cargo install aquatic_ws_protocol


Blazingly fast, multi-threaded BitTorrent tracker (UDP, HTTP, WebTorrent) written in Rust

by Joakim Frostegård

0.1.0 (see all)License:Apache-2.0
cargo install aquatic_ws_protocol


CargoBuildAndTest Test HTTP, UDP and WSS file transfer

Blazingly fast, multi-threaded BitTorrent tracker written in Rust, consisting of sub-implementations for different protocols:

NameProtocolOS requirements
aquatic_udpBitTorrent over UDPUnix-like with mio (default) / Linux 5.8+ with glommio
aquatic_httpBitTorrent over HTTP with TLS (rustls)Linux 5.8+
aquatic_wsWebTorrentUnix-like with mio (default) / Linux 5.8+ with glommio



  • Install Rust with rustup (stable is recommended)
  • Install cmake with your package manager (e.g., apt-get install cmake)
  • Unless you're planning to only run aquatic_udp and only the cross-platform, mio based implementation, make sure locked memory limits are sufficient. You can do this by adding the following lines to /etc/security/limits.conf, and then logging out and back in:
*    hard    memlock    512
*    soft    memlock    512
  • Clone this git repository and enter it


Compile the implementations that you are interested in:

# Tell Rust to enable support for all CPU extensions present on current CPU
# except for those relating to AVX-512. This is necessary for aquatic_ws and
# recommended for the other implementations.
. ./scripts/env-native-cpu-without-avx-512

cargo build --release -p aquatic_udp
cargo build --release -p aquatic_udp --features "with-glommio" --no-default-features
cargo build --release -p aquatic_http
cargo build --release -p aquatic_ws
cargo build --release -p aquatic_ws --features "with-glommio" --no-default-features


Begin by generating configuration files. They differ between protocols.

./target/release/aquatic_udp -p > "aquatic-udp-config.toml"
./target/release/aquatic_http -p > "aquatic-http-config.toml"
./target/release/aquatic_ws -p > "aquatic-ws-config.toml"

Make adjustments to the files. You will likely want to adjust address (listening address) under the network section.

aquatic_http requires configuring a TLS certificate file as well as a private key file to run. More information is available in the corresponding subsection of this document.

Once done, run the tracker:

./target/release/aquatic_udp -c "aquatic-udp-config.toml"
./target/release/aquatic_http -c "aquatic-http-config.toml"
./target/release/aquatic_ws -c "aquatic-ws-config.toml"

Configuration values

Starting a lot more socket workers than request workers is recommended. All implementations are heavily IO-bound and spend most of their time reading from and writing to sockets. This part is handled by the socket_workers, which also do parsing, serialisation and access control. They pass announce and scrape requests to the request_workers, which update internal tracker state and pass back responses.

Access control

Access control by info hash is supported for all protocols. The relevant part of configuration is:

mode = 'off' # Change to 'black' (blacklist) or 'white' (whitelist)
path = '' # Path to text file with newline-delimited hex-encoded info hashes

The file is read on start and when the program receives SIGUSR1.

More information

More documentation of the various configuration options might be available under src/lib/ in directories aquatic_udp, aquatic_http and aquatic_ws.

Details on implementations

aquatic_udp: UDP BitTorrent tracker

Aims to implements the UDP BitTorrent protocol, except that it:

  • Doesn't care about IP addresses sent in announce requests. The packet source IP is always used.
  • Doesn't track of the number of torrent downloads (0 is always sent).

Supports IPv4 and IPv6 (BitTorrent UDP protocol doesn't support IPv6 very well, however.)

Alternative implementation using io_uring

There is an alternative implementation that utilizes io_uring by running on glommio. It only runs on Linux and requires a recent kernel (version 5.8 or later).


UDP BitTorrent tracker throughput comparison

More details are available here.

aquatic_http: HTTP BitTorrent tracker

Aims for compatibility with the HTTP BitTorrent protocol, with some exceptions:

  • Only runs over TLS
  • Doesn't track of the number of torrent downloads (0 is always sent)
  • Doesn't allow full scrapes, i.e. of all registered info hashes

aquatic_http has not been tested as much as aquatic_udp but likely works fine.


A TLS certificate file (DER-encoded X.509) and a corresponding private key file (DER-encoded ASN.1 in either PKCS#8 or PKCS#1 format) are required. Set their paths in the configuration file, e.g.:

address = ''
tls_certificate_path = './cert.pem'
tls_private_key_path = './key.pem'

aquatic_ws: WebTorrent tracker

Aims for compatibility with WebTorrent clients, with some exceptions:

  • Doesn't track of the number of torrent downloads (0 is always sent).
  • Doesn't allow full scrapes, i.e. of all registered info hashes

TLS: mio version

To run over TLS, a pkcs12 file (.pkx) is needed. It can be generated from Let's Encrypt certificates as follows, assuming you are in the directory where they are stored:

openssl pkcs12 -export -out identity.pfx -inkey privkey.pem -in cert.pem -certfile fullchain.pem

Enter a password when prompted. Then move identity.pfx somewhere suitable, and enter the path into the tracker configuration field tls_pkcs12_path. Set the password in the field tls_pkcs12_password and set use_tls to true.

TLS: glommio version

The glommio version only runs over TLS. For setup instructions, please see aquatic_http TLS section above.


The following benchmark is not very realistic, as it simulates a small number of clients, each sending a large number of requests. Nonetheless, I think that it gives a useful indication of relative performance.

Server responses per second, best result in bold:


* Using a VPS with 32 vCPUs. The other measurements were made using a 16 vCPU VPS.

Please refer to documents/aquatic-ws-load-test-2021-08-18.pdf for more details.

Note: these benchmarks were made with the mio-based implementation.

Load testing

There are load test binaries for all protocols. They use a CLI structure similar to the trackers and support generation and loading of configuration files.

To run, first start the tracker that you want to test. Then run the corresponding load test binary:


To fairly compare HTTP performance to opentracker, set keepalive to false in aquatic_http settings.

Copyright (c) 2020-2021 Joakim Frostegård

Distributed under Apache 2.0 license (details in LICENSE file.)


The tracker is called aquatic because it thrives under a torrent of bits ;-)

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