Tips For Improving Your Ratio on What.cd
What.cd and keeping your ratio
This is a guide containing every tip anyone has for keeping a good ratio. It was originally started by planrawsto on Oink. He found an old (incomplete) copy of it and posted it on Waffles. I'm attempting to rebuild it to how I remembered it. It may still be incomplete, feel free to help me out with any ideas you have that others might benefit from. Most of the ideas aren't mine (even if there's no credited user). They came from planrawsto or from the always excellent Oink community. Thanks to everyone. If you have any tips I missed or comments/qualms/revisions of ones that are, please post them here. The credited users are as of now mostly from Oink and may or may not be members here. Also I originally wrote the guide for Waffles. I've tried to adapt it to What.CD specific rules but if you notice that I've missed something please mention it.
Before I start I think it's worth mentioning that it's going to take a long time to seed here. You aren't going to be able to download an album and seed it for a few hours and hit 1.0. It's a totally different environment from most other trackers you may have used in the past. Odds are you will have to seed things for months. That's just how it is. At the time I'm typing this we have nearly 40 people seeding for every one person downloading. For comparison The Pirate Bay has about 0.5 people seeding for every one person downloading. It's how we like it (very fast download speeds) and it isn't going to change any time soon. So if you want a better ratio here are some things to look into:
Tips section 1
Look through every CD you've ever owned in your life. Search around the site to see if it's on here. If it's not, upload it! Even if you think that no one will be interested, do it anyway. Chances are you'll get a snatch or two. You may be very surprised. This site has users from dozens of countries and all age groups.
Keep in mind that multiple formats are allowed. Specifically, an AAC 320, a FLAC, an MP3 320, an Ogg q8.x, an MP3 V0, and an MP3 V2 rip of an album can all coexist here and are always allowed if they don't already exist. That means that with one CD and a bit of time you can put 6 different uploads on the site. That's nearly a gig of upload per CD that's all yours before anyone else can seed it. If for some reason you really do have to prioritize, a single FLAC upload will net you around 500 MB per album. Also note that if a release is up in FLAC with no log or with a log that has errors you can upload a FLAC rip with a log or with a log and no errors.
Just because you don't own any albums doesn't mean you can't get some to upload. Have a friend with an extensive collection? A parent? an uncle? a sibling? Odds are they won't mind letting you borrow a CD for a day so you can rip it. And every album can net you a good gig of upload. It might be worth the trouble.
Check your local library. This is an often ignored resource. Almost all libraries have music that you can borrow (rip and upload) for free. Classical music, world music, oldies, etc. It might not be your favourite but odds are someone on here will download it. And hey, it was free anyway. Also check out their collection of ebooks since those are allowed here as well.
Download from other sites then seed here. Some of the files we have here are literally identical to files hosted on other trackers. When this is the case you can download the files from anywhere and then simply download the .torrent file from this site and tell it to download the album to the location where the files already exist. Instead of downloading the album you can go straight to seeding. Note that the files must be exactly the same or this won't work (not just the same album, but the exact same rip).
The good new is that there are releases called [scene] releases. They are marked as such on most private trackers. Without going into what they are (it's not important and I'm sure you can look it up) it will suffice to say that they are always exactly the same on every tracker. So download all the scene releases you can find from other sites and then seed them here.
If you have FLAC files they can be reencoded and not be considered transcoded. Which means you can upload those new files here. Turn your FLAC into a V0, a V2, a 320mp3, and an Ogg encode and upload all four of them here. I'm not recommending you download FLAC from here specifically to reencode them and upload them. That might get you a net ratio gain depending on the release and your upload speed but I make no promises. But if you already have some FLAC, were going to download them anyway, or can get them from another site then this is a great way to get some free ratio. Note that you can only reencode FLAC and other lossless formats. A reencoded mp3 is transcoded and not allowed on this site.
Look around at the requests. Once in a while a requester doesn't bother to search other torrent sites and is easily found (this has happened to be me twice while looking around at requests. Make sure the files you've downloaded and haven't ripped yourself aren't transcodes and upload at your own discretion. If you're unsure if the songs are transcodes you can use software such as Adobe Audition to check the frequency and Mr. Questionman to check the bitrate (we don't allow files below 192. Some sites do. keep this in mind). There are in depth guides about checking for transcodes in other threads. A quick forum search will turn up several.
Look at other torrent sites for EPs and other rare collectibles. If they have anything we don't, download it and then upload it here. Again, make sure it doesn't break our rules.
Seed 24/7. Is your computer on? Then turn on BitTorrent. Is your computer off? Turn it on. Most BitTorrent clients have an option to run at startup (uTorrent's option is under Options -> Preferences -> General, down at the bottom of the page. The longer you keep your client open the more people will download. Again keep in mind that this is a worldwide site. It has active traffic at all hours of the day and night. If you can seed at a mere 10kb/s consistently you can upload about a gig a day. I have torrents in my client from the day I joined that are still giving me more upload credit.
