Create torrents via command line!

py3createtorrent is a comprehensive shell/commandline utility for creating torrents (Linux & Windows). It’s a GPL-licensed Python v3.1 script. I tested it with Ubuntu 8.04 / rTorrent and Windows 7 / µTorrent.

Some of the features:

  • you can create huge torrents for any amount of data
  • you can add a comment to the torrent file
  • you can create private torrents (disabled DHT, ...)
  • you can create torrents with multiple trackers
  • you can exclude specific files/folders
  • you can exclude files/folders based on regular expressions
  • you can specify custom piece sizes
  • you can specify custom creation dates


There already is rTorrent, but unfortunately it does not support creating torrents. Thus, it is often a pain to seed torrents from your servers directly.

py3createtorrent is intended to fill this gap.


py3createtorrent requires at least Python 3.1 and the py3bencode module.


Download the desired version from here:

The required py3bencode module is shipped alongside py3createtorrent. As long as you extract py3bencode into the same directory as the py3createtorrent script, you should be fine. This is the easy way and should be appropriate for the majority of users.

Installing the py3bencode module globally

Advanced users might prefer to install the py3bencode module globally in their Python installation.

You can use pip to install the py3bencode module in your Python installation (in the site-packages, to be precise):

pip install hg+

Make sure to use the pip executable that belongs to the Python interpreter with which you will execute py3createtorrent.

If you don’t have pip around (although I strongly recommend using it) you can also try to install py3bencode manually:

$ hg clone
$ cd py3bencode
$ python3 install

Note that any local version of py3bencode will take precedence over the global version installed in your site-packages. Thus, you will have to delete the py3bencode module that has been shipped alongside py3createtorrent, if you want the global version to be used.


There is a small configuration section in the script (at the top):

# #############

# configure your tracker abbreviations here
TRACKER_ABBR = {'openbt':       'udp://',
                'publicbt':     'udp://'}

# whether or not py3createtorrent is allowed to advertise itself
# through the torrents' comment fields

# ##############

Tracker abbreviations

Tracker abbrevations allow you to specify one or more tracker URLs with a single word, like ‘openbt’ in the default configuration. They add a lot of convenience, e.g. look at this neat & clear command:

C:\Users\Robert\Desktop\Python\createtorrent> example openbt publicbt
Successfully created torrent:
  Name:             example
  Primary tracker:  udp://
  Backup trackers:

In this case, py3createtorrent recognizes the tracker abbreviations ‘openbt’ and ‘publicbt’ and automatically inserts the according tracker announce URLs.


Single abbreviations may be replaced by multiple tracker announce URLs. This way you can also create sort of “tracker groups” for different kinds of torrents.

Example configuration:

TRACKER_ABBR = {'mytrackergroup':  ['udp://',
                'openbt':          'udp://',
                'publicbt':        'udp://'}

Just specify lists of announce URLs instead of a single announce URL to define such groups.



Usage: [options] <file-or-directory> <main-tracker-url> [<backup-tracker-url> ...]

py3createtorrent is a comprehensive command line utility for creating

  --version             show program's version number and exit
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -p PIECE_LENGTH, --piece-length=PIECE_LENGTH
                        piece size in KiB. 0 = automatic selection (default).
  -P, --private         create private torrent
  -c COMMENT, --comment=COMMENT
                        include comment
  -f, --force           dont ask anything, just do it
  -v, --verbose         verbose mode
  -q, --quiet           be quiet, e.g. don't print summary
  -o PATH, --output=PATH
                        custom output location (directory or complete path).
                        default = current directory.
  -e PATH, --exclude=PATH
                        exclude path (can be repeated)
                        exclude paths matching the regular expression (can be
                        exclude paths matching the case-insensitive regular
                        expression (can be repeated)
                        set creation date (unix timestamp). -1 = now
                        (default). -2 = disable.
  -n NAME, --name=NAME  use this file (or directory) name instead of the real
  --md5                 include MD5 hashes in torrent file

Piece size (-p)

This switch allows you to specify a custom piece size. The piece size should be chosen with care, because it affects the following properties:

  • size of the .torrent file
  • network overhead
  • cost of fixing corrupted pieces
  • time it takes until peers start sharing data


Unless you know what you’re doing, please let py3createtorrent automatically determine the best piece size for you.


In general, the files for which a .torrent is created are sliced up in pieces.

For each piece, a 20-byte checksum (based on SHA-1, the Secure Hash Algorithm 1) is calculated and stored inside the .torrent file - this, by the way, is the time-consuming part of torrent creation. Therefore, the piece size strongly correlates with the size of the created .torrent file: The larger the pieces, the smaller the number of pieces for which a checksum must be stored (and vice versa).

The piece size also affects the network overhead involved in the peer-2-peer communication for a torrent. The peers regularly exchange information records that specify the pieces that each peer has finished downloading so that they know where they can get certain pieces from. The greater the number of pieces, the larger these information records need to be and thus the greater the overhead will tend to be.

