Using Freenet

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Table of Contents

Browsing & Communicating on Freenet

Freesites

Browsing user's Freesites are a popular way of using Freenet. Freesites are static websites that reside inside the Freenet network, and are only accessible through the Freenet network. The easiest way to begin exploring the world of Freesites is to browse through a few of the Freesite indexes. You can find links to several popular indexes on the fproxy front page.

FMS

FMS is an external application that provides Forums and usenet-style communication over Freenet.

Sone

Sone is a plugin that provides social-network style communication over the Freenet network. See the Sone page for more information.

Freemail

Freemail is a plugin that provides email communication over the Freenet network. See the Freemail page for more information.

Frost

Frost is an external application that provides usenet style communication and file sharing using the Freenet network. While many boards are under heavy DOS and spam attacks, some boards are still reachable and thriving. See Frost page for more information.

Freetalk

Freetalk is a plugin that offers a forum style method of communication over Freenet. See the Freetalk page for more information.

Participating on Freenet

Create & publish a Freesite

Freesites are created by either using a HTML authoring tool, and then uploading your Freesite using jSite, or by using a plugin such as FlogHelper to create a personal flog (Freenet blog). If you wish to create a Freesite using HTML and then upload it, there are a few useful guidelines and conventions that should be followed.

  1. Create an activelink image and place in the root folder of your Freesite. When used, activelinks can speed up Freesite retrieval, and help increase data retention on the Freenet network.
  2. Use a title for your Freesite that is meaningful as many Freesite indexes list sites by title.
  3. Include a meta description tag that offers a short and concise description of your Freesite since, again, some Freesite indexes often include the description of your Freesite in their listing.
  4. If your Freesite is personal, or tied to a Web of Trust identity, you can and should publish your Freesite using the same request URI and insert URI as your Web of Trust identity. Doing so makes it easier for Freesite index spiders to find yours, and it also allows other Freenet users to see and/or verify that you and your Freesite are tied together.
  5. Freesites should be kept fairly small and images should be used sparingly. Large Freesites can make Freenet's already high latency times even longer. If yours is large, consider breaking it up into multiple, smaller ones.
  6. Add a "bookmark this site" link. This allows visitors to easily bookmark your Freesite if they like what they see. It is a bit tedious and awkward to do it manually. Bookmark links use the following format:
    Bookmark This Freesite
  7. Advertise your Freesite once published. Two good places to do so are on Freetalk and Sone. Freesite index spiders prefer the announcement to be formatted a certain way. Here is an example:
Name: My Freesite
Location: USK@...AAE/myfreesite/4/
Activelink: USK@...AAE/myfreesite/4/activelink.png
Description: This is my freesite. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
Categories: animal husbandry,artificial insemination,food preparation

Chat With Other Freenet Users

One very popular plugin is Sone.

Good practices

Backup, backup, backup!

One of the unfortunate side effects of the anonymous, decentralized nature of Freenet is that there's no way to recover some types of lost data. Because of this, it is wise to backup things that are irretrievable. Below is a list of some of the common things to backup:

  1. Web of Trust identity keys. These can be found by clicking the "Own anonymous identities" entry under the "Community" drop-down menu in the Freenet navigation bar. Then click "Edit" next to the identity you want the keys of. You should then copy the request and insert URIs somewhere. However, be careful to keep them safe and secure. You may want to encrypt them!
  2. Freesite request and insert URIs. If you lose these, you will not be able to publish updates to your Freesite(s). If you use jSite, these can be found in the jSite settings for your Freesite. Once again, be careful to keep these safe and secure.
  3. Peer connection data. This is mostly useful if you have exchanged node references with others. If you lose your peer data, you will have to re-acquire node references. To back these up, backup all files in your Freenet install directory beginning with "node-" and "peers-". If you wish to backup the peer connection info obtained from strangers via Opennet, then backup all files beginning with "opennet-" as well.
  4. Queued uploads and downloads. If you are downloading or inserting large files that take multiple days or weeks to transfer, you may wish to backup your progress. To do so, shut down the node, back up the node.db4o(.crypt) file, and all folders and files beginning with "persistent-temp-".
Most everything else can be retrieved after restoring your node. Please note that this does not include instructions for backing up data stored by all plugins. Some may require additional steps to be taken!

Be careful what you say

Freenet takes a number of steps and precautions to protect your anonymity, but they are all completely meaningless if you give out information that can be used to find you. Watch what you say, and don't give out too much information!

Participate

Freenet is being actively developed, and participation is very helpful. Some useful ways to participate are listed below:

  1. Provide feedback on Freenet's setup, navigation, and usability. It is difficult for developers who are so close to the project to determine what may be confusing or difficult. And what is broken or buggy. Let them know what you think and find.
  2. Donate funding. Developing Freenet has a cost associated with it, and funding is currently running low. Donation information can be found on the Freenet website.
  3. Help with development. This ranges from actually writing code to simply bouncing ideas around with developers and other users.
  4. Simply use Freenet and its plugins. It is useful, if not essential, for the developers to see how their creations and alterations behave and scale in real-world use. Using Freenet and its plugins will help isolate issues and uncover potential alterations.

Firewall and Router Issues

Port Forwarding

Freenet may work through a firewall and router with no extra configuration. If not, firewall, router, or Freenet settings may have to be adjusted.

Each installation of Freenet uses randomly determined port numbers. If possible these ports should be allowed through the firewall and router. This may not be strictly necessary, but is generally useful. Details on how to do this vary according between firewalls and routers. Vendor documentation should be helpful, and failing that portforward.com could work. Because the ports Freenet uses are chosen randomly on first run, there is no specific guide for forwarding Freenet ports. To use the site pick a router and an application, then follow the instructions, but change the port number to those on Status > and UDP only).

Public IP

Freenet will attempt to detect the public IP address, but if the "Temporary IP address hint" alert appears for more than a few minutes after starting it may be beneficial to fill it out. One way to determine the public IP is to search on Google for "what is my ip". If the Internet connection does not have a static public IP, darknet connections may break after the IP changes. To address this, it is possible to use a dynamic DNS service such as dyndns and set "IP address override" on the Configuration > Core settings page in advanced mode.

Restrictive Firewall

In some cases, a network may have a restrictive yet unsophisticated firewall which does something like only allow traffic on a very limited number of ports - for instance 53 (DNS), 80 (HTTP), and 443 (SSL). In these cases, it is possible to configure Freenet to use these ports to get through the firewall.

To do so:
  • Shut down Freenet. This is possible with the "Shutdown Freenet" button on the Browsing > Browse Freenet page.
  • Open freenet.ini in the Freenet directory with a text editor.
  • Take note of the value for node.listenPort; node.opennet.listenPort too if it is in the file. Change them to ports allowed by the firewall and save freenet.ini.
  • Update filenames and directory names which contain the old port numbers with the new. These include:
    • extra-peer-data-<port></port>
    • node-<port></port>
    • packets-<port></port>
    • peers-<port></port>
    • peers-<port></port>.bak
    • peers-<port></port>.bak.<number></number>
    • persistent-temp-<port></port>
  • Start Freenet again. The node should now display the new ports under Status > Internet connection.