Section: (1)
Updated: 14 May 2009
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rtorrent - a BitTorrent client for ncurses  


rtorrent [ -h ] [ -n ] [ -o key1=opt1,... ] [ -O key=opt ] [ URL | FILE ... ]



rtorrent is a BitTorrent client for ncurses, using the libtorrent library. The client and library is written in C++ with emphasis on speed and efficiency, while delivering equivalent features to those found in GUI based clients in an ncurses client.

Most of the options below have their own default unit in addition to supporting B, K, M and G suffixes.  




Initiate shutdown, press again to force the shutdown and skip sending the stop signal to trackers.
up | down | left | right arrow keys
^P | ^N | ^B | ^F
Select entries or change windows. The right arrow key or ^F is often used for viewing details about the selected entry, while the left arrow key or ^B often returns to the previous screen.
a | s | d
Increase the upload throttle by 1/5/50 KB.
A | S | D
Increase the download throttle by 1/5/50 KB.
z | x | c
Decrease the upload throttle by 1/5/50 KB.
Z | X | C
Decrease the download throttle by 1/5/50 KB.


View download.
1 - 7
Change view.
Start download.
Stop an active download, or remove a stopped download.
Close a torrent and its files.
Set the 'create/resize queued' flags on all files in a torrent. This is necessary if the underlying files in a torrent have been deleted or truncated, and thus rtorrent must recreate them.
Initiate hash check of torrent.
Change the destination directory of the download. The torrent must be closed.
Call commands or change settings.
Set download to perform initial seeding. Only use when you are the first and only seeder so far for the download.
+ | -
Change the priority of the download.
Add torrent using a URL or file path. Use tab to view directory content and do auto-complete.
View log. Exit by pressing the space-bar.
Delete the file the torrent is tied to, and clear the association.
Toggle whether torrent ignores ratio settings.


View torrent file list. Use the space-bar to change the file priority and * to change the priority of all files. Use / to collapse the directories. OUTDATED
1 | 2
Adjust max uploads.
3 | 4
Adjust min peers.
5 | 6
Adjust max peers.
Display transfering blocks.
Display chunk rarity.
Display the tracker list. Cycle the trackers in a group with the space-bar.
View peer and torrent information.
t | T
Initiate tracker request. Use capital T to force the request, ignoring the "min interval" set by the tracker.
Disconnect peer.
Choke/Snub peer.


-b a.b.c.d
Bind listening socket and outgoing connections to this network interface address.
-d directory
Set the default download directory. Defaults to "./".
Display help and exit.
-i a.b.c.d
Set the address reported to the tracker.
Don't load ~/.rtorrent.rc on startup.
-o key1=opt1,...
-O key=opt
Set any number of options, see the SETTINGS section. The options given here override the resource files. Use capital -O to allow comma in the option.
-p a-b
Try to open a listening port in the range a up to and including b.
-s directory
Session management will be enabled and the torrent files for all open downloads will be stored in this directory. Only one instance of rtorrent should be used with each session directory, though at the moment no locking is done. An empty string will disable the session directory.


bind = a.b.c.d
Bind listening socket and outgoing connections to this network interface address.
ip = a.b.c.d
ip = hostname
Set the address reported to the tracker.
port_range = a-b
Try to open a listening port in the range a up to and including b.
port_random = yes | no
Open the listening port at a random position in the port range.
check_hash = yes | no
Perform hash check on torrents that have finished downloading.
directory = directory
Set the default download directory. Defaults to "./".
session = directory
Session management will be enabled and the torrent files for all open downloads will be stored in this directory. Only one instance of rtorrent can be used per session directory. An empty string will disable the session directory.
http_proxy = url
Use a http proxy. Use an empty string to disable.
encoding_list = encoding
Add a preferred filename encoding to the list. The encodings are attempted in the order they are inserted, if none match the torrent default is used.
encryption = option,...
Set how rtorrent should deal with encrypted Bittorrent connections. By default, encryption is disabled, equivalent to specifying the option none. Alternatively, any number of the following options may be specified:

allow_incoming (allow incoming encrypted connections), try_outgoing (use encryption for outgoing connections), require (disable unencrypted handshakes), require_RC4 (also disable plaintext transmission after the initial encrypted handshake), enable_retry (if the initial outgoing connection fails, retry with encryption turned on if it was off or off if it was on), prefer_plaintext (choose plaintext when peer offers a choice between plaintext transmission and RC4 encryption, otherwise RC4 will be used).

