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TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

By Kurt Edelbrock on March 20, 2008 (6:00:00 PM)

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TorrentFlux is a BitTorrent client that runs on top of a server running Apache, MySQL, and PHP. It extends the functionality of traditional clients by operating almost entirely through a Web browser interface. It uses the BitTornado client in the background to manage the queuing, downloading, and seeding of torrent files. You can run TorrentFlux on your home machine and access it through a folder on a Web server. You can also install it on an external host to increase bandwidth and transfer speeds.

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol that allows users to transfer large files without a central distributor. Users download files in small pieces from a variety of sources scattered across the Internet. BitTorrent is especially popular for the distribution of Linux CD and DVD images, which can range in size from 700GB to as large as 4GB for DVD images. BitTorrent relies on users 'seeding' their files after they finish downloading them -- that is, refraining from closing their client or deleting the data to allow other users to download portions of the file from them, which increases transfer rates across the board.

TorrentFlux is a persistent BitTorrent client -- that is, if your Apache service is active, TorrentFlux will be active as well. This allows you to seed files without explicitly remembering to open a BitTorrent client, which is helpful if you use torrent file services that require a high share ratio -- the amount uploaded divided by the amount downloaded -- to use the tracker.

If your server is accessible to the outside world, you can allow other users to use TorrentFlux to download files by creating a username and password for them. This multiuser support is made even better through a variety of features, including file queuing and active download limitations. File queuing controls the order in which torrent files are downloaded, creating a first-come-first-served system for your users. You can also limit the number of active downloads per user in order to save bandwidth and maintain acceptable transfer speeds, and to stop specific users from hogging the server. You create, edit, and delete users through an easy-to-use administrative panel. You can also grant administrative status to multiple users.

You can add torrent files by typing in a URL, browsing for the file on your hard drive, or using the built-in search feature. Search can be expanded to include other Web sites and trackers by adding modules from the developer Web site. Also, users have the option of adding RSS feeds -- lists of torrents on a certain topic, keyword, or genre -- in order to quickly access sequential files and download updates. The interface is basic HTML, and you can use a variety of included stylesheets and images to change the theme or create your own.

Because TorrentFlux is flexible and offers myriad options, its logging system is essential to managing the server and keeping tabs on users. There are detailed logs for the server, as well as activity logs that record which users have been using the server and what they have been uploading and downloading. This is essential for administrators who worry about the potential for copyright violations.

You can easily retrieve files from the Web server via a browser using the built-in file explorer. Navigate to the files and folders you want, download them directly, or transfer them as a compressed .tar or .zip file. More advanced users can retrieve data through a protocol like FTP or SCP, which is especially useful for those who use remote hosting.

If users need to contact each other, they can send private messages to each other through the TorrentFlux interface.

Installation directions

To install TorrentFlux, you need to have Apache, MySQL, and PHP installed and configured. If you don't have them already, you can get them all in Ubuntu by typing sudo tasksel install lamp-server; users of other distributions can use their package management systems., or you can download TorrentFlux by going to the developer site and selecting the .tar.gz file, or run wget http://www.torrentflux.com/torrentflux_2.3.tar.gz at the command prompt. Then navigate to the folder where the .tar.gz file resides, extract it, and copy it to the HTML folder for your Apache installation:

tar -zxvf torrentflux.tar.gz mv torrentflux /var/www/torrentflux

Replace /var/www/torrentflux with the path to your HTML folder if it differs from this default. Next, create the MySQL database where TorrentFlux will keep all of your data. You can create a database named 'torrentflux' and dump in the SQL with phpMyAdmin, or you can execute the following from a command line (you need to do this from the Apache HTML directory i.e. /var/www/torrentflux):

mysqladmin create torrentflux mysql torrentflux < sql/mysql_torrentflux.sql

Edit the config.php file and insert your MySQL information in the section labeled 'YOUR DATABASE CONNECTION INFORMATION.' You'll need the address of your Web server (generally 'localhost'), the name of the database ('torrentflux' if you followed the directions above), your username, and your password. When you get that taken care of, point your browser to the TorrentFlux directory (http://localhost/torrentflux) and you should be greeted by a login screen. Create your administrator account, and then you're on your way to having an incredibly useful and powerful BitTorrent client.

