The free and open-source torrent client QBittorrent has become the most popular torrent client in recent times, thanks to its lightweight installation, numerous features, and overall being a great alternative to μTorrent.
Of course, many torrent users are not aware of how to maximize their download speeds when using a torrent client. This Appual’s guide will walk you through configuring the QBittorrent client itself to achieve maximum possible download speeds.
Note: Appual’s does not condone illegal piracy. Torrents are a wonderful method of downloading legal content, and there are numerous websites that host 100% legal, public domain torrents.
Also, numerous programs out there claim to “speed up” your torrent downloads while running in the background – these are absolutely false and typically contain adware/spyware or even worse, such as keyloggers. There is no magic bullet for increasing torrent speeds aside from having proper settings.
Choosing a Proper Port
The first thing you want to do is choose and open a good port.
You should test to see if the pre-configured port in QBittorrent is already open – use a website like CanYouSeeMe and, with QBittorrent open in the background, take the port from QBittorrent’s Options>Connection>Port used for incoming connections, and put it into CanYouSeeMe.
If the port is recognized as being open, you’re all good on this front. But if not, we should open a new port on your router. Doing this depends on your router model, so its best to consult a guide specific to your router for achieving this.
In any case, you should choose a port between the 49160-65534 range. This is because the old port range by torrent programs was typically 6881-6999, but many ISPS started blocking those specific ports. You also want to avoid ports that are shared by other programs, and the range given above should not already be in use.
After you forward the ports in your router, change it also in the QBittorrent options, and test again with CanYouSeeMe.
If you want to be absolutely certain there won’t be any conflicts with the ports you want to use and other Windows programs, you can open a command line and type:
Netstat -a >c:\log.txt
This will do a scan of all ports in use and save a logfile. When you read through the logfile, you’ll know which ports are already being used.
As far as opening and forwarding ports on your router, there are many router-specific guides out there, so we simply can’t give a “one size fits all” guide here.
QBittorrent Internal Settings
When adjusting the internal settings of QBittorrent, quite possibly the most important setting is the Upload rate. You want to cap this to about 80% of your overall upload capability. This is because having too high of an upload rate can negatively impact your download rate.
However, you do want to upload – not uploading at all will severely impact your download speed, as the client (or trackers / other users) will consider you a ‘leecher’ and you’ll have a hard time connecting to any peers.
The best way to optimize your Upload rate is to use Speedtest.net, note your Upload rate, and set QBittorrent’s settings accordingly.
When you’re in Speedtest.net, you should click “Settings” in the upper right corner and change the Speed to Kbps instead of Mbps. This will help us calculate better.
Once you have your average Upload rate, go to the Azureus calculator, which was designed specifically for recommending torrent client settings. In the top box, input the average upload speed that Speedtest.net reported, and then adjust your QBittorrent settings according to Azureus calculator’s suggestions.
It should be noted that some ISPs manipulate / display inaccurate speed test results. For example, Comcast utilizes PowerBoost which can be extremely deceitful for getting your real-world speed results. This is because Comcast PowerBoost provides a temporary burst of enhanced download and upload speeds, but then it tapers off after the first 10MB. So when using SpeedTest (which utilizes small files to test your download/upload speed), your actual speeds are usually something like 60% of the speed test result
In this kind of situation, you have two choices. You can either put 60% of what the speedtest result was into the Azureus calculator, or you can start seeding a torrent and monitor it closely – figure out where your average upload rate falls – and use that number.
Using Peer Sources and Encryption
In QBittorrent, if you go to Tools > Options > BitTorrent, there are various checkboxes at the top.
- Enable DHT (decentralized network) to find more peers
- Enable Peer Exchange (PeX) to find more peers
- Enable Local Peer Discovery to find more peers
Having these enabled will certainly help with download speed, as these settings will help you find more peers (seeds) to connect to and download from. DHT and PeX operate on a more global scale, whereas Local Peer Discovery will supposedly try to find peers on your ISP or extended network (such as a LAN party).
A good rule of thumb is to always choose torrents that have a high seed ratio – although truly, you want more seeds than peers/leeches. It’s not simply about how many seeds a torrent has, because a torrent with 1 million seeds could be incredibly slow for everybody if there’s also 1 million peers.
So for example, a torrent with 30 seeders and 70 peers has a seed-to-peer ratio of 30%. A torrent with 500 seeds and 2500 peers has a 20% seed-to-peer ratio. So while the second torrent has much more seeds, there are also a lot more peers trying to connect to those seeds.