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How to Use ExpressVPN With qBittorrent?

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The best way to use ExpressVPN with qBittorrent is to connect to an ExpressVPN server on a PC before launching and downloading torrents.

This method works for Windows, macOS, and Linux distros.

However, you can only use the ExpressVPN-qBittorrent connection to seed torrents while port forwarding is enabled, and you don’t get that on the PC app.

Likewise, you must enable unique ExpressVPN settings to keep your torrent activity from leaking to copyright trolls, ISPs, or network admins.

So, let’s get into the best ExpressVPN settings, protocols, server options, and more for qBittorrent.

How to Securely Download on qBittorrent Using ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN works with all the machines (Windows, macOS, and Linux) you can use qBittorrent on. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Get an ExpressVPN account. Save with these HUGE discounts.
  2. Download the ExpressVPN app for your PC. I’ll grab the Windows app for this demonstration.
get expressvpn
  1. Install and launch the ExpressVPN app.
  2. Login with your account credentials. ExpressVPN sometimes allows you to log in with only your activation code if you have that.
  3. Choose a connection protocol. Go through the menu > Options > Protocol and select one. I recommend Lightway – UDP.
selecting lighway udp protocol on expressvpn
  1. Enable the ExpressVPN kill switch to keep your torrent activity from leaking on the VPN server disconnection. Go through the menu > Options > General and toggle the “Network Lock” options.
enable network lock on expressvpn settings
  1. Connect to an ExpressVPN server. Do this by clicking the big power button. I’ve connected to my Smart Location (France) for this example.
expressvpn connected to france server
  1. Wait for the ExpressVPN connection confirmation.
  2. Open your browser in Incognito Mode. I’ll use my Google Chrome browser for this example.
  3. Go to your favorite torrent website. I’ll go to The Pirate Bay, but ExpressVPN unblocks all the popular ones.
  4. Search for a preferred torrent file.
unblocking the pirate bay with expressvpn on france server
  1. Click the magnet link next to your preferred torrent file to download it.
  2. Open qBittorrent from the prompt.
    1. You must have allowed qBittorrent the permission to automatically open magnet links during installation to get such a prompt.
open qbittorrent from the pirate bay
  1. Choose a download folder and configure the torrent download with the provided options. Click “OK.”
selecting download folder on windows
  1. qBittorrent will now start downloading your file with ExpressVPN’s privacy against nosy ISPs, copyright trolls, and bandwidth throttling.
torrenting with qbittorrent using expressvpn on france server

How to Bind ExpressVPN to qBittorrent?

qBittorrent and other torrent clients like uTorrent allow you to bind a specific IP address to the torrent client.

However, this can be counter-intuitive if you don’t have a dedicated IP (which ExpressVPN lacks). After all, standard server IP addresses change during the connection timeframe to ensure stability and security.

Thus, it’s best to bind the VPN interface to qBittorrent.

This ensures the torrent client only downloads over the VPN’s IP addresses rather than a single IP address.

Here’s how:

  1. Got your ExpressVPN account yet? Grab these savings while they last.
  2. Repeat steps 2-8 from above.
  3. Open the qBittorrent app.
  4. Click Tools > Options.
locating options on qbittorrent settings
  1. Click “Advanced.”
selecting any interface on qbittorrent advanced settings
  1. Click “Any Interface” in front of “Network interface” to reveal a dropdown menu.
  2. Select the ExpressVPN network interface here. Mine is “Local Area Connection.” I’ll show you how to get yours below.
  3. Click “Apply,” then “OK.”
selecting local area connection on qbittorrent advanced settings
  1. You can resume pending torrent downloads or add new magnet links without worrying about internet traffic leaks.
torrenting on qbittorrent with expressvpn using germany server

How to Find the ExpressVPN Network Interface in qBittorrent?

You need to choose the exact ExpressVPN interface to enable VPN binding with qBittorrent. However, unlike other VPN services, ExpressVPN’s network interface lacks discernable names in qBittorrent.

Luckily, I’ve discovered four (4) ways to find it easily.

Method #1 – Hover on Wi-Fi

Hovering on the Wi-Fi connection symbol after connecting to ExpressVPN should bring up

  • Your connection name.
  • The ExpressVPN connection tunnel name.

As seen in the screenshot below, there’s another network interface named “Local Area Connection” besides my Wi-Fi’s name.

This is my ExpressVPN network interface.

Method #2 – Change ExpressVPN Protocols

The ExpressVPN OpenVPN protocol doesn’t always bring a particular interface name when connecting. Hence, it might be impossible to determine the appropriate network interface using method #1 above.

