How To Configure A Server

Many Tahoe-LAFS nodes run as “servers”, meaning they provide services for other machines (i.e. “clients”). The two most important kinds are the Introducer, and Storage Servers.

To be useful, servers must be reachable by clients. Tahoe servers can listen on TCP ports, and advertise their “location” (hostname and TCP port number) so clients can connect to them. They can also listen on Tor “onion services” and I2P ports.

Storage servers advertise their location by announcing it to the Introducer, which then broadcasts the location to all clients. So once the location is determined, you don’t need to do anything special to deliver it.

The Introducer itself has a location, which must be manually delivered to all storage servers and clients. You might email it to the new members of your grid. This location (along with other important cryptographic identifiers) is written into a file named private/introducer.furl in the Introducer’s base directory, and should be provided as the --introducer= argument to tahoe create-client or tahoe create-node.

The first step when setting up a server is to figure out how clients will reach it. Then you need to configure the server to listen on some ports, and then configure the location properly.

Manual Configuration

Each server has two settings in their tahoe.cfg file: tub.port, and tub.location. The “port” controls what the server node listens to: this is generally a TCP port.

The “location” controls what is advertised to the outside world. This is a “foolscap connection hint”, and it includes both the type of the connection (tcp, tor, or i2p) and the connection details (hostname/address, port number). Various proxies, port-forwardings, and privacy networks might be involved, so it’s not uncommon for tub.port and tub.location to look different.

You can directly control the tub.port and tub.location configuration settings by providing --port= and --location= when running tahoe create-node.

Automatic Configuration

Instead of providing --port=/--location=, you can use --listen=. Servers can listen on TCP, Tor, I2P, a combination of those, or none at all. The --listen= argument controls which kinds of listeners the new server will use.

--listen=none means the server should not listen at all. This doesn’t make sense for a server, but is appropriate for a client-only node. The tahoe create-client command automatically includes --listen=none.

--listen=tcp is the default, and turns on a standard TCP listening port. Using --listen=tcp requires a --hostname= argument too, which will be incorporated into the node’s advertised location. We’ve found that computers cannot reliably determine their externally-reachable hostname, so rather than having the server make a guess (or scanning its interfaces for IP addresses that might or might not be appropriate), node creation requires the user to provide the hostname.

--listen=tor will talk to a local Tor daemon and create a new “onion server” address (which look like alzrgrdvxct6c63z.onion). Likewise --listen=i2p will talk to a local I2P daemon and create a new server address. See Using Tahoe-LAFS with an anonymizing network: Tor, I2P for details.

You could listen on all three by using --listen=tcp,tor,i2p.

Deployment Scenarios

The following are some suggested scenarios for configuring servers using various network transports. These examples do not include specifying an introducer FURL which normally you would want when provisioning storage nodes. For these and other configuration details please refer to Configuring a Tahoe-LAFS node.

  1. Server has a public DNS name
  2. Server has a public IPv4/IPv6 address
  3. Server is behind a firewall with port forwarding
  4. Using I2P/Tor to Avoid Port-Forwarding

Server has a public DNS name

The simplest case is where your server host is directly connected to the internet, without a firewall or NAT box in the way. Most VPS (Virtual Private Server) and colocated servers are like this, although some providers block many inbound ports by default.

For these servers, all you need to know is the external hostname. The system administrator will tell you this. The main requirement is that this hostname can be looked up in DNS, and it will map to an IPv4 or IPv6 address which will reach the machine.

If your hostname is, then you’ll create the introducer like this:

tahoe create-introducer --hostname ~/introducer

or a storage server like:

tahoe create-node

These will allocate a TCP port (e.g. 12345), assign tub.port to be tcp:12345, and tub.location will be

Ideally this should work for IPv6-capable hosts too (where the DNS name provides an “AAAA” record, or both “A” and “AAAA”). However Tahoe-LAFS support for IPv6 is new, and may still have problems. Please see ticket #867 for details.

Server has a public IPv4/IPv6 address

If the host has a routeable (public) IPv4 address (e.g., but no DNS name, you will need to choose a TCP port (e.g. 3457), and use the following:

tahoe create-node --port=tcp:3457 --location=tcp:

--port is an “endpoint specification string” that controls which local port the node listens on. --location is the “connection hint” that it advertises to others, and describes the outbound connections that those clients will make, so it needs to work from their location on the network.

Tahoe-LAFS nodes listen on all interfaces by default. When the host is multi-homed, you might want to make the listening port bind to just one specific interface by adding a interface= option to the --port= argument:

tahoe create-node --port=tcp:3457:interface= --location=tcp:

If the host’s public address is IPv6 instead of IPv4, use square brackets to wrap the address, and change the endpoint type to tcp6:

tahoe create-node --port=tcp6:3457 --location=tcp:[2001:db8::1]:3457

You can use interface= to bind to a specific IPv6 interface too, however you must backslash-escape the colons, because otherwise they are interpreted as delimiters by the Twisted “endpoint” specification language. The --location= argument does not need colons to be escaped, because they are wrapped by the square brackets:

tahoe create-node --port=tcp6:3457:interface=2001\:db8\:\:1 --location=tcp:[2001:db8::1]:3457

For IPv6-only hosts with AAAA DNS records, if the simple --hostname= configuration does not work, they can be told to listen specifically on an IPv6-enabled port with this:

tahoe create-node --port=tcp6:3457

Server is behind a firewall with port forwarding

To configure a storage node behind a firewall with port forwarding you will need to know:

  • public IPv4 address of the router
  • the TCP port that is available from outside your network
  • the TCP port that is the forwarding destination
  • internal IPv4 address of the storage node (the storage node itself is unaware of this address, and it is not used during tahoe create-node, but the firewall must be configured to send connections to this)

The internal and external TCP port numbers could be the same or different depending on how the port forwarding is configured. If it is mapping ports 1-to-1, and the public IPv4 address of the firewall is (and perhaps the internal IPv4 address of the storage node is, then use a CLI command like this:

tahoe create-node --port=tcp:3457 --location=tcp:

If however the firewall/NAT-box forwards external port 6656 to internal port 3457, then do this:

tahoe create-node --port=tcp:3457 --location=tcp:

Using I2P/Tor to Avoid Port-Forwarding

I2P and Tor onion services, among other great properties, also provide NAT penetration without port-forwarding, hostnames, or IP addresses. So setting up a server that listens only on Tor is simple:

tahoe create-node --listen=tor

For more information about using Tahoe-LAFS with I2p and Tor see Using Tahoe-LAFS with an anonymizing network: Tor, I2P