OnionShare utilizes the Tor network to allow users to do four things with complete anonymity: share files, receive files, host a website, and chat. In this tutorial, we will go over the step by step instructions to install OnionShare on all major Linux distros. Then, you will see how to share files anonymously with OnionShare.
In this tutorial you will learn:
- How to install OnionShare on major Linux distros
- How to share files anonymously in OnionShare
- How to receive shared files
|Category||Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used|
|System||Any Linux system|
|Software||OnionShare, snap or flatpak|
|Other||Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the
# – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user
Install OnionShare on major Linux distros
The first thing we will do is install OnionShare. The official OnionShare documentation recommends that Linux users install the application with either snap or flatpak. Both of these package managers are available on all major Linux distros, and usually at least one of them will be installed by default.
To install OnionShare with snap package manager:
$ sudo snap install onionshare
To install OnionShare with flatpak package manager:
$ sudo flatpak install flathub org.onionshare.OnionShare
These package managers will automatically keep your OnionShare software up to date, so you do not need to worry about manually updating to new releases later on.
Share files anonymously
Once you have OnionShare installed, follow the steps below to share one or more files anonymously over the Tor network. OnionShare allows a user to send files by starting a web server on their system. The files are then served through this web server, while still providing complete anonymity since it will be routed through the Tor network.
- Once you have OnionShare opened, click on the “Start Sharing” button to get started.
- In the next menu, click the “Add” button to browse for files you wish to share, or just drag and drop the files into the OnionShare application.
- Once your files are prepared, review the check box options and then click “Start sharing” when done. You may or may not want to stop hosting these files after they have been successfully received by the intended party, so check or uncheck the first option box accordingly.
- Finally, OnionShare will generate a unique onion URL at which your private files can be accessed (but only through the Tor browser or OnionShare), along with a private key that must also be used. Copy these two pieces of data and give them to the intended recipient(s) of your data. When you want to stop sharing later, just click the “Stop sharing” button or exit the OnionShare application entirely.
In this tutorial, we saw how to share files anonymously with the OnionShare application on a Linux system. This is a secure way to send sensitive data to one or more recipients anonymously. The receiving users can either use the “receive files” option in OnionShare or just paste the onion URL into their Tor browser in order to download the files that you have shared.