Home Server 4: Transmission with VPN

2022-12-20 03:35

Why stick with just Bitcoin? Let’s run some other stuff on this machine, too. Let’s get a BitTorrent server running! But, we don’t want our ISP snooping on us, so let’s do it within a VPN. However, VPNs can play havoc with local LAN services, so we will also need to setup a container so that only our BitTorrent client is operating within the VPN.

How do we do that? Why, Linux network namespaces! We could also use Docker, but I’m going the barebones route this time.

First, some housekeeping: I will be using Mullvad for VPN, which supports Wireguard. If you use a different VPN provider, hopefully they support Wireguard. You should be able to adapt their Wireguard configs to this without too much difficulty. You will have a harder time if they only support OpenVPN.

First step is to install is to download the wireguard config from Mullvad. Then scp (SSH file copy) to your machine.

scp mullvad-config.zip YOUR-USERNAME@host:/home/YOUR-USERNAME/mullvad-wireguard.zip

Then SSH back into your server and install some software and copy the wireguard configs.

sudo apt install unzip transmission-cli transmission-daemon wireguard
unzip mullvad-wireguard-config.zip -d mullvad_config
sudo mkdir -p /etc/wireguard

# Pick your Mullvad server and copy the config
cp mullvad_config/my-server.conf /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf
sudo chown root:root -R /etc/wireguard && sudo chmod 600 -R /etc/wireguard

Okay, you should have a basic VPN that can function now:

wg-quick up wg0
curl https://am.i.mullvad.net/connected
# => You are connected to Mullvad (server ch2-wireguard). Your IP address is

Alright, you’re up and running! The only problem is that this covers the whole machine’s network, not just one application. This is where namespaces come in. Linux has the ability to containerize network stacks into something called namespaces. This is a fundamental building block of Docker containers. We will be building one of these manually.

I may dockerize my server at a later time, but let’s stick low level for the time being.

# Take down our previous VPN
wg-quick down wg0

# Comment out the lines starting with Address= and DNS=.
# However, remember or recordt these values because you will need them!
sudo nano /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf

touch mullvad-start mullvad-stop
chmod +x mullvad-start mullvad-stop

We’re going to create a systemd service that will create our namespace at startup, and close it down.


Add this script below into the mullvad-start file. Make sure to replace the IP addresses with the ones from the commented out Address line from the wireguard config.

#!/usr/bin/env bash

# Create a wireguard namespace and move the wg0 interface into it
ip netns add wireguard
ip link add wg0 type wireguard
wg setconf wg0 /etc/wireguard/wg0.conf
ip link set wg0 netns wireguard
ip netns exec wireguard ip addr add dev wg0
ip netns exec wireguard ip addr add fc00:bbbb:bbbb:bb01::3:f738/128 dev wg0
ip netns exec wireguard ip link set wg0 up
ip netns exec wireguard ip route add default dev wg0

# Create a tunnel between the wireguard namespace and the public namespace
ip link add transclient type veth peer name transserver
ip link set transserver netns wireguard
ip addr add dev transclient
ip netns exec wireguard ip addr add dev transserver


Add this text to the mullvad-stop script.

#!/usr/bin/env bash

ip netns delete wireguard
ip link delete transclient

Install the executables.

sudo install mullvad-start /usr/local/bin/mullvad-start
sudo install mullvad-stop /usr/local/bin/mullvad-stop

Now we need to setup DNS.

sudo mkdir -p /etc/netns/wireguard
sudo touch /etc/netns/wireguard/resolv.conf
sudo chown root:root -R /etc/netns && sudo chmod 600 -R /etc/netns
sudo nano /etc/netns/wireguard/resolv.conf

Add this line to resolv.conf: nameserver x.x.x.x

Except, of course, replace the IP with the DNS from wg0.conf file, which you previously commented you.

You should now be able to connect to the VPN inside a container.

sudo mullvad-start
sudo ip netns exec wireguard curl https://am.i.mullvad.net/connected
# => You are connected to Mullvad (server wg0). Your IP address is x.x.x.x
sudo mullvad-stop

Let’s setup a systemd service: sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/mullvad.service

Description=Start Wireguard VPN in separate namespace



Enable it and modify the transmission-daemon service:

sudo systemctl enable mullvad
sudo systemctl edit transmission-daemon

Add the following lines and save:


Now let’s start the services: sudo systemctl restart mullvad transmission-daemon

Last, but not least, add the following lines to the stream {} block in your /etc/nginx/nginx.conf config (or create the block if you don’t have it):

stream {
	upstream transmission {

	server {
		listen 9091;
		proxy_pass transmission;

Finally, you should be able to connect to your transmission web UI on another machine on your network like this: http://your-machine:9091

If you get a message about rpc whitelists, stop the transmission-deamon service, then edit ~/.config/transmission-daemon/settings.json and set the rpc-whitelist config options to false to disable rpc-whitelist. Make sure to set the rpc-user and rpc-password attribute, and change rpc-authentication-required to true.


Wireguard in a linux namespace Overriding systemd services Redhat: network namespaces