The lightweight qBittorrent client is all open source torrenting goodness. As always with any peer-to-peer (P2P) software, it’s essential to protect your qBittorrent sessions with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Read on for a discussion on the best VPNs for qBittorrent!
The Best VPNs for qBittorrent
The qBittorrent client offers nowhere near as many features as the likes of bloatware such as Vuze, but then most people have no need for a feature lists as long as their arm. qBittorrent offers torrent prioritization, torrent querying, selective content download, torrent creation, remote access, and RSS subscription. You can also search for torrents from within the client. Arguably its best feature, however, is the ability to bind qBittorrent to your VPN interface. More on this later.
qBittorrent is great. So great, in fact, that I awarded it my Editor’s Choice badge in my last 5 Best BitTorrent Clients roundup!
However, there is no getting away from the fact that in order to download safely, you need to use qBittorrent with a VPN. I discuss why this is in detail after the following VPN provider choices.
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- Good privacy - no usage logs
- Based in Gibraltar
- Supports multiple devices – up to five simultaneous connections
- Servers in 35 countries
- Allows torrenting
- Pricey - but worth it
Buffered is a great VPN for torrenting. It's located in Gibraltar and it keeps no usage logs, and uses shared IPs, which makes it almost impossible for anyone to identify the user. It has amazing speeds, earning it the top spot on our experts' list. Other features include servers in 35 countries, a sweet port discovery feature that gets you onto public WiFi without a password, a generous six simultaneous connections, and compatibility with plenty of platforms - so you can use this VPN to torrent on just about any device you own. Support is 24/7, so you can reach them quickly if you run into any problems, and a generous 30-day money-back guarantee means there’s no risk to giving it a test run. Additional features: great compatibility across platforms, accepts Bitcoin.
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- Protects your data - no logs at all
- Makes you almost impossible to identify - shared IPs
- Servers in 61 countries
- Torrenting allowed
- Accepts Bitcoin
- Based in US - where the NSA could come knocking
- So-so support
IPVanish is one of the best VPNs for file-sharing using qBittorrent. Despite the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, the USA doesn't have any mandatory data retention laws. IPVanish takes full advantage of this to offer a fast and effective no logs VPN service that is also torrent-friendly. And with servers in over 60 countries worldwide, you will always find one nearby. Those of you who value privacy will also appreciate the fact that IPVanish accepts payment using Bitcoin payments. Additional features: two simultaneous connections, Android app. Try it now with a seven-day money-back guarantee!
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- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Good privacy - no usage logs
- Torrenting allowed
- Supports multiple devices – up to three simultaneous connections
- Great customer service
- Minimal connection logs
- A bit pricey
Although ExpressVPN does keep some connection logs, it’s based in the British Virgin Islands. This means it can happily protect your privacy with little fear of legal retribution. If you’re using a VPN for more than just torrenting, ExpressVPN is a great choice (in fact, it hit #1 on our list of top VPNs in 2017). Performance is ridiculously fast. Customer service is excellent. And its 30-day genuinely no-quibble money-back guarantee really is all it claims to be. It also offers powerful but easy-to-use apps for Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android and operates stealth servers in Hong Kong to defeat not just the Great Firewall of China but internet censorship everywhere. Additional features: free SmartDNS. Give it a test drive with that genuinely quibble-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Protects your data - no logs
- VPN through Tor
- Transparent service
- Remote port forwarding for improved P2P performance
- Torrenting allowed
- More technical than your average VPN
- Customer support could be better
- Limited number of locations worldwide
Unfortunately, AirVPN's tech-heavy focus and rather brusque support team alienate many would-be users. This is a shame, because the open-source desktop client acts as a kill switch and prevents DNS leaks. WebRTC leaks are also blocked by both network lock and at the server level. AirVPN also keeps no logs at all and uses top-notch encryption with perfect forward secrecy. Its VPN through Tor feature allows true anonymity while using the service (although this is not suitable for P2P use due to slow speeds [GG1] ). And the ability to tunnel VPN connections through Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Secure Shell (SSH) tunnels is a great way to avoid censorship - all features that make it one of the best VPNs for torrenting with qBitTorrent! Additional features: real-time user and server statistics, accepts Bitcoin, very reliable, three-day free trial, three simultaneous connections. Try it free for three days!
- Seven-day money-back guarantee
- Strong encryption to keep your data safe
- SOCKS5 proxy gives “double” protection while torrenting
- Excellent mobile apps
- Servers in 29 countries
- Supports up to six devices at once
- Not much!
This Swedish VPN is great for privacy as it keepsno logs at all. It also keeps your data safe with very strong encryption. qBittorrent users will also find support for Socket Secure (SOCKS5) proxy useful as it provides “double protection” when downloading. Its auto-reconnect and kill switch features are also excellent when torrenting, as is the fact that it offers great speeds. PrivateVPN features servers in 29 countries around the world and allows you to connect up to six devices at once. With a seven-day money-back guarantee, why not give it go?
|1||Buffered review||$6.60 / month||Visit Site|
|2||IPVanish review||$3.33 / month||Visit Site|
|3||ExpressVPN review||$6.67 / month||Visit Site|
|4||AirVPN review||$4.82 / month||Visit Site|
|5||PrivateVPN review||$2.73 / month||Visit Site|
qBittorrent and VPN Considerations
Why Do I Need a VPN with qBittorrent?
