Bittorent (Azureus 220.127.116.11) share / re-seed HowTo
Torrent = The file / DVD / show you (want to) up/download, this can be a file of any type (and extension) or even a folder.
.torrent = The file/method that guides or helps co-ordinating your client to do so. This file has generally the same name as the file/folder you want to download, but with the extension .torrent
(bittorrent Client = Program that is used at the Peer side (of the bittorent exchange). Web sites have a different programs that run the Tracker. There are different ‘tastes’ of bittorent programs (named bittorent Clients), like there are different webbrowsers like IE, Mozilla, Firefox whatever.
Peer = somebody up/downloading (to you) in the bittorent (or any other peer 2 peer) network.
Peer 2 Peer = In this context: ‘from equal to equal’ bi-directional sharing as opposite to a system with a download server and only persons
downloading from there which is one-way traffic.
Tracker = The ‘thingy’ that co-ordinates who gets what part of a file: “if you give me this I give you that”.
Leeching = Downloading (with bittorent or any other peer 2 peer program).
Leecher = Downloader (person).
Seeding = Uploading¹ (with bittorent or any other p2p program). This stage follows upon the back sharing that takes place during the download.
Seeder = Person having completed downloading 100% of the torrent (and so no longer downloading) in the state of sharing back
Upload:Download Ratio = The ratio of uploaded versus downloaded bytes. Both your overall ratio as well as the ratio for every specific Torrent you download(ed) are important. A ratio of 1:1 (the basic idea: because you do not download from a server but from your peers every byte you get has to be provided by somebody, and not a server that is ‘always ready to give’) is also denoted as 1.0, 1:2 as 0.5 etc.
Swarm = Group of seeders & leechers ‘around’ a specific torrent (in the file / DVD / show sense)
bittorent = The procedure or method of peer 2 peer filesharing by means of a bittorent Tracker and bittorent Clients.
Bittorent = The (name of the) first & original bittorent Client (but certainly not the best these days). In this text Bittorrent is also used as an analogue for “The bittorrent Client you use”.
[Blue] = instructions (for Azureus)
md5 or hash = a checksum to calculate if the downloaded or burned files are as they should be. I love the (free) Mat-md5 (Google for it).
¹ Note: To confuse things a bit, Uploading is also used for the process when a Torrent is started. Files can be send (uploaded) to the site/server in a classical way, e.g. by FTP, so that the site admins can start a Torrent (and publish a .torrent) on their site at a later time. We do not use the word Uploading in this context in this text. A person performing and being credited for such an (FTP) upload is called a Uploader. Just remember that these persons belong to the group of real heroes of bittorenting, and you may forget the rest.
Generally, in a lot of HowTo’s, FAQ’s and forums a lot of attention is given to being (fully) connectable (green light / face in BitTornado / Azureus). Indeed it is harder to share back when you are not connectable. Probably becoming connectable is even the biggest step you can take towards improving your up:down ratio.
However, a lot of people find it difficult to improve their ratio even when they are fully connectable. There are quite a number of reasons for that. Some have to do with infrastructure and have no real solution; others come down to program settings and personal behaviour and can be changed. I will try to deal with these problem is order of the complexity of their solution. Put differently, we start with simple measures so that it is easy to start improving your ratio while problems with a complex, very technical or difficult to achieve solution come last.
à 1) Problem: Asymmetry. First of all, for the majority of us our maximum (and overall) upload speed is significantly lower than the download rate. For people on ADSL that is even one of the key-features of the connection, the “A” in the abbreviation stands for Asymmetric.
So, when you have a basic 512/128 (down/up) or 512/256 subscription, your standard up:down is never better than 1/4 and 2/4 respectively. Because the overhead of the TCP protocol you use for Bittorrenting (and Internetting as a matter of fact), this decreases further to 1/5 resp. 2/5. So, when you download a DVD in two days, it takes quite easily 5 days to share back what you took.
1) Solution. To overcome this technical asymmetry (‘unfairness’) there are a few things you can do:
- Be patient. Keep up uploading a long time after finishing downloading.
- Do not run. Come back later. Do not close / stop your bittorrent Client immediately after you finished downloading but keep it open to share back. Or do stop, enjoy what you’ve downloaded, and come back later. Stopped torrents and be easily started again to resume seeding. Removed torrents can be re-seeded at later time. (See instructions below.)
- Do not be greedy. Do not start many new downloads after finishing the first. Because it takes so much longer to upload and every download ‘eats up’ part of your upload capacity you only make things worse. Additionally, your bittorrent Client has a maximum number of active torrents. [Default for Azureus is only 3; Tools | Options | Queue. Screenshot: Image20 Queue - Max active torrents.png] When you are at the max, every download you start causes one seeding torrent to drop off.