In this case, switch to the Lightway protocol (I recommend UDP), which is equally fast and secure for torrenting.

selecting lighway udp protocol on expressvpn

But if you want to bind ExpressVPN to the qBittorrent client over its OpenVPN protocol, the method below (method #3) works.

Method #3 – Manually Investigate Additions

Manually investigating additions to the qBittorrent network interface module allows you to pick the outlier, which would be the ExpressVPN network interface.

This is best applied to the OpenVPN protocol since it hides its network interface.

Here’s how to use this method:

  1. Disconnect from the ExpressVPN server. You can keep the app open.
  2. Launch qBittorrent.
  3. Open the preferences menu. Go via Tools > Options.
locating options on qbittorrent settings
  1. Click “Advanced,” then click the dropdown menu in front of “Network interface.”
selecting any interface on qbittorrent advanced settings
  1. Take a screenshot of the available network interfaces. You can also write them down if you want.
  2. Click “OK” to return to the qBittorrent homepage.
  3. Open ExpressVPN and choose the OpenVPN protocol. Go through the menu > Options > Protocol. I recommend OpenVPN (UDP).
  4. Return to the VPN page and click the power button. You can connect to a random server.
  5. Open qBittorrent and repeat steps 3-4.
  6. Compare the initial network interfaces (step 5) with the new network interfaces to find the added one. In my case, that’s “Ethernet 4.”
selecting ethernet 4 on qbittorrent settings
  1. Click the new one to bind your VPN to the torrent client.

Method #4 – Run CMD Commands

I recommend this step as a last resort for Windows PC users since the others from above should have worked.

But if you must use it, here’s how it can help:

  1. Press the Windows button on your Windows PC.
  2. Search for CMD to bring up the command prompt.
selecting run as administrator for command prompt on windows
  1. Click “Run as administrator.”
  2. Type “systeminfo,” then press the Enter key.
systeminfo command on windows
  1. Wait for the information to load.
  2. Scroll to “Network Card(s).”
selecting expressvpn tun driver among network cards on windows
  1. Look for the “ExpressVPN TUN Driver.”
  2. Note the “Connection Name.”

How to Test Your ExpressVPN-qBittorrent Security?

You shouldn’t wait for a freak disconnection or get served nasty copyright notices from your ISP to know whether your setup works.

So, before you settle into heavy torrenting, here are a few tips and tricks to know if you’re protected.

Method #1 – IP Leak Test

Copyright trolls like Strike 3 Holdings join a torrent swarm to see the IP addresses of all users downloading that torrent. This is easy to do, as even qBittorrent will display torrent downloaders’ IP addresses (and locations), like in the screenshot below.

Armed with this IP address, the copyright troll can determine your ISP and subpoena them to reveal who’s using that IP address.

This is why you need a VPN like ExpressVPN, which assigns you a random IP address. Here’s how to test if the IP masking works:

  1. Connect to an ExpressVPN server. I’ll connect to Algeria for this example.
  2. Go to an IP leak checker. I use www.ipleak.net.
expressvpn ipleak test results on algeria server
  1. Alternatively, you can use ExpressVPN’s built-in IP leak checker. Go through Menu > Help & Support > IP Address Checker.
  1. Confirm that the IP address/location matches the VPN server.
  2. On tools like mine, click the IP address for more details.
  3. You’ll see that ExpressVPN has even assigned you a new ISP, too!
new isp on expressvpn while connected to algeria server

So, copyright trolls won’t know who you are and won’t be able to contact your ISP either. And if they do contact the ExpressVPN-assigned ISP, the VPN’s no-logs policy means it won’t know which user connected to the server to download on qBittorrent.

Method #2 – Kill Switch Test

The kill switch test is independent and should be combined with other tests, not taken alone. It only addresses the Network Lock functionality, not other factors such as torrent or IP leaks.

That said, the kill switch test confirms that ExpressVPN will keep your original IP address from leaking in the torrent swarm if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly.

Otherwise, a few seconds of disconnection might be enough to deanonymize you.

Follow this ExpressVPN Network Lock guide for insights on kill switch tests you can perform yourself.

Method #3 – VPN Binding Test

I’ve tested IP and VPN binding on uTorrent and BitTorrent, but they’ve failed.

That’s why I recommend turning the kill switch feature (“Network Lock” on ExpressVPN) on.

However, qBittorrent is supposed to be the best at binding to a VPN network interface. But are we just going to take its word for it? No.

