BitTorrent FAQ and Guide
Please view our BitTorrent FAQ and Guide (which is also located in our forum) for information about finding and using a BitTorrent client.
- What is Bittorrent?
BitTorrent is a protocol designed for transferring files. It is peer-to-peer in nature, as users connect to each other directly to send and receive portions of the file. However, there is a central server (called a tracker) which coordinates the action of all such peers. The tracker only manages connections, it does not have any knowledge of the contents of the files being distributed, and therefore a large number of users can be supported with relatively limited tracker bandwidth.
The key philosophy of BitTorrent is that users should upload (transmit outbound) at the same time they are downloading (receiving inbound). In this manner, network bandwidth is utilised as efficiently as possible. BitTorrent is designed to work better as the number of people interested in a certain file increases, in contrast to other file transfer protocols.
- What is a seeder?
A seeder is a person who has completed downloading the file(s) from the torrent you are using and they are now only uploading to other peers. Once your torrent has downloaded 100%, you will become a seeder.
You can also seed a torrent by opening up a torrent that you already have 100% of the files. You do this by clicking on the torrent file and directing the client to the folder containing the finished files. After the client checks that you have 100%, it will connect you to the tracker and start uploading to peers.
Proper BitTorrent manners are to stay seeding a torrent until your upload rate is at least 50% (.50). Sometimes you will have uploaded 50% or more by the time you finish downloading the file. WE LOVE PEOPLE WHO UPLOAD/SEED WELL!
- Where can I download a BitTorrent Client (program)?Try several different clients out until you find one that works best with your computer (i.e. stability, memory usage, etc). Many BT clients will interfere with other programs such as mIRC and programs that also use a large amount of computer memory.
- How do I use it?
Ok, this is pretty simple. First go to the site you want to download the .torrent file from. A .torrent file is a really small file that holds the data you want to download. So think of BitTorrent as a program that opens up the data for you. Usually to get a .torrent file all you’d need to do is right click & save link as or in most other cases you just click the link the website gives you.
If you have a BitTorrent client installed, the program will automatically open the .torrent file when you double click on it. Then you simply tell it where to save the file on your computer. Then the client will connect to the other peers on the torrent.
- What if the torrent does not start downloading/goes slowly?
Some torrents have many peers and seeds which means the tracker will take a few minutes to start allocating bandwidth to your BT client. If you have limited your upload most BT clients WILL PUT YOU ON LOW PRIORITY or not send to you at all. If you want a torrent to go faster, upload faster! This is how BitTorrent works!
Also, if a torrent has no seeds, you may get little or no speed at all. In that case, you will either have to wait until another seed connects or go to the channel/website, etc where the torrent originated from and nicely request for a seeder.
- Common problems if you get low speeds using BitTorrent
The most common cause for low download speeds on BitTorrent is that you have not opened up the proper ports in your firewall or router. BitTorrent’s default ports are 6881 through 6889. This means that you MUST open ports 6881, 6882, 6883, 6884, 6885, 6886, 6887, 6888, & 6889 to use BitTorrent to its full potential. If your router does not allow port forwarding, you can still connect to BitTorrent on other ports, but do NOT expect fast speeds.
The next most common cause for slow speeds is that you have choked/limited your upload speed. In very few cases will you get good download speeds when you have choked your upload speed. BitTorrent depends on everyone uploading to each other, so the faster you upload to other peers, the faster they are able to upload to you.
Most other errors you encounter will be indicated on your BitTorrent client. Common errors are http 1 error (server is down) and an error saying the torrent is rejected or not on the tracker (the torrent is old and not in use anymore).
Check to see if the torrent you are using has any seeds if it is going slowly. Look in the torrent details for this and more information. Most BT clients will give you the address/url of the tracker that the torrent is on, so you can visit there to see more detailed information.
- How do I open ports in Windows XP?
Here are the directions for opening ports in the Windows XP firewall:
- Open the Network Connections window (click Start, then Control Panel, then Network/Internet Connections, then Network Connections or Local Area Connection.)
- On the General tab, click Properties.
- On the Advanced tab, click Settings. (Internet Connection Firewall must be checked/enabled.)
- For each port you wish to forward (i.e. 6881, 6882, & 6889), do the following:
- On the Services tab, click Add and enter all of the following information:
- In the Description of service, type an easily recognised name for the service, such as “BitTorrent port 6881 (&c.)”.
- In the Name or IP address of the computer hosting this service on your network, enter 127.0.0.1 (which means “the local machine”) or find your IP by going to the Support tab instead of the General tab under Local area connections. Your IP is listed after “IP address:”.
- In both External and Internal port number for this service, enter the port number, e.g. 6881.
- Select TCP, then OK. Do the same procedure for all ports from 6881-6889.
- How do I open ports in Windows Vista?
Here are the directions for opening ports in the Windows Vista firewall:
- Open the Control Panel folder, and find the Windows Firewall applet.
- Click the Change Setting link.
- Click the Exceptions tab.
- Press the Add port… button.
- In the Name field, type a friendly name for the port to help you remember why you opened it. For example, type “mIRC Port: Port 6881”.
- In the Port number field, enter the port number you want to open. For example, type “6881”.
- In the Protocol field, select TCP, and press the OK button.
- How do I open ports in Windows 7?
Here are the directions for opening ports in the Windows 7 firewall:
- Open Windows Firewall by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type “firewall”, and then click Windows Firewall.
- In the left pane, click Advanced settings. Administrator permission is required if you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation of your choice, type the password or provide confirmation.
- In the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security dialog box, in the left pane, click Inbound Rules, and then, in the right pane, click New Rule.
- Follow the instructions in the New Inbound Rule wizard.
- How do I open ports in Windows 8?
Here are the directions for opening ports in the Windows 8 firewall:
- Open Windows Firewall by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you’re using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering “firewall” in the search box, tapping or clicking Settings, and then tapping or clicking Windows Firewall.
- In the left pane, tap or click Advanced settings. Administrator permission is required if you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation of your choice, type the password or provide confirmation.
- In the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security dialog box, in the left pane, tap or click Inbound Rules, and then, in the right pane, tap or click New Rule.
- Follow the instructions on your screen.
Written by himura_KAORU on October 24, 2004. Revised by Alchemist on January 24, 2013.