- Be technical. Limit your download speed by changing settings in your bittorrent Client. If you set your maximum download speed to be equal to your upload speed you are much more likely to avoid getting stuck at painful ratios. [Azureus: Tools | Options | Transfer. Change up/down from e.g. 0/0 (both unlimited) or 24/56 (for a 512/256 subscription) to 24/24. Screenshot: Image18 Speed settings.png]
- Be smart. Seeding a torrent that has 50 seeders and only 4 leechers is not much use. As you can have only a limited number of active torrents, it is better to Queue or Stop the seeding until the number of seeders goes down and the number of leechers goes up and to seed another torrent with better chances. Especially torrents with <20 seeders and with the number of leechers being >30% of the number of seeders can use your help. As well you can avoid downloading when you are the only leecher, because then you can not upload (on that Torrent) while downloading. Although downloading may be pretty quick, you better wait till there are some other leechers (called peers in Azureus) to connect to. Likely downloading even will be quicker then, as you can download from the other leechers as well.
1) Some Screen-shots:
ScreenCap 1. Always set your Max active torrents higher than Max simultaneous downloads to be sure that at least some seeding is possible. How many you use depends on what you like, what you download and on your internet connection and Computer specs.
ScreenCap 2. Your max upload speed should always be (below) 85 % of your maximum theoretical upload speed because downloading causes some overhead to upload (“yes I received the data”). To avoid that Bittorrent takes all your download speed (and Internet Browsing becomes very slow) do not use the theoretical maximum of your connection.
512/256 ADSL: down = 512/8 = 64; up = 256/8 = 32
à 2) Problem: Not seeding automatically / effectively. Quite some bittorrent Clients do not auto-start a Torrent after completing the download, automatically drop off when a 1:1 (=1.0) ratio is reached or do not prioritise Torrents effectively for seeding. Starting seeding automatically avoids missing an opportunity to seed, e.g. when you leave the computer on at night and the download finishes during the night. Finally, seeding up to a 1.0 ratio is generally enough, but it is not necessary to reach a 1.0 score for every file. When you download 2 CD’s of approximately the same size and at a certain point your upload scores are 0.5 and 2.0 respectively, that means that you downloaded less (“2”) than you uploaded (“2.5”) and the bittorent community will generally be happy with you.
2) Solution: Play around with the settings of your bittorent Client.
- Allow Queueing (automatic seeding). Azureus allows Queueing by default, but has some settings that influence how & when Torrents are prioritised for seeding [Tools | Options | Queue | Seeding | Auto Starting. The default settings can but do not need to be changed. It is easier to use Force Seeding (right-click on Torrent in lower window of My Torrents tab and choose Force Start). Screenshot: Image13 Force Start.png]
- Avoid seeding of Torrents dropping off before you want them to. Azureus does not stop seeding torrents when a certain ratio is reached [Tools | Options | Queue | Seeding | First Priority Screenshot: Image21 First Priority.png], but it does influence the priority of seeding. […] Naturally, when one seeding torrent gets a lower priority and you have too many Downloads or other Seeding Torrents queued, a Torrent may cease seeding prematurely because of the way how the Max Active Torrents setting is enforced. [Azureus is only 3; Tools | Options | Queue Queue. Screenshot: Image20 Queue - Max active torrents.png]. This can be avoided by setting it as Forced Seeding [right-click on Torrent in lower window of My Torrents tab and choose Force Start Screenshot: Image13 Force Start.png], by changing the priority rules or by moving the Torrent up in the seeding list [just drag it up in the lower windowpane of Azureus by single clicking on the Torrent and moving it up the row]. The bittorent Client you use probably has similar settings. Have a look!
- Do not seed to much at once…. Logically, your maximum overall upload speed is limited and the more Torrents you offer for seeding the less speed per Torrent is available. If you would e.g. seed all 20 Torrents you’ve downloaded before and all get an equal share, an upload rate of 24 kB/s comes down to 1.2 kB/s per Torrent. Or less, because there will be some losses in negotiating. That may be too low to be interesting for people on the other side: Imagine having to download a DVD and you have to connect to peers that offer only 1.2 kB/s. You would need over 40 peers that share only to you to fill your download rate of e.g. 54 kB/s. So, it is better to offer e.g only two DVD’s at about 8-16 kB/s each. Of course, if swarms are bigger and / or a lot more seeders are available, you can lower these requirements.
- … offer interesting rates. Your bittorent client can help you to achieve this. In Azureus you can manually start and stop Torrents. As well you can set a maximum upload speed per Torrent. Imagine, you leave your computer on to download a file overnight and are about to share (seed) two files “President dancing on a table.mpg” of 50 MB and a DVD of some live concert of your favourite artist of 4 GB. A president dancing on a table is a rare event. There will be a large interest for it, and the downloaders are likely of the type that hit and run. So, you are likely to be the only source.
