Utorrent is pretty much the number 1 bittorrent client (feel free to argue below), being standalone and under 300KB, yet sophisticated and…well in other words, if all software were like uTorrent the world would be a much happier place, unfortunately we have to make way for, you know, stuff like Microsoft products though.
Getting to the point, I have long used uTorrent for educational research and by trial and error I’ve found a few tweaks made to your settings to noticeably increase your download speed. By default, uTorrent and other torrent clients alike may appear to have very slow download rates so the wandering p2p user that swears by Limewire would be disappointed when taking uTorrent on a test drive.
Making the following changes though can considerably increase your download speed.
Limit the upload speed
While your internet connection may have different download and upload rates and appear to be of two different channels or streams, the upload rate affects the download rate dramatically, try uploading a file with the maximum upload rate of your connection and watch your download speed or surfing slow down to a crawl, in other words, like a dial up connection, this is because, the upload rate does in fact affect download speed (i had to state that again for slow people reading it).
Thus reducing your upload speed to half of your connection’s potential can give you a boost in download speed right away. So if you have a 128kbps upload connection for example, limiting upload to 6KB would make downloads faster. You can adjust the upload speed by right clicking the uTorrent tray icon, navigation to upload limit and adjusting it there.
While this might be a contradiction of the first point, having a good share ratio promotes you from no good freeloader to ermm..someone who seeds in the bittorrent network which would give you better download rates, you can check your share ratio by visiting Help > show statistics. Maintaining a share ratio above 1 would be perfect.
Port Forward/Un-firewall/Enable UPnP
Port forwarding ensures that uTorrent always has a direct connection to the network, the icon on the status bar displays your connection status, if you see a red or yellow exclamation mark, your download speeds are probably not at their fullest as uTorrent does not have complete connectivity, this could also be because your connection sucks but let’s assume it’s not that. First of all make sure your firewall program allows uTorrent to connect to the network, if you use the windows firewall, checking ‘add uTorrent to exceptions’ in the uTorrent preferences should do it, if you use any other software, check the user manual. Once that is done, if you connect via a modem that should be about it, if you connect via a router, you will need to check the firewall on the router (some routers have them) and make sure that allows uTorrent connectivity too. Next, check if it supports UPnP, if it does, make sure it is enabled in the uTorrent settings too, if you have done all these steps you should be having complete connectivity IF your router supports UPnP. If it does not support UPnP and you connect via a static IP (if you have no clue call up your ISP) visit portforward.com and forward a port for uTorrent and you should be set from there. If you do not have a static IP though you are probably screwed and will have to stick with the crappy download speeds. If you follow the steps above based on how you connect to the Internet, you should see a green tick in the status bar which means you have complete connectivity.
Adjust number of connections
Leaving the number of connections to be active in utorrent as the default may not be the optimum choice as far as speed goes. After personally trying different number of connections as well as the response of other users, I have found making the following adjustments to be beneficial. Navigate to Options > Preferences > Bandwidth, set global maximum number of connections to 100 and maximum number of connected peers per torrent to 40.
The above tips to speed up uTorrent is not a given, but i am confident it should help most users to some extent, as always, anything of note in the comments would be appreciated.