peer_exchange = yes | no
Enable/disable peer exchange for torrents that aren't marked private. Disabled by default.
schedule = id,start,interval,command
Call command every interval seconds, starting from start. An interval of zero calls the task once, while a start of zero calls it immediately. Currently command is forwarded to the option handler. start and interval may optionally use a time format, dd:hh:mm:ss. F.ex to start a task every day at 18:00, use 18:00:00,24:00:00.
schedule_remove = id
Delete id from the scheduler.
start_tied =
Start torrents that are tied to filenames that have been re-added.
stop_untied =
close_untied =
remove_untied =
Stop, close or remove the torrents that are tied to filenames that have been deleted. Clear the association with the 'U' key.
close_low_diskspace = space
Close any active torrents on filesystems with less than space diskspace left. Use with the schedule option. A default scheduled event with id low_diskspace is set to 500Mb.
load = file
load_verbose = file
load_start = file
load_start_verbose = file
Load and possibly start a file, or possibly multiple files by using the wild-card "*". This is meant for use with schedule, though ensure that the start is non-zero. The loaded file will be tied to the filename provided.
import = file
try_import = file
Load a resource file. try_import does not throw torrent::input_error exception on bad input.
stop_on_ratio = min_ratio
stop_on_ratio = min_ratio,min_upload
stop_on_ratio = min_ratio,min_upload,max_ratio
Stop torrents when they reach the given upload ratio min_ratio in percent. If the optional min_upload is given, require a total upload amount of this many bytes as well. If the optional max_ratio is given, stop the torrent when reaching this ratio regardless of the total upload amount. Exclude certain torrent by pressing Shift+I in the downlist list. Use with the schedule option.
on_insert = id,command
on_erase = id,command
on_open = id,command
on_close = id,command
on_start = id,command
on_stop = id,command
on_hash_queued = id,command
on_hash_removed = id,command
on_hash_done = id,command
on_finished = id,command
Call a command on a download when its state changes. Only a subset of commands are available.


upload_rate = KB
download_rate = KB
Set the maximum global uploand and download rates.
min_peers = value
max_peers = value
Set the minimum and maximum number of peers to allow in each download.
min_peers_seed = value
max_peers_seed = value
Set the minimum nad maximum number of peers to allow while seeding, or -1 (default) to use max_peers.
max_uploads = value
Set the maximum number of simultaneous uploads per download.
max_uploads_div = value
max_downloads_div = value
Change the divider used to calculate the max upload and download slots to use when the throttle is changed. Disable by setting 0.
max_uploads_global = value
max_downloads_global = value
Max upload and download slots allowed. Disable by setting 0.
throttle_up = name, upload_rate
throttle_down = name, download_rate
Define secondary throttle and/or set the given upload or download rate. Attach to a download with the d.set_throttle_name=name command or switch throttles with Ctrl-T. Download must be stopped when changing throttles. Note that secondary throttles only work if the global upload/download is throttled. Setting a download to use the NULL throttle makes the download unthrottled even when there is a global throttle. Note that this special case bypasses the global throttle entirely, and as such its rate and transfer amounts are not included in the global statistics.
throttle_ip = name, host
throttle_ip = name, network/prefix
throttle_ip = name, start, end
Use the given secondary throttle for a host, CIDR network or IP range. All peers with a matching IP will use this throttle instead of the global throttle or a custom download throttle. The name may be NULL to make these peers unthrottled, with the same caveats as explained above.


Tracker related settings.