Moreover, corrupted pieces need to be redownloaded. Of course, large pieces are more expensive to redownload (both in terms of time and traffic).

Finally, the piece size also affects the time it takes until peers start to share data with each other (only pieces that have been downloaded completely can be shared with other peers). Therefore, if the piece size is large, it will take longer for any peer to finish downloading a piece and to be able to share this piece with other peers.

Private torrents (-P)

Private torrents force the BitTorrent clients to only use the specified trackers for discovering other peers. Advanced peer discovery methods like DHT or peer list exchange are effectively disabled.

Comment (-c)

The comment is a short text stored in the .torrent file and displayed by most BitTorrent clients in the torrent info.

By default py3createtorrent uses “created by py3createtorrent <version>” as comment (to change this behavior, consult the Configuration section).

Force (-f)

Force makes py3createtorrent e.g. overwrite existing .torrent files without asking for your permission.

Verbose (-v)

Verbose mode makes py3createtorrent report about the individual steps it is undertaking while creating the .torrent file.

This is particularly useful for debugging purposes.

Quiet (-q)

py3createtorrent will try to stay completely silent on the commandline.

Output path (-o)

The output path is either the directory in which the .torrent file should be saved or the complete path to the destination .torrent file. In the former case, the name of the .torrent file is deduced from the input’s name (i.e. the input directory’s or file’s name), unless this name is explicitly overwritten (using the -n switch). (In the latter case, the name of the .torrent file is itself specified by the output path.)

By default, py3createtorrent uses the current working directory as the output directory.

Exclude path (-e)

This allows for the exclusion of specific files or directories.

The switch may be used repeatedly to exclude multiple files/directories.

On Windows, this is case-insensitive.

Exclude pattern (--exclude-pattern, --exclude-pattern-ci)

This allows for the exclusion of files or directories that match a certain pattern (regular expression).

The switches may be used repeatedly to specify multiple exclusion patterns.

New in version 0.9.5: The --exclude-pattern-ci variant (case-insensitive). On Windows, the --exclude-pattern has been made case-sensitive (previously it was case-insensitive on Windows and case-sensitive on UNIX etc.).

Creation date (-d)

This switch allows you to overwrite the creation date saved in the .torrent file. You can fake any creation date you like.

The creation date is specified as UNIX timestamp.

Name (-n)

This setting overwrites the file or directory name stored inside the .torrent file. Thus it affects the file or directory name that will be presented to downloaders as the real name of the data. You can use it to avoid renaming your input data.

Unless a destination .torrent file is explicitly specified (using the -o switch), this name will also be used to deduce the name of the resulting .torrent file.


The name switch is an advanced feature that most users probably don’t need. Therefore, please refrain from using this feature, unless you really know what you’re doing.

For most intents and purposes, the -o switch is probably more suitable.

MD5 hashes (--md5)

As of py3createtorrent 0.9.5 the calculation of MD5 hashes must be explicitly requested, because it significantly slows down the torrent creation process (and makes the torrent file a little larger, although this is probably negligible).

New in 0.9.5.


Assume there is a folder “example” with the following contents:


Assume, we’re currently inside the parent directory.

Example 1 - from directory, no options, default behaviour


C:\Users\Robert\Desktop\Python\createtorrent> example udp://

Alternative, equivalent command using a tracker abbreviation for convenience:

C:\Users\Robert\Desktop\Python\createtorrent> example openbt

Effect: Creates example.torrent inside the current directory.

In µTorrent it will look like this:



Please note: If you do not specify a comment yourself using the -c / --comment option, py3createtorrent will advertise itself through the comment field, as you can see in the screenshot (Torrent Contents -> Comment: created with py3createtorrent v0.8).

To change this behavior, consult the Configuration section.

Example 2 - from directory, excluding subfolders


C:\Users\Robert\Desktop\Python\createtorrent> -e example\subfolder example udp://

Effect: Creates example.torrent inside the current directory. examplesubfolder has been excluded.


Of course you can exclude multiple subfolders, e.g.: -e exclusion1 -e exclusion2 yourfolder tracker-url

In µTorrent it will look like this:


Example 3 - from directory, excluding files


C:\Users\Robert\Desktop\Python\createtorrent> -e example\anotherimage.jpg -e example\subfolder\10_more_minutes_please.JPG example udp://

Alternative, equivalent command using regular expressions instead of specifying each jpg seperately (also using a tracker abbreviation to make it even shorter):

C:\Users\Robert\Desktop\Python\createtorrent> --exclude-pattern "(jpg|JPG)$" example openbt

Effect: Creates example.torrent inside the current directory. exampleanotherimage.jpg and examplesubfolder10_more_minutes_please.JPG have been excluded.

In µTorrent it will look like this:


Creating torrents of single files

It’s almost the same as for creating directories, except, of course, you can’t use the exclude-option anymore.