It isn't particularly difficult to start a torrent download, but if you're not at your main computer, starting a download and controlling your queue from afar can be a pain. Install one of these browser extensions in Chrome or Firefox to streamline your BitTorrent downloads, letting you monitor your torrents from any computer and start new ones with one click.
While magnet links have become pretty popular for .torrent-free downloads, and watch folders are always useful, the most common way to start a torrent download involves downloading the .torrent file and adding it to your BitTorrent client (like uTorrent or Transmission). If you aren't on the BitTorrent-enabled machine, it's even more drawn out: you have to download the torrent and add it through your client's web interface or sync it to a watched folder using something like Dropbox. With these handy Chrome and Firefox extensions, however, you can add new torrents to your queue — and control your BitTorrent downloads — no matter where you are, with just a click of the mouse.
What These Extensions Do
Below, we've picked one extension for each of the popular browser/BitTorrent client combo — what you use will depend on your BitTorrent client and web browser of choice. Each extension serves two purposes:
- They give you quick access to your BitTorrent client's web interface
- They let you add torrents to the queue from the context menu (even if your BitTorrent app-of-choice is running on a different machine).
Each extension has its idiosyncrasies, but they all do mostly the same thing: make BitTorrent a super-easy, one-click affair from anywhere. So pick the right one for your needs below.
For uTorrent/Chrome users: uTorrent for Google Chrome lets you start any torrent just by right-clicking on the link and choosing "Remote Add This Torrent". You'll need uTorrent's web UI set up, and you'll need to input its IP address, port number, and authentication info into the uTorrent extension first. It also puts a button in your extension toolbar that gives you quick access to the web UI in a small drop-down menu, so you never need it wasting one of your open tabs.
For uTorrent/Firefox users: The uTorrent Status Tool for Firefox makes sure that BitTorrent is really out of your way unless you need it. After getting the uTorrent web UI set up and plugging your credentials into the Options menu, uTorrent Status sits in your add-on bar — or your navigation bar if you prefer — and monitors for torrent files. Any .torrent file you click on will automatically be sent to uTorrent instead of going to your downloads folder. Mousing over the uTorrent Status icon will show you how many seeds and peers you're connected to, as well as how fast your torrents are downloading. You can also click on it to navigate to the full web UI and control your torrents, or right click and mouse over "Open Web UI" to just see the status of your downloads.
For Transmission/Chrome users: If you're a Mac user, you can set up the Transmission web UI and control those torrents with Remote Transmission for Chrome. It adds a small button to your extension bar, from which you can view your active transfers without ever opening up a new tab. You can also add new torrents by right clicking on them and picking "Download with Remote Transmission". In addition, it'll give you a desktop notification whenever a torrent finishes downloading, which is nice.
For Transmission/Firefox users: If you're using Firefox on the Mac, you'll have to use the Add to Transmission extension. The only thing this extension does is let you add torrents via a right click — it doesn't offer quick access to the web interface or anything like that, but you can make up for it with a simple bookmark in your bookmarks bar. It isn't as feature filled as the others, but it still gets the main feature down: adding torrents quickly, seamlessly, and remotely.
Bonus: If You Use Usenet
We know some of you have moved away from BitTorrent in favour of Usenet, and we didn't want to leave you out. If you use SABnzbd, you'll want to check out both SABconnect++ for Chrome and nzbdStatus for Firefox. Both add small "Add to SAB" icons on popular NZB sites, and SABconnect++ even adds a drop-down download monitor to Chrome's extension toolbar. If you're more of a Usenet fan, you'll definitely want to check out these extensions too.
These extensions aren't earth-shattering, but they will make your life a little bit easier by saving you from all those clicks it takes to download a torrent and monitor it from afar. If you've got your own time-saving BitTorrent extension you're fond of, let us know about it in the comments.