enable_trackers = yes
Set to no to disable all tracker requests. Useful for disabling rtorrent with the schedule command.
tracker_dump = filename
Dump tracker requests to filename, disable by supplying an empty string. Only torrents loaded while tracker_dump contains a non-empty string will be logged at the moment, although disabling it will work as expected.
tracker_numwant = number
Set the numwant field sent to the tracker, which indicates how many peers we want. A negative value disables this feature.
use_udp_trackers = yes
Use UDP trackers. Disable if you are behind a firewall, etc, that does not allow connections to UDP trackers.
dht = disabled|off|auto|on
Support for querying the distributed hash table (DHT) to find peers for trackerless torrents or when all trackers are down. Set to disable to completely disable DHT, off (default) to enable DHT but to not start the DHT server, auto to automatically start and stop the DHT server as needed or on for permanently keeping the DHT server running. When set to automatic, the DHT server will start up when the first non-private torrent is started, and will stop 15-30 minutes after the last non-private torrent is stopped (or when rTorrent quits). For DHT to work, a session directory must be set (for saving the DHT cache).
dht_port = number
Set the UDP listen port for DHT. Defaults to 6881.
dht_add_node = host[:port]
Not intended for use in the configuration file but as one-time option in the client or on the command line to bootstrap an empty DHT node table. Contacts the given node and attempts to bootstrap from it if it replies. The port is optional, with port 6881 being used by default.
http_capath = path
http_cacert = filename
Set the certificates to use in http requests. See Curl's CURLOPT_CAPATH and CURLOPT_CAINFO options for further information.


Display related settings.

view_add = name
Create a new view.
view_sort = name
view_sort = name,seconds
Sort a view according the the criteria set by view_sort_current. If the optional argument is supplied, the view is not sorted if a change happened during the last seconds. This command is meant to be used with schedule.
view_sort_new = name,...
view_sort_current = name,...
Set the sorting criteria for when new elements inserted or view_sort is called. The list can contain any number of criteria, including zero, from the following:

name, name_reverse, stopped, started, complete, incomplete, state_changed, state_changed_reverse

key_layout = qwerty|azerty|qwertz|dvorak
Change the key-bindings.


File-system related settings.

max_file_size = size
Set the maximum size a file can have. Disable by passing -1.
split_file_size = size
Split files in a torrent larger than size into seperate files. Disable by passing -1.
split_suffix = string
Set the suffix used on split files. Defaults to .part.


Settings that require a download as a target, the options need to be called through f.ex on_finished.

create_link = type,path,suffix
delete_link = type,path,suffix
Create or delete a symbolic link. The link path is the concatenation of path, the result of the type on the download, and suffix.

Available types are; base_path uses the base path of the download, base_filename uses the base filename of the download, tied uses the path of the file the download is tied to, see start_tied.



This list contains settings users shouldn't need to touch, some may even cause crashes or similar if incorrectly set.

hash_read_ahead = MB
Configure how far ahead we ask the kernel to read when doing hash checking. The hash checker uses madvise(..., MADV_WILLNEED) for the requests.
hash_interval = ms
Interval between attempts to check the hash when the chunk is not in memory, in milliseconds.
hash_max_tries = tries
Number of attempts to check the hash while using the mincore status, before forcing. Overworked systems might need lower values to get a decent hash checking rate.
safe_sync = yes|no
Always use MS_SYNC rather than MS_ASYNC when syncing chunks. This may be nessesary in case of filesystem bugs like NFS in linux ~2.6.13.
max_open_files = value
Number of files to simultaneously keep open. LibTorrent dynamically opens and closes files as necessary when mapping files to memory. Default is based on sysconf(_SC_OPEN_MAX). You probably only think you know what this option does, so don't touch it.
max_open_sockets = value
Number of network sockets to simultaneously keep open. This value is set to a reasonable value based on sysconf(_SC_OPEN_MAX).
max_open_http = value
Number of sockets to simultaneously keep open. This value is set to 32 by default.
max_memory_usage = bytes
Set the max amount of memory space used to mapping file chunks. This may also be set using ulimit -m where 3/4 will be allocated to file chunks.
send_buffer_size = value
receive_buffer_size = value
Adjust the send and receive buffer size for socket.
umask = 0022
Set the umask for this process, which is applied to all files created by the program.
cwd = directory
Changes the working directory of the process using chdir.
session_on_completion = yes
Controls if the session torrent is saved when a torrent finishes. By default on.
session_lock = yes
Controls if a lock file is created in the session directory on startup.
session_save =
Save the session files for all downloads.
tos = default|lowdelay|throughput|reliability|mincost
tos = hex
Change the TOS of peer connections, by default set to throughput. If the option is set to default then the system default TOS is used. A hex value may be used for non-standard settings.
handshake_log = yes
Enable logging of the peer handshake. This generates a large number of log messages, but may be useful to debug connection problems.


Jari "Rakshasa" Sundell <jaris@ifi.uio.no>