Connecting to Freenet

There are two ways to connect to Freenet:

In practice, you should probably use both of these options, unless you are really paranoid, in which case you should of course only connect to people you trust. Insecure mode should work automatically once enabled, so the rest of this page is about connecting to Friends.

To connect to your friends' nodes, you have to exchange Node references with them. The references must be added on both sides to be established. That is, you need to add his/hers, and he/she needs to add yours.

When you have a freshly connected node, you have no data cached in your datastore, and very few connections even if insecure mode is enabled. Requests are sent out in a random fashion. This makes some (or all) requests time out before retrieving anything. It takes a couple of days for your Freenet-node to get up to speed, so please don't get discouraged by this.

You should have at least three nodes that are connected to you at all times, ideally at least five to seven. Since some nodes may be unreachable at times, you need to connect to some more nodes to get the expected number. The nodes that are connected directly to you are the only nodes on freenet that might see what kind of traffic that passes through to your Freenet node. But if insecure mode is enabled, any node can find yours; this is the big advantage of not enabling insecure mode: you are effectively invisible except to your Friends. In practice most people start off with insecure mode and gradually add Friends, and hopefully turn off insecure mode once they have at least 10 Friends.

Figure 1: Visible Freenet connections

Node A in the figure also has a number of nodes connected to it, but they are all (except from your own node) invisible to you. The traffic routing algorithm is therefore only able to direct traffic to one of the few nodes that you know of that it thinks is most able to find what you are looking for.

The traffic is encrypted, so it is quite difficult for the nodes that you connect to to see what your Freenet-traffic consists of, but it is far from impossible. It is therefore important that you connect only to people you know. If that is not possible, then at least people you've talked to.

There are a number of ways to add peer node references.


Connecting peer nodes with FProxy can be done in several ways. Common for all these are that they are all done under the Darknet menu item or using the link. Below is the thing that makes it all happen:

As you can see, there are three ways of getting a node reference from someone else: is a so called paste-bin, where you can add your node reference, make sure that the private box is checked, and press Paste.

The paste-bin then returns an URL (e.g., which can be shared with others. Make sure that you add ?raw to the link. This makes the link point only to the actual pasted data, with no extra design elements.

Your own Freenet reference can be found on the page, under the caption My reference. It might look something like this (cut for screen purposes):


Remember that both you and the node you are connecting to must add references to make the connection work. This means that if you add a persons node reference on your side, but that person does not add your reference on his/her side, the connection does not work.

Darknet peers

When you have a number of connections, you can visit the Darknet-page. It should look something like this:

There are a number of status messages that can be seen here:

In the Idle-column, you can see how much time has passed since the last status message.