25 Apr 05
If you've made it this far, you have already solved the biggest issues with using BitTorrent- getting everything set up and finding torrents. There are just a few more minor things that could keep you from getting your files.
The most common reason for having trouble downloading a file is an inactive torrent. If the torrent is old or unpopular, there may not be enough other people downloading the file for you to get it quickly. Try at a different time of day or find a different torrent.
One other problem that is far less common but a little trickier to deal with is proxy servers. If your router and firewall are both set up correctly but your light is still yellow and your downloads are slow, you may be behind a proxy server. To get around the proxy server, you will need to know your public IP address. Note that this is not the private 192.168.x.x address that we assigned to your computer when we configured your router. If you have a router, this is the IP address of the internet (WAN) side of your router.
There are many ways to find out your public (or external) IP address. Probably the easiest way to find your IP address is to use a web-based utility like the one at www.whatismyip.com or whatismyipaddress.com. Another way is to look in your network settings. See the router section of this guide to find your way around in there. On a linksys router, this is on the "Status" tab of the router configuration screen we were in earlier. If you don't have a router, this is just the IP address of your computer.
Once your have your public IP address, you have to tell BitTorrent what it is. In BitTornado, click on "Prefs" at the top right corner of the download window. In the preferences window, click on "Advanced" at the bottom right. Type your public IP address into the line labeled "Local IP:". Now, BitTornado will tell other computers to find you at that IP address, rather than the IP address of your proxy server.
Some trackers block connections on certian ports for various reasons. The default ports of 6881-6889 have become crowded and a few trackers are starting to block them. If you get an error message such as "Port xxx not allowed" or "Invalid port specification", you may need to change which ports you are using in order to download that particular torrent. Generally, if you use a port from 49000 to 65000 you should be in good shape.
Also, some Internet Service Providers block traffic on certain ports for security reasons. For example, most ISP's block outbound traffic on Port 25 in order to combat spam. If, for any reason, your ISP has blocked traffic on the ports you have chosen to use for BitTorrent, you will have to change your ports. Check your ISP's Acceptable Usage Policy to make sure that you aren't violating their policies by running BitTorrent, and then follow my instructions on the previous pages to configure BitTornado and your firewall with the new ports and then configure the ports on your router for BitTornado.
Upload bandwidth maxed out
It may sound strange, but you need a little bit of upload bandwidth in order to download. If you are using all of your upload bandwidth to share the file with peers, your download will slow down. That is why I recommend that you throttle your upload to 2/3 of your maximum upstream bandwidth.
A recent desicison by the Supreme Court made peer-to-peer file-sharing networks that activly encourage its users to download copyrighted material illegal. This desicsion has had sweeping effects on the file-sharing world. The creaters of BitTorrent have never steered users toward any particualr files. It was designed to transfer large files quickly - nothing more. BitTorrent is completly legal, and (like BetaMax) has many more legal uses than illegal ones.
There is a difference, however, between the program (or protocol) and the files it is used to download. Downloading copyrighted material never has been legally acceptable. If you are caught, they owners of the copyright have many legal recourses they may choose to seek.
If you are unsure about the legalities of a particular file or program, you should seek legal advice before proceeding. With everything from independent music and films to entire new operating systems available to download legally, it is best to just play nice.
20 Sept 07