Building a dedicated download system with rTorrent

Adding a Torrent

To add a torrent, ssh into the remote machine and log in to your account. At the command line, open rTorrent with the following command:

screen rtorrent

To control rTorrent through SSH, you can use the normal key bindings (see Table 1). The best part is that if you paste the link of a torrent file (e.g., if your torrent is at and paste it to the load prompt of rTorrent, rTorrent will download the file.

Another way to add a torrent is to ssh into the remote machine and wget the torrent file in the watch directory:

wget URLToTorrentFile

The preceding command tells rTorrent what to do with the file depending on the current state of the torrent (see the preceding section). Table 1 shows a list of useful rTorrent key bindings.

If you want more detailed information about key bindings, go to the rTorrent man page.


That old computer of yours will come in handy as a dedicated download system. For quite some time now, I have used this configuration successfully. Of course, if your system has the necessary resources, you might want to opt for a GUI-based interface for managing the torrents, which is possible with the alternative wTorrent tool. Happy Downloading!

The Author

To learn more about Aditya Shevade, go to or

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