As its name suggests, the qBittorrent client uses the BitTorrent protocol to “download” files. This is a very efficient way to do this, and the fact that no centralised servers are required ensures that “torrenting” will continue to be popular among those unconcerned with copyright issues.
Unfortunately, copyright holders are concerned with such issues. And this is where the BitTorrent protocol (and the qBittorrent client) can be something of a liability to its users.
The thing is, when you “download” a torrent file, you are really sharing pieces of that file with anyone else also downloading or sharing the file. A potentially nasty side-effect of this is that all these “peers” can see your IP address (and you can see theirs).
Here in qBittorrent I can easily see the IP addresses of everyone else who is sharing the same file as me!
It should come as a surprise to nobody, then, that copyright holders routinely monitor P2P downloads of their intellectual property in order to catch “pirates.” Thankfully, using a VPN will protect you from this.
Using a VPN with qBittorrent Will Protect You
Using a VPN creates an encrypted connection between your computer and a VPN server run by a VPN provider. This VPN server then acts as a proxy, sitting between you and the internet.
For a full discussion on the benefits this provides, check out my VPNs for Beginners guide. With P2P, however, the key points are:
- Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot see what you get up to on the internet, as all data that passes between your computer and the VPN server is encrypted. This means that your ISP cannot see that you are torrenting, or indeed, what you are torrenting.
- Anyone watching from the internet (such as copyright holders who monitor the IP addresses of torrent users downloading their content) will see the IP address of the VPN server, not your real IP address. In other words, using a VPN hides your real IP address.
- By connecting to VPN servers located in countries that do not censor websites on copyright grounds, you can access torrent sites that are usually blocked to you.
For further discussion on general issues relating to VPNs and torrenting, please check out 5 Best VPNs for Torrenting. In that article I discuss why you should always check that your chosen VPN provider permits torrenting, what to do if you get caught torrenting, how to check that your VPN is protecting you while torrenting, and more.
How to Use qBittorrent
If you have ever torrented before, you’ll feel right at home with qBittorrent. If you have never downloaded using the BitTorrent protocol, here is a quick rundown of how it works:
- Download and install qBittorrent. It’s 100% free!
- Ensure you have a VPN running (this is optional but strongly recommended). This will bypass censorship of torrent sites, hide your IP from others you file-share with, and hide your downloads from your ISP.
- Visit a BitTorrent website. These websites host links to torrent files. You can browse for content that interests you, or search for something specific. Many websites include user-reviews of torrents, which can help you pick good ones. If torrent sites are blocked by your ISP, a VPN is also handy for unblocking them.
- When you have found the content you want, simply click on the torrent link or magnet link. The torrent will open in your BitTorrent client and begin downloading.
- When the download is 100% completed, enjoy!
BitTorrent is a decentralized file-sharing platform. In order for it to work, users share files with other users. This happens while you download a file, but it is considered good form to leave your BitTorrent client open after you have finished downloading a file in order to benefit other users.
This is known as seeding, and it is considered good netiquette to seed to a ratio of at least 1:1 (that is upload for other users the same amount of data as you download).
qBittorrent clearly displays the seed ratio of downloaded files.
qBittorrent VPN Setup
It is easy to protect yourself with a VPN when using qBittorrent. At the most basic level, all you need do is run the VPN software and connect to a VPN server before and during your qBittorrent session.
There is always a danger, however, that the VPN will disconnect in the middle of a download session. This happens occasionally with even the best VPN services. If have left your computer unattended while downloading, this can result in your real IP address being exposed to copyright holders for perhaps even hours at a time.
Fortunately, there are solutions to this problem. Two of them, in fact!
Use a VPN Kill Switch
More and more VPN providers now feature a VPN kill switch with their custom software. These either monitor your internet connection and shut it down when they detect a VPN dropout, or use firewall rules to prevent any internet traffic leaving your computer outside of your VPN connection.
The second kind of kill switch is more secure and also doubles as DNS leak protection. But any kill switch is better than none. If your provider’s software doesn’t feature a kill switch, third party options are available.
I have not yet seen a mobile app that features a kill switch per se, but the OpenVPN for Android app can be set up to work as a kill switch.
For more information on all of the above, please see here.
Bind qBittorrent to Your VPN Interface
One of the best features of qBittorrent is that you can you can bind it to your VPN interface. This prevents qBittorrent from downloading or uploading anything outside your VPN connection. This means that if your VPN connection drops (or you forget to turn it on), you will stay safe.
The instructions below are for Windows, but the process is very similar for Mac OS, and Linux. They also assume that you are using OpenVPN because… well… why wouldn’t you?
1. Ensure your VPN is running, then click Start and type cmd. Select Command Prompt and at the command prompt type: ipconfig/all. Look though the list of your internet adaptors until you see one that says “TAP-Windows Adapter.” Make a note of the adapter name this appears under. In the example below, it is “Ethernet.”
2. Start qBittorrent and go to Tools -> Options -> Advanced. Under “Network Interface” select the name of the adapter you made a note of in Step 1. Restart qBittorrent.
Torrents will now only download and upload when the VPN is running.
VPN qBittorrent: Conclusion
qBittorrent is a fantastic BitTorrent client. In order to use it without fear of comeback from copyright holders, however, you should always use it in combination with a good, torrent-friendly VPN service.