relative to torrents here:
http://www.tamiltorrents.net/forums/30078-kilo-bytes-per-second-vs-kilo-...
You can convert your own figures here:
http://testmy.net/tools/convert.php

by Colin Ripley (not verified) on 30. November 2011 - 0:45  (84140)

Thanks for responding, but my problem is between KiBs to KBs. these links are for kbs to KBs. Colin.

by Wowdude (not verified) on 22. November 2011 - 10:14  (83689)

Interstingly I tried and tested the this method and it upped my download speed very quickly. What was even more interesting though was that utorrent has something similar built in. You can 'test' your bandwidth and it will do (as much as I can see) pretty much the same thing but not to so much accuracy.

Thanks for the great guide!

by mr6n8 on 22. November 2011 - 12:35  (83700)

Good to hear on your speeds.

I just added a note, which basically says what you said, in my uTorrent guide here about their Setup Guide.

What I found interesting in my tests on speeds with the uTorrent Setup Guide vs the calculator created by the8472, was how the small differences could affect download rates so much (relatively).

Enjoy

Steve