Share Files of Any Size Securely with Onionshare

Have you ever wanted to share files of any size? What about sending files privately to a friend? You can do both with Onionshare. It allows you to use the Tor network to send files of any size securely without having to upload them to a service like Dropbox or allow anyone else access to your private cloud storage.

Onionshare works by creating a temporary “.onion” web address that you can share with a friend. When you’re done, stop sharing, and the address no longer works. Of course, if privacy is a real concern, make sure to encrypt the message to your friend that tells them the address.

Installing Onionshare is very simple. Windows has a convenient installer that you can grab and use to get set up on Windows. There’s a PPA for Debian and Ubuntu, and it’s also available for Fedora. If you’re not on any of those distributions, the project is open source, so you can always build it yourself.

Ubuntu/Debian

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

Fedora

dnf install onionshare

Onionshare is a simple graphical program with a basic interface. Open it with your Start menu or program launcher.

Onionshare Main Window

The window that you’ll see has an area where you can drag your files to share or a button that you can click to add them. Once you have everything that you want, click the “Start Sharing” button.

Onionshare Sending

It will take a few seconds for Onionshare to get set up. When it has everything ready, it’ll display a URL for you to send to your friend. When you’re done, just click the “Stop Sharing” button, and your “.onion” site will no longer be available.

Receive a file with Onionshare

After you have the URL to an Onionshare file, you can navigate to that address using the Tor Browser. The page that you’ll see is pretty plain, but it has a download link for a .zip file, containing everything being shared and a breakdown of what’s in the file. Click the link and download your .zip. There’s not much else.

As you can see, both sending and receiving files with Onionshare is actually much simpler than many less-secure alternatives. So, the next time you need to send a large file or don’t want to host a file transfer publicly, consider using Onionshare to get your file out to your friends and colleagues.

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