Kurt Edelbrock is a technology journalist, blogger, and university student. He writes for a variety of open source publications, and serves as a technical consultant for a large public university.

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on TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

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TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.156.241.173] on March 20, 2008 07:15 PM
Isn't Torrentflux abandoned? I use torrentflux-b4rt, seems more up to date and based on Torrentflux.

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TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.115.15.157] on March 20, 2008 08:10 PM
Torrentflux-b4rt is also dead in the water, and unsecure.
Out of options.

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TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.222.138.61] on March 20, 2008 08:46 PM
Since when CDs can store 700GB? :)
Torrentflux is good, but it could start during server startup (if it crashes). That would be great. I think BTG has something like that, but I'm too lazy to test it. :)

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TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.83.145.130] on March 21, 2008 02:23 AM
I wonder how Torrentflux would work on a shared hosting environment. Something like Dreamhost or Bluehost?

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A CRIMINAL'S TOOLS!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.209.64.185] on March 21, 2008 04:59 AM
Stop stealing and bit torrential will die the painful death it deserves!

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Re: A CRIMINAL'S TOOLS!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.181.78.100] on March 23, 2008 05:27 AM
Bittorrent is used for distributing content. The content is not necessarily bound by any copyrights. You should do some reading on the copyright system before making such uninformed comments

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Re: A CRIMINAL'S TOOLS!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 74.233.225.87] on March 24, 2008 11:22 PM
Stop being stupid. Since when was using ftp or http (ie, the web) a "criminal's tool"? Peer2peer sharing is ftp/http but more efficient on the central server. It means no single server's bandwidth takes a superhit, but everyone downloading takes a small hit instead as they pass on their downloaded chunks to other downloaders.

Hey, do something useful. Download a Linux distro (since these can be redistributed ad infinitum in most cases) and then start a torrent to take the pressure off the main server.

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TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

Posted by: Fabio on March 21, 2008 01:54 PM
In what way is Torrentflux-b4rt more insecure than Torrentflux?
Downloading is not illegal in Holland(http://www.euro-copyrights.org/index.php/1/37, link is not working at the moment), where I am located.
Also, there's a lot of copyright free material out there.
But that's an entire other discussion.

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TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.202.65.164] on March 21, 2008 03:44 PM

TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 125.254.71.58] on March 23, 2008 06:07 AM
I gave TorerntFlux a go a while ago. Couldn't quite get it to work, but I like the idea. Surely it's unnecessarily heavyweight to build it on top of Apache, MySQL, and PHP, though. Not that each of those components is heavyweight, for what each does, but it seems like it's hitting a nail with a sledgehammer.

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Clutch

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 199.111.194.170] on March 23, 2008 02:47 PM
I used to use Torrentflux, but I switched to Clutch, the web interface for Transmission.

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TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 142.162.12.220] on March 23, 2008 03:29 PM
I've been running torrentflux on an old linux box connected to a USB 500gb I had kicking around, and running uShare to stream video to my 360. Works pretty well, although sometimes MySQL seems to really slow down the machine which is bizarre considering I'm the only user so it's not like it's under a really heavy load. I just attribute that to my inexperience with MySQL, though.

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TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.36.103.90] on March 26, 2008 05:05 PM
I was using torrentflux for quite some time. I saw torrentflux-b4rt on this thread and switched over the other day. The difference in performance and features is like night and day. I highly recommend going though the extra steps to get b4rt running indstead. I also wrote a howto on setting up the ipblock package (think peer guardian for linux) in a headless/gui-less configuration (not a feature which can be done from the default package). check it out here: http://www.the-little-things.net/blog/?p=9

As for security, only you should have the front-end access to the site (if you are running it open to the world at least .htaccess it!). Then just setup the open ports for torrent clients on your firewall to that machine. The b4rt version of torrentflux allows you to choose your torrent client from a nice list. Set up this way the security falls squarely on the client and not the server.

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TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.191.122.15] on March 29, 2008 01:19 PM
any othere script which actually work? and easy to install?

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TorrentFlux: A BitTorrent client on a server

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.36.102.28] on April 02, 2008 03:51 PM
Have been using TorrentFlux for a few months now - love it to bits.

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