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IPFS implementation in Go

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What is IPFS?

IPFS is a global, versioned, peer-to-peer filesystem. It combines good ideas from previous systems such as Git, BitTorrent, Kademlia, SFS, and the Web. It is like a single BitTorrent swarm, exchanging git objects. IPFS provides an interface as simple as the HTTP web, but with permanence built-in. You can also mount the world at /ipfs.

For more info see:

Before opening an issue, consider using one of the following locations to ensure you are opening your thread in the right place: - go-ipfs implementation bugs in this repo. - Documentation issues in ipfs/docs issues. - IPFS design in ipfs/specs issues. - Exploration of new ideas in ipfs/notes issues. - Ask questions and meet the rest of the community at the IPFS Forum.

Table of Contents

Security Issues

The IPFS protocol and its implementations are still in heavy development. This means that there may be problems in our protocols, or there may be mistakes in our implementations. And -- though IPFS is not production-ready yet -- many people are already running nodes in their machines. So we take security vulnerabilities very seriously. If you discover a security issue, please bring it to our attention right away!

If you find a vulnerability that may affect live deployments -- for example, by exposing a remote execution exploit -- please send your report privately to [email protected] Please DO NOT file a public issue.

If the issue is a protocol weakness that cannot be immediately exploited or something not yet deployed, just discuss it openly.


The canonical download instructions for IPFS are over at: It is highly recommended you follow those instructions if you are not interested in working on IPFS development.

System Requirements

IPFS can run on most Linux, macOS, and Windows systems. We recommend running it on a machine with at least 2 GB of RAM and 2 CPU cores (go-ipfs is highly parallel). On systems with less memory, it may not be completely stable.

If your system is resource-constrained, we recommend:

  1. Installing OpenSSL and rebuilding go-ipfs manually with
    make build GOTAGS=openssl
    . See the download and compile section for more information on compiling go-ipfs.
  2. Initializing your daemon with
    ipfs init --profile=lowpower

Install prebuilt packages

We host prebuilt binaries over at our distributions page.

From there: - Click the blue "Download go-ipfs" on the right side of the page. - Open/extract the archive. - Move

to your path (
can do it for you).

You can also download go-ipfs from this project's GitHub releases page if you are unable to access

From Linux package managers

Arch Linux

In Arch Linux go-ipfs is available as go-ipfs package.

$ sudo pacman -S go-ipfs

Development version of go-ipfs is also on AUR under go-ipfs-git. You can install it using your favorite AUR Helper or manually from AUR.


For Linux and MacOSX you can use the purely functional package manager Nix:

$ nix-env -i ipfs

You can also install the Package by using its attribute name, which is also



GNU's functional package manager, Guix, also provides a go-ipfs package:

$ guix package -i go-ipfs


In solus, go-ipfs is available in the main repository as go-ipfs.

$ sudo eopkg install go-ipfs

You can also install it through the Solus software center.


With snap, in any of the supported Linux distributions:

$ sudo snap install ipfs

From Windows package managers


The package ipfs currently points to go-ipfs and is being maintained.

PS> choco install ipfs


Scoop provides

in its 'extras' bucket.
PS> scoop bucket add extras
PS> scoop install go-ipfs

Build from Source

go-ipfs's build system requires Go 1.14.4 and some standard POSIX build tools:

  • GNU make
  • Git
  • GCC (or some other go compatible C Compiler) (optional)

To build without GCC, build with

make build CGO_ENABLED=0

Install Go

The build process for ipfs requires Go 1.14.4 or higher. If you don't have it: Download Go 1.14+.

You'll need to add Go's bin directories to your

environment variable e.g., by adding these lines to your
(for a system-wide installation) or
export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/go/bin
export PATH=$PATH:$GOPATH/bin

(If you run into trouble, see the Go install instructions).

Download and Compile IPFS

$ git clone

$ cd go-ipfs $ make install

Alternatively, you can run

make build
to build the go-ipfs binary (storing it in
) without installing it.

