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How to install Webtorrent on Linux

Webtorrent is an exciting application that lets users stream video and music files over the p2p (person to person) Torrent protocol. It’s cross-platform and works on Mac, Linux as well as Windows.

While some may choose to use this program for illicit purposes, that’s not the intention of Webtorrent. It’s intended to make viewing legal media over Torrent fast and easy. One such use case is streaming and accessing music and video content from Archive.org, a site that distributes a lot of its media via BitTorrent files.

Use a VPN with Webtorrent

Even though there are perfectly safe and legal reasons to use the Torrent protocol, ISPs don’t often see it that way. In a lot of cases, they ban this kind of traffic, even when they shouldn’t. For this reason, consider using a VPN when running Webtorrent.

ExpressVPN takes the top spot as the best VPN reviewed by our security experts. It works well on Linux and has an excellent client for download. Better still, they offer fast download speeds with 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy across 94 different countries. Also, they have an exclusive offer for AddictiveTips readers: 3 months free on the annual plan, a 49% discount.

Webtorrent on Linux

Webtorrent is available on multiple platforms, including Linux. The distributions they support are Ubuntu and Debian. The developers also have a downloadable source-code package which can be used on nearly every Linux OS.

Ubuntu

Like most popular applications that support Linux, Ubuntu (and Debian by extension) is usually one of the distributions that get first-class support.

To get the Webtorrent application up and running on Ubuntu, you’ll need to manually download a DEB package. Then, once it’s downloaded, you’ll need to load it up on the system.

Download the latest version of Webtorrent for Ubuntu by going to the official Webtorrent website. Then, once you’re on the official website, locate the “Linux” logo and click on it to start the download.

Once the DEB package is done downloading to  your Linux PC, launch a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T. Then, use the CD command to move into the ~/Downloads folder.

Inside the ~/Downloads directory, execute the dpkg command and install the Webtorrent application on Ubuntu.

sudo dpkg -i webtorrent-desktop_*_amd64.deb

When dpkg is done, finish up by running the Apt install -f command to correct any dependency issues that may come up.

sudo apt install -f

Debian

The Webtorrent developers target Ubuntu Linux by default. Since the developers focus on Ubuntu, Debian users are also able to easily install the Webtorrent application, by downloading the DEB package file here.

Once the file is done downloading to your Debian Linux PC, you’ll be able to start the installation process on Debian. Launch a terminal window with Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T.

Now that a terminal session is open, use the CD command and move the terminal into the ~/Downloads folder.

cd ~/Downloads

Inside the ~/Downloads directory, install the app with dpkg and correct the dependencies with Apt-get.

su -
dpkg -i webtorrent-desktop_*_amd64.deb

apt-get install -f

Arch Linux

Arch Linux doesn’t explicitly support Webtorrent. Despite this, there is an AUR package available for users to install.

Installing Webtorrent via the Arch Linux User repository is a quick process and it starts by using the Pacman command to install the base tools that are required for building AUR packages.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

With both Git and Base-devel working on your Arch PC, use the git clone command and download the latest code for the Webtorrent AUR snapshot.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/webtorrent-desktop.git

When the downloading process is done, use the CD command and move your terminal into the ~/Downloads folder.

cd ~/Downloads

Finally, install Webtorrent on Arch Linux by executing the makepkg command. Keep in mind that when you run this command it may fail. If this happens, consult with the comment section and ask for help there!

makepkg -sri

Fedora and OpenSUSE

If you’re a Fedora or OpenSUSE user, you won’t be able get Webtorrent installed easily, as the developers have  not made an RPM package available. Luckily, in our testing, we found out that the DEB converts fine to RPM via Alien.

In this section, we’ll breifly go over how to convert the files to alien. If you need more guidance, check out our in-depth tutorial on the subject!

To start off, install Alien to your PC.

Fedora

sudo dnf install alien

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper in rpmbuild

Then, once RPMBuild is up and running, install Alien from this page here.

Once Alien is running, download the latest version of Webtorrent from the internet. As we are converting the code, we’ll just use Wget.

wget https://github.com/webtorrent/webtorrent-desktop/releases/download/v0.20.0/webtorrent-desktop_0.20.0-1_amd64.deb

Using the Alien package converter, convert the software to an RPM file.

sudo alien -rvc webtorrent-desktop_0.20.0-1_amd64.deb

Finally, install Webtorrent.

Fedora

sudo dnf install webtorrent-desktop-0.20.0-2.x86_64.rpm

OpenSUSE

Please note that OpenSUSE will complain that the RPM file isn’t signed. Be sure to ignore it!

sudo zypper in webtorrent-desktop-0.20.0-2.x86_64.rpm

Source

Webtorrent has a source release for Linux on their GitHub page. This is great, as it enables users of lesser-known distributions to get Webtorrent on Linux. To get it, open up a terminal and use the wget command to download the source release.

wget https://github.com/webtorrent/webtorrent-desktop/releases/download/v0.20.0/WebTorrent-v0.20.0-linux.zip

Then, extract it with unzip.

unzip WebTorrent-v0.20.0-linux.zip

Finally, run the app with:

cd WebTorrent-linux-x64
./WebTorrent

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