Freenet REference Daemon

3 years after

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To install Freenet, use the installer from

If the installer did not open a browser with Freenet, start Freenet and access the Freenet web interface at


For building Freenet, see

Short guidelines for contributing improvements are in


Freenet is software designed to allow the free exchange of information over the Internet without fear of censorship, or reprisal. To achieve this Freenet makes it very difficult for adversaries to reveal the identity, either of the person publishing, or downloading content. The Freenet project started in 1999, released Freenet 0.1 in March 2000, and has been under active development ever since.

Freenet is unique in that it handles the storage of content, meaning that if necessary users can upload content to Freenet and then disconnect. We've discovered that this is a key requirement for many Freenet users. Once uploaded, content is mirrored and moved around the Freenet network, making it very difficult to trace, or to destroy. Content will remain in Freenet for as long as people are retrieving it, although Freenet makes no guarantee that content will be stored indefinitely.

Also it allows users to let Freenet connect only to friends. This makes it far more difficult for a third-party to determine who is using Freenet and as such makes it harder to punish people just for using Freenet.

Get Freenet via

If you have any difficulty getting Freenet to work, or any questions not answered in the faq, please join us on IRC in the #freenet channel at

Part of our work is funded through donations via our website (as well as a few larger sponsors from time to time). If you can, please visit our donations page and make a contribution at:

Press enquiries should be directed at [email protected]

Always On

On OSX, Freenet will create a configuration file at ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.freenet.startup.plist. On other unix-based systems, Freenet will create a cron job to run Freenet on startup. On Windows, Freenet is run by the rabbit tray icon, which starts on login from the startup folder. You should run Freenet as close to 24x7 as possible for good performance. It is however possible to remove the plist, to remove the cron job (with the remove cron job script in bin/), or to remove the startup shortcut (edit the start menu).


The easiest option is to use the system tray applet to launch Freenet. This will try to load a browser (Chrome or Firefox) in privacy/incognito mode. If this does not work, please enable privacy mode manually.

Privacy mode avoids history probing attacks from regular websites (outside freenet). Ideally use a completely separate browser to access Freenet.

Security measures

Freenet will warn you when you try to download a file which may not be safe. Many file formats, for instance PDFs, word processor documents, and some types of video, can give away your identity. In some cases (such as HTML, PNGs, JPEGs and MP3s), Freenet can automatically make the content safe; a few file formats (such as plain text .txt's) are safe as-is. Freenet will warn you in all other cases. Sometimes using alternative tools, or up to date versions of the normal tools, to view such content will help. Another option is to create a virtual machine with no internet access, create a clean snapshot having installed the software you need, and then use it to browse the content. Once finished, reset to the clean snapshot. However, even this is not certain to be absolutely secure: Breaking out of VMs is not completely unheard of; so you will need to ecure the VM, or ideally run it on a disconnected machine.

You are responsible for your computer's physical security. In many hostile environments the most likely attack is people busting down your door and stealing your computer - perhaps because they know you are using Freenet, or perhaps because they got your name from one of your friends who was busted! Freenet can encrypt your caches and active downloads/uploads, with a password if you set one, and with a panic button to get rid of the evidence quickly, but as soon as anything is saved to disk, Freenet can't do anything about it. Freenet can download files to encrypted temporary space ("Fetch" instead of "Download"), to limit this, but it will use a bit more disk space and is less convenient. If you can encrypt your whole hard drive, e.g. with Truecrypt, that is strongly recommended. Even if you can't, we strongly recommend you encrypt your swapfile (try "fsutil behavior set encryptpagingfile 1" on Windows 7), or turn off swap.

If your life or liberty depends on Freenet protecting your anonymity, you should seriously evaluate your options, including the option of not posting whatever controversial content it is you are thinking of posting. If you do choose to use Freenet under such circumstances, you should enable the MAXIMUM network security level and add connections to your friends on the Friends page; connecting only to friends greatly improves your security, making it very hard to trace content back to you, and reasonably difficult to find out that you are running Freenet, but you should only connect to people you actually know: You are vulnerable to those nodes you are connected to (hence in low/normal security, aka opennet mode, you have much less security).

A reasonably detailed explanation of how to use Freenet securely is included in the first-time wizard, which you see when you first install Freenet, at the bottom of the page asking whether to connect to strangers or just to friends. Mouse over it to read it. If you have already installed Freenet you can still see it here:


Freenet is under the GPL, version 2 or later - see LICENSE.Freenet. We use some code under the Apache license version 2 (mostly apache commons stuff), and some modified BSD code (Mantissa). All of which is compatible with the GPL, although arguably ASL2 is only compatible with GPL3. Some plugins are GPL3.

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