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A PirateBox is an anonymous offline file-sharing communications system, according to the PirateBox project.

This project is just a powerful web interface, conceived in this spirit. You can use it on any hardware configured with an HTTP server and a PHP backend.

If you want to use it like a real PirateBox, you need to configure a wifi hotspot with a captive portal redirecting all web requests on it. For example, this project is also available as a YunoHost application for this purpose. Thus, installing the corresponding Yunohost application sets up all the necessary stuff for you, including the HTTP/PHP server side configurations. This last was integrated in the "La Brique Internet" project.

This project is not affiliated with the official PirateBox project.



  • File-sharing without authentication
  • Integrated web chat (can be disabled)
  • Drag and drop supported with multiple files
  • Folders browsing
  • Pinned files or folders (marked with a star and cannot be deleted nor renamed)
  • Free folders creation (can be disabled)
  • Free files and folders renaming (can be disabled)
  • Free files and (empty) folders deleting (can be disabled)
  • Fancy URLs (can be disabled)
  • Keyboard shortcuts and context menus
  • Full AJAX with direct URLs and browser history
  • Do not require a database
  • Completely translatable with gettext
  • Responsive design (mobile-friendly)

Some screenshots are available.

Main shortcuts

On the files tab:

  • Right/Left arrows: browses between files and folders
  • Enter: downloads the selected file or gets into the selected folder
  • Del: deletes the selected file
  • F2: renames the selected file or folder
  • Escape: unselects the selected file or folder
  • Insert: uploads files
  • Page Down: creates a folder
  • F4: shows the chat tab

You also can directly download a file by double-clicking it.

On the chat tab:

  • Up arrow: completes the input field with the last posted message
  • Down arrow: cleans the input field
  • F3: shows the files tab


All options are available in /config.php:

  • app_name: name of the service ("PirateBox" by default but brandable)
  • enable_chat: boolean for enabling the web chat or not
  • allow_renaming: boolean for allowing free renaming of the existing files or not
  • allow_deleting: boolean for allowing free deleting of the existing files or not
  • default_pseudo: default pseudo in the chat when the user has not defined one ("anonymous" by default, completed with a random number)
  • time_format: format to use for displaying dates, using the PHP date syntax
  • fancyurls: boolean for enabling fancy URLs or not (see below the required specific configuration at the HTTP server side)
  • base_path: unix path of the root of the interface in the server
  • base_uri: root of the interface regarding the URLs (folders to add after the domain name)
  • base_uploads: optional unix path in case of the uploads/ folder is located elsewhere in the server (see HTTP configuration below)
  • base_chat: optional unix path in case of the chat/ folder (containing the chat log file) is located elsewhere in the server (see HTTP configuration below)
  • max_space: maximum available space in percent for the data, on the partition where base_uploads is located

For pinning a file or a folder, just remove the write permission for the owner on the server:

# chmod u-w /var/www/piratebox/public/uploads/

Server configuration

HTTP server

Example with nginx:

# Max file size
client_max_body_size 10G;

location /public/uploads/ {

  # OPTIONAL: use a public/uploads/ folder located elsewhere
  # WITH: $options['base_uploads'] = '/var/spool/piratebox/public/uploads/'
  root /var/spool/piratebox/;

  # OPTIONAL: force download for all files
  add_header Content-Type "application/octet-stream";
  add_header Content-Disposition "attachment; filename=$1";

location /public/chat/ {

  # OPTIONAL: use a public/chat/ folder located elsewhere
  # WITH: $options['base_chat'] = '/var/spool/piratebox/public/chat/'
  root /var/spool/piratebox/;

  # OPTIONAL: deny direct access to the chat log
  deny all;
  return 403;

location ~ \.php {
  include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;

  fastcgi_index index.php;
  fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
  fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php.sock;

  # 10 minutes max for uploading a file
  fastcgi_send_timeout 600;

# OPTIONAL: use fancy urls
# WITH: $options['fancyurls'] = true
location @piratebox {

  # WITH: $options['base_uri'] = '/foobar/'
  rewrite ^/foobar/(.*)$ /foobar/?/get&dir=$1;

location / {
  index index.html index.php;

  # OPTIONAL: use fancy urls
  try_files $uri $uri/ @piratebox;

PHP backend

Example with php-fpm:

; Max file size
php_value[upload_max_filesize] = 10G
php_value[post_max_size] = 10G

; 10 minutes max for uploading a file
php_value[max_execution_time] = 600


For example, if your PHP pool uses www-data as unix user:

# chown www-data: public/uploads/
# chown www-data: public/chat/


Files tab Files tab (mobile) Tabs menu (mobile) Download file Download file (mobile) Upload files (mobile) Chat tab Upload files Chat tab (mobile) Tabs menu 2 (mobile)


Web interface for free file-sharing (with chat)






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