How to Solve All Connection Problems

This page will help you identify and solve connection problems.

If you cannot establish a connection between you and a friend…

Make sure you have exchanged your keys properly

You must add your friend's key, and he must add yours. Verify that your friends name appears in your friends list, and that yours appears in his/hers.

If you were connected in the past but aren't anymore, your friend may have changed his key, lost yours, or may be gone on vacation with his computer turned off; ask your common friends.

Check that DHT is working

DHT isn't required to run Retroshare, but it will help solve connection issues: collect your friends IP addresses, and connect through unconfigured routers and firewalls.

  • The DHT indicator at the bottom of the window should be green. If it isn't, hover it with your mouse to see an explaination of the problem.
  • To activate DHT, click the cogwheel icon to open the options dialog, then click "Servers" in the list on the left. The drop-down box located in the top-right corner of the "Network configuration" tab should read either "Public: DHT & Discovery" or "Inverted: DHT Only".
  • DHT can take up to 30 minutes to really kick in.
  • Sometimes it seems that you need to establish a connection to at least one friend before the DHT indicator will turn green.
  • Check that you have the file bdboot.txt in the proper directory (see the Solutions page).

Loss of locations

If your connection problems started after a crash or a power loss, Retroshare may have lost your friends locations.

Check to see if the names in your friends list have a small arrow or a + sign to their left. Clicking on this sign will display their locations. If there is no sign then there are a few solutions you can try:

  • Restore your latest backup (if you made one after adding your most recent friend).
  • Activate discovery in the server options (this is enabled by default). You must chose either the "Public: DHT & Discovery" or the "Private: discovery only" mode. This might not recover all of your friends locations, but should help as long as you are connected to at least one friend who has enabled discovery.
  • Exchange keys again with the friends for whom you have no location.

Internet security software

If you have a firewall and/or antivirus software installed, make sure that they aren't blocking RetroShare's port or your friend's IP address.

To obtain your friend's IP address from your friends list, click on the small arrow or + sign next to their name to expand their locations, and then right-click on their location and select "Friend details" from the menu.

To see which port RetroShare is using, go to the "Options" screen and under "Server" it will be displayed across from "External address".

Opening/redirecting RetroShare's port

It is strongly recommended that you open the port used by RetroShare in your box/router/firewall. If you don't do this, you will be able to connect to your friends whose ports are open but they won't be able to connect to you directly. In theory DHT allows two friends to connect even behind closed ports but this does not always work.

Start by finding out if your RetroShare is accessible from the internet: write down the external port used by RetroShare, across from "External address" in Options (the cog-wheel), Server page. Go to , enter the port number in the text field and hit Enter. If you get the response "Error: I could not see your service" then your port isn't redirected.

Here is how to open RetroShare's port:

  • If possible, configure your router to assign a static local IP address to the computer that runs RetroShare; alternatively, configure your