rTorrent: download torrents the geek’s way

transfer_compWhen it comes to downloading torrents and magnets, I normally stick to qBittorrent on my laptop. It is easy to use, fast, smooth and light. But when you are connected to a remote machine through a terminal the situation changes abruptly. You don’t have any X support (but maybe your server is connected to the internet over a 1GBPS line waiting to be utilized). You get your hands dirty with rTorrent. Written in C++, exceptionally light, incredibly fast and running on a thin library, rTorrent is bound to amaze you once you get hold of the basic usage. It has all the essential functionality of a powerful torrent (and magnet) client.

To install rTorrent on Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install rtorrent

rtorrent is highly configurable. You’ll find some useful links explaining all the configuration options towards the end of this article. For a quick start, here’s a sample configuration file. Note that you need to create the download directory (first line) and the ~/.session directory.

directory = /home/user/Downloads/torrents/
min_peers = 10
max_peers = 20

min_peers_seed = 1
max_peers_seed = 1

max_uploads = 1
max_uploads_global = 1
max_downloads_global = 3

download_rate = 0
upload_rate = 1
dht = auto
dht_port = 6881
peer_exchange = true

Some useful tips for navigation: while searching for a file, <Tab> completes the directories. And you can open a torrent file directly using

$ rtorrent mytorrent.torrent OR URL
//note: URL works for torrent only

You can close the terminal and keep rTorrent running in the background. Run:

$ dtach -A /tmp/rtorsocket -z rtorrent

To resume, run:

$ dtach -a /tmp/mytorrent.torrent

Remember not to close the terminal with <Ctrl-d>. Either close it by clicking the close button or use <Ctrl-\>. More methods to detach console processes and keep them running in the background here.

rTorrent can also download torrents if you provide the direct URL to rTorrent as a parameter while starting it.

Here are some articles explaining navigation, configuration etc. at a very granular level:

Webpage: rTorrent


  1. […] use rTorrent over tor, add the following to […]

  2. […] rtorrent: download torrents and magnets […]

  3. use screen sessions to run things on servers. even if your connection goes down, your process keeps running on server.

    1. Thanks! screen is also explained in the last link.


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