# Command-line

Installing IPFS through the command-line is handy if you plan on building applications and services on top of an IPFS node. This method is also useful if you're setting up a node without a user interface, usually the case with remote servers or virtual machines. Using IPFS through the command-line allows you to do everything that IPFS Desktop can do, but at a more granular level since you can specify which commands to run.

A terminal window running the IPFS daemon in Ubuntu.

# System requirements

Kubo IPFS requires 512MiB of memory and can run an IPFS node on a Raspberry Pi. However, how much disk space your IPFS installation takes up depends on how much data you're sharing. A base installation takes up about 12MB of disk space. One can enable automatic garbage collection via --enable-gc and adjust the default maximum disk storage (opens new window) for data retrieved from other peers.

# Official distributions

The IPFS team manages the dist.ipfs.tech website (opens new window) to help users quickly find the latest version of every IPFS package. As soon as a new release of an IPFS package comes out, it is automatically shown on dist.ipfs.tech, so you can be sure you're getting the latest software. These steps detail how to download and install the latest kubo from dist.ipfs.tech using the command-line.

Windows macOS Linux
Windows icon macOS icon Linux icon

# Windows

  1. Download the Windows binary from dist.ipfs.tech (opens new window).

    cd ~\
    wget https://dist.ipfs.tech/kubo/v0.15.0/kubo_v0.15.0_windows-amd64.zip -Outfile kubo_v0.15.0.zip
    
  2. Unzip the file and move it somewhere handy.

    Expand-Archive -Path kubo_v0.15.0.zip -DestinationPath ~\Apps\kubo_v0.15.0
    
  3. Move into the kubo_v0.15.0 folder and check that the ipfs.exe works:

    cd ~\Apps\kubo_v0.15.0\kubo
    .\ipfs.exe --version
    
    > ipfs version 0.15.0
    

    While you can use IPFS right now, it's better to add ipfs.exe to your PATH by using the following steps.

  4. Save the current working directory into a temporary variable:

    $GO_IPFS_LOCATION = pwd
    
  5. Create a powershell profile:

    if (!(Test-Path -Path $PROFILE)) { New-Item -ItemType File -Path $PROFILE -Force }
    

    This command first checks to see if you have a profile set. If you do, it leaves it there and doesn't create a new one. You can view the contents of your profile by opening it in Notepad:

    notepad $PROFILE
    
  6. Add the location of your Kubo daemon and add it to PowerShell's PATH by truncating it to the end of your PowerShell profile:

    Add-Content $PROFILE "`n[System.Environment]::SetEnvironmentVariable('PATH',`$Env:PATH+';;$GO_IPFS_LOCATION')"
    
  7. Load your $PROFILE:

    & $profile   
    
  8. Test that your IPFS path is set correctly by going to your home folder and asking IPFS for the version:

    cd ~
    ipfs --version
    
    > ipfs version 0.15.0
    

# macOS

M1-based Macs

You can install IPFS on M1-based Macs by using the darwin-arm64 binary instead of the amd64 binary listed in these instructions.

  1. Download the macOS binary from dist.ipfs.tech (opens new window).

    curl -O https://dist.ipfs.tech/kubo/v0.15.0/kubo_v0.15.0_darwin-amd64.tar.gz
    
  2. Unzip the file:

    tar -xvzf kubo_v0.15.0_darwin-amd64.tar.gz
    
    > x kubo/install.sh
    > x kubo/ipfs
    > x kubo/LICENSE
    > x kubo/LICENSE-APACHE
    > x kubo/LICENSE-MIT
    > x kubo/README.md
    
  3. Move into the kubo folder and run the install script:

    cd kubo
    sudo bash install.sh
    
    > Moved ./ipfs to /usr/local/bin
    
  4. Check that IPFS installed:

    ipfs --version
    
    > ipfs version 0.15.0
    

# Linux

  1. Download the Linux binary from dist.ipfs.tech (opens new window).

    wget https://dist.ipfs.tech/kubo/v0.15.0/kubo_v0.15.0_linux-amd64.tar.gz
    
  2. Unzip the file:

    tar -xvzf kubo_v0.15.0_linux-amd64.tar.gz
    
    > x kubo/install.sh
    > x kubo/ipfs
    > x kubo/LICENSE
    > x kubo/LICENSE-APACHE
    > x kubo/LICENSE-MIT
    > x kubo/README.md
    
  3. Move into the kubo folder and run the install script:

    cd kubo
    sudo bash install.sh
    
    > Moved ./ipfs to /usr/local/bin
    
  4. Test that IPFS has installed correctly:

    ipfs --version
    
    > ipfs version 0.15.0
    

# Compile manually

Manually compiling IPFS is a fairly involved process that changes frequently. It can be handy if you'd like to build a specific branch or use the bleeding-edge version of Kubo
. See the ipfs/kubo GitHub repository for details → (opens new window)

# Which node should you use with the command line

The command line can detect and use any node that's running, unless it's configured to use an external binary file. Here's which node to use for the local daemon or a remote client:

# Local daemon

The local daemon process is automatically started in the CLI with the command ipfs daemon. It creates an $IPFS_PATH/api file with an RPC API address.

# Remote client

You can install the standalone IPFS CLI client independently and use it to talk to an IPFS Desktop node or a Brave node. Use the RPC API to talk to the ipfs daemon.

When an IPFS command is executed without parameters, the CLI client checks whether the $IPFS_PATH/api file exists and connects to the address listed there.

  • If an $IPFS_PATH is in the default location (for example, ~/.ipfs on Linux), then it works automatically and the IPFS CLI client talks to the locally running ipfs daemon without any additional configuration.

  • If an $IPFS_PATH is not in the default location, use the --api <rpc-api-addr> command-line argument. Alternatively, you can set the environment variable to IPFS_PATH. IPFS_PATH will point to a directory with the api file with the existing ipfs daemon instance.

# Most common examples

If you are an IPFS Desktop user, you can install CLI tools and an .ipfs/api file is automatically picked up.

If you're not running IPFS Desktop, specify a custom port with ipfs --api /ip4/127.0.0.1/tcp/<port> id in the CLI.

For example, Brave RPC API runs on port 45001, so the CLI can talk to the Brave daemon using ipfs --api /ip4/127.0.0.1/tcp/45001 id. You can use mkdir -p ~/.ipfs && echo "/ip4/<ip>/tcp/<rpc-port>" > ~/.ipfs/api to avoid passing --api every time.

# Next steps

Now that you've got an IPFS node installed, you can start building applications and services on top of the network! Check out the Command-line- quicks start guide and jump straight to the Initialize the repository section.