How to view torrent file content on Linux

Last updated on August 25, 2020 by Dan Nanni

Question: I have a torrent file downloaded from the web. Is there a tool that allows me to view the content of a torrent on Linux? For example, I want to know what files are included inside a torrent.

A torrent file (i.e., a file with .torrent extension) is a BitTorrent metadata file which stores information (e.g., tracker URLs, file list, sizes, checksums, creation date) needed by a BitTorrent client to download files shared on BitTorrent peer-to-peer networks. Inside a single torrent file, one or more files can be listed for sharing.

The content of a torrent file is encoded with BEncode, the BitTorrent's data serialization format. Thus to view the content of a torrent file, you need a corresponding decoder.

In fact, any GUI-based BitTorrent client (e.g., Transmission or uTorrent) is equipped with BEncode decoder, so can show to you the content of a torrent file by opening it. However, if you don't want to use any sort of BitTorrent client to check up on a torrent file, you can try a command-line torrent viewer called dumptorrent.

The dumptorrent command prints the detailed content of a torrent file (e.g., file names, sizes, tracker URLs, creation date, info hash, etc.) by using a built-in BEncode decoder.

Install DumpTorrent on Linux

To install dumptorrent on Linux, you can build it from the source.

On Debian, Ubuntu or Linux Mint:

$ sudo apt-get install gcc make
$ wget http://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/dumptorrent/dumptorrent/1.2/dumptorrent-1.2.tar.gz
$ tar -xvf dumptorrent-1.2.tar.gz
$ cd dumptorrent-1.2
$ make
$ sudo cp dumptorrent /usr/local/bin

On CentOS, Fedora or RHEL:

$ sudo yum install gcc make
$ wget http://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/dumptorrent/dumptorrent/1.2/dumptorrent-1.2.tar.gz
$ tar -xvf dumptorrent-1.2.tar.gz
$ cd dumptorrent-1.2
$ make
$ sudo cp dumptorrent /usr/local/bin

Make sure that /usr/local/bin is included in your PATH.

View the Content of a Torrent

To check the content of a torrent, simply run dumptorrent with a torrent file as an argument. This will print a summary of a torrent, including file names, sizes and tracker URL.

$ dumptorrent <torrent-file>

To view the full content of a torrent, add -v option. This will print more detailed information of a torrent, including info-hash, piece length, creation date, creator, and full announce list.

$ dumptorrent -v <torrent-file>

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