Here’s how to test things:

  1. Bind ExpressVPN to your qBittorrent client. You can follow the guide above.
  2. Connect to an ExpressVPN server. I’ll use the Germany – Nuremberg server for this example.
  3. Go to qBittorrent and start a download. I recommend using a test torrent file.
torrenting on qbittorrent with expressvpn using germany server
  1. Allow the download to run for a few minutes to reach a steady state.
  2. Disconnect from your ExpressVPN server by clicking the big power button.
  3. Observe if the qBittorrent torrenting speeds hold steady (bad), keep increasing (bad), or start decreasing (good).
download performance on qbittorrent with expressvpn
  1. Keep observing the download speed drop till it gets to zero.
  2. Check for a “Stalled” message near the downloading item(s).
If everything from steps 6-8 happens, you’ve successfully bound ExpressVPN to qBittorrent, and the setup works. Otherwise, follow the binding steps above and ensure you’ve chosen the correct local network interface (tips above).

Method #4 – Wireshark Test

The Wireshark test might look technical initially, but it’s easy to get a hang of.

Even if you’re not tech-savvy, these steps should get you there:

  1. Download Wireshark and install it on your PC.
  2. Disconnect from ExpressVPN.
  3. Open qBittorrent and add a torrent. I recommend a non-copyrighted file since you won’t use the VPN now.
  4. Start the torrent download and wait a few seconds (20-30 seconds) for the torrent download to get established.
  5. Go to your Wireshark app and double-click your basic network interface to capture data packets. That’s “Wi-Fi” for me.
selecting wifi on wireshark
  1. Capture packets for a few seconds (another 30-40 seconds will do). Then, click the red button to stop Wireshark.
  2. Filter for “BitTorrent.”
selecting stop button on wireshark while filtering bittorrent
  1. The tool shows your qBittorrent activity exposed on the network.
  2. Now, pause your qBittorrent download.
  3. Connect to a random ExpressVPN server. I’ll use Canada for this example.
  4. Open qBittorrent and resume the download, or add another file.
torrenting on qbittorrent with expressvpn while connected to canada server
  1. Repeat steps 3-6.
  2. Filter for “BitTorrent” again.
torrenting on qbittorrent with expressvpn using canada server while filtering bittorrent
  1. A no-show like the one above is proof that the VPN works!

How Fast Is ExpressVPN’s Lightway for qBittorrent?

ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol is its fastest qBittorrent protocol, ensuring faster download speeds and minimal speed losses while bypassing your ISP’s throttling attempts in some cases. The Lightway – UDP is the quicker option in my tests, beating the TCP variant by a fine margin and performing way better than the OpenVPN protocols.

For context, I tested these protocols over my 60Mbps network.

expressvpn baseline speed test results

The Lightway – UDP protocol got 48Mbps, just 12Mbps off my base speeds.

expressvpn speed test results on lighway udp protocol using france server

The Lightway – TCP protocol was very close, too, scoring 47.53Mbps.

expressvpn speed test results on lightway tcp protocol using france server

These Lightway protocols left the OpenVPN protocols in the dust since the best of them only averaged 35Mbps.

My results are tabled below.

Protocol Speed
Lightway – UDP 48 Mbps
Lightway – TCP 47.53 Mbps
OpenVPN – UDP 35.69 Mbps
OpenVPN – TCP 24.1 Mbps

How to Boost qBittorrent Download Speeds Over ExpressVPN?

Everyone wants that extra 1Mbps wherever they can, especially when downloading heavy torrent files via qBittorrent.

Fortunately, you can tweak ExpressVPN settings to get faster speeds.

Choose Nearby VPN Servers

ExpressVPN encrypts your data by routing it through the server you’re connected to before sending it to qBittorrent. Thus, your data will travel longer if the server is farther from you.

That’s why I recommend connecting to ExpressVPN servers in your country or the closest country to your region.

That way, your data travels less distance and enjoys lower latency and faster speeds.

Choose the Right Protocol

The ExpressVPN protocol test above shows how much of a speed drop you can incur by choosing the wrong protocol.

I recommend the Lightway – UDP protocol, but you can also try the TCP variant if UDP is unstable.

expressvpn speed test results on lighway udp protocol using france server

Only when these two are unavailable, which is a scarce thing to happen, should you consider OpenVPN protocols.

Choose the Right Torrents

Always choose torrents with a higher number of seeders (SE) to leechers (LE) to get a better download performance.

seeders and leechers on the pirate bay

Seeders refer to other users sharing the file to the torrent network.

Leechers, on the other hand, are users who are grabbing the file off the network.

So, it stands to reason that having more users grabbing the same file than those uploading it will lead to a slow download. And this won’t be the fault of your ISP, ExpressVPN, or qBittorrent.

