Evgeny Pokhilko's Weblog

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How To Create and Seed a Torrent (Ubuntu server, Transmission)

Did you ever need to send somebody large files? This manual provides steps to create new torrents and seed files. The environment is Ubuntu server 12.04 and the torrent client is Transmission 2.51. Any compatible torrent client and OS can be used by the receiver.

There was a solution that was very helpful for me to create this manual. I made a few improvements in my opinion. You won’t need to create and configure a watch directory and copy your torrent files into it. I think I simplified that solution and made mine more inline with the Transmission default configuration.

We can begin now.

1. SSH to your server and install transmission-daemon if you don’t have it already.

The service is a headless torrent client that can be controlled through command line, web interface or possibly another GUI front end. We are going to use transmission-remote (see below).

sudo apt-get install transmission-daemon

The command will install and start the Transmission service.

2. Configure Transmission to be able to control it from the command line.

After the service is installed the security settings are too strict. It’s not possible to control it even from the command line. Issuing “transmission-remote -l” results in a permission error.

Stop the service with the following command:

sudo service transmission-daemon stop

The Transmission settings file in my environment is located under /var/lib/transmission-daemon/info/settings.json. If it’s not there, start the service and look at the parameters. “ps -Af | grep trans” outputs “/usr/bin/transmission-daemon –config-dir /var/lib/transmission-daemon/info”. info is the directory where settings.json is read from.

Open the settings file in vi or nano.

sudo vi /var/lib/transmission-daemon/info/settings.json

Find rpc-whitelist and rpc-whitelist-enabled. Modify them as follows:

"rpc-whitelist": "",
"rpc-whitelist-enabled": true,

These settings are also very strict but they are enough for our task. Now you can control Transmission from the same machine and nowhere else. You may consider changing them later if you want to use the web interface.

While your are still in the text editor, note the location of the Transmission downloads directory. You will need it later. This is what I have:

"download-dir": "/var/lib/transmission-daemon/downloads"

Start the service again:

sudo service transmission-daemon start

To verify that you have done everything correctly invoke this command:

transmission-remote -l

It will print a table listing your active torrents. You don’t have any at this stage so the table should be empty (see “transmission-remote –help” for the description of -l and other commands). You can use this command later to see what the service is transferring.

3. Create a bash script file with the output of the cat command below.
It will automate the process of seeding torrents in the future. I called the script seedfile.sh

cat ~/bin/seed_file.sh

cp -p $1 $TRANSDIR/downloads/
transmission-create $TRANSDIR/downloads/$1 -t udp://tracker.openbittorrent.com:80 -o $HOME/$1.torrent
transmission-remote --add $HOME/$1.torrent

Modify TRANSDIR variable if needed. $TRANSDIR/downloads should be the directory you noted at step 2. It’s the directory where Transmission downloads files to.

You can call this script as below:

~/bin/seed_file.sh file_I_want_to_send.zip

The script copies the file to the downloads directory (make sure that the file you are sending has enough permissions to be read by debian-trasmission user). Then the torrent file is created in $HOME. You can send the torrent to the people receiving the zip file. Finally we add the torrent to our service. When the service receives the torrent, it will know that the zip file already exists in the downloads directory (see the cp command) and it will skip to the Done state as if the file has been downloaded. The seeding will start at this point. Download the torrent file from the server and distribute it to the people on the receiving end.

A few notes on the tracker. You can see the transmission-create -t parameter in the script. The tracker is needed to coordinate peers before they are connected. Once the connection is established it’s not used. You can use any available tracker of choice.

Hope you find this manual useful.

January 11, 2015 Posted by | Linux, Torrent | , | 2 Comments