OnionShare: an open source tool for securely sharing files through the Tor network

Introduction: OnionShare is a free and open source tool that uses the Tor network to share files securely and anonymously.

You may have encountered many online services to share files securely, but it may not be completely anonymous.

In addition, you really have to rely on a centralized service to share files, and if the service decides to shut down like Firefox Send, then you can’t really rely on it to always share files securely.

All things considered, OnionShare is an amazing open source tool that allows you to use Tor onion service. It should be an excellent alternative to all cloud file sharing services.

Let’s take a look at what it offers and how it works.

OnionShare: Share files anonymously via Tor

Onion sharing It is an interesting open source tool available for Linux, Windows and macOS.

It allows you to safely share files directly from your computer to the receiver without revealing your identity in the process. You don’t need to register any account-it also doesn’t rely on any centralized storage service.

It is basically a peer-to-peer network on the Tor network. The receiver only needs to have a Tor browser to download/upload files to your computer. If you are curious, I also recommend that you read our Tor guide to learn more about it.

Let’s take a look at these functions.

Features of OnionShare

For ordinary users who only need security and anonymity, no adjustments are required. However, you do have some advanced options if needed.

  • Cross-platform support (Windows, macOS and Linux)
  • Send File
  • Receive files
  • Command line options
  • Publish an onion site
  • Able to use a network bridge (if your tor connection does not work)
  • Ability to share with permanent URL (advanced users)
  • Stealth mode (more secure)

You can pass Official user guide Learn more about them on GitHub.

Install OnionShare on Linux

You should find the listed OnionShare in the software center to install it. If it does not exist, you can add the PPA with the following command on the Ubuntu-based distribution:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:micahflee/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y onionshare

If you wish to install it on other Linux distributions, you can visit Official website For installation instructions and build instructions on Fedora.

Download OnionShare

How does OnionShare work?

After installation, everything is easy to explain and easy to use. But if you want to be wary, let me show you how it works.

Once, it loads and connects to the Tor network

shared documents

Onion share

You just need to add the files you want to share from your computer and click “Start sharing“.

When finished, the status in the lower right corner should be “share it” with Onion share address Will be generated (automatically copied to the clipboard), as shown in the following figure:

Shared Onionshare files

Now, all the receiver needs is the OnionShare address, which should look like this:

http://onionshare:[email protected]

And, use the Tor browser to start downloading the file.

It is worth noting that the file sharing will stop after the download is complete (file transfer is complete). When this happens, you will also be notified.

Therefore, if you must share it again or share it with others, you must reshare it and send the new OnionShare address to the recipient.

Allow to receive files

If you want to generate a URL that allows someone to upload files directly to your computer (please share with caution), just click Receive files Click “Tab” after starting OnionShare.

Onionshare receive files

You just need to click “Start receiving mode“Button to start using. Next, you will get an OnionShare address (just like when sharing files).

The recipient must use the Tor browser to access it and start uploading files. Its appearance is as follows:

Onion shared receiving mode

Even when someone uploads to your computer, the system will notify you of the file transfer, but you need to manually stop the receiving mode after the operation is completed.

Download/upload files

Considering that you have installed the Tor browser, you only need to click the OnionShare address in the URL address and confirm the login (press OK). Its appearance is as follows:

Onionshare download

Similarly, when you get an address to upload a file, it should look like this:

Onionshare upload

Publish an onion site

You can add files as needed to host static onion websites. Of course, just because it is a peer-to-peer connection, the loading speed will be very slow when each file is transferred from the computer.

Onionshare onion site

I try to use Free template Tested, the effect is good (but very slow). Therefore, this may depend on your network connection.

wrap up

In addition to all the above features, you can also use the command line and select some advanced adjustments as needed.

OnionShare is indeed an impressive open source tool that can easily share files anonymously without any special adjustments.

Have you tried OnionShare? Do you know something similar to this? Let me know in the comments below!

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