Setup Port Forwarding

Port forwarding doesn’t improve your download speeds by itself.

However, it improves your chances of finding peers on the qBittorrent network.

And the more peers you connect to, the faster your speed.

However, ExpressVPN only allows port forwarding on routers.

If you’re okay with that, do this:

  1. Check that your router is VPN-compatible. Otherwise, see if you can flash a custom firmware on it like below.
  1. Get an ExpressVPN account. Use this discount to save.
  2. Set up ExpressVPN on your router. You can adapt the video guide below for your router.
  1. Setup port forwarding on your router. Follow this ExpressVPN guide to do so on your router.
  2. Open qBittorrent and go to Settings.
locating options on qbittorrent settings
  1. Click “Connection.”
  2. Enter the port number you used on ExpressVPN in the “Port used for incoming connections:” box.
port number on port used for incoming connection under qbittorrent connection
  1. Leave the “Use PnP/NAT-PMP…” box checked. If the port forwarding doesn’t work, come back to uncheck this.
  2. Click “Apply,” then “OK.”
  3. Enjoy faster torrent download speeds and rapid seeding.

Can You Seed Torrents on qBittorrent With ExpressVPN?

You can seed torrents on qBittorrent using ExpressVPN, but only after you’ve set up its port forwarding on your router.

Please ensure you know the process before setting up port forwarding for seeding. Otherwise, you risk undermining your privacy by exposing yourself to malicious leechers or copyright trolls.

Does ExpressVPN’s Split Tunneling Work With qBittorrent?

ExpressVPN’s split tunneling works seamlessly with qBittorrent. 

This ensures you can use other apps/programs locally while enjoying the VPN’s encryption on your torrenting client.

Likewise, using ExpressVPN’s split tunneling for qBittorrent may give you better download speeds since other bandwidth-intensive tasks aren’t routed through the VPN software. Hence, freeing up all the server’s resources for your downloads only.

Here’s how to enable ExpressVPN’s split tunneling for qBittorrent:

  1. Launch your ExpressVPN app.
  2. Go to Settings via Menu > Options.
  3. Click the “General” tab.
enable split tunneling on expressvpn
  1. Tick the box under “Split tunneling.”
  2. Then, click “Settings.”
  3. Click “Only allow selected apps to use the VPN.”
selecting selected apps to use vpn on expressvpn split tunneling settings
  1. Click “OK.”
  2. Click the “+” sign.
locating + sign on expressvpn split tunneling settings
  1. Select “qBittorrent – A BitTorrent client,” then click “OK.”
selecting qbittorrent a bittorrent client on expressvpn
  1. Optional: You can also add your web browser over which you access torrent sites.
  2. Confirm your selection by clicking “OK.”
selecting ok on expressvpn split tunneling settings
  1. Click “OK” again.
  2. Before connecting to the VPN, bind qBittorrent to ExpressVPN. You’ll find steps to do this above.
  3. Connect to an ExpressVPN server.
  4. Open a browser you’ve not included in the split tunneling selection.
  5. Go to a leak test website to check your IP address.
expressvpn ip leak test results on france server
  1. If the split tunneling works, you should retain your real IP address, even with the VPN active.
  2. Now, start a qBittorrent download.
  3. Your download should start swiftly.

Notable Drawbacks Using qBittorrent With ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN service to unblock torrent websites and securely download files using qBittorrent. It even offers port forwarding support for smoother downloads and seeding, but there’s a catch:

You can only use the ExpressVPN port forwarding on routers.

This is a huge deal since

  • VPN-compatible routers are often expensive.
  • Not all VPN-compatible routers can use the ExpressVPN router app, which makes port-forwarding configurations easier.
  • Some users want to use port forwarding on their PC and on the go.

If port forwarding and seeding are big deals for you, grab Private Internet Access. I prefer it for port forwarding because:

  • It provides a port number on almost all servers, so you don’t have to guess a random port.
  • Its port forwarding is available on PCs.
  • You don’t have to pay extra to get its port forwarding.

Here are some PIA discounts to save on your first purchase.

Interesting Reads:

Queue BitTorrent Downloads Privately

ExpressVPN’s AES 256-bit encryption on all servers, which are P2P-optimized by default, promises reliable torrenting privacy.

Its massive server spread to 94 countries also boosts your chances of finding a nearby server to supply optimal qBittorrent download performance.

Add that to split tunneling to concentrate bandwidth on torrenting and a Network Lock kill switch, and you can keep copyright trolls at bay forever.

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