Basic Usage

If you haven’t done so, install IPFS.

During this tutorial, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in or in #ipfs on

Initialize the repository

ipfs stores all its settings and internal data in a directory called the repository. Before using IPFS for the first time, you’ll need to initialize the repository with the ipfs init command:

> ipfs init
initializing ipfs node at /Users/jbenet/.go-ipfs
generating 2048-bit RSA keypair...done
peer identity: Qmcpo2iLBikrdf1d6QU6vXuNb6P7hwrbNPW9kLAH8eG67z
to get started, enter:

  ipfs cat /ipfs/QmYwAPJzv5CZsnA625s3Xf2nemtYgPpHdWEz79ojWnPbdG/readme

If you are running on a server in a data center, you should initialize IPFS with the server profile. This will prevent IPFS from creating a lot of data center-internal traffic trying to discover local nodes:

> ipfs init --profile server

There are a whole host of other configuration options you may want to set — check the full reference for more.

The hash after peer identity: is your node’s ID and will be different from the one shown in the above output. Other nodes on the network use it to find and connect to you. You can run ipfs id at any time to get it again if you need it.

Now, try running the command suggested to you in the output of ipfs init. The one that looks like ipfs cat /ipfs/<HASH>/readme.

You should see something like this:

Hello and Welcome to IPFS!

██╗██████╗ ███████╗███████╗
██║██████╔╝█████╗  ███████╗
██║██╔═══╝ ██╔══╝  ╚════██║
██║██║     ██║     ███████║
╚═╝╚═╝     ╚═╝     ╚══════╝

If you're seeing this, you have successfully installed
IPFS and are now interfacing with the ipfs merkledag!

| Warning:                                              |
|   This is alpha software. use at your own discretion! |
|   Much is missing or lacking polish. There are bugs.  |
|   Not yet secure. Read the security notes for more.   |

Check out some of the other files in this directory:

  ./quick-start     <-- usage examples
  ./readme          <-- this file

You can explore other objects in there. In particular, check out quick-start:

ipfs cat /ipfs/QmYwAPJzv5CZsnA625s3Xf2nemtYgPpHdWEz79ojWnPbdG/quick-start

Which will walk you through several interesting examples.

Going Online

Once you’re ready to take things online, run the daemon in another terminal:

> ipfs daemon
Initializing daemon...
API server listening on /ip4/
Gateway server listening on /ip4/

Wait for all three lines to appear.

Make note of the tcp ports you get. If they are different, use yours in the commands below.

Now, switch back to your original terminal. If you’re connected to the network, you should be able to see the ipfs addresses of your peers when you run:

> ipfs swarm peers

These are a combination of <transport address>/ipfs/<hash-of-public-key>.

Now, you should be able to get objects from the network. Try:

ipfs cat /ipfs/QmW2WQi7j6c7UgJTarActp7tDNikE4B2qXtFCfLPdsgaTQ/cat.jpg >cat.jpg
open cat.jpg

And, you should be able to give the network objects. Try adding one, and then viewing it in your favorite browser. In this example, we are using curl as our browser, but you can open the IPFS URL in other browsers as well:

> hash=`echo "I <3 IPFS -$(whoami)" | ipfs add -q`
> curl "$hash"
I <3 IPFS -<your username>

Cool, huh? The gateway served a file from your computer. The gateway queried the DHT, found your machine, requested the file, your machine sent it to the gateway, and the gateway sent it to your browser.

Note: depending on the state of the network, curl may take a while. The public gateways may be overloaded or having a hard time reaching you.

You can also check it out at your own local gateway:

> curl "$hash"
I <3 IPFS -<your username>

By default, your gateway is not exposed to the world, it only works locally.

Fancy Web Console

We also have a web console you can use to check the state of your node. On your favorite web browser, go to:


This should bring up a console like this:

Web console connection view

Now, you’re ready:

Onward to more Examples