Install SickBeard on Ubuntu in few simple steps

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Sick Beard is a wonderful set and forget python script to automatically download and pass TV show torrent files to torrent downloaders or NZB files to NZB downloaders. In this post, I will explain how to install SickBeard on Ubuntu, including Ubuntu Server 14.04 Trusty Tahr. It works through a feature-full web interface that allows managing TV shows and integrates very well with XBMC to provide an automated media center. In my other post, I explained how to install Sick Beard on Windows. If you are not comfortable with commandline or you do not want to follow this step-by-step guide, you may try our 1-step Sick Beard Installer (see its magic in operation in this Sick Beard installer video). In my other post, I described how to setup Sick Beard ThePirateBay edition. Now let us look at how to install Sick Beard on Ubuntu.

Sick Beard Features

Install SickBeard on UbuntuSick Beard watches for new episodes of your favorite shows and when they are posted it downloads them, sorts and renames them, and optionally generates metadata for them. A detailed post on SickBeard’s features and how they compare with its rival NzbDrone was presented in an earlier post. Sick Beard is very similar in operation to CouchPotato except that it works for TV Shows. If you install Sick Beard correctly, all the above functions should work flawlessly giving you automatic Usenet download and organization of TV Shows. Without further delay, lets install SickBeard on Ubuntu.

Before You Begin

Downloading HD content definitely requires a good unlimited Usenet account. We recommend unlimited plans from Newshosting, NewsDemon, or Astraweb. All currently offer over 2000 days of retention, secure SSL connections, and unlimited bandwidth unlike some of the other Usenet providers.

ProviderPlanFeaturesCost / Offer Link
>2000 days retention, SSL, 30 connections, & free Usenet browser$9.99 / month
$99.99 / year ($8.33 / month)
>2000 days retention, Unlimited, SSL, 50 connections, Unlimited online storage, & free Newsreader$10.00 / month
AstrawebUnlimited DSL
>2000 days retention, SSL, and 20 connections$11.00 / month
$96.00 / year ($8.00 / month)
For more plans that may fit your needs please read our Usenet plan selection guide.

Step 1: Install the Essentials

You may setup SickBeard by downloading the latest version from here and extracting. But I recommend running it from source (to keep up with the latest features and bug fixes) using Python with git as the updater. If you do not have python and git installed already, install them and python-cheetah (also needed) using the command below:

sudo apt-get install git-core python python-cheetah

Step 2: Install SickBeard on Ubuntu

First, if you already have a .sickbeard folder in your home directory (/home/$USER) from a previous install you may rename the folder and save it for now while you setup SickBeard. If your previous Sick Beard installation is in your home folder then from there do the following:

sudo mv .sickbeard .sickbeard_old

After your new Sick Beard is running you can delete the previous version’s folder (.sickbeard_old).

Next, to install SickBeard on Ubuntu, move to your home directory (or any other directory) and clone a copy of Sick Beard git repository:

cd ~
git clone git:// .sickbeard

This will download the contents to the folder .sickbeard. The “.” in the front keeps the .sickbeard folder hidden. That is all there is to it. It is that easy to install SickBeard on Ubuntu.

At a later stage, to update Sick Beard setup, just go into .sickbeard folder and type:

git pull

You may also update Sick Beard from the web interface by going into Settings->Force Version Check or by clicking on the “Update Now” notification that would appear on top of the screen whenever there is an update available.

Install SickBeard Ubuntu

Sick Beard Update Notification

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Step 3: Start Sick Beard

After you install SickBeard on Ubuntu, there is one thing that you will have to do before you start Sick Beard. Create autoProcessTV.cfg in /home/USER/.sickbeard/autoProcessTV/:

cd ~/.sickbeard
cp -a autoProcessTV/autoProcessTV.cfg.sample autoProcessTV/autoProcessTV.cfg

Then, use the following command to start:

python ~/.sickbeard/ -q

Sick Beard is now running on your system (unless you encounter any errors). SickBeard default port is 8081. So you can access the Sick Beard web interface by going to:


If your Sick Beard is on your internal network and port 8081 is not blocked, you can also access it through its network IP address (see example below):

If you have port forwarding enabled on your router and you have a domain name referring to your server running Sick Beard, you may also view it through the internet using your domain name:

For now, http://localhost:8081 should be enough.

Step 4: Configure Sick Beard

After you install SickBeard on Ubuntu, follow my other post to learn how to use Sick Beard and configure it. It explains all the settings in detail with screenshots. After configuring your Sick Beard, you may return to this post and continue. In order to make Sick Beard function properly, you will have to install and configure SABnzbd to listen to downloads requests from Sick Beard. Refer to my guide on installing and setting up SickBeard and SABnzbd to properly automate downloading TV Shows. As mentioned earlier, you also require a reliable Usenet account. You may get a free Usenet account as described in this post, or go with a reliable Usenet service from Astraweb or Newshosting.

