Adding Friends

I'm told I need friends to use RetroShare. Where can I find them?

  • On RetroShare "Chat servers".

Retroshare 0.6 chatservers:

Retroshare 0.5 chatservers: or

Once you have given your key on the web page and added the chat server’s key as a friend, go to the chat lobbies tab, wait for the list of lobbies to appear, and double-click on “Chatserver EN”. Say hello, that you’re a new user looking for friends, and be patient if no-one answers immediately :-).

NOTE: to give your key in a lobby, right-click in the text entry box and choose “Paste my certificate link”. Do not paste your plain text key!

There is a complete guide with many pictures to explain the use of the chat server at .

How do I add friends in RetroShare?

To become “friend” with someone, you must give them your key, and they must give you theirs. If only one person gets the key of the other one, they will not connect. The method is different if you use a plain text key (via email or the web) or a certificate link (in RetroShare’s chat).

How can I give my key in RetroShare’s chat and forums?

Right-click in the text entry box and select “Paste my certificate link”. If you can’t find this menu entry, then you need to update to the latest version of RetroShare.


How can I add a friend from RetroShare’s chat or forums?

Click on the “RetroShare Certificate…” link that your (future) friend has given you, and validate. Do not check “Authenticate friend”.

Do I have to give my key publicly in the chat?

It is the most convenient way, but you can also:

  • ask a common friend to forward your respective certificates (keys) in private messages;
  • use an external service like;
  • if one of you already has the other’s key, that person can write an encrypted distant message to the other person (from the “Messages” page), or start an encrypted distant chat (explanations too long to be written here). However please note that this requires that you both already have friends with anonymous file transfers enabled (i.e. _not_ the chat servers only).

How do I post my key into a web forum or an email?

  • Click on the blue guy with a green “+” icon. zSEIKtK.png
  • Click “Next”.
  • Click on the third icon from the top. 1NM4EBF.png
  • Close the “Add a new friend” window by clicking on “Cancel”.

Then you can paste the key wherever you want.

How do I add a friend from his plain-text key?

  • Click on the blue guy with a green “+” icon. zSEIKtK.png
  • Click “Next”.
  • Paste the key in the bottom area.
  • Click “Next” again.
  • Do not check “Authenticate friend” unless you know the person you’re adding and you’re certain it’s their key (if they gave it to you by hand on a USB stick for example).
  • Confirm.

Make sure that the person you got the key from also gets your key.

Should I sign or authenticate a friend when I add her key?

In general, no, for several reasons:

  • RetroShare does not need or use key signatures.
  • Authenticating someone (or signing their key) means that you're sure it's their certificate and not someone else's, which you can most often not be sure of when you add random friends from the internets.
  • It cannot be undone!

I use Chrome and I get an invalid certificate error when I paste a key I got from the web.

Either use another browser, or paste the key into a text editor, copy it again, and then it should be accepted.

I see my IP address in my certificate! This isn't anonymous!

The IP address is there to help your friends connect to your computer. Posting your IP address isn't a real anonymity threat, it only tells others that you are planning to use RetroShare. They might find which your ISP is and in which country you live.

If you're really concerned about this, there are alternatives:

  • Avoid posting your certificate in public spaces.
  • Remove its last line where the IP is written. But do not remove the line with the "LOCATION", it is required! Also, you'll have to make sure DHT is on and working, or use DynDNS. Note that your IP can be gotten back with the DHT or DynDNS anyway…
  • Something that's been done is to use to post your certificate. This way only people who got the password from somewhere else can read it, and you can set the post to be deleted after some time.

Are there any guidelines for choosing friends?

  • Add friends that are online at the same time as you. If you're running RetroShare at night and your friend only during the day, you'll never connect.
  • Get friends with whom you share interests, so as to get/give access to interesting forums, channels, chat lobbies and files.
  • Your friends can see which files you are downloading as long as they are themselves sharing those files publicly. As a consequence, you have to trust them not to exploit this information maliciously. Alternatively, you can disable this by disabling "direct sources", which may slow down these file downloads by forcing the use of anonymous tunnels.

How many friends should I add?

Theorically one friend could be enough if he or she has everything you want and a fast internet connection! But it’s rarely the case, so we recommend at least 10 to 20 online friends (their icons should be blue or orange.)

There is no maximum number of friends, but consider these points:

  • If you have 100 friends for an upload speed limit of 50kB/s, that’s only 0.5kB/s per friend! Is that enough for decent file transfers? Having too many friends can lead to disconnections. You could try to keep 2kB/s per friend, e.g. if your upload bandwidth is 100 kB/s, stop at 50 friends.
  • Each friend will send you their cache files (the channels and forums to which they are subscribed), which can amount to several GB for 50 friends, and slow down “real” file transfers for a while (Note: this shouldn’t be a problem anymore in Retroshare 0.6).
  • Will you remember who is who and be able to trust everyone if you add 100 unknown people as friends?
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