NOTE: If you get an error along the lines of "fatal error: stdlib.h: No such file or directory", you're missing a C compiler. Either re-run

or install GCC.
Cross Compiling

Compiling for a different platform is as simple as running:

make build GOOS=myTargetOS GOARCH=myTargetArchitecture

To build go-ipfs with OpenSSL support, append

to your
invocation. Building with OpenSSL should significantly reduce the background CPU usage on nodes that frequently make or receive new connections.

Note: OpenSSL requires CGO support and, by default, CGO is disabled when cross-compiling. To cross-compile with OpenSSL support, you must:

  1. Install a compiler toolchain for the target platform.
  2. Set the
    environment variable.


  • Separate instructions are available for building on Windows.
  • git
    is required in order for
    go get
    to fetch all dependencies.
  • Package managers often contain out-of-date
    packages. Ensure that
    go version
    reports at least 1.10. See above for how to install go.
  • If you are interested in development, please install the development dependencies as well.
  • WARNING: Older versions of OSX FUSE (for Mac OS X) can cause kernel panics when mounting!- We strongly recommend you use the latest version of OSX FUSE. (See
  • For more details on setting up FUSE (so that you can mount the filesystem), see the docs folder.
  • Shell command completion is available in
    . Read docs/ to learn how to install it.
  • See the misc folder for how to connect IPFS to systemd or whatever init system your distro uses.

Updating go-ipfs

Using ipfs-update

IPFS has an updating tool that can be accessed through

ipfs update
. The tool is not installed alongside IPFS in order to keep that logic independent of the main codebase. To install
ipfs update
, download it here.

Downloading IPFS builds using IPFS

List the available versions of go-ipfs:

$ ipfs cat /ipns/

Then, to view available builds for a version from the previous command ($VERSION):

$ ipfs ls /ipns/$VERSION

To download a given build of a version:

$ ipfs get /ipns/$VERSION/go-ipfs_$VERSION_darwin-386.tar.gz # darwin 32-bit build
$ ipfs get /ipns/$VERSION/go-ipfs_$VERSION_darwin-amd64.tar.gz # darwin 64-bit build
$ ipfs get /ipns/$VERSION/go-ipfs_$VERSION_freebsd-amd64.tar.gz # freebsd 64-bit build
$ ipfs get /ipns/$VERSION/go-ipfs_$VERSION_linux-386.tar.gz # linux 32-bit build
$ ipfs get /ipns/$VERSION/go-ipfs_$VERSION_linux-amd64.tar.gz # linux 64-bit build
$ ipfs get /ipns/$VERSION/go-ipfs_$VERSION_linux-arm.tar.gz # linux arm build
$ ipfs get /ipns/$VERSION/go-ipfs_$ # windows 64-bit build

Getting Started

See also:

To start using IPFS, you must first initialize IPFS's config files on your system, this is done with

ipfs init
. See
ipfs init --help
for information on the optional arguments it takes. After initialization is complete, you can use
ipfs mount
ipfs add
and any of the other commands to explore!

Some things to try

Basic proof of 'ipfs working' locally:

echo "hello world" > hello
ipfs add hello
# This should output a hash string that looks something like:
# QmT78zSuBmuS4z925WZfrqQ1qHaJ56DQaTfyMUF7F8ff5o
ipfs cat 


  ipfs - Global p2p merkle-dag filesystem.

ipfs [] [] ...

SUBCOMMANDS BASIC COMMANDS init Initialize ipfs local configuration add Add a file to ipfs cat Show ipfs object data get Download ipfs objects ls List links from an object refs List hashes of links from an object

DATA STRUCTURE COMMANDS block Interact with raw blocks in the datastore object Interact with raw dag nodes files Interact with objects as if they were a unix filesystem

ADVANCED COMMANDS daemon Start a long-running daemon process mount Mount an ipfs read-only mount point resolve Resolve any type of name name Publish or resolve IPNS names dns Resolve DNS links pin Pin objects to local storage repo Manipulate an IPFS repository

NETWORK COMMANDS id Show info about ipfs peers bootstrap Add or remove bootstrap peers swarm Manage connections to the p2p network dht Query the DHT for values or peers ping Measure the latency of a connection diag Print diagnostics