Newshosting Unlimited Usenet

Step 5: Autostart Sick Beard

Manually starting Sick Beard all the time can be cumbersome. Therefore, after you install SickBeard on Ubuntu Server, enable autostart SickBeard at boot as described below. Before proceeding, use the following commands to clean any previous installation of Sick Beard running with autostarting enabled (with the init script name sickbeard):

sudo rm /etc/init.d/sickbeard
sudo rm /etc/default/sickbeard
sudo update-rc.d -f sickbeard remove

If you installed Sick Beard following this guide exactly then it should be installed in /home/user/.sickbeard/, where user is your username. cd into the /home/user/.sickbeard folder:

cd ~/.sickbeard/

For Ubuntu, there are 2 files of importance. First copy the file init.ubuntu to /etc/init.d/sickbeard (note the new file name is sickbeard) and give the file execute permissions (issue the following commands one by one):

sudo cp ~/.sickbeard/init.ubuntu /etc/init.d/sickbeard
sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/sickbeard

Then, create a new file called sickbeard in /etc/default folder:

sudo nano /etc/default/sickbeard

Add the following contents to it:

SB_HOME and SB_DATA are important. They are the folder in which SickBeard is installed and database is stored, respectively. Typically, they refer to the same folder. SB_USER should be your Ubuntu username. Save and exit. Then, give the file execute permission using the following command:

sudo chmod +x /etc/default/sickbeard

Finally, update boot sequence:

sudo update-rc.d sickbeard defaults

From now on, you can manually start and stop SickBeard app using the following commands:

sudo service sickbeard start
sudo service sickbeard stop

Alternatively, you can create bash_aliases to simplify starting, stopping, and restarting Sick Beard using shortcut commands.

Optional Improvements

That is all there is to Sick Beard installation. Go ahead Install SickBeard on Ubuntu and enjoy.

DISCLAIMER: This post is for informational purpose only. We in no way support or encourage illegal downloading or watching of copyrighted material. Please read our full disclaimer.

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  1. silentjay1980 says

    Thanks for this, except when i run sickbeard, i cannot return to command. then if i close the terminal window connected to my vps sickbeard stops running. I dont want to have a local machine running 24/7 and i certainly dont need a terminal window open all the time.

    • says

      I understand. It is possible to do what you want to do. There are two ways you can do that:

      1. If you followed Step 5 Autostart Sick Beard, then you can use the following commands to start or stop sick beard:

      sudo /etc/init.d/sickbeard start
      sudo /etc/init.d/sickbeard stop

      Closing the terminal window will not close sick beard.

      2. The other way to do it if you do not want to mess with init scripts or autostarting is by using the following command to start sick beard:

      nohup python ~/.sickbeard/ >/dev/null 2>&1 &

      The above command will start the sick beard process in the background and return to commandline. It will also generate no output. If you want a output file (nohup.out file with sick beard process output) generated then use then remove the >/dev/null 2>&1 part (leave the & at the end).

      Hope this helps.

  2. AtariBaby says

    Hi above after sudo nano /etc/default/sickbeard “add the following content to it”, the code is blocked out by the social networking box. Once you cilck the x, then the code is visible.

  3. Bash says

    I keep getting an error while trying to add Sickbeard as a service the error is:

    /usr/bin/python: can’t open file ‘': [Errno 2] No such file or directory

    Any ideas why?

  4. Glen says

    This was helpful; next I’m going to try and set-up the script to get it working with Mythtv. (Last time was a real challenge as the sickbeard script for mythtv didn’t match the data model and I had to debug it/ modify the table insert/update sql).
    For now, I’m just going to put the shows in the “videos” folder in /var/lib/mythtv/videos

    Thanks again.

  5. somila says

    I get this error when i restart the service

    PID dir: /var/run/sickbeard must be writable (write permissions). Exiting.

    • boris says

      You probably need to edit /etc/default/sickbeard and change all entries (below) by your own user name.

      # COPY THIS FILE TO /etc/default/sickbeard

      • boris says

        Some of my previous message got erased so :

        You probably need to edit /etc/default/sickbeard and change all “user” entries (below) by your own user name.

        # COPY THIS FILE TO /etc/default/sickbeard

  6. boris says

    First, thnaks for this excellent step by step tuto on how to install and set up SB.

    I’m stuck at the end of the process when i want to manually start or stop SB, I’m getting the same sort of error as Somila.

    Starting SickBeard
    Data directory: /home/user/.sickbeard must be writable (write permissions). Exiting.

    Any clue ?


    • boris says

      I manage to solve this issue by changing the permission of the directory with this command (where is your ubuntu username) :

      sudo chown -R /home//.sickbeard/

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