qBittorrent is a cross-platform free and open-source BitTorrent client that is extremely lightweight and fast. qBittorrent is very popular amongst torrent users as the main alternative to µTorrent. It uses Boost, Qt 5 toolkit, and the libtorrent-rasterbar library. qBittorrent has been around for over a decade and has seen many new features added, such as support for IPv6, a new search engine, an improved Web UI, an integrated torrent search engine, and much more.
For Debian users, qBittorrent is probably one of the best options for users seeking a balanced torrent client with advanced features without an over-complicated UI while keeping bloat to a minimum; as most know, Debian excels in keeping itself as lean as possible.
In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install qBittorrent on Debian 11, 10, or even Sid desktop GUI version or install qBittorrent-nox, which can be installed on a desktop or headless server using the command line terminal to access the WEB UI, which can be accessed remotely and set up on a VPS if required for a seedbox.
Table of Contents
The following tutorial was done with a Debian 11 Bullseye release and example images taken, but it was tested on Debian Buster and Sid. In the future, if Debian makes any changes to break the tutorial for one of the distribution versions, please place a comment for me to investigate so I can update the tutorial.
Recommended Steps Before Installation
Before proceeding with the tutorial, ensuring your system is up-to-date with all existing packages is good.
sudo apt update
Optionally, you can list the updates for users who require review or are curious.
sudo apt --list upgradable
Proceed to upgrade any outdated packages using the following command.
sudo apt upgrade
#1st Method – Install qBittorrent – Desktop GUI Client
The first method is installing the qBittorrent GUI Client method, which would suit most users who prefer desktop applications. For users that want to use the WebUI as they run remote servers either at home or remotely, skip this section and install the qBittorrent-nox.
Install the qBittorrent client using the following command.
sudo apt install qbittorrent -y
Launch qBittorrent – Desktop GUI Client Method
To launch qBittorrent, type the following command into your current terminal session.
Alternatively, use the following path to launch the application icon.
Activities > Show Applications > qBittorrent
The first you use the program, you will get a pop-up window with a Legal notice. This covers qBittorrent from legal responsibilities as most know torrents are still a significant part of illegal downloads today.
After agreeing to the Legal notice, you will see your newly installed torrent software window.
#2nd Method – Install qBittorrent-nox – Server (Headless) WebUI
qBittorrent can be installed on a desktop that will be accessed remotely or headless Debian servers and efficiently managed on a WebUI interface accessed from your favorite Browser.
sudo apt install qbittorrent-nox -y
qBittorrent-nox is the default go-to for headless clients designed to run through a Web interface accessible on the default localhost location at http://localhost:8080. The Web UI access is secured by default, the default account username is (admin), and the password is (adminadmin).
Unlike the desktop version, using the terminal command (qbittorrent-nox) would not be advised as a headless server; you won’t be able to do anything while qBittorrent is running, which isn’t practical. Instead, you will create a systemd service unit to run in the background and start at system boot.
First, create a (qbittorrent-nox) user and group so the service can run as an unprivileged user.
sudo adduser --system --group qbittorrent-nox
If you were wondering what (–system) means, you created a system user instead of a typical user.
Next, add your username to the qbittorrent-nox user group.
sudo adduser your-username qbittorrent-nox
Example using my username:
sudo adduser joshua qbittorrent-nox
Second, create a systemd service file for qbittorrent-nox.
sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/qbittorrent-nox.service
Thirdly, you must copy and paste the following lines into the file.
[Unit] Description=qBittorrent Command Line Client After=network.target [Service] Type=forking User=qbittorrent-nox Group=qbittorrent-nox UMask=007 ExecStart=/usr/bin/qbittorrent-nox -d --webui-port=8080 Restart=on-failure [Install] WantedBy=multi-user.target
Save the file (CTRL+O), then exit (CTRL+X). Now, reload your systemd daemon for changes to be active with the daemon-reload command.
sudo systemctl daemon-reload
Now you can start qBittorrent-nox with the following command.
sudo systemctl start qbittorrent-nox
If you want qBittorrent-nox to be started automatically on boot, use the following.
sudo systemctl enable qbittorrent-nox
Before you continue, it would be ideal to check the status to ensure everything is working correctly.
systemctl status qbittorrent-nox
If there are no errors and status in the green, proceed to the next part of the tutorial.
Accessing qBittorrent Web UI
qBittorrent can be accessed through your local network’s favorite Internet Browser on its Web UI. Type the server’s internal IP address followed by the port number (8080), for example, 192.168.55.156:8080, or use if hosted locally, use the localhost address 127.0.0.1:8080.
You should see the following page.
The default username is (admin), and the default password is (adminadmin).
Once entered, the application will start as below.
Before doing anything else, you should immediately change the default username and password, which can be found following the path.
Tools > Options > Web UI > Authentication.
From here, you can change the username and password.
Congratulations, you have installed qBittorrent.
Update qBittorrent/qBittorrent-nox on Debian Linux
Using the command line terminal may be more work, but it is often the most efficient way to update your system. All you need to do is run the apt update command as follows.
sudo apt update
If an update is available for qBittorrent or qBittorent-nox, use the following upgrade command.
sudo apt upgrade
Remove qBittorrent/qBittorrent-nox on Debian Linux
qBittorrent can be easily removed using the following command that matches your installation.
To remove the qBittorrent desktop client, use the following command.
sudo apt autoremove qbittorrent
Users that have installed qBittorrent-nox use the following command.
sudo apt autoremove qbittorrent-nox
And that is it; repeat the tutorial to re-install qBittorrent if you wish it back on your system.