TOOL COMMANDS config Manage configuration version Show ipfs version information update Download and apply go-ipfs updates commands List all available commands

Use 'ipfs --help' to learn more about each command.

ipfs uses a repository in the local file system. By default, the repo is located at ~/.ipfs. To change the repo location, set the $IPFS_PATH environment variable:

export IPFS_PATH=/path/to/ipfsrepo

Running IPFS inside Docker

An IPFS docker image is hosted at To make files visible inside the container you need to mount a host directory with the

option to docker. Choose a directory that you want to use to import/export files from IPFS. You should also choose a directory to store IPFS files that will persist when you restart the container.
export ipfs_staging=
export ipfs_data=

Start a container running ipfs and expose ports 4001, 5001 and 8080:

docker run -d --name ipfs_host -v $ipfs_staging:/export -v $ipfs_data:/data/ipfs -p 4001:4001 -p 4001:4001/udp -p -p ipfs/go-ipfs:latest

Watch the ipfs log:

docker logs -f ipfs_host

Wait for ipfs to start. ipfs is running when you see:

Gateway (readonly) server
listening on /ip4/

You can now stop watching the log.

Run ipfs commands:

docker exec ipfs_host ipfs 

For example: connect to peers

docker exec ipfs_host ipfs swarm peers

Add files:

cp -r  $ipfs_staging
docker exec ipfs_host ipfs add -r /export/

Stop the running container:

docker stop ipfs_host

When starting a container running ipfs for the first time with an empty data directory, it will call

ipfs init
to initialize configuration files and generate a new keypair. At this time, you can choose which profile to apply using the
environment variable:
docker run -d --name ipfs_host -e IPFS_PROFILE=server -v $ipfs_staging:/export -v $ipfs_data:/data/ipfs -p 4001:4001 -p 4001:4001/udp -p -p ipfs/go-ipfs:latest

Private swarms inside Docker

It is possible to initialize the container with a swarm key file (

) using the variables
. The
with the contents of the variable itself, whilst
copies the key from a path stored in the variable. The
overwrites the key generated by
docker run -d --name ipfs_host -e IPFS_SWARM_KEY= -v $ipfs_staging:/export -v $ipfs_data:/data/ipfs -p 4001:4001 -p 4001:4001/udp -p -p ipfs/go-ipfs:latest

The swarm key initialization can also be done using docker secrets (requires docker swarm or docker-compose):

cat your_swarm.key | docker secret create swarm_key_secret -
docker run -d --name ipfs_host --secret swarm_key_secret -e IPFS_SWARM_KEY_FILE=/run/secrets/swarm_key_secret -v $ipfs_staging:/export -v $ipfs_data:/data/ipfs -p 4001:4001 -p 4001:4001/udp -p -p ipfs/go-ipfs:latest

Key rotation inside Docker

If needed, it is possible to do key rotation in an ephemeral container that is temporarily executing against a volume that is mounted under

# given container named 'ipfs-test' that persists repo at /path/to/persisted/.ipfs
$ docker run -d --name ipfs-test -v /path/to/persisted/.ipfs:/data/ipfs ipfs/go-ipfs:v0.7.0 
$ docker stop ipfs-test  

key rotation works like this (old key saved under 'old-self')

$ docker run --rm -it -v /path/to/persisted/.ipfs:/data/ipfs ipfs/go-ipfs:v0.7.0 key rotate -o old-self -t ed25519 $ docker start ipfs-test # will start with the new key


If you have previously installed IPFS before and you are running into problems getting a newer version to work, try deleting (or backing up somewhere else) your IPFS config directory (~/.ipfs by default) and rerunning

ipfs init
. This will reinitialize the config file to its defaults and clear out the local datastore of any bad entries.

Please direct general questions and help requests to our forum or our IRC channel (freenode #ipfs).

If you believe you've found a bug, check the issues list and, if you don't see your problem there, either come talk to us on IRC (freenode #ipfs) or file an issue of your own!