So, big chance that if you have unlimited upload speeds for both speeds and you come back in the morning that you find your ratio for the dancing thingy to be higher than 10:1 (=10.0, coming down to an upload of 500 MB) while you uploaded only a measly (given the total size) 100 MB of the DVD. If you would have manually set the upload speed for the dancing President at 4 kB/s (still interesting to others given the nature of the file) and left the DVD at unlimited (comes down to 20-22 kB/s in this example) things would have been different: a ratio of a 1.0-2.0 for the table dance (60-100 MB upped) and over 600 MB uploaded of the DVD. More fairly distributed. [Azureus: in the lower Complete/Seeding Torrents window of the tab My Torrents right click on the Torrent to set its maximum upload speed. You can also set the upload speeds of the files you are downloading (upper window) Screenshot: Image27 set upload speed.png]
2) Some Screen-shots:
ScreenCap 3. To overcome the automatic prioritisation and ignore rules of Azureus it is possible to use Force Starting (Forced Seeding) by right-clicking on the torrent in the My Torrents tab. A Forced Seeding / Downloading Torrent is not counted in the Max Active Torrents count and stays active (will not be queued).
ScreenCap 4. I use the Set Upload Speed setting a lot. Small files or Torrents with more Seeders and only a few Leechers get a low upload speed, but DVDs get from a little under 10 kB/s to unlimited. Remember that only by limiting (all!) the other seeding (and downloading!) Torrents you can make sure that the unlimited ones can take what is left of your global max upload speed.
à 3) Problem: how to re-seed. Sometimes you Remove (red cross) a torrent where you meant to Stop (red square) it, you have moved the downloaded files to a different location or Azuerus crashed and both your downloading and completed Torrent windows are empty. And then you want to resume seeding or even some weeks later you want to seed them because someone requests you to do so (or you want to improve your ratio). What to do?
3) Solution: Use open (for seeding). Basically, with all clients this is very similar to a regular download. Point to the location where your fully downloaded files are. The bittorent tracker will check the files you have, conclude you have them all and switch to seeding mode. If you are insecure, you can make the files you downloaded read-only first to avoid you mess things up when you mess up what you so dearly downloaded.
[In Azureus use File | Open | .torrent File ( For Seeding). In the first dialogue window point to the .torrent file if you have it still on your harddrive. If you don’t, you have to go to he original website and double-click on the .torrent file there. In stead of “open with the default application (Bittorrent) in the download window of your webbrowser you choose “Save to disk”. OK, so if you told your bittorent Client (Azureus) were to find the .torrent, in the next dialogue window it asks for the location of the actual files. If you used the right combination of .torrent and the right location of the actual files, the Torrent is now opened in the upper download window of Azureus (!). You may have to manually start it (green triangle). The program will make contact with the Tracker and will verify the files you have. When all is OK, it shows 100% and will move the Torrent to the lower seeding window. (Note all this may go so fast you do not see it.) You can (make it) seed from there. If it does not start automatically, you can use Forced Seeding. Be aware: when the tracker is down nothing will happen. The file you want to seed may not be longer be ‘hosted’ (by the Tracker of the website in question). Screenshots: Image01 open for seeding.png, Image08 select torrent.png, Image41 open file save path.png, Image11 start.png One funny thing you may notice: Azureus give Torrents re-seeded in this way a start-ratio of 0.500 Don’t ask me why, but it is not realistic of course.]
3) Some Screenshots:
ScreenCap 5. Re-start a seed or re-seed from a different location: Open .torrent File For Seeding (read only).
ScreenCap 6. Pick (the correct!) .torrent file from your harddisk, or re-download it from the website (use “save as”).
ScreenCap 7. Now pick the correct location for the actual files / folder. Although the window says “Choose the save path”, in this case it is an open path for when you re-seed a completed Torrent obviously nothing will be saved here. (That is why this location can be read-only).
4) Problem: You do not longer have all files on harddisk. Sooner or later you will run out of diskspace and after burning what you downloaded you have deleted the files from your harddrive. But now somebody wants you to seed them again.
4a) Solution: Copy the files back to harddisk. First, an easy trick is to pretend you are going to re-download the files. This ensures you will get the correct folder name etc. Find the CD or DVD on which you archived the files. Then find on internet the correct .torrent file and startup your bittorrent Client as usual. Start the Torrent only shortly until Bittorent has created the files and folders. Then close and remove the Torrent from your bittorrent client window. Sometimes you even have to close the Bittorrent program itself. For what you do next is to copy the archived files over the files Bittorrent just created. (So answer yes on “overwrite existing files?”.) Now you must make your bittorrent Client (or rather the Tracker) re-check the files. [In Azureus you can force re-checking by right clicking on a Torrent and choose “force re-check”.]