Build your own 'seedbox' to use at home. If you don't like torrenting 24/7 on the PC you use now maybe you can do it on another one. Even an extremely old computer will probably be fine. It only needs to run one BitTorrent program after all. You might even have an old computer around the house that is considered worthless that would do just fine. Hook it up to the internet. Put your music and .torrent files and BitTorrent program on it and start seeding.
Seed everything you download from here forever. There's no hard limit to the number of torrents you can seed, you can have hundreds. If you aren't regularly maxing out your upload bandwidth there's really no reason to ever remove a torrent from your client. If a torrent only gets you 10MB a year that is still 10 more MB than you'd have uploaded without it. Once you start maxing out your upload speed then prioritizing can become important but at the point your ratio is probably fine anyway. In my personal experience Azureus tend to lag a lot if you are seeding several hundred torrents but uTorrent does not. So if you find that having tons of torrents is slowing you down consider making a switch.
The only exception to this is torrent from other trackers. A single torrent from The Pirate Bay will probably eat up 100% of your bandwidth 24/7 making it impossible for you to seed here. Deleting torrents from other trackers will help you seed better with your torrents from What.CD. Seed them to 1 or 2 or be a jerk and cut them as soon as they are done downloading. The choice is yours, but you should probably stop seeding them eventually if your ratio here is in trouble.
Avoid trying to download torrents with hundreds of seeders strictly for ratio reasons. Even if there are a lot of leechers. The BitTorrent protocol favours fast uploaders by default because doing so is more efficient. It's not something What.CD can change. So if there are 9 seeders who can upload at 40kb/s and one user who can upload 200kb/s the user with the large upload speed will get the majority of the uploads from this torrent. Considering that a lot of our European users have speeds of several thousand kb/s it is unlikely you will be able to compete with them.
It also bears mentioning because so many people try it with disastrous results that the huge torrents like Rosetta Stone only appear to have tons of leechers. These people are really 99% partial seeders(which I discuss later). Because of issues with the BitTorrent protocol and not the site partial seeders are reported as leechers. Downloading these mega torrents will destroy your ratio. Don't try it.
An exception to the above rules is if you can get on these very popular torrents very early on. Unfortunately What.CD makes it a little harder to do this for ratio building because adding a vote to a request costs you ratio. But if you are a member of any other sites with a request system put in a request there and then download it here when it leaks (it should be about the same time). Or just keep your eye on places that announce new leaks. [Note: If you know some good ones let me know so I can add them here. I don't frequent any of these sites but I know they exist]
Keep in mind that the window of time during which this is a good idea gets increasingly smaller as your connection speed gets lower. The faster you get on the torrent the more you will upload. Once a new release has a few hundred seeders (sometimes takes days, other times only minutes) it will be very hard for users with small upload speeds to get a lot of uploading done. A useful thing to do is to compare the current number of snatches with the number of people who have voted for the request. It is a safe bet that almost everyone who voted for the request will grab the torrent. So if the snatches are much lower than the votes you know more people are coming.
Tips part 2
Stop Downloading. Seriously. Cut it out. That how you got yourself into this mess in the first place. Unless you have a very impressive connection it probably isn't helping and if you do have a very good connection your ratio is probably fine. Just wait. Is there really nowhere else you can get that CD you want? Is it really worth your account here? Take a breather and worry about seeding what you've already got. Not downloading new torrents. Go slow on number of torrents you download at a time and always keep an eye on your ratio. Develop patience and always wait until you have built some "buffer" (an upload amount that you can give up against future downloads). Be especially mindful of crossing download barriers.The required ratio here changes as you download more. Don't cross a line until you are ready for the new requirements.
Challenge yourself to become a Power User within a specific period of time (depending on the upload speed of your internet connection). This will keep you watching all the necessary things all the time. Some people are very goal oriented, if you are then set yourself a goal.
Remember, What.CD isn't the only site out there. Chances are, you can find a lot of stuff on any old torrent site. What.CD is mostly a safe and reliable guard for finding ultra rare stuff and plenty of excellent bitrates. If your ratio here is suffering there's no reason you can't download some albums that you don't expect to be able to reseed well here from other trackers.
If it's at all possible get clever (also known as connectible)! If you aren't clever you can't upload to half of the site. Unconnectible users cannot connect to each other at all and it takes them much longer to connect to connectible users. Becoming clever will double the number of users you can upload to and most likely roughly double how well you are uploading. Setting up a static IP address and forwarding ports will most likely make you connectible. There are step by step guides for pretty much any router or operating system here.
