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qBittorrent with OpenVPN in Docker on a Synology NAS

UpdateDate
New guide using DSM7.111/05/2022


What are qBittorrent and OpenVPN?

qBittorrent is a torrent downloader and OpenVPN is the client application used to connect to your VPN provider.

Lets Begin

In this guide I will take you through the steps to get qBittorrent up and running in Docker and a separate OpenVPN container. By having a separate container for the VPN connection we can use it in the future for other applications such as Prowlarr, this is useful if you have torrent indexers blocked in your country.

As the Synology DSM Docker GUI does not support some of the functions we need for this tutorial we will be using Docker Compose. This is not as complicated as it might seem!

In order for you to successfully use this guide please complete the two preceding guides

Folder Setup

Let’s start by getting a couple of folders set up for the containers to use. Open up Filestation and within the /docker share create a folder called ‘qbittorrent’ and one called ‘vpn’

VPN Package / TUN Device

In a lot of guides you will see they require a script to run at the boot of the Diskstation in order to enable a TUN device. We are going to avoid this by using the Synology VPN Package, we won’t actually be using it, just using the TUN device it enables when turned on.

Head into the Package Center and download the Synology VPN Server package.

Once downloaded open up the VPN package and in the OpenVPN section enable the server.

Next click on Apply and you will receive this message regarding the Firewall and Router. We are not going to be forwarding any ports on our router, however if you do have the Firewall enabled on DSM we will be opening up an outbound port in a bit.

You can now disable the OpenVPN server by unchecking and Applying the change again, as this has enabled the TUN, keep the package installed and running.

Firewall (Optional Step)

If you have the Synology Firewall enabled you will need to do this step. Otherwise you will have issue with the VPN connecting to your provider.

Go into Control Panel > Security > Firewall

Click on Edit Rules and in the screen that appears click on ‘Create’

In the first screen select ‘Custom’ and leave the Source IP and Action to their defaults

On the next screen we select ‘Destination Port’, ‘UDP and then the Port your providers uses. You will see this at the top of your providers’ configuration files its usually port 1194.

Click on OK and Apply the rule.

Configuration Files

In order for OpenVPN to connect to your provider we need to give it some key information for the connection. Due to the sheer amount of providers out there the information below will likely need to be tweaked based on your provider.

To keep this guide OS-agnostic I will be using the Synology Text Editor that can be installed via the package center. You can use your own preferred method such as using Notepad++ on Windows.

Open up Text Editor and create a new file, within this first file we are going to add our username and password for connecting to the VPN provider.

Now save this file in the ‘/docker/vpn’ folder and name it ‘vpn.auth’

The second file requires information from your VPN provider, they should have a number of OpenVPN configuration files for you to download on their website, usually split up into countries. Obtain one of these files.

Open up Text Editor and paste in the content of your providers .ovpn config file. It should look something like below. The Certificate section will not always be present if your provider gives you separate files for it.

We need to edit or add some key sections of this file as per the table below.

Original SettingUpdated SettingComments
auth-user-passauth-user-pass /vpn/vpn.authTells the container to get your login details from the vpn.auth file
persist-tun# persist-tunThis will ensure the connection is automatically reset if it fails
crl-verifycrl-verify /vpn/crl.rsa.2048.pemProvider Dependent – If you didn’t get a .pem file in with your config files you do not need to add this. If it is you need to ensure the crl.rsa.2048.pem is saved in the /docker/vpn folder
caca /vpn/ca.rsa.2048.crtProvider Dependent – If you didn’t get a .crt file you do not need to add this. If it is you need to ensure the ca.rsa.2048.crt is saved in the /docker/vpn folder

You can now save this file into ‘/docker/vpn’ named ‘vpn.conf’

That’s the VPN settings done, let’s get onto the compose file.

Docker Compose

Next we are going to create a Docker Compose file, this is used to tell Docker how to set up our container with all the variables we require that are not available in the DSM GUI.