This table is generated using the module


package-table --data=package-list.json

Listing of the main packages used in the IPFS ecosystem. There are also three specifications worth linking here:

| Name | CI/Travis | Coverage | Description | | ---------|---------|---------|--------- | | Libp2p | |

| Travis CI | codecov | p2p networking library | |
| Travis CI | codecov | pubsub built on libp2p | |
| Travis CI | codecov | dht-backed router | |
| Travis CI | codecov | pubsub-backed router | | Multiformats | |
| Travis CI | codecov | CID implementation | |
| Travis CI | codecov | multiaddr implementation | |
| Travis CI | codecov | multihash implementation | |
| Travis CI | codecov | mulitbase implementation | | Files | |
| Travis CI | codecov | the core 'filesystem' logic | |
| Travis CI | codecov | a mutable filesystem editor for unixfs | |
| Travis CI | codecov | helper datatypes for the filestore | |
| Travis CI | codecov | file chunkers | | Exchange | |
| Travis CI | codecov | exchange service interface | |
| Travis CI | codecov | (dummy) offline implementation of the exchange service | |
| Travis CI | codecov | bitswap protocol implementation | |
| Travis CI | codecov | service that plugs a blockstore and an exchange together | | Datastores | |
| Travis CI | codecov | datastore interfaces, adapters, and basic implementations | |
| Travis CI | codecov | datastore utility functions | |
| Travis CI | codecov | a filesystem-based datastore | |
| Travis CI | codecov | a metric-collecting database adapter | |
| Travis CI | codecov | a leveldb based datastore | |
| Travis CI | codecov | a badgerdb based datastore | | Namesys | |
| Travis CI | codecov | IPNS datastructures and validation logic | | Repo | |
| Travis CI | codecov | go-ipfs config file definitions | |
| Travis CI | codecov | lockfile management functions | |
| Travis CI | codecov | repo migrations | | IPLD | |
| Travis CI | codecov | block interfaces and implementations | |
| Travis CI | codecov | blockstore interfaces and implementations | |
| Travis CI | codecov | IPLD interfaces | |
| Travis CI | codecov | IPLD-CBOR implementation | |
| Travis CI | codecov | IPLD-Git implementation | |
| Travis CI | codecov | IPLD-Merkledag implementation (and then some) | | Commands | |
| Travis CI | codecov | CLI & HTTP commands library | |
| Travis CI | codecov | CLI & HTTP commands library | |
| Travis CI | codecov | an old, stable shell for the IPFS HTTP API | |
| Travis CI | codecov | a new, unstable shell for the IPFS HTTP API | |
| Travis CI | codecov | core go-ipfs API interface definitions | | Metrics & Logging | |
| Travis CI | codecov | metrics collection interfaces | |
| Travis CI | codecov | prometheus-backed metrics collector | |
| Travis CI | codecov | logging framework | | Generics/Utils | |
| Travis CI | codecov | routing (content, peer, value) helpers | |
| Travis CI | codecov | the kitchen sink | |
| Travis CI | codecov | utility functions for parsing IPFS multiaddrs |

For brevity, we've omitted most go-libp2p, go-ipld, and go-multiformats packages. These package tables can be found in their respective project's READMEs:


Some places to get you started on the codebase:

Map of go-ipfs Subsystems

WIP: This is a high-level architecture diagram of the various sub-systems of go-ipfs. To be updated with how they interact. Anyone who has suggestions is welcome to comment here on how we can improve this!

CLI, HTTP-API, Architecture Diagram


Description: Dotted means "likely going away". The "Legacy" parts are thin wrappers around some commands to translate between the new system and the old system. The grayed-out parts on the "daemon" diagram are there to show that the code is all the same, it's just that we turn some pieces on and some pieces off depending on whether we're running on the client or the server.


make test

Development Dependencies

If you make changes to the protocol buffers, you will need to install the protoc compiler.

Developer Notes

Find more documentation for developers on docs


We ❤️ all our contributors; this project wouldn’t be what it is without you! If you want to help out, please see

This repository falls under the IPFS Code of Conduct.

You can contact us on the freenode #ipfs-dev channel or attend one of our weekly calls.


The go-ipfs project is dual-licensed under Apache 2.0 and MIT terms:

  • Apache License, Version 2.0, (LICENSE-APACHE or
  • MIT license (LICENSE-MIT or

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