4b) Solution: Share from DVD. It is relatively easy to re-seed Video-DVD files as you burn them to DVD as you get them (in contrary to compressed audio files). Easy in a couple of situations: the original download only included the VIDEO_TS folder, you included the possible extra folder with artwork and text files when you burned the DVD, or you still have 5GB free on your harddisk. By the way, it is not standard to burn anything else than VIDEO_TS and the (empty!) AUDIO_TS, but you can. A lot of stand alone DVD players accept (ignore) the extra folder. For your PC it is always OK.
In some cases you do not even have to put them on your harddrive. The maker of a Torrent specifies the root-folder a Torrent uses. Mostly you have to re-create this folder to be able to re-seed. Say, the Torrent has an accompanying .torrent file named “Example_DVD.vobf.torrent”. Either you know, you guess or look up the folder name you should use. Let’s make an educated guess and use “Example_DVD.vobf”. The .vob files of the Torrent are on the Video DVD in the standard VIDEO_TS folder, whereas they should be in the folder “Example_DVD.vobf \VIDEO_TS”. So, you must make a folder on your harddrive “Example_DVD.vobf” and copy the VIDEO_TS folder from the DVD there. If you do not have the necessary space available to copy the files, you can mount your DVD-drive in a folder with the name “Example_DVD.vobf”, and so use no space on your harddrive at all!
Mounting is not only possible with Linux, but also with Windows 2000 and Windows XP as long as you have at least one NTFS formatted partition. I will tell you how (you must have administrator privileges to do this). First, make a folder with the correct name (Example_DVD.vobf) on the NTFS partition. Then go to Start | Run and type “diskmgmt.msc” (without the “”) or look it up in C:\WINNT\system32\. Pick the correct CD/DVD drive from the list, right-click and choose “Change Dive letter and Paths” Next choose “add” and “Mount in the following empty NTFS folder”. Done.
When you browse to the location where you did put the empty folder you used for mounting you’ll see that the folder icon has changed to a drive icon. But the name is as it should be. If not all the data is on the DVD (because you did not include all extra folders when burning), there is a problem because you can not write to the folder as it points to the DVD which is read-only. Workaround: none so far. Azureus does not accept if it can not write the desired (empty) folders and files. And it can’t write on a DVDR, obviously.
4c) Extra: sharing Torrents that you downloaded as an .iso file (image), burned as CD/DVD and deleted. An .iso file (image) burned to CD/DVD will become folders and files (and e.g. a boot-image). Mounting an .iso works the same way. I have not heard of a tool that does a real-time reverse-mount (real time image representation of a CD/DVD).
To be able to re-seed an .iso you do not longer have you will have to re-make the .iso on your harddisk. I tried it with a Knoppix Linux LiveCD. The re-made .iso file turned out to be identical to the original (successful md5 check and accepted by the tracker). What you do is get IsoBuster, use its pull down menu to select your CD/DVD drive and right-click on Track01. Then choose “Extract User Data (*.iso, *.tao, *.wav). The track will be saved as Track01.tao. You will have to rename it and to put it in the correct folder (which you can create by initiating a download as described in 4a) and rename the .iso file to match the original file. Now (re)place your Iso‑Buster created .iso in this folder and you are ready to go: initiate a download using the .torrent file you kept or downloaded again with “save as” and point to the correct location. Of course you can also put .iso files on CD or better DVD as .iso file for archival purposes to avoid al this hassle.
If you downloaded .flac or .sha files as music CD but did not keep the compressed .flac or .sha files you would have to re-encode them, using the exact same name as originally. If a re-seed of newly encoded files will be accepted as identical files by the Tracker I can not tell you. It may or may not work. There are some reports that the Tracker corrects the differences (by treating it as incorrect partial downloads and downloading these parts again). This would mean that you can still share, at a cost of downloading only of a few percent of the total download size.
It is better to keep your data files in all cases. Audio CDs do not have much of a fault tolerance (not any) to compensate for the degradation of the CD / DVD with time. Data CDs and especially data DVDs use data correction by means of parity. No use explaining beyond that of all data some checksum kind of thing is calculated that enables to recalculate damaged bits. DVDs have the extra plus that the material in which the ‘holes’ or ones and zeros are burned is sandwiched between two discs of ‘plastic’, CDs have it on one of the outsides. Additionally, the fault tolerance of DVDs is higher than of CDs (higher parity).