Why Is Torrent Not Downloading Files?

7 min read

Although not as popular as during their heyday in the early 2000s, torrents still play an important role in today’s digital ecosystem. A lot of open-source software, rare films, amateur music, and free books can only be downloaded using torrent-based tools. 

Torrents, or more specifically the BitTorrent protocol, got traction around 2001, when Bram Cohen, dissatisfied with the average download speed online (since it was coming from a single source), designed a system that would download from everyone possessing the required file, thus making more popular files actually faster to download. 

Most of the time, torrent files download just fine. Occasionally, however, you might experience some problems with either torrent not downloading files or torrent not connecting to peers or simply torrent not working at all. Since the whole torrent system can be quite complicated, there could be lots of reasons for torrents not downloading as well. But let’s go through them all one by one.

How To Detect Torrent Not Working? 

Before you go about fixing various torrents problems, how do you know when those problems arise in the first place?

You might see your torrents not downloading anymore or stuck on connecting to peers. Your download speed could drop to zero. You might even see some specific errors coming from your torrent client or antivirus software. The following steps will help you resolve all these situations in no time. 

1. Firewall blocking torrent connections

Depending on physically where you’re trying to download torrent files, you could be prevented from doing so by a network-based firewall. 

The point of firewalls is to prevent unauthorized connections from entering your network and thus keeping all kinds of bots and malware out of your systems. There’s an especially popular way to protect office networks, so if you’re trying to download a torrent file at work, this is probably the primary reason why you wouldn’t be able to do so. 

If you have a specific reason for downloading something through BitTorrent, you can ask your network administrator to whitelist your torrent client for some time. 

You could also have a firewall feature turned on your Mac. In this case, disabling it will likely let the torrent client downloads go through: 

  1. Open System Preferences ➙ Privacy & Security
  2. Switch to the Firewall tab
  3. Click Turn Off Firewall

unblock torrent firewall

Lastly, since torrent connections are often unsafe, your antivirus could proactively block them as well. So if you’re sure that your torrent download is virus-free, try to pause your antivirus software for the duration of the file download and resume the protection right after. 

By the way, scanning your Mac for viruses and other malware (spyware, adware, etc.) is very important, especially after using BitTorrent. And the best way to do it is by using CleanMyMac X. 

CleanMyMac X is a truly powerful Mac optimizer packaged in a dead-simple and intuitive interface. This utility will help you delete old files, clean up your hard drive, speed up your Mac, enhance your privacy, and find any malware with just a single click. 

For example, to scan your Mac for malware: 

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X
  2. Navigate to the Malware Removal tab
  3. Click Scan and then Remove if anything was found

scan your Mac for viruses and other malware

You can also simply go for a Smart Scan and get a full report on how your Mac can be instantly improved. 

2. Incorrect torrent preferences

Sometimes, it’s not your macOS or network that’s to blame, but rather your torrent client or torrent files themselves. 

Most torrent clients today have a download limit option that could be enabled by default. Increasing this limit might help with the torrent not downloading files properly. Here’s how to increase the download limit in Transmission, an easy-to-use and free BitTorrent client: 

  1. Launch Transmission
  2. Go to Preferences (⌘ + ,)
  3. Switch to the Bandwidth tab 
  4. Uncheck the “Download rate” and “Upload rate” limits 

check torrent preferences

If removing the limits didn’t help, try to download another torrent file and see if you experience the same problem. If so, it could have something to do with torrent connection issues. 

3. Torrent connection issues 

When you see your torrents not downloading, it doesn’t only depend on the download limits you put in. In general, your torrent speed is affected the most by the number of peers who are seeding the torrent file to you.

Normally, when you find a torrent file online, it will tell you how many people are seeding it at the moment. If you see that the number is considerably lower during the download, you can try to pause and start the download, or even delete your current torrent file and try to do the whole process again from the torrent website. 

In some cases, the problem could be with the torrent client itself. So try to download the same file with another client. While Transmission mentioned above is quite popular, it’s nowhere near as professional as something like Folx. 

Folx is a powerful download manager and torrent client in one. Just search for a file or input a URL, and Folx will download whatever file might be on the other end, be it music, video, or a book. Folx can also be up to 20 times faster than regular downloaders, since it breaks down the file in up to 20 parts and downloads them separately at the same time. 

For our purposes of checking your specific torrent file, however, you can just upload it to Folx manually: 

  1. Launch Folx
  2. Click the plus icon in the top bar
  3. Switch to the Torrent tab 
  4. Hit the ellipses icon to select the torrent file from your Mac
  5. Click OK

Torrent connection issues

If your file is still not downloading, you should find a better substitute. 

4. File on torrent not working 

Due to myriads of reasons, from inactive peers (seeds) to corrupted or outdated files, your specific torrent might not work as planned. 

Luckily, there are hundreds of popular torrent websites worldwide. Some are tailored to specific interests (e.g. sports or music) while others allow people to upload everything. You can find multiple lists of the best torrent websites online, but if you ask us we’d say that searching for the torrent you need online feels a little bit outdated now. Plus, there’s so much adware, spyware, and malware on torrent websites that it’s much safer to go the other way — using a torrent search in a torrent client like Folx. 

Folx can not only be used as a regular torrent client but also as a standalone search engine: 

  1. Launch Folx 
  2. Type in any query in the search field 
  3. Press Enter

search for correct torrent files

Alternatively, if you have an exact URL with the file you want to download, whether it’s on a torrent, YouTube, or anywhere on the web, you can click the plus icon and paste it in the suitable tab. 

5. Network restrictions

Even if you’ve done everything outlined above, there can still be one considerable hurdle in your way — your own internet network. 

Depending on the country you live in, your local regulations, and your ISP (internet service providers), some websites and connections (e.g. the BitTorrent protocol) could be blocked. If you see your torrent not connecting to peers, this might be the case. A proven workaround here is to use a VPN (virtual private network). 

ClearVPN is the most user-friendly and flexible VPN client around, designed to personalize your VPN experience at the click of a button. You can bypass any geo-restrictions by routing your traffic through any of the dozens of servers available worldwide, from the US to Austria, and change your mind just as easily. This is not only helpful for when you’re stuck on connecting to peers with your torrent but also streaming videos from services like Netflix, Spotify, and HBO Max. 

Here’s how to avoid your network restrictions with ClearVPN: 

  1. Launch ClearVPN
  2. Click the VPN menu bar icon
  3. Select “Change your location” 
  4. Pick any country other than your own
  5. Click Activate

Change your location to connect to torrents

What’s more, using a VPN would also secure and encrypt your internet connection anywhere, which is especially valuable when you’re going online on a public WiFi (e.g. in a local cafe or coworking space). 

As you can see, torrents not downloading can be a problem, but with a methodical approach, you can get those files on your Mac in no time. Simply turn off the firewall and scan your Mac for viruses with CleanMyMac X, remove download limits on your torrent client, try using a high-quality torrent client like Folx to search for other torrent files, and route your traffic around your network restrictions with ClearVPN. 

Best of all, CleanMyMac X, Folx, and ClearVPN are available to you absolutely free for seven days through a trial of Setapp, a platform with more than 210 Mac apps for any scenario imaginable. Try every Setapp app today at no cost and find your new favorite tools! 

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