Ξ welcome to cryptostorm's member forums ~ you don't have to be a cryptostorm member to post here Ξ
Ξ any OpenVPN configs found on the forum are likely outdated. For the latest, visit here or GitHub Ξ
Ξ If you're looking for tutorials/guides, check out the new https://cryptostorm.is/#section6 Ξ

Diagnosing "slow" bittorrent speeds (OS X)

Looking for assistance with a cryptostorm connection issue? Post here & we'll help out. Also: if you're not sure where to post, do so here & we'll move things around as needed. Also: for quickest support, email our oddly calm & easygoing support reps at support@cryptostorm.is :)

Topic Author

Diagnosing "slow" bittorrent speeds (OS X)

Post by prophet » Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:03 am

First-time cryptostorm user here, with a paid for account token (not the freebie, I know that limits speed so I paid outright). So far so good with everything except bittorrent downloads.

OS: Mac OS X El Capitan (OS X 10.11)
Hardware: Macbook Pro, 2.3ghz intel core i7 (quad core), 16GB RAM blah blah
Software: Tunnelblick 3.5.5 (latest afaik); same effect w/ Viscosity + uTorrent and/or Transmit (tested both, same thing, default settings)
Exit node: US Central UDP
ISP: Time Warner Cable (US, Texas) -- yeah yeah I know, only choice I have though :(

*Quick note: this is only in relation to DOWNLOADING stuff via torrents; I'm not interested in uploading or needing a reverse port or anything like that. If I decide I want to do some serious seeding, I'll grab a seedbox somehwere, but for now I'm just interested in acquiring things on a small scale.*

The ca block in the .ovpn files threw me at first but it was easy enough to figure out (wasn't until after I'd done so that I saw you had a guide on it, haha). And the speed itself seems on-par with the speed I've got from other VPN providers in the past if not slightly faster. However, it's still orders of magnitude less than what I should (in theory) be getting, and could use some help figuring out what the problem is.

So the "package" I'm paying for with Time Warner Cable has had, historically, an effective download speed of over 30MB - megaBYTES, not bits - per second. The place I see this most often is in Steam, while downloading a game from Valve's CDN. Occasionally I'll get equally fast downloads with other services, but I do know that the "other end" also has limited throughput as well, and that explains why sometimes I get a few kb/sec from some place(s) and others can go up to 5-10mb/sec or more.

Anyway, my speed with bittorrent over an unsecured connection, without any throttling (as the picture on that is unclear and has probably changed since I last tested this connection) easily approaches ~29-33mb/second (again, whole megabytes, not bits, each second). This appears to be regardless of what tracker(s) or types of media are being downloaded.

However, with any VPN - not just you guys, apparently, but even others I've tried in the past - that 30mb/sec average drops to *maximum* of 3mb/second. I'm losing 90% of my possible connection throughput, and that's BEST case scenario. In reality, it's more like 1mb/second (again, full megabytes here) the majority of the time with occasional spikes.

Now, I'm fully aware that I could be a victim of throttling here, but with the data encrypted from my machine to the exit node, the ISP couldn't/shouldn't see any of it. That would mean they're blanket-throttling ALL traffic that's encrypted, or otherwise resembles use of a VPN.

On that note:

1. Can anyone confirm they've seen this before with Time Warner Cable in the US? Is this common knowledge and I just plain missed it or something?
2. Is there a way I can run some tests to PROVE that it's the ISP throttling me down? Links to articles, explanations, tools etc. are all appreciated. I want to be armed with evidence before I go ripping these fuckers a new one.

Now, the second possibility I see is that my connection speed happens to be just far and away much higher than the average, so the VPN nodes and network themselves/itself doesn't "allow", or is in some other way unintentionally limiting, this much throughput.

1. Do you see that as likely, or even know for sure that's the case? If so, what can I do to get faster speeds, if anything?

In terms of hardware utilization on this machine, my CPU is bored shitless right now, so I seriously doubt that even being used in single-threaded mode, OpenVPN under Tunnelblick is resource-constrained. I am, however, quite open to being educated on this! Any thoughts there?

Basically, what I know is that I'm losing at least 90% of my possible speed when going through a VPN, regardless of provider (seen it with others, not just cryptostorm) or exit location. I need to track down what's causing this, but I'm not sure where to start, or even what all the possibilities are, nor how to properly test them.

Any suggestions you guys have would be sincerely appreciated. Thank you very much! :)

User avatar

Site Admin
Posts: 1253
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:47 am

Re: Diagnosing "slow" bittorrent speeds (OS X)

Post by parityboy » Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:56 am


DNS requests return both U.S. Central and U.S. West as the following IPs: (located in Seattle) (located in Las Vegas)

So in reality, there isn't a truly central CryptoStorm exit node in the U.S. Just out of interest, have you ever used a VPN provider with a centrally located exit node (and preferably close to Texas)?

It could be TWC QoS deprioritising UDP/443 or UDP in general. This would obviously affect the OpenVPN leg of the connection. The fact that the same torrents run at full speed on a naked connection leads me to suspect that it's the TWC part that's affecting the packets between you and the exit node.

If you want to, read (and perhaps post your experiences in) the CryptoStorm Speed Test Thread here. :)

User avatar

Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:38 am

Re: Diagnosing "slow" bittorrent speeds (OS X)

Post by Tealc » Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:18 pm

Simple solution to increase Torrent P2P speed is to:

- Rotate port until you find one that is fast for you
- Do not use random port, chose the best one and keep it
- Stay in the same node, if you change node, search for another port

This works for me, for more them 2 years!

Post Reply