Smoothwall Firewall project

Thursday 30 June 2011

Using rtorrent on a remote Centos server for 24/7 downloads

As I'm sure you all know a lot of information is passed around the Web using bittorrent. Most of the clients have a nice GUI front end that allow you to easily grab the torrent files and start downloading.

What if you don't have a GUI on the machine you wish to use, or what if this is to be a 24/7 service for you. Well Linux as always has solutions, and one of those is a program called rtorrent. If you only like flashy interfaces this is not for you, but it works perfectly, and is very reliable.

I use a Centos 5.6 virtual server in the cloud for all sorts of uses, like a socks proxy and an SSL endpoint, and this is where I wanted to run the client. This machine is not very powerful, so you don't need to worry on that score. There are many Linux virtual machines you can obtain these days, for not a great deal of money.

Firstly, you need to visit this web site and download three RPM's.
Site for RPMS


Now, depending on how you configured your machine, there may be other dependencies, so check when you install these as follows

rpm -ivh *.rpm

Once this is done, I would then also make sure that the "screen" application is installed, as this will allow you to start rtorrent on the remote server, and re-connect to it when you desire. Spend a few moments looking at "screen" commands on the web to understand how it fits together - like here.

Using Screen

So now, I run screen and then I run rtorrent.

Once rtorrent is loaded, read this web page for an excellent quick guide to using the application:

How to use rtorrent as pro

Once you have your torrent running, you can detach from your screen session, with the CTRL-A d command. You can now logout of remote server, and all is still running.

To re-connect, you just login to the remote server again, and then run screen -r, and you will be back looking at rtorrent happily running.

This is very useful for downloading Linux ISO distribution files etc.