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Install Transmission with web interface on Ubuntu

Transmission bittorrent is probably the most common bittorent client for Linux platforms. Transmission web interface is like a thin client yet feature-rich and aesthetically pleasing. Bittorrent client for Windows and Linux are both available. I have previously written articles on how to install Deluge with webui on Lucid Lynx server and Precise Pangolin server. I initially started with Deluge but Transmission quickly became my favorite due to its simplicity, ease of install, and yet feature-full webui. In this post, I provide instructions on how to setup server running Ubuntu 12.04 with Transmission (with or without gui interface and with web interface). This method works on previous versions of Ubuntu as well (>10.04). While this post explains how to run Transmission web interface on a headless server, if you are running a desktop environment, installing a Gtk or Qt interface is just one step away.

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About Transmission

Install Transmission with Web InterfaceTransmission is a completely free open-source application.

Transmission’s website describes it as:

Easy: Transmission is designed for easy, powerful use. We’ve set the defaults to “Just Work” and it only takes a few clicks to configure advanced features like watch directories, bad peer blocklists, and the web interface. When Ubuntu chose Transmission as its default BitTorrent client, one of the most-cited reasons was its easy learning curve.

Lean: In separate benchmarks, Linux Format and Lacrocivious both found Transmission to use less CPU than any other GUI client. It even used less CPU than some non-GUI clients. Transmission also has the lowest memory footprint of any major BitTorrent client.

Native: Unlike many cross-platform applications, Transmission integrates seamlessly with your operating system. The Mac OS X interface is written in Objective-C and uses Growl notifications and dock badging to keep you informed. The GTK+ interface has been carefully written to follow the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines. If your desktop supports popup notifications, desktop sounds, and a system tray, the GTK+ interface will make use of them.

Powerful: Transmission has the features you want from a BitTorrent client: encryption, a web interface, peer exchange, magnet links, DHT, µTP, UPnP and NAT-PMP port forwarding, webseed support, watch directories, tracker editing, global and per-torrent speed limits, and more.

In addition, it has a wealth of addons and other relevant applications.

Step 1: Add Transmission PPA Repository

Transmission is readily available in Ubuntu repository. However, Ubuntu repository is usually a bit slow on updating versions. So if you are like me and would like to have the latest version as soon as possible, then add the PPA repository as described below. If not proceed to step 2.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:transmissionbt/ppa

Step 2: Install Transmission Web Interface

Then update packages list and install Transmission:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install transmission-cli transmission-common transmission-daemon

If you want the full desktop gui software then use:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install transmission-gtk transmission-cli transmission-common transmission-daemon

Step 3: Configure Users and Permissions

It is recommended that Transmission runs under it’s own username for security reasons. This creates a few issues with file and folder access by Transmission as well as your account (let us assume it is user). You will have to create a new set of folders for Transmission to read/write/execute (example: transmission folder containing these subfolders: completed, incomplete, and torrents). The account user also needs full control over these folders and their contents. I recommend reading this post to familiarize yourself with safely changing user groups and permissions.

First, cd to the desired folder and create a folder for Transmission to use:

cd /home/user/Downloads
mkdir transmission
cd transmission
mkdir completed incomplete torrents

Then, add the username user to the group debian-transmission:

sudo usermod -a -G debian-transmission user

This will add debian-transmission as a secondary group to the account user, resulting in access to both Transmission and user. Then, change the ownership of the Transmission download folders to the group debian-transmission:

sudo chgrp -R debian-transmission /home/user/Downloads/transmission

Next, change the permissions for the transmission download folders to allow read, write, and execute for Transmission and user:

sudo chmod -R 775 /home/user/Downloads/transmission

This gives the group debian-transmission, of which both Transmission and user are members of, full access while others get only read and execute permissions. If you want to further restrict access for others you could use 774 (read only) or 770 (no access).

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Finally, as described later, you will also have to set the umask parameter in Transmission’s settings file to “2” (default is 18) for the account user to have full access to files/folders created by Transmission.

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to fully install Transmission

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About the author


Anand is a self-learned computer enthusiast, a part-time blogger, and a Food Scientist by career. He has been blogging since 2010 on Linux, Ubuntu, Home/Media/File Servers, Smart Home Automation, and related HOW-TOs on htpcbeginner.com and smarthomebeginner.com.