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Airlift 📦

Build Status

Airlift is a self-hosted file upload and sharing service. The clients upload files to the server and return a nice link for you to share. Just bring your own server and domain.

💣 This is unstable software. It is not feature-complete and has lots of bugs.

You should use deuiore/ instead of this if...

  • like PHP;
  • don't like me;
  •'re on a free/cheap shared host that doesn't allow long-running processes.


  • Web interface (included in server)
  • Cross-platform CLI (included in cmd/lift)
  • OS X


airliftd is the Airlift server. You drop the server on any dedicated, VPS, shared host, whatever, as long as it supports running a binary and gives you access to ports or frontend server reverse proxying. A client sends files to it and recieves nice URLs to share. The server itself also provides a web-based client to upload files from, as well as manage existing uploads and customize some behaviors.

The server is packaged as a statically compiled binary with a few text assets with no system dependencies apart from maybe libc for networking. Just download (or clone and build), add to your init system of choice, and run.

You can choose to run it behind a frontend server or standalone.


If you just want a binary

Download a release from the GitHub Releases tab. Put the included binary wherever you want in your $PATH.

Or if you want to build it yourself

  1. Install Go and git
  2. If you don't already have a GOPATH: $ mkdir ~/go && export GOPATH=~/go (you can use any place as your GOPATH)
  3. $ go get

I haven't tried to build or run it on Windows, YMMV. Works on macOS and GNU+Linux.


  1. Replace binary with new one.
  2. There is no step 2.


To run server:

$ airliftd

In development, you can pass the flag -rsrc . to instruct it to load files from disk rooted in the working directory.

The server runs in the console. You can use whatever tools you want to background it.

Command line options

Usage of airliftd:
        Enable debug/pprof server
  -p int
        Override port in config (default -1)
  -rsrc DIR
        Look for static and template resources in DIR (empty = use embedded resources)
  -v    Show version and exit

Sample nginx config

server {
	listen 80;
	location / {
		proxy_pass http://localhost:60606;

		# tell the proxied server its own host (not localhost)
		proxy_set_header Host $http_host;

		# tell the proxied server the remote host (not localhost either)
		proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $remote_addr;

Configuration settings

When you start the server for the first time, it will generate a dotfolder in your home directory for local configuration. Visit http(s)://<yourhost>/config to set up a password and change other configuration parameters. On the first setup, an empty password will not be accepted.

If you manually edit the config file while the server is running, you should send the server process a SIGHUP to force a config reload.

If the server fails to start with a config error, you probably want to delete ~/.airlift-server/config and reconfigure from scratch.

Base URL []: The base URL that links will be returned on. This includes domain and path.

If you are proxying the server behind a frontend at a certain subdirectory, make sure you rewrite the leading path out of the request URL so that the URLs sent to airlift are rooted. Unfortunately, since URLs are rewritten, the redirecting behavior of /-/login and /-/config won't work properly, so you'll have to do your configuration on the internal port (60606 or whatever). Could use a meta redirect instead of internal redirect to fix this, but that doesn't play well with how sessions and stuff are set up in here.

Leaving the host field empty will cause the server to return whatever host the file was posted to.

Length of File ID [4]: Number of characters in subsequently generated file IDs. In general, more characters gives better collision characteristics (and are harder to guess).

Append File Extensions [off]: If enabled, links generated by the upload tool will end with the original file's extension, e.g. instead of

Limit Upload Age [off]: Enable this to automatically limit the maximum age of uploads by periodically pruning old uploads.

Max Age [0]: If Limit Upload Age is on, uploads older than this number of days will be automatically deleted.

Limit Total Uploads Size [off]: Enable this to automatically limit the size of the uploads folder on disk.

Max Size [0]: If Limit Total Uploads Size is on, the oldest uploads will be pruned on every new upload until the total size is less than this many megabytes.

Enable Twitter Cards [off]: If enabled, image uploads (which can be thumbnailed) will provide a Twitter Card preview when their URLs are mentioned in Tweets. This is achieved by serving an alternate page with relevant metadata for the file when the User-Agent of the visitor includes Twitterbot.

Twitter Handle []: Twitter Cards require that the Twitter handle of the source's creator is included in the metadata.

Syntax Highlighting [off]: Enable to serve text-based files with syntax highlighting. The raw file can be requested by appending ?raw=1 to the URL.

Syntax Theme []: Set the syntax highlighting color scheme.

Upload Directory [~/.airlift-server/uploads]: This is where uploaded files will be stored.

New Password []: Change your password here.

Confirm New Password []: Enter the new password again to confirm.


In order to use SSL/TLS standalone, set the following environment variables:

Variable Value
GAS_TLS_PORT The port for the secure server to listen on
GAS_TLS_CERT The path to your certificate
GAS_TLS_KEY The path to your key
GAS_PORT Optional: set this to -1 if you only want HTTPS, not regular HTTP.

If both HTTP and HTTPS are enabled, they will both serve from the same executable and HTTP requests will redirect to HTTPS.


  • After making modifications to static assets, use go generate in cmd/airliftd to create the source files for them
  • After tagging a release, use cmd/airlift/gen_version.bash to create the source file with the tagged version
  • Build with go build


lift is a CLI client interface to airliftd. It takes a filename as an argument and uploads the server at the configured host, which is stored as a JSON file in an OS-dependent location (~/.airlift on POSIX, %LOCALAPPDATA%\airlift\airlift_config on Windows). These may also be configured by the client.

If the server requires a password, the client will prompt for it and it will be saved in a secure system-dependent fashion:

  • OS X: Keychain
  • Windows: encrypted in conf file using current user info
  • Linux: I'm not really sure so I just used Twofish


Binaries will be made available for common platforms. To build it yourself,

  1. Install Go
  2. Assuming GOPATH is set up, $ go install should do it if you have a sane build environment. This client uses cgo, so there may be some platform-specific issues to take into consideration.


If on Windows, set CC to the name of your MinGW32 compiler if needed. If the linker complains, you will need to add the location of crypt32.lib (or libcrypt32.a) to the linker path.


Since Go doesn't officially support Cygwin, you have to use MinGW32 to compile. You don't have to install MinGW32, though, just get the MinGW32 gcc suite for your architecture from the Cygwin installer and compile with either

$ CC=x86_64-w64-mingw32-gcc go build

for 64-bit, or whatever the equivalent for 32-bit is.

Note that since the Windows versions of the Go packages use all Windows APIs, it won't understand anything Cygwin-specific such as symbolic links and the like.


When you use it for the first time, you'll need to set up a host. The following are equivalent:

$ lift -h -p 80
$ lift -a
$ lift -a

If the server requires a password, it will be prompted for:

$ lift "today's lunch.jpg"
Server returned error: password required
You'll need a new password. If the request is successful,
it will be saved in the OS X Keychain.
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