Why Some Torrents Don’t Download?

A torrent that doesn’t start downloading or suddenly stops can be very frustrating. You check your Internet connection and cables, and everything looks good. So, what can be the reasons for those torrents that don’t seem to work?

Some Torrents Don’t Download

The main reason behind a torrent file that doesn’t even start downloading is the lack of seeders and peers. In other words, there is no one seeding that file, meaning there’s no place where you can download it from. That’s why you must look at the number of seeders and peers every time you start a new download.

Some Files Suddenly Stop Downloading

We’ve all been there when a torrent stops at some moment, such as 99%. That usually happens when there are only peers, but no seeders. If you think about it, it makes total sense.

The peers have many parts of the torrent in common, and they will share those between them. But because there are zero seeders, no one has the entire file, and everyone will share the same parts and stop at the same percentage point.

A Dead Torrent

Both of the situations we just saw are what users in the community call a “dead torrent”. Since there are no seeders and, even if there are peers, they do not have the entire amount of parts between them to make it a complete file, the torrent “died”.

If you were wondering if it’s worth seeding torrents, then this is the answer to your question. Seeding helps to maintain healthy torrents.

What About Slow Torrents?

Although you can take some steps to increase torrent speed, this problem is often related to the previously mentioned situation. What generally happens is that many people download, but only a few seed it.

The Leecher Plague

A leecher slowing down torrents

This takes us to the worst kind of user in the torrent community: the leecher. The leecher is a user who voluntarily only downloads, and avoids uploading. Or uploads at a very slow rate. That means getting the file but not giving it back, to save bandwidth. When the download is complete, the leecher deletes the torrent from the BitTorrent client to avoid future uploads.

This type of user slows down the torrenting process for everyone. Presumably, a torrent is shared by seeders but also by peers. That means different parts of the file are being shared simultaneously between everyone. That’s how P2P (peer-to-peer) works. In other words, you take the file and immediately give it to others who don’t have the parts you have.

But, because of the ones who only take and do not give, there are fewer sources to download from. More users will have to get data from the available seeders. Therefore, if more people download from the same source, the bandwidth will be divided between more users, meaning slower downloads.

ISP Reducing Your Download Speed

As you probably know, file-sharing is a delicate topic for many ISPs. When they realize you are torrenting, they may throttle your connection whenever you download a file. That means they slow down your connection, sometimes to incredibly low speeds.

A torrent downloading very slowly

Even some ISPs that allow P2P will throttle you because these downloads require a significant amount of data and bandwidth. The bigger the file, the higher the resource costs for them. By slowing you down, they are saving money. This situation happens even with the ISPs that say that you have unlimited bandwidth.

That’s one of the reasons why users are opting to use a Virtual Private Network. That way, the ISP won’t know what they are doing. No one knows about any Internet activity, except for the user himself.

A Word to VPN Users

For those who download torrents with a Virtual Private Network to remain anonymous, the reason for a slow download may be the VPN itself. Keep in mind that a VPN has many servers, and some are slower than others. Make sure that you try different servers to see if it solves the issue.

Remember that a VPN will always decrease your speed because of the resources it takes to encrypt your connection. Modern VPNs should have a small impact on speed, but the wrong choice of the VPN provider may slow you down significantly.

These are some examples of good VPN providers:

  • Torrent Friendly
  • P2P Optimized Servers
  • Best VPN Overall
  • Torrent Friendly
  • P2P Optimized Servers
  • Great Price/Quality Ratio
  • Torrent Friendly
  • Good Set of Features
  • Unlimited connections

Other Possible Reasons

Naturally, it may also happen that other external factors are interfering with your downloads, such as:

  • Using bad trackers
  • Wrong BitTorrent client configuration
  • Interference with your Wi-Fi signal


The cause of torrent files not having any download progress is often related to the number of peers and seeders available. Make sure that checking those numbers in your torrent client is the first thing you do. Remember that seeders are always better, as they have the complete file already.

But sometimes, there are hidden obstacles that may be causing problems. That’s why it’s advisable to verify some details, such as your connection, number of users seeding, and VPN.