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fpnd - FreePN Network Daemon and Tools GitHub tag (latest SemVer, including pre-release) GitHub CI Build Status Codecov



FreePN's infrastructure servers are currently offline. If you wish to use FreePN, you will need to configure your own infrastructure, as detailed in this repo's documentation.

What FreePN is (and is not)

FreePN is a set of open source (see FLOSS definition) privacy tools for an improved online user experience (and yes, there's even an ISO standard for that).

The FreePN network daemon (fpnd) is a P2P implementation of a distributed virtual private network (dVPN) that creates an anonymous "cloud" of peers where each peer is both a client node and an exit node. Peers are randomly connected on startup and reconnected to new (random) peers as needed.

The FreePN desktop user interface (freepn-gtk3-tray) currently supports GTK3-based XDG-compliant desktop environments, eg, Gnome, Unity, XFCE, and derivatives.

FreePN is not a full VPN solution (eg, openvpn or vpnc) and does not require setup of any pre-shared keys or certs. Traffic over FreePN network links is always encrypted, however, since each network link is independent, the traffic must be decrypted as it passes out of each peer host. When running in "peer" mode, each peer is assumed to be an untrusted host; when running in "adhoc" mode, the hosts can be assumed to be trusted hosts (as they belong to the user).

Prototype design limitations

  • we only route www (http and https) and dns (optional) traffic
  • traffic routing supports IPv4 only (IPv6 is dropped unless configured not to)
  • DNS privacy depends entirely on your DNS config
  • the most common local-only DNS config is not routable out-of-the-box
  • it takes you to make the changes to stop DNS privacy leaks

Docs for FreePN tools


If you already installed one of the early 0.9.x or older releases, please upgrade to the latest release (as a bonus you will get an stunnel upgrade plus several lemony-fresh bug fixes). See issue #88 for more details.

Quick Start

We assume you're reading this because you want to take back some control over your online privacy, so the first thing you should do is read the short DNS Privacy doc and then evaluate your own DNS Setup and decide which secure DNS providers suit your needs. If you've already done that (or you're just super impatient ;) then proceed with the following to install the software.


You will need one of the supported Linux distributions below with at least Python 3.6 in order to run this software. On Gentoo you should also have a 5.x kernel.

Tested Linux distributions

We test mainly on Gentoo, Ubuntu LTS (Bionic, Focal, Groovy) and Kali Linux. However, the default Python on Xenial lacks sufficient asyncio support, so will not work out-of-the-box.


Before you can install any FreePN packages, you'll need to add the required package repository or overlay.

For all Ubuntu series, make sure you have the gpg and add-apt-repository commands installed and then add the PPA:

$ sudo apt-get install -y software-properties-common
$ sudo add-apt-repository -y -s ppa:nerdboy/embedded

Note that on kali you will need to edit the file created under /etc/apt/sources.list.d for the PPA and change the series name to focal, then run sudo apt-get update again.

For Gentoo or derivatives based on Portage, first install the portage overlay.

Create a repos.conf file for the overlay and place the file in the /etc/portage/repos.conf directory. Run:

$ sudo nano /etc/portage/repos.conf/freepn-overlay.conf

and add the following content to the new file:


# Various python ebuilds for FreePN
# Maintainer: nerdboy <[email protected]>

location = /var/db/repos/freepn-overlay
sync-type = git
sync-uri =
priority = 50
auto-sync = yes

Adjust the path in the location field as needed, then save and exit nano.

Run the following command to sync the repo:

$ sudo emaint sync --repo freepn-overlay


After following the pre-install setup, use the appropriate package manager to install the package for your distro:

  • Gentoo - sudo emerge freepn-gtk3-tray
  • Ubuntu - sudo apt-get install freepn-gtk3-indicator

Then add your local <username> to the fpnd group:

  • sudo usermod -aG fpnd <username>


Replace <username> with your actual login ID when you run the above command, then log out and log back in again.

Check your group memberships with the id command:

$ id
uid=1000(ubuntu) gid=1000(ubuntu) groups=1000(ubuntu),4(adm),20(dialout),24(cdrom),25(floppy),27(sudo),29(audio),30(dip),44(video),46(plugdev),115(netdev),118(lxd),995(fpnd)

If you really don't want/need a desktop, you can still install the network component:

  • Gentoo - sudo emerge net-misc/fpnd
  • Ubuntu - sudo apt-get install python3-fpnd

Post-Install Updates

Once installed, the above packages should update normally along with any other updated system packages (both @world and dependencies). It's very important to keep all your system packages up to date, and especially important when running an alpha release (eg, fpnd-0.9.x) since (software) interfaces may (and probably will) break between releases. Both Gentoo and Ubuntu have ways to notify you when you have updates waiting (or at least when your package tree is getting stale).

  • Gentoo
    • Use your preferred tools to keep the overlay synced and check for updates frequently; using the "live" ebuild is left as an exercise for the reader...
  • Ubuntu
    • Use the Software Updater GUI -- or --
    • Use apt|apt-get from a terminal window.

When packages update on Ubuntu, you might see something like "The following packages have been kept back:" followed by one or more package names. This might happen with FreePN packages if new dependencies are added between releases. If you see python3-fpnd in the list of packages kept back, you can try one of the following commands (instead of the typical sudo apt-get upgrade) to resolve dependencies. Start with the first one:

  • sudo apt-get --with-new-pkgs upgrade
  • sudo apt upgrade
  • sudo apt-get install python3-fpnd

Config Settings

Although there is currently no user config file for the GUI component, the fpnd package installs the system settings file /etc/fpnd.ini. Most of the entries are there to provide a consistent set of defaults for different runtime environments, but some are intended for the end-user to adjust when appropriate.

DNS settings:

  • route_dns: Default is False; only set to True if you've configured your global (plain-text) DNS settings to use an external/public DNS server, eg Cloudflare (or you already have secure DNS in place)
  • private_dns_only: Default is False; only set to True when you're already running a secure local DNS resolver, eg stubby

Misc settings:

  • drop_ip6: Default is True; you can disable this if you need local IPv6 working, but you should have your own ipv6 firewall rules in place
  • default_iface: Default is None; you should only need this if you have multiple network interfaces with active routes, then you should set this to the interface name you want FreePN to use
  • debug: Default is True; set this to False for slightly smaller log files

GUI Usage

Select FreePN Tray Control from the Applications View or the Internet menu in your desktop of choice, eg, Gnome, Unity, XFCE, etc. You can also run it from an X terminal to get some debug output.

$ freepn-gtk3-indicator

Some screenshots

Gentoo Gnome Desktop

Gentoo Gnome profile (X1 Carbon)

Ubuntu Unity Desktop

Ubuntu Bionic Desktop (Pinebook OG)

Ubuntu Mate Desktop

Mate Bionic Desktop (pi-top[1] Rpi 3B Rev 1.2)

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