Important note for first time users
For best performance, Freenet will run continually. It should not interfere with your computer usage, as it requires around 200MB of RAM and 10% of one CPU core, plus some disk access. We strongly recommend you shut down Freenet while playing computer games etc. On Windows you can do this from the system tray icon, on other systems use the links on the system menu or the desktop.
Normally Freenet will connect automatically and should "just work", automatically connecting to other nodes (Strangers). However, if you know several people who are already using Freenet, you can enable high security mode and add them as Friends, so Freenet will only connect to them, making your usage of Freenet almost undetectable, while still being able to access the rest of the network through their friends' friends etc. This will be slower unless you add 10+ friends who are usually online when you are.
Step by step guide to setting up Freenet and various Freenet apps. Please try this, especially if installing on Mac. We are not responsible for unofficial third party apps it recommends (including FMS), but many Freenet users and developers use them.
- Download and
installer (try this if the first link is blocked)
It will automatically install Freenet and other required components for you. When done, your default browser will automatically open up to Freenet's web-based user interface.
(Freenet contains NO spyware or adware , it's Free Software! The source code is publicly available for review)
Freenet requires Windows XP or later.
Linux and other Unix-like systems
Try the JavaWebStart installer.
If it doesn't work, please try the instructions given below.
You need to have a recent Java Runtime Environment
(JRE). We have experienced best results with Sun's Java
Runtime Environment which can be obtained via
Java version 1.6 or higher is required. You should keep Java up to date to avoid problems and for better performance.
Open a terminal and run:
wget 'https://docs.google.com/uc?id=0Bxfv0JKZv8JWdGI4VlotS2hJRDg&export=download' -O new_installer_offline.jar java -jar new_installer_offline.jar
Alternatively, downloading the installer (gpg signature) and then clicking on the file may work on some systems, but if there are problems we recommend the above command lines. If wget is not installed, it can be installed with a package manager, such as sudo apt-get install wget on Debian or Ubuntu.
If the link above is blocked, you could download it from our server here. But please use the Google link if you can.If this doesn't work on a headless server, try "java -jar new_installer_offline.jar -console", and follow the prompts to tell it where to install Freenet etc.
If you have a working Freenet installation directory that you have mirrored from one Unix machine to another (e.g. via rsync or unison), enabling the mirrored installation is not difficult. Nothing in a Freenet installation cares about its host's IP address; it can't, or Freenet would fail on machines that get IP addressss from a DHCP pool
All you actually need to do is tell the system you've mirrored to that it should start the Freenet proxy daemon for you on boot. Do crontab -l on the source machine, find the line that is tagged "FREENET AUTOSTART" and add that to your crontab on the mirrored machine.
However: each installation has a unique identity key generated at installation time. If you try to run two instances with the same identity at the same time, both proxy demons will become confused and upset. Don't do this!
You might find the Freenet Social Networking Guide useful.
Firewalls and routers
Freenet should work fine with most routers, but if you are having problems and you have a firewall or router, click here for some info.
So it's running, what do I do?
When the installer closes, it should open a browser window pointing to the first-time wizard. Here you can configure basic settings, and then start using Freenet. You can access Freenet later on via the system tray menu (bottom right on the screen), or use the Browse Freenet shortcut on the desktop and/or start menu. If it doesn't work, open http://127.0.0.1:8888/ in your web browser.
For best security you should use a separate browser for Freenet, preferably in privacy mode. On Windows, the system tray menu will try to use Chrome in incognito mode if possible. Internet Explorer does not work well with Freenet, Firefox and Opera are widely used.
If you know anyone running Freenet, you can improve your security and help to build a robust network by connecting to their node. First, open the Add a friend page. You and your friend should each download their "node reference". Send the file to the other person, and add his node reference using the form at the bottom of the page. When both are added, your friend's node should show up on the Friends page, probably as "CONNECTED" or "BUSY". You can set a name for your node on the config page to make it easier to see who it is. Only add nodes run by people you actually know, whether online or offline, as adding total strangers harms performance and does not improve security much (they could be the bad guys!).
So I'm connected, what do I do?
Freenet itself includes anonymous websites ("freesites"), filesharing, searching, and more, but you can also use third party applications for chat, filesharing, to help you upload freesites, etc.
The Freenet Social Networking Guide explains how to set up the main third party tools, including email, forums and micro-blogging (Sone, a bit like twitter).
It doesn't work, now what?
Generally a 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM should be fine. Freenet will run on smaller systems, but it uses at least 128MB of RAM, so unless the system does nothing else it will struggle in less than 512MB. However, the processor is less of a problem, people have been known to run it on 400MHz Pentium 2's or ATOM's, although downloads and browsing would be slow.
Freenet will use a portion of your disk for storing data, you can configure this to any size from 100MB upwards, but we recommend at least 1GB. Freenet also uses disk space for your downloads. Freenet's memory usage is approximately 256MB plus 400kB for every 2GB of datastore.
On 64-bit Windows, we will install a 32-bit Java Virtual Machine because of limitations of the Java Service Wrapper.
Freenet provides an update-over-freenet mechanism: It will keep itself up to date automatically from other Freenet nodes, and this will normally work even if it is unable to route to them due to them being too new. This is anonymous and secure, and we recommend people use it. However, if something is severely broken, you can update your node manually from our servers:
- Windows users can upgrade to the latest-stable Freenet release from the system tray menu, or by running "update.cmd" in the Freenet directory.
- Mac and Linux users may upgrade by running the update.sh shell script in the Freenet directory.