- 1 Before You Start
- 2 Connectivity Issues
- 3 Torrent Errors
- 4 Speed Issues
- 4.1 I can't seem to seed at all, or my upload speed is really slow.
- 4.2 How can I improve my download speed?
- 4.3 Why is my browsing so slow while leeching?
- 4.4 Why is my port number reported as "---"? (And why should I care?)
- 4.5 My ISP uses a transparent proxy. What should I do?
- 4.6 I am on a dynamic IP/I just changed my static IP recently, and it seems to have affected my bittorent connection settings.
- 4.7 There are peers in the swarm but I can't connect to any of them.
Before You Start
1) Be sure to read the FAQ and this troubleshooting page for answers.
2) Search the forums for similar problems.
3) Perform a simple [Google search to see if your problem is already known and answered.
4) If all of the above fails, post your problem on our forums. Be sure to include as much detail as possible. Refer to step 1, you must have read the entire FAQ before posting your problem.
(This page is for technical questions relating to the Bittorent and connectivity protocols and clients that use it. For Boxtorrents site-related questions, see the FAQ.)
Why can't I connect? Is the site blocking me?
Your failure to connect may be due to several reasons.
Sometimes the server goes down a little while due to the heavy load that maintenance tasks put on the server. This should resolve itself within half an hour, so wait a while and see fi the server goes back up again.
Maybe your address is blacklisted
The site blocks addresses of banned users. This works at Apache/PHP level, it's just a script that blocks logins from those addresses. It should not stop you from reaching the site. In particular it does not block lower level protocols, you should be able to ping/traceroute the server even if your address is blacklisted. If you cannot then the reason for the problem lies elsewhere.
Your ISP blocks the site's address
(In first place, it's unlikely your ISP is doing so. DNS name resolution and/or network problems are the usual culprits.) There's nothing we can do. You should contact your ISP (or get a new one). Note that you can still visit the site via a proxy, follow the instructions in the relevant section. In this case it doesn't matter if the proxy is anonymous or not, or which port it listens to.
Notice that you will always be listed as an "unconnectable" client because the tracker will be unable to check that you're capable of accepting incoming connections.
What's this IOError - Errno13 Permission denied error?
IOError means Input-Output Error, and that is a file system error, not a tracker one. It shows up when your client is for some reason unable to open the partially downloaded torrent files. The most common cause is two instances of the client to be running simultaneously: the last time the client was closed it somehow didn't really close but kept running in the background, and is therefore still locking the files, making it impossible for the new instance to open them.
A more uncommon occurrence is a corrupted FAT. A crash may result in corruption that makes the partially downloaded files unreadable, and the error ensues. Running scandisk should solve the problem. (Note that this may happen only if you're running Windows 9x - which only supports FAT - or NT/2000/XP with FAT formatted hard drives. NTFS is much more robust and should never permit this problem.)
I can't seem to seed at all, or my upload speed is really slow.
First, check that you actually have someone to upload any data to. If you are on a torrent that has something like 10 seeders and 2 leechers, the chances of you uploading a great deal are slim to none. If there are no leechers... what are you expecting? See also: "Troubleshooting"
How can I improve my download speed?
The download speed mostly depends on the seeder-to-leecher ratio (SLR). Poor download speed is mainly a problem with new and very popular torrents where the seeder-to-leecher ratio is low. TorrentFreak have created a great guide on how to improve your download speed. You'll find it here. (side note: If you did not enjoy the slow download speed, remember to seed well so that others will not have to endure the same.)
There are a couple of things that you can try on your end to improve your speed:
Do not immediately jump on new torrents
In particular, do not do it if you have a slow connection. The best speeds will be found around the half-life of a torrent, when the SLR will be at its highest. (The downside is that you will not be able to seed so much. It's up to you to balance the pros and cons of this.)
Check your connection settings
See" "Connectivity Issues".
Limit your upload speed
The upload speed affects the download speed in essentially two ways:
- Bittorrent peers tend to favour those other peers that upload to them. This means that if A and B are leeching the same torrent and A is sending data to B at high speed then B will try to reciprocate. So due to this effect high upload speeds lead to high download speeds.
- Due to the way TCP works, when A is downloading something from B it has to keep telling B that it received the data sent to him. (These are called acknowledgements - ACKs -, a sort of "got it!" messages). If A fails to do this then B will stop sending data and wait. If A is uploading at full speed there may be no bandwidth left for the ACKs and they will be delayed. So due to this effect excessively high upload speeds lead to low download speeds.
The full effect is a combination of the two. The upload should be kept as high as possible while allowing the ACKs to get through without delay. A good thumb rule is keeping the upload at about 80% of the theoretical upload speed. You will have to fine tune yours to find out what works best for you. (Remember that keeping the upload high has the additional benefit of helping with your ratio.)
