How to Speed Up BitTorrent Downloads on Linux

Posted by jun auza On 8/28/2012
One of the best things about most Linux distributions is that they come with a BitTorrent client out of the box. No need to go on the web and download a third-party torrent client. Just grab the '.torrent' file of the data that you would like to download and fire up Transmission (see: How to Use BitTorrent in Linux) - simple as that.

However, the impatient ones, who prefer having everything in an instant can’t handle the occasional sluggishness that’s a part of the torrenting experience. Fortunately, though, there are some nifty tips and tricks to speed up BitTorrent downloading on Linux. In this article, we’ll be highlighting some of the most effective ones.

First and foremost, get to know your Internet speed. Go to Speedtest website and test your upload and download speeds. If they are almost as good as your ISP promised them to be, then you’re doing OK. If not, contact your ISP demanding for the speed they claimed.


Limit your upload rate

Having a high upload rate can significantly affect your downloading speeds. The best way to address this problem is to put a cap on the upload speed. If you’re using Transmission, simply go to Preferences and keep the upload speeds to a lower value. To decide on the best upload rate, simply use the Azureus upload/download settings calculator HERE.



Install BitMate

BitMate is a BitTorrent client designed to specifically improve the performance of low-bandwidth peers (5-20 KB/sec). With BitMate you can almost double your download performance by minimizing ‘wasted goodwill’.

BitMate optimizes your connection fairly without breaking any of the standard BitTorrent protocols. According to the site “BitMate outperforms vanilla BitTorrent by as much as 70% in download performance, while at the same time improving upload contribution by as much as 1000%! BitMate also outperforms strategic clients like BitTyrant in low-bandwidth conditions by as much as 60% in download performance (without cheating).”

Definitely worth a try if you’re stuck with a 10-20 KBps connection and want to download a relatively small file quickly.


Choose a good port

If your ports are conflicting with some other programs, simply change them by going to Preferences -> Network. You can also set Transmission to switch to a random port every time it starts.


Check for Firewall


If you have firewall enabled, then it might be working against your download speeds. To see if that is actually happening, simply disable the firewall and see whether your download speeds are affected or not.


Find a good torrent client and stick with it

If you’re relying solely on Transmission, then you might be missing out on some better BitTorrent clients. There are good ones like Deluge, Vuze, and KTorrent that might offer you a much better performance than the default client. Find the one that works for you and stick with it.


Find good torrents

The most important tip of all is to find good torrents. Go for the ones with a lot of seeders and they surely won’t let you down. As always, we do not encourage downloading copyrighted materials so keep that in mind also.

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"Action is the real measure of intelligence" ~Napoleon Hill

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