Open up Text Editor again and create a new file. Copy and paste the information below into the file.

version: "3.8"
services:
  vpn:
    container_name: vpn
    image: dperson/openvpn-client:latest
    cap_add:
      - net_admin # gives docker admin rights to amend network settings
    devices:
      - /dev/net/tun #points to the tun device created by the syno VPN package
    volumes:
      - /volume1/docker/vpn:/vpn #The location of our config files
    security_opt:
      - label:disable
    environment:
      OPENVPN_OPTS: '--mute-replay-warnings'
      DNS: --9.9.9.9 #this will override your default DNS and avoids connection issues you can change this value if you wish
    ports: #the port below allow the WebUI of any application connecting through the VPN to remain accessible locally
      - 8090:8090 # port for qBittorrent - Add a line for each application you want to use the VPN
    command: '-f "" -r "192.168.0.0/24"'  # -r 192.168.254.0/24 -f  # amend this in line with your local network settings
    restart: unless-stopped

  qbittorrent:
    image: lscr.io/linuxserver/qbittorrent
    container_name: qbittorrent
    environment:
      - PUID=YOURPUID
      - PGID=YOURPGID
      - TZ=YOURTIMEZONE
      - WEBUI_PORT=8090
    volumes:
      - /volume1/docker/qbittorrent:/config
      - /volume1/data/torrents:/data/torrents
    network_mode: service:vpn # run on the vpn network
    depends_on:
      - vpn
    restart: unless-stopped

You can change the formatting to YAML in the bottom right of the editor to make it easier to read.

We need to make some small amendments to the default settings to ensure they work for you.

VariableValue
ports(optional) If you want to run any other containers through the VPN connection you will need to add their WebUI port numbers to this section. By default we are just passing qBittorrent through. – If you do add something like Prowlarr you will need to move it to this compose file and then set its network mode in line with the one qBittorrent is using. (see the FAQ’s on Page 2)
command(required) in the command section you will see 192.168.0.0/24 you will need to amend this in line with your local IPv4 settings for your network.
For example if the IP of your NAS is 192.168.0.123 you will use 192.168.0.0 or if your IP is 192.168.1.123 you will use 192.168.1.0
network_mode (optional) You can see that the qBittorrent container is being told to use the VPN, if you added any other containers such as Prowlarr you will need to change their config in line with this. (See the FAQ’s on Page 2)
PUID(required) The UID you obtained in the user setup guide
PGID(required) The GID you obtained in the user setup guide
TZ(required) Your timezone wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tz_database_time_zones
If you are having any issues with adding extra containers head over to Discord for some help

You can now save this compose file in /docker/vpn and call it qbittorrentvpn.yml

SSH and Docker-Compose

It’s time to get logged into you Diskstation via SSH, you can do this in the same way as when you obtained your IDs in the ‘Setting up a restricted Docker user‘ guide.

Once you have logged in you will need to give 2 commands, you can copy and paste these one at a time — you will need to enter your password for the command starting with ‘sudo’

First we are going to change directory to where the qbittorrentvpn.yml is located, type the below and then press enter.

cd /volume1/docker/vpn

Then we are going to instruct Docker Compose to read the file we created and complete the set-up of the container. Again type the below and press enter.

sudo docker-compose -f qbittorrentvpn.yml up -d

When the command has completed you should be able to see both qBittorrent and the VPN container running in the list of containers in the Synology GUI.

Final steps

As we have used /data/torrents as the mount point for our downloads we need to make sure qBittorrent uses this same file path.

We need to change the file paths by editing the qBittorrent config file, before doing this stop both of the containers.

Go back into DSM and open Text Editor, browse to /docker/qbittorrent/qbittorrent and open the qBittorrent.conf then edit the file in line with the table below, once amended save the changes.

Original ValueNew Value
Session\DefaultSavePath=/downloads/Session\DefaultSavePath=/data/torrents/completed
Session\TempPath=/downloads/incomplete/Session\TempPath=/data/torrents/incoming/
Downloads\SavePath=/downloads/Downloads\SavePath=/data/torrents/completed
Downloads\TempPath=/downloads/incomplete/Downloads\TempPath=/data/torrents/incoming/

You can now bring the containers back up again by repeating the steps in the SSH and Docker Compose section above.

Once the containers are running you can log into the Web UI by going to the IP of your NAS followed by port 8090

e.g 192.168.0.30:8090

qBittorrent has a default login of ‘admin’ followed by the password of ‘adminadmin’ you can change this in the settings or remove it altogether if you wish.

Now you are in the UI click on settings cog at the top of the screen, we are going to change one more directory which is the watched folder to /data/torrents/watched

I am not going to walk through all the other settings as you can customise these as you wish.

That’s it you are completely set up!

FAQs – See Page 2 of this guide



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