Transmission: what it is, what it is for and how it works

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Judit Llordés
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We will explain what the Transmission application is exactly, what it is for and how it works. It is a very lightweight and useful torrent client, especially popular in the free software and open source application communities.


We will start by explaining what exactly this application is, making it as simple as possible even for those who don't even know what a bittorrent client is. So, we will briefly tell you what it is for and how it works. You will see that in the options it is not as advanced as other bittorrent clients, but there will always be people who prefer simplicity and versatility.



What is Transmission

The BitTorrent protocol is still one of the best alternatives for the downloading and sharing of large files online, and is used by many organizations and companies to allow their customers to manage the download of their applications. It is a P2P protocol (peer-to-peer or peer network), which means that the files are not located on a central server, but are shared between users.

Think for example that you want to download a GNU / Linux distribution. Instead of downloading your file from central servers, the BitTorrent protocol looks for everyone who has that specific file on their computers and allows you to download parts of it from multiple people at once so that the download is much faster and more private than using other, more centralized and easy-to-monitor methods without your knowledge.


To use the BitTorrent protocol, there are named BitTorrent clients, or simply Torrent clients. The BitTorrent extension is .torrent, so this exchange and its files are always referred to as torrent. The exchange takes place regardless of the client used, being able to download user files with other torrent applications.


Transmission is one such BitTorrent client. Instead of being displayed in a large window with many options or in an internal search engine, it is a client with a very small interface where you just need to open torrent files to download their content. It's an application that has been pre-installed in GNU / Linux distributions for years, although it also has versions for Windows and macOS.


Transmission is an open source application, it is free and has no add-ons. It focuses on downloading torrent files in a simple and minimalist way. It focuses on ease of use rather than additional features and it is one of the least RAM-consuming, making it very suitable for less powerful computers.


Apart from its desktop versions, it also has some specially prepared for NAS multimedia hard drives of major brands. It also has several add-ons to add remote control from mobile, messaging or RSS. All this in a minimal interface.

What is Transmission for?

Transmission is used to download files with the BitTorrent protocol, point. The only thing you will need to do is open the .torrent file you want to use, both on your computer and online, and when you open it the program will start downloading the full file the torrent points to. When you download that file or the various files you want, you will have them in your download folder ready for use.

Here just a clarification. Torrent files are not files that you can run, it is not the application or document you download from BitTorrent. What it is is a small file that tells your client what you want to download, so that this client looks for people who have it in its entirety or just parts of it and proceeds to download it from these people to your computer.



How Transmission works

To use Transmission, the first thing is to go to its download page and download the version that belongs to your operating system or distribution. Once the installation file is downloaded, install it like any other program. The installation process is straightforward and does not attempt to install anything other than the Transmission itself.


Transmission download

  • Transmission via Windows transmission-3.00-x86.msi – transmission-3.00-x64.msi
  • Transmission per MAC – Download

Once the application is installed, all you have to do is do click the File button and choose a method to open the torrent you want to download. You can choose the option to open to use a file you have on your computer, or the option to open the URL to enter the web address of the torrent file.

When you choose the torrent file, the application will show you what you are about to download through it, as well as the file size. Here, before click Open to start the download, you can configure some things like the priority of the download or if you want to delete the torrent file once the download starts and you don't need it anymore.


Once the torrent file is opened, Transmission will start downloading it. You have the download list on the main screen, along with the total size of each file, the percentage of downloads, the speed or number of users you are downloading from. The more users you connect, the faster and more stable the download will be.

And once the torrents are downloaded, you can right-click on one of the files in the list to see the options related to the download. In them, you can pause the download or try to connect more people. Also manage the queue, define the folder where it will be downloaded or put it. You will also be able to delete it if you wish, including files that have already been downloaded.


Read also: The best torrent sites, the famous ones

Further Reading:

  • The best torrent clients of 2022
  • Best torrent software (BitTorrent client)
  • What is an .OBB file and how to use it
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  • The Galaxy A40 screen is not working properly

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