Linux: Firefox Browser Add BitTorrent Magnet Links Support

Posted on in Categories , , last updated August 17, 2013

How do I add magnet links with transmission bittorrent in Firefox running under Linux operating systems?

You can easily add magnet protocol association in Mozilla Firefox browser for any bittorrent client. Transmission is a fast and easy BitTorrent client. From the wikipedia:

The Magnet URI scheme is a de facto standard (instead of an open standard) defining a URI scheme for Magnet links, which mainly refer to resources available for download via peer-to-peer networks. Such a link typically identifies a file not by location, but by content — more precisely, by the content’s cryptographic hash value.

How can I add magnet support to Firefox?

Open firefox. Type the following in address bar:
about:config
Sample outputs:

Fig.01: about:config settings
Fig.01: about:config settings

Click on “I’ll be careful, I promise!” button. Right click > New > Boolean (see fig.02):
Fig.02: Boolean settings
Fig.02: Boolean settings

You need to enter new boolean value called network.protocol-handler.expose.magnet and set it to false. This allows you to assign a bittorrent client for all magnet links. For example, when you open a magnet link you will be prompted with a Launch Application dialogue box. From there you can simply select transmission or any other torrent client.

Fig.03: Setting boolean value
Fig.03: Setting boolean value

How do I force Firefox to open all magnet links via transmission bittorrent client only?

Just click on a magnet link and Firefox will be forced to prompt you as follows:

Fig.04: Firefox launch application dialogue
Fig.04: Firefox launch application dialogue

You need to specify the full path as follows:
/usr/bin/transmission
Fig.05 Transmission - a bittorrent client in action
Fig.05 Transmission – a bittorrent client in action

Check out related media

This tutorial also available in video format:

(Video.01: Linux Add Magnet Link Support To Firefox For Torrent Client)

See also
  • firefox(1)
  • Transmission bittorrent client runs natively on multiple operating systems.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

21 comment

  1. What is the point of adding a tutorial for a version of firefox that is badly outdated?

    This method by no means will work on any linux distro that is is not 3 years old.
    Latest versions of firefox seem do not use network.protocol.handler* keys at all.

    To the people from the future:
    Right way to add new protocol handler is to edit either /usr/share/applications/mimeinfo.cache or edit the .desktop file of the application you want to be a handler for a specific resource.

    For example here is a relevant excerpt from /usr/share/applications/qBittorrent.desktop

    MimeType=application/x-bittorrent;x-scheme-handler/magnet;

  2. thanks a lot, this worked perfectly! so much easier than all the other crap i thought i’d have to do to get magnet links going.

  3. Thanks for this. I have used transmission before on Ubuntu and have not had the problem I had just now when I updated to 13.04. Got transmission to work now when I add torrents. Thanks for the info…

  4. Thank you for this tutorial. It worked for me using Transmission 2.77 and Firefox 22 in Linux Mint 15 KDE.

  5. This worked for me, FF 47, Debian 9, KDE 5:
    1. In about:config find “network.protocol-handler.expose-all”, change to “false”;
    2. Click on some magnet link – a file browser pop-up should appear, show it full path to the executable (/usr/bin/qbittorrent for ex.);
    3. Change “network.protocol-handler.expose-all” back to “true”;
    4. Download the world.

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