Install and Configure rtorrent and ruTorrent on Debian Linux

rtorrent_logorTorrent is the most popular torrent client for linux. It can run on very low level hardware, headless (without a screen) and you can use the GUI ruTorrent to manage it remotely. I will be installing it on this crappy old pink Dell Mini 10. If you are a member of private torrent sites and interested in autodownloading episodes from irc announce channels check out the autodl-irssi guide which includes the install of rtorrent and rutorrent.

Note: As of September 2014, this script has issues with Apache 2.4, please use this guide and nginx to get a working rtorrent and rutorrent installation. There may be other errors with the script, I did not create it so be forewarned it may not work.

Consider reading,  Comparing Usenet vs Torrents – Which is Better?

VPN Service
All Platforms
Number of Connections
Monthly Cost
Annual Cost
Private Internet Access
($3.33 / month)
Pure VPN
($4.91 / month)
($6.41 / month)

Time to install and configure rtorrent for linux.

Install rtorrent and rutorrent

First you need apache

sudo apt-get install apache

Update and upgrade packages

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Fix any broken packages

sudo apt-get install -f

We are going to run an automated script which I have borrowed from my fellow Dane

Note: In order for this script to run successfully you need to have a non-root user. To add one type:

adduser desiredusername

Now download the rtorrent and rutorrent bash script


Now we have to make the script executable

chmod +x

Now run the script

sudo ./

Now rtorrent will be downloaded and compiled fresh. When the script has finished you will be prompted to install plugins. Type each number and press enter to install each of the following plugins.

I recommend

  • 1 – Erase data
  • 4 – RSS Plugin
  • 10 – Auto tools Plugin v3.6
  • 11 – Data Dir Plugin v3.6
  • 12 – Track Lables Plugin v3.6
  • 14 – Ratio Plugin v3.6
  • 16 – Seeding Time Plugin v3.6
  • 28 – rutorrent Label Management Suite v1.1
  • 29 – NFO Plugin

Type 0 and press enter to finish the plugin installation

You will be prompted for a username for the interface, choose something you will be able to remember.

You will be prompted to create a password for the user you just created, choose something you will be able to remember. Retype it.

You will end up with a web interface that you can manage from your main productivity machine.

Fire up a web browser and point it to the web address the script gives you at the end e.g.

Configure rtorrent

Controlling Uploading Speeds and Ratios

Ratio groups – some trackers have a minimum seed time to punish you for hit and running

To keep it automated go to Settings -> Ratio Groups

Set the Time, h (hours) for how long you want the torrent to seed

You can set the default ratio group so all new torrents follow this rule

If you only use public trackers (first of all make sure you use a VPN), then you probably don’t care about hit and running

You can limit your upload bandwidth by going to Settings -> Connection.

Set global maximum upload rate (kB/s) to about 10 or whatever you feel like.

Regular Manual Downloading

Now you are ready to add a torrent. The easiest way is to use magnet URLs.

Find the torrent you wish to download and right click its magnet link and copy the link to the clipboard

Go to rutorrent’s web interface (http://Ip.address/rutorrent) and click the Add torrent button in the top left corner

Go down to the Torrent URL textbox and paste the magnet link and click Add URL

Now sit back and let it download 🙂

Fixing the apache2 failed to restart error for rtorrent and rutorrent

Apache 2.4.1 moved the /var/www directory so rutorrent fails to register. You need to move the /var/www/rutorrent folder to /var/www/html/rutorrent

sudo cp -a /var/www/rutorrent /var/www/html

Then restart apache

sudo service apache2 restart

This will solve the apache2 fails to stat error for rutorrent.
You can now access the installation at http://ip.address/rutorrent


Additional Stuff

If you want to receive a notification on your phone when a torrent has finished downloading, follow my rtorrent pushbullet guide

You can also manage rtorrent from your Android phone using my Torrent-fu guide (coming soon).