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While I'm not home I left Transmission running, usually at full speed. I've been mostly using the desktop gui (GTK) version.

I have been toying with the cli version (not sure which is the proper one between transmission-cli and transmission-remote-cli), and the web version (transmission-daemon), but my idea, rather than starting new downloads, is to control the downloads I have already running.

I am using my home computer also as a file and web server, and I want to be able to check if a torrent has already finished, or I have wanted to pause, change priorities or control the bandwidth for those downloads still in the GTK when I am away.

Is there a way, either Web (prefered) or CLI, that will allow me to control desktop downloads with Transmission when I am away?

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The Transmission GTK has a web interface.

In menu: Edit > Preferences, the Web tab, allows to enable web, and configure port, authentication and accepted incoming IP addresses. That web interface controls the same torrents that are governed by the GTK.

I am not sure if the Web tab is available without having installed transmission-deamon, though.

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It is. All the transmission clients have the web interface builtin. After enabling the web interface, you can also control the gtk client using transmission-qt, transmission-remote or one of the third-party rpc clients. –  geirha Oct 15 '13 at 5:43
    
You can do almost anything with transmission-cli & transmission-remote. Here is an example: Transmission shutdown script for multiple torrents. –  Khurshid Alam Oct 22 '13 at 13:42

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