Make sure to add your BitTorrent client to the exceptions list of any firewalls you are running. You can try turning the firewall off altogether (briefly) to check if your firewall is hurting your ability to upload.
Get a better internet connection. It will cost money but it will definitely help. See what other companies offer in your area. Be sure to consider the upload speed they offer as well as the download speed. There's often a huge difference between the two. You might even be able to get a better upload speed for comparable cost. Shop around. Also if you call your current ISP and tell them you want to leave to go to company X sometimes they will offer you slightly better service to try to keep you. If you are desperate it might be worth a try.
Get a seedbox (dedicated server for downloading). Popular companies are FDC, Vectoral and Leaseweb. Again this will cost money, but it will without a doubt solve any ratio problems you have and it is always available no matter where you live. Most seedboxes have incredible speeds that will allow you to get a good ratio with almost no effort. If the cost is too high, consider splitting a seedbox with other people you know or renting a part of someone else's.
Rip your albums according to this guide. That's how people on this site like it to be done and doing it that way (and mentioning it in your torrent description) will get you more snatches. Yes sometimes the people here are uptight and picky, but the fact is that catering to them will get you more uploads. So bite the bullet. [To any regulars: Is this actually the preferred guide here or do you guys still prefer jiggfellaz?]
On that note. Make good descriptions. Yes, you are only required to include a tracklist. But if you include a nice looking description and album art people are more likely to download it. Add as many descriptive Tags as you can think of. Advertising works. If you think an album is amazing tell other people why they should think so too. If you aren't one for words just google a decent review. If you are lazy you are in luck. Check out this Greasemonkey script. It automatically creates very nice looking descriptions instantly for all of your uploads. It doesn't include a review but there's no reason you can't add one after.
Comcast (the major, often exclusive, ISP for the US east coast) throttles BitTorrent uploads. If you suspect this may be happening to you check out this guide. Even if you are not on Comcast some of the fixes only work if both sides of the connection have done them – the WIPFW fix in particular. So if you aren't on Comcast and you do the fix, your uploads to Comcast users will probably increase. Comcast is a very major ISP so this could help you out. Other ISPs do other nefarious things, google your own ISP and make sure there isn't a fixable problem with them.
You can fill requests. Maybe the record is available cheap on Amazon or eBay or a local record store. There are people on this site who are willing to buy albums just to fill requests (god bless them). Maybe you can be one of them. This is even more effective on What.CD because filling requests can earn you a bounty. It is possible to get over a gig in bounty alone from filling a request here.
Music isn't the only thing allowed here. If you have access to anything else that fits (read the rules) upload it. ebooks, comics, and applications (often huge!) have gotten a lot of people a lot of ratio. Look into them. You can usually get ebooks at your local library for free as well.
Reseed any torrents you may have deleted. If these torrents aren't in your torrent client any more but you still have the files (music) odds are very good you have the torrent files saved too. Almost all torrent clients save them by default. Run a windows search for "*.torrent", there's probably a folder full of them.
If you are only downloading a torrent for ratio consider being a partial seeder (only grabbing one or two of the tracks instead of the whole album). You will often upload almost just as much as a partial seeder but since you downloaded much less you will gain more ratio.
Another good place to look for albums online is through newsgroups. To get on newsgroups you need to have a newsgroup provider and a client such as NewsLeecher. The clients are usually free, the providers cost money. However many ISPs offer free newsgroups services. This fact is often little advertised. For example Comcast offers a free 2GB a month of Usenet newsgroup downloads. Try googling your IP and "newsgroup" to see if anything comes up. Tutorial for Comcast users. As always with any files you did not rip yourself be sure to check the files for bitrate and transcode issues before uploading them.
Try reducing your paranoia level (in your profile settings). You can consider your snatched lists, upload lists, seeding lists as a form of advertising. If you get someone who likes your taste they might start checking out other things you are seeding, which means you could upload more. I can't from personal experience say how effective this is, but at least in theory it can't hurt your uploads. I'll save the debate over how much safer a higher paranoia level keeps you for another thread. Decide for yourself if you think this is a worthwhile trade off.
That's everything I can remember. If you can think of any other advice that might help someone please post it here. If you think I need to clarify something, or that I'm giving people advice that will drive them into the ground, post your thoughts. The goal here is that when someone says "Help my ratio sucks" a single link to this thread will be all the advice needed.
I rewrote/moved around/combined/broke apart most of the old bulletins so crediting each user was a bit of a struggle.But special thanks go out to these people for contributing to the guide:
quentin135, n180wl, Honeybucket, EnnaN, Ali, TheGoose31, Tisme, sanchito, Average, DrCrunchy, and especially planrawsto for starting the original back on oink. But really, almost none of these ideas were mine they came from other forum goers.
- What.cd invites
Get yourself an invite to What if you don't have it!