Four ways to start torrent downloads remotely
There's more than one way to skin a cat. Today's cat: starting torrent downloads on your computer from a remote location!
The first two options require 1) your home machine's address and 2) a forwarded port on your router. If you're on a dynamic IP connection like me, a DDNS updating service like Dyndns.org makes finding your machine much easier - it gives you an easy-to-remember, permanent address likemycomputerathome.dyndns.org. Not too sure how to set up port forwarding on your router? Check out PortForward.com for help with just about any brand or model.
If you'd rather not mess around with port forwarding and dynamic dns, you might want to try setting up Hamachi or Comodo Easy VPN on your machines. Either one will provide you LAN-like access to your main computer with minimal fuss (apart from installing and configuring a new program).
Or you could skip the zero-config VPN software and check out the last two options after the break - neither of which require you to know your home system's address or change any router settings.
Now let's get started!
Using Your Client's WebUI (pictured above)
uTorrent, Transmission, and Deluge all offer a web-based control panel for their clients. Getting remote access is as simple as opening the appropriate port on your router and then opening the right address in your web browser.
For uTorrent, you may need to download the webui.zip from their forums and save it to your %appdata%\utorrent folder.
With P2P Transfer Client/Server (Windows)
If your preferred client doesn't have a web interface option, P2P transfer provides a simple workaround. Install the server component on your download machine and the client on any machine from which you want to remotely initiate downloads. There's even a Windows Mobile client so you can start transfers from your smartphone.
The client passes your torrents' hashes back to the server which tells your system to fire up the default torrent client and begin downloading. Just make sure you set your torrent app to begin transfers automatically, or you'll come home to a screen full of dialog boxes.
As with a web interface, you'll need your home machine's address and a forwarded port for this to work.
Most decent torrent clients support subscribing to an RSS feed - the trick is finding the right place to create the feed. A number of sites allow you to subscribe to RSS, but try it with "Windows 7," for example, and see what happens. You'll probably end up with duplicate downloads and other unwanted files.
The pesonalized feeds on Mininova and PirateBay allow you to add only what you want, though you're limited to torrent that can be found on their searches. FeedMyTorrents requires one more step - you've got to find the torrent elsewhere then add it to your feed on FMT - but it will work with any torrent link you can copy, regardless of where you find it.
To create your own feed on any of the sites you'll need to register and log in, of course.
With a remote sync service and your client's watch folder
uTorrent, Vuze and Transmission have a handy feature that can automatically add torrents when they appear in a watched folder. Turning this into a way to initiate transfers remotely is fairly simple - set it to watch your local Box.Net orDropBox folder, for example, and you're good to go. If you're using Windows, sync.live.com is another good option.
When you save a torrent into the folder on your remote machine, it'll sync onto your download PC and the client will kick in and start the transfer.
Got another method you prefer? Share it in the comments!