Managing your torrents using your iPhone, with Transmission 1.4 Web Interface

by Milind Alvares

Managing your torrents using your iPhone, with Transmission 1.4 Web Interface

by Milind Alvares on November 19, 2008

For a while now, Transmission has included the “Clutch” web interface, which essentially allows you to control your torrents from anywhere in the world. However, with limited ‘newbie’ guides around, most of us are left to admiring the Web Interface from a distance.

However, I promised one of our commenters on the µTorrent for Mac post that I would get to the bottom of this. And with the release of Transmission 1.4, the WebUI finally went from beta to full version with a special iPhone optimised theme. So without delaying any further, here’s the Smoking Apples guide to managing your torrents from distant lands.

How to set up Transmission Web Interface on your iPhone

This is more of a networking tutorial than actually getting the Web UI on your iPhone. I assume you know your way around Mac OS X to go through this guide. Let’s start at the basics of enabling the Web UI.

In your Transmission preferences, navigate to the last tab “Remote”, and checkmark the web interface. You may enter a username and password if you choose. From there if you click the “Launch Web Interface”, Safari will load up the interface in it’s browser. Note the URL which will most probably be “http://localhost:9091/transmission/web/”.

Enter the same address into your iPhone (connected on the same local network), but replace the word ‘localhost’ with the local IP address of your Mac (you can find this in your Network Preference pane). In most cases you will end up with a http://192.168.1.2:9091/transmission/web/” address. The Web Interface should load up all pretty and functional.

Accessing the Web Interface from outside the local network

Things get tricky from here. Most of us have dynamic IP addresses, which means our IP address changes every time we reconnect our internet connection. To add to that, the local IP address assigned to your computer also changes every time you reset your router.

First, let us solve the problem of local static IPs. Let me first state that I’m no networking guru, so you might be better off reading up on proper guides like this one on Boutell.com. The first option is, you could go through your router configuration, and using a combination of MAC addresses and host names (whatever that means) make your router send your computer a fixed IP address. Or, you could tell your computer to stick to an IP address but still be within range of router’s local IPs.

Go to System Preferences » Network, and click on the advanced settings of your internet connection (AirPort or Ethernet). In the TCP/IP settings, change the Configure IPv4 setting to “Using DHCP with manual address”. Now in my case, my router spits out addresses from 192.168.1.100 right up to 192.168.1.150. But at no point in time do I have more than 10 devices connected on my network. So I’ve entered 192.168.1.115 as the IPv4 address. My computer will now always have that IP address.

The work is far from over. You now need to tell your router to forward all requests sent to the external IP address, to your computer.

Open up your router configuration from your browser (usually http://192.168.1.1) and navigate to your port forwarding options. Now, each router presents a different configuration panel so try and look around till you find something close to that. Once you get there, enter 9091 into your port range, and the local IP, 192.168.1.115 in my case into the “IP address” field. Save your settings and reboot your router.

Now, after finding out your external IP, enter the transmission web address (http://localhost:9091/transmission/web/), and replace ‘localhost’ with the external IP address. If all things went well, it will load up the Web Interface and you will be on your way to remote torrent nirvana. But…

Getting your external IP address

You still have to figure out your external IP address. While your IP address won’t change if your router stays ON and the internet connection doesn’t break, but there are always those times (could be a power fluctuation) when your will change your external IP address after you have noted it down. Now I haven’t figured out a way to know my external IP address using some ‘proper method’. Instead, I make my computer periodically visit a particular unimportant post on my personal blog, and since my statcounter notes all the IP addresses, I get to know my external IP address anywhere I am. Of course, there are far better ways to do this – including making your email client automatically send you the IP address.

That sums it up for this little guide on how to manage your torrents remotely; iPhone, Mac, or God forbid, a PC.

Let me know if you have any problems following this guide, as I am just as new to this as you might be. And if you have any tips and tricks to better this guide, do mention them.

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