Torrents are often large files that would take a long time to download, but thanks to the peer-to-peer technology which shares pieces of the file between lots of different users the speeds can be very fast indeed.
That being said, what can you do if torrents are taking longer to download than you think they should? Here are some simple ways to speed up one of the most popular download tools – uTorrent.
If you’re new to torrents then take a look at our How to use uTorrent guide, which will bring you up to speed.
Is my broadband speed fast enough?
Obviously, before you can look at tweaking uTorrent or any other element, you’ll need to know the actual capacity of your broadband supply. While ISPs may promise speed up to some huge figure, the ‘up to’ part is important to remember, as your day-to-day speed is likely to be less.
The easiest way to check is to open your browser and visit SpeedTest.net. As the name suggests, this is a site that measures the current speed of your connection. You’ll want to shut down any other apps on your device, and make sure no one is watching Netflix while you’re running the test.
After you click Go the app will quickly ascertain the rapidity of your supply. This will at least let you know if the connection is running at the promised speeds, or well below.
Speed up uTorrent by allocating bandwidth
To ensure that uTorrent gets the lion’s share of the available bandwidth on your system, you’ll want to set the allocation to High.
To do this, right click on the torrent you’re downloading, then select Bandwidth Allocation>High.
You’ll also want to check that the Set Download Limit option is on Unlimited.
Speed up uTorrent by switching to a wired connection
If your computer is near to the router, or can be moved there, then it might be worth using an Ethernet cable rather than Wi-Fi to connect. This will eliminate any interference you might be experiencing due to other devices or those pesky walls that most homes have these days.
Does the torrent have many people seeding it?
The way torrents work is by sharing the load of file downloads across a range of different servers, many of which are actually users’ laptops and PCs. This is called seeding. The more people sharing the file, or seeding it, the faster the download will normally be.
If you’re struggling to acquire a file then the first thing you should look for is the amount of people seeding it. Usually you’ll see this in a column marked ‘S’, ‘SL’, or ‘Seed’, depending on the torrent site you’re using.
Should the content have only one or two seeders, then you’ll be waiting a while. In this instance we’d recommend visiting another torrent site and seeing if you can find the same file available with more seeders.
Get torrents faster by downloading files one at a time
Another common reason for slow performance is when users try to download multiple files at once. If one is taking ages, try pausing the others so that all of your bandwidth goes to the lumbering file.
Ensure uTorrent can pass the Windows Firewall
During the installation of uTorrent you will have been given the option of allowing uTorrent to be exempted from the Windows Firewall. If you didn’t select this, then it could be why you’re struggling to download files.
Check the setting by opening the uTorrent app and going to Options>Preferences>Connections, and seeing if the tickbox for Add Windows Firewall Exception is selected.
While you’re there you can also tick the Enable UPnP Port Mapping option as well, which might give things a speed boost.
uTorrent itself has a few more ideas, some of which get quite technical, but if you’re up for the challenge then visit its Setting up your client to work with your network page for more ideas.