Raspberry Pi Torrent Server – From Scratch

As requested, this is a guide to taking a Raspberry Pi and turning it into an always on Torrent box, complete and self-sufficient with its own mass storage meaning it needs no help from other computers. Also, as the Pi consumes such little power compared to a full desktop PC, money can be saved by using the Pi for overnight transfers while other computers can remain off.


For this project I recommend a RPi 2, as its powerful enough to perform the transfers up to its maximum 100Mbps network speed, and is a cheaper choice since the RPi 3 superseded it last year. To get started, you need the following hardware:

  • Raspberry Pi 2 board.
  • Micro USB wall adaptor – Needs to be capable of 2Amp output.
  • Micro SD card – Minimum of 8GB, class 6 or above, plus SD adaptor for connecting to a PC.
  • USB Portable Hard drive – USB powered is preferred, I use a Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB.
  • Ethernet Cable – And spare port on the modem/router for internet connection.
  • A PC – On the same network as the Pi for connection and configuring.

The Pi was designed to as low cost as possible to the user, so apart from the Pi board you may already have everything to run a Pi, and if not these are cheap and easily available online.

With a RPi 2 at hand, let’s get started…

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Connecting to a Headless Raspberry Pi

A great feature of the Raspberry Pi is that it can be fully used as a headless unit, meaning it does not need a monitor, keyboard or any other input device connected. This is great when running it as a server or for automated processes that require the unit to be tucked away.

What is annoying is that setting up the Pi for the first time may need those input devices to be able to configure the network and install applications. Thankfully there is a way to connect to a headless Pi from the start, with it only needing power and Ethernet connection.

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Its Alive!

Finally, 4 days after delivery I finally get my Raspberry Pi powered up and functioning!


First off, Debian Squeeze was installed, Samba added and worked out what is could, or could not do. Then it was about deciding what to do with it, first thoughts were a web server to host this Blog, but that was quickly solved by my other purchase of 4GB RAM for my Server.

The second choice was a media server, initially this looked dubious considering its performance when running Debian. But a bit of research yielded a program called xbmc, which in essence is a Linux version of Windows Media Centre. Further searching revelled a new project called Raspbmc, I thought I’d share this:

Xbmc running on a Raspberry Pi

Raspbmc is built on a custom Linux platform that boots straight into xbmc and so acts as a purpose media player exclusively for the Raspberry Pi, and is tailored to new users not up to scratch with *nix. So much so it installs to a SD card via a single click of a program running in Windows or Mac OS X.

So far it is in Beta stage but stable, it is clear that the xbmc software on which it is based is designed for more powerful hardware than a RPi, the menus can slow and seem jerky if requesting menus in quick succession, but video playback is unaffected and is just as smooth as my Intel Core i7 laptop.

For now it suits me fine, the Pi as a media player is excellent for my needs. The fact that a quick swap of the SD card changes it from media player to desktop means I still explore Linux through Debian without messing with my current setup.