If you are running more than one instance of a client it is the overall upload speed that you must take into account. Some clients (e.g. Azureus) limit global upload speed, others (e.g. Shad0w's) do it on a per torrent basis. Know your client. The same applies if you are using your connection for anything else (e.g. browsing or ftp), always think of the overall upload speed.
Limit the number of simultaneous connections
Some operating systems (like Windows 9x) do not deal well with a large number of connections, and may even crash. Also some home routers (particularly when running NAT and/or firewall with stateful inspection services) tend to become slow or crash when having to deal with too many connections. There are no fixed values for this, you may try 60 or 100 and experiment with the value. Note that these numbers are additive, if you have two instances of a client running the numbers add up.
Limit the number of simultaneous uploads
Isn't this the same as above? No. Connections limit the number of peers your client is talking to and/or downloading from. Uploads limit the number of peers your client is actually uploading to. The ideal number is typically much lower than the number of connections, and highly dependent on your (physical) connection.
Just give it some time
As explained above peers favour other peers that upload to them. When you start leeching a new torrent you have nothing to offer to other peers and they will tend to ignore you. This makes the starts slow, in particular if, by change, the peers you are connected to include few or no seeders. The download speed should increase as soon as you have some pieces to share.
Why is my browsing so slow while leeching?
Your download speed is always finite. If you are a peer in a fast torrent it will almost certainly saturate your download bandwidth, and your browsing will suffer. A client like Azureus allows the user to limit uploads & downloads. You will have to use a third-party solution, such as NetLimiter.
Browsing was used just as an example. The same would apply to gaming, IMing, etc., ...
Why is my port number reported as "---"? (And why should I care?)
The tracker has determined that you are firewalled or NATed and cannot accept incoming connections.
This means that other peers in the swarm will be unable to connect to you, only you to them. Even worse, if two peers are both in this state they will not be able to connect at all. This has obviously a detrimental effect on the overall speed.
The way to solve the problem involves opening the ports used for incoming connections (the same range you defined in your client) on the firewall and/or configuring your NAT server to use a basic form of NAT for that range instead of NAPT (the actual process differs widely between different router models. Check your router documentation and/or support forum. You will also find lots of information on the subject at PortForward).
My ISP uses a transparent proxy. What should I do?
Caveat: This is a large and complex topic. It is not possible to cover all variations here.
Short reply: change to an ISP that does not force a proxy upon you. If you cannot or do not want to then read on.
What is a proxy?
Basically a middleman. When you are browsing a site through a proxy your requests are sent to the proxy and the proxy forwards them to the site instead of you connecting directly to the site. There are several classifications (the terminology is far from standard):
|Transparent||A transparent proxy is one that needs no configuration on the clients. It works by automatically redirecting all port 80 traffic to the proxy. (Sometimes used as synonymous for non-anonymous.)|
|Explicit/Voluntary||Clients must configure their browsers to use them.|
|Anonymous||The proxy sends no client identification to the server. (HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR header is not sent; the server does not see your IP.)|
|Highly Anonymous||The proxy sends no client or proxy identification to the server. (HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR, HTTP_VIA and HTTP_PROXY_CONNECTION headers are not sent; the server doesn't see your IP and doesn't even know you're using a proxy.)|
A transparent proxy may or may not be anonymous, and there are several levels of anonymity.
How do I find out if I'm behind a (transparent/anonymous) proxy?
Try ProxyJudge. It lists the HTTP headers that the server where it is running received from you. The relevant ones are HTTP_CLIENT_IP, HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR and REMOTE_ADDR.
Why is my port listed as "---" even though I'm not NAT/Firewalled?
The BoxTorrents tracker is quite smart at finding your real IP, but it does need the proxy to send the HTTP header HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR. If your ISP's proxy does not then what happens is that the tracker will interpret the proxy's IP address as the client's IP address. So when you login and the tracker tries to connect to your client to see if you are NAT/firewalled it will actually try to connect to the proxy on the port your client reports to be using for incoming connections. Naturally the proxy will not be listening on that port, the connection will fail and the tracker will think you are NAT/firewalled.
I am on a dynamic IP/I just changed my static IP recently, and it seems to have affected my bittorent connection settings.
Boxtorrents uses a keypass-based system (See: How is my traffic tracked?). Changes in your IP will not affect your connection to the tracker, as long as you downloaded the torrent file when logged in.
There are peers in the swarm but I can't connect to any of them.
Your ISP may be shaping traffic. Enable encryption in your torrent client, and set it to the highest level possible.
Note: This does not hide your IP from other peers!