Unshaped P2P with AeroVPS

AeroVPS, a Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting company in the state of Delaware in the USA, is offering customers a torrent downloading facility.

The specialised torrent downloading packages from AeroVPS comes in two flavours: TorrentFlux (TFVPS) and Transmission (TRVPS) and are currently available for $11.50 per month.

More technically inclined users may opt for a vanilla VPS package and install all the required components (Apache, PHP, MySQL, TorrentFlux/Transmission) themselves, though the current pricing of the T*VPS packages make them somewhat more attractive.

For the most part, TorrentFlux worked as advertised. Well-seeded torrents were downloaded at speeds ranging from 6400kbps to 12000kbps and were seeded at a maximum speed of 80kbps (uploads seemed to be throttled per torrent by default).

The seeding speed can be set in the TorrentFlux interface, though 80kbps seemed like a sane default as torrents reached their upload target (50% of the download size by default) in good time.

No system is perfect, however. Two issues cropped up while testing the service.

The Niggles

One torrent created a directory which included the ‘æ’ character. Due to what looks like an HTML escaping issue, the directory was inaccessible from the TorrentFlux web interface, meaning the files contained in it couldn’t be downloaded.

Using AeroVPS’s ticket system resulted in their tech support quickly resolving the issue by renaming the directory and issuing me with my Webmin login details.

In another instance the two latest torrents of Sabayon Linux, downloaded from Sabayon’s official tracker, refused to download.

While the root cause of the problem wasn’t really found (TorrentFlux just didn’t seem to like the torrent), AeroVPS support found a similar torrent for me (same distro and version) at an alternative tracker.


Whenever I reported any technical difficulty through the ticketing system in the AeroVPS Support Centre I received excellent support. All issues experienced were resolved within hours of being submitted, barring the one issue I had submitted through the live chat messaging system instead.

At the AeroVPS Support Centre page a status indicator of the availability of live support is visible. If the live support comes online, an overlay pops up and asks whether you’d like live support.

To test the feature I decided to give live support a bash. I was briefly connected to someone and had barely typed “Hello?” (as I received no salutation from their side) before receiving the message that they had disconnected. I was then presented with the option to leave support a message. I left a message regarding my issue (which was the character encoding issue from before) and didn’t receive a human response to my query for a day or so.

Is it worth it?

The questions potential buyers have to ask themselves are:

  1. How much speed are you really gaining?
  2. Do you want to seed more cheaply than you can from a capped connection, or without impacting your home uncapped connection?

To try and answer the first question, let’s take a look at how fast you can download a hypothetical 350MB file using BitTorrent on a 4Mbps ADSL connection.

Let’s assume that you can get about 80% throughput for P2P protocols on a shaped 4Mbps connection. From my experience downloading well-seeded torrents using TorrentFlux on AeroVPS can yield download speeds of around 6400kbps to 12000kbps. Taking the average gives 9200kbps.

This means that under “perfect” conditions you can download the file in 14-15 minutes on a shaped 4Mbps South African ADSL connection. Using the VPS and unshaped HTTP to download your file gets it to you in 16-17 minutes. You’re also still using international bandwidth as your VPS is hosted in the United States.

While the above calculations aren’t based on perfect figures, the assumptions were relatively conservative. At the very least it shows that a 3rd party torrent downloading service shouldn’t be considered when additional speed is what you’re after.

If you’re looking for a way to limit the impact of upload traffic on your home connection and/or cap or a way to keep your torrents running without needing to leave your PC on, then AeroVPS’s services could be worth considering.

According to the AeroVPS website there are no contracts, so trying the service out is pretty low-risk.

At $11.50 a month for their specialised BitTorrent offerings (TFVPS and TRVPS) which includes 300GB bandwidth and 30GB disk space, the service might just be worth your while.

AeroVPS and Seedboxes << would you consider such a service?

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Unshaped P2P with AeroVPS