Hard Drives

In order to store your torrents, you will need a large hard drive (1TB goes for $50-60 these days). You can either:

  • Buy a prebuilt external hard drive. - These come in aesthetically appealing cases with USB3.0 (2.0 compatible) output built-in. If you have a new
  • Grab a spare drive from a broken laptop/desktop and plug it into a SATA to USB (2.0/3.0) adapter. This is only worth it if you have a broken computer to spare.

  • USB 2.0 (480Mbps) - The Raspberry Pi, and most other ARM boards only support USB 2.0. Should have enough bandwidth for quite a few torrents.
  • USB 3.0 (5Gbps) - There are a few special boards that support USB 3.0, which runs at very high speed.
  • SATA III - Using a direct SATA connection reduces overhead. Only a very small number of ARM boards support it.

Filesystems to Use

  • EXT4 - The best filesystem, performance-wise, since it is native to Linux. If you are going to use FTP/SSH to remotely access your files, (or you primarily use Linux), use this filesystem.
  • NTFS - Windows and Mac OS X don't have very good support for EXT4, so if you are going to physically access your hard drive with a USB cable, use NTFS. Unfortunately, NTFS-3G on Linux adds extra processing overhead, slowing down the Pi, so be aware.

Automatically Mount Hard Drive

Note: If you will use more than 1 hard disk, follow these instructions instead.

If you have no other hard disks (such as on the Raspberry Pi), add something like the following to /etc/fstab to automatically mount your hard disk. (make sure to mkdir /mnt/usbdisk as root)

Note: Obviously, change ext4 to ntfs if your hard disk uses that filesystem.

   /dev/sda1    /mnt/usbdisk    ext4    rw,defaults 0   0

Note: /dev/sdX, where the X refers to the order the hard drive was detected (a-z). The number after represents the partition. Thus, /dev/sda1 means the first hard drive's first partition, so change it if necessary.

The /dev/sda1 style relative /etc/fstab entry has the added benefit of mounting whatever hard drive/USB disk is attached at boot. You're not limited to the original hard drive.

Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a $35 computer that consumes less energy than a lightbulb. Great value for the small time torrenter.

  • rutorrent (Automatic Script) - A handy WebUI for rtorrent, the most efficient torrent client for weaker devices. This automated script sets up everything you need in a flash, even Nginx. Make sure to make the necessary config changes. (we should probably modify it to prompt the user for config changes...)
  • rutorrent (Manual Method) - Manual method if you want to set it up on your own, with Apache or something.


  • Weak CPU and low RAM - Obviously, we don't expect much from a motherboard designed to be used on a router. But it should be good enough for 10 concurrent torrents or so. Rtorrent is the most efficient client for weaker devices, so we recommend that.
  • Because of the Raspberry Pi's weak CPU, running a media server while torrenting is totally out of the question. If you want the ability to run both XBMC and a torrent client,
  • USB 2.0 Storage only - There is no option for high speed SATA or USB 3.0. Even the SDCard runs on a USB 2.0 Bus. If you only download a few torrents at a time, and at 1-5MB/s, this shouldn't be too problematic. But if you download a huge wave of torrents all at once, it might be better to look elsewhere.

Install Raspbian

Set up SSH

Chances are, you'd probably want to control and update your Raspberry Pi over the internet, instead of physically going to the Raspberry Pi and plugging in a keyboard and monitor.

SSH is an encrypted method of accessing your Linux server's console from anywhere in the world.


If you demand USB3.0, the ability to download huge waves of torrents, Quad-Core ARM CPU, all while running a streaming media server (like XBMC) at the same time; the ODROID XU3 Lite is for you.

It has the same Quad-Core Exynos processor as a Galaxy S4, but costs only $99.