rTorrent – command line Bit Torrent client in Ubuntu Linux

As a Linux system admin we love to download and upload larger files using bit torrent clients from command line or from terminal. This can be possible with the help of rTorrent, it is command line Bit Torrent client available on Linux like operating System. Some of the common features of rTorrent are listed below:

  • We can use URL / file path to add torrents at runtime
  • Stop/delete/resume torrents are easy
  • Safe quick resume support
  • It shows information about peers and the torrent
  • Support for distributed hash tables (DHT)
  • Support for peer-exchange (PEX)
  • Support for initial seeding (Superseeding)

In this post we will discuss how to install and use rTorrent on Ubuntu 14.04 & 14.10.

Installation Steps of rTorrent on Ubuntu Linux.

Method:1 Using below apt-get command

linuxtechi@localhost:~$ sudo apt-get install rtorrent

Method:2 Using Synaptic Package Manager


Once the installation is completed, now it’s time to configure its resource file (rtorrent.rc). By default this file is not available , so create it in user’s home directory with the below contents .

linuxtechi@localhost:~$ vi ~/.rtorrent.rc 
 # Location where to download temporary files
 directory = ~/rtorrent_Download_Files

# Folder to save & resume rtorrent sessions
 session = ~/rtorrent_session

# Other Settings
 upload_rate = 30
 download_rate = 200
 peer_exchange = yes

# DHT options
 dht = auto

# custom throttles settings
 throttle_up = low,10
 throttle_down = low,10
 throttle_up = med,20
 throttle_down = med,20

# rtorrent_Watch is a folder for new torrents
 schedule = watch_directory,0,10,load_start=~/rtorrent_Watch/*.torrent
 schedule = tied_directory,10,10,start_tied=
 schedule = untied_directory,10,10,close_untied=

# Enable the default ratio group

# Modify the limits, the defaults is optimal.

# Modify the command triggered when the ratio is reached.
 system.method.set = group.seeding.ratio.command, d.close=, d.erase=

# Transfer the finished torrents to rtorrent_FullDownload_Files folder
 system.method.set_key = event.download.finished,rm_torrent,"execute=rm,$d.get_tied_to_file="
 system.method.set_key = event.download.finished,move_complete,"execute=mv,-u,$d.get_base_path=,~/rtorrent_FullDownload_Files/ ;d.set_directory=~/rtorrent_FullDownload_Files/"

Save & exit the file.

Create the required directories.
linuxtechi@localhost:~$ mkdir ~/rtorrent_Download_Files
linuxtechi@localhost:~$ mkdir ~/rtorrent_session
linuxtechi@localhost:~$ mkdir ~/rtorrent_Watch
linuxtechi@localhost:~$ mkdir ~/rtorrent_FullDownload_Files
Now to Start the rTorrent client , type the rtorrent command on the terminal.
linuxtechi@localhost:~$ rtorrent


At load prompt type the torrent file that you want to download. In my case i am downloading Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS .


Enter the path of torrent file and then Press Ctrl+s to start the downloading.

As we see below Downloading has been started.


rTorrent keys


Cursor Up & Down

view torrents, peers, trackers etc

Cursor Right

display information on what has been navigated to.

Cursor Left

Previous screen


Enter the URL or path of a new torrent to download.

Ctrl + q

Exit rTorrent.

Ctrl + s

Start a download / Resume the download

Ctrl + d

Stop a torrent / Stop download (A second time removes it from rTorrent)

Ctrl + k

Close a torrent.

Ctrl + r

Start hash checking a torrent.

1 Response

  1. Thierry says:

    I always get the following error:

    rtorrent: Error in option file: ~/.rtorrent.rc:2: Could not find ‘=’.

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