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: https://docs.ipfs.io/introduction/overview/

Before opening an issue, consider using one of the following locations to ensure you are opening your thread in the right place:

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Next milestones

Milestones on Github

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: https://docs.ipfs.io/guides/guides/install/. 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


Docker Image Version (latest semver)

More info on how to run go-ipfs inside docker can be found here.

Native Linux package managers


go-ipfs via Community Repo

# pacman -Syu go-ipfs

go-ipfs-git via AUR


With the purely functional package manager Nix you can install go-ipfs like this:

$ nix-env -i ipfs

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


Community Package for go-ipfs

Other package managers


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

$ guix package -i go-ipfs


With snap, in any of the supported Linux distributions:

$ sudo snap install ipfs

The snap sets IPFS_PATH to SNAP_USER_COMMON, which is usually ~/snap/ipfs/common. If you want to use ~/.ipfs instead, you can bind-mount it to ~/snap/ipfs/common like this:

sudo mount --bind ~/.ipfs ~/snap/ipfs/common

If you want something more sophisticated to escape the snap confinement, we recommend using a different method to install go-ipfs so that it is not subject to snap confinement.

macOS package managers


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

$ sudo port install ipfs


In macOS 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 ipfs.


A Homebrew formula ipfs is maintained too.

$ brew install --formula ipfs

Windows package managers


Chocolatey Version

PS> choco install ipfs


Scoop provides go-ipfs in its 'extras' bucket.

PS> scoop bucket add extras
PS> scoop install go-ipfs

Install prebuilt binaries

dist.ipfs.io Downloads

From there:

  • Click the blue "Download go-ipfs" on the right side of the page.
  • Open/extract the archive.
  • Move ipfs to your path (install.sh can do it for you).

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

GitHub releases

Build from Source

GitHub go.mod Go version

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

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

To build without GCC, build with CGO_ENABLED=0 (e.g., make build CGO_ENABLED=0).

Install Go

GitHub go.mod Go version

If you need to update: Download latest version of Go.

You'll need to add Go's bin directories to your $PATH environment variable e.g., by adding these lines to your /etc/profile (for a system-wide installation) or $HOME/.profile:

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 https://github.com/ipfs/go-ipfs.git

$ cd go-ipfs
$ make install

Alternatively, you can run make build to build the go-ipfs binary (storing it in cmd/ipfs/ipfs) 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 make with CGO_ENABLED=0 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 GOTAGS=openssl to your make 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 CGO_ENABLED=1 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 golang 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 https://github.com/ipfs/go-ipfs/issues/177)
  • Read docs/fuse.md for more details on setting up FUSE (so that you can mount the filesystem).
  • Shell command completions can be generated with one of the ipfs commands completion subcommands. Read docs/command-completion.md to learn more.
  • 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/dist.ipfs.io/go-ipfs/versions

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

$ ipfs ls /ipns/dist.ipfs.io/go-ipfs/$VERSION

To download a given build of a version:

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

Getting Started


docs: Command-line quick start docs: Command-line reference

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 <that hash>


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 with 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
go-libp2p Travis CI codecov p2p networking library
go-libp2p-pubsub Travis CI codecov pubsub built on libp2p
go-libp2p-kad-dht Travis CI codecov dht-backed router
go-libp2p-pubsub-router Travis CI codecov pubsub-backed router
go-cid Travis CI codecov CID implementation
go-multiaddr Travis CI codecov multiaddr implementation
go-multihash Travis CI codecov multihash implementation
go-multibase Travis CI codecov mulitbase implementation
go-unixfs Travis CI codecov the core 'filesystem' logic
go-mfs Travis CI codecov a mutable filesystem editor for unixfs
go-ipfs-posinfo Travis CI codecov helper datatypes for the filestore
go-ipfs-chunker Travis CI codecov file chunkers
go-ipfs-exchange-interface Travis CI codecov exchange service interface
go-ipfs-exchange-offline Travis CI codecov (dummy) offline implementation of the exchange service
go-bitswap Travis CI codecov bitswap protocol implementation
go-blockservice Travis CI codecov service that plugs a blockstore and an exchange together
go-datastore Travis CI codecov datastore interfaces, adapters, and basic implementations
go-ipfs-ds-help Travis CI codecov datastore utility functions
go-ds-flatfs Travis CI codecov a filesystem-based datastore
go-ds-measure Travis CI codecov a metric-collecting database adapter
go-ds-leveldb Travis CI codecov a leveldb based datastore
go-ds-badger Travis CI codecov a badgerdb based datastore
go-ipns Travis CI codecov IPNS datastructures and validation logic
go-ipfs-config Travis CI codecov go-ipfs config file definitions
go-fs-lock Travis CI codecov lockfile management functions
fs-repo-migrations Travis CI codecov repo migrations
go-block-format Travis CI codecov block interfaces and implementations
go-ipfs-blockstore Travis CI codecov blockstore interfaces and implementations
go-ipld-format Travis CI codecov IPLD interfaces
go-ipld-cbor Travis CI codecov IPLD-CBOR implementation
go-ipld-git Travis CI codecov IPLD-Git implementation
go-merkledag Travis CI codecov IPLD-Merkledag implementation (and then some)
go-ipfs-cmds Travis CI codecov CLI & HTTP commands library
go-ipfs-files Travis CI codecov CLI & HTTP commands library
go-ipfs-api Travis CI codecov an old, stable shell for the IPFS HTTP API
go-ipfs-http-client Travis CI codecov a new, unstable shell for the IPFS HTTP API
interface-go-ipfs-core Travis CI codecov core go-ipfs API interface definitions
Metrics & Logging
go-metrics-interface Travis CI codecov metrics collection interfaces
go-metrics-prometheus Travis CI codecov prometheus-backed metrics collector
go-log Travis CI codecov logging framework
go-ipfs-routing Travis CI codecov routing (content, peer, value) helpers
go-ipfs-util Travis CI codecov the kitchen sink
go-ipfs-addr 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 CONTRIBUTING.md.

This repository falls under the IPFS Code of Conduct.

Please reach out to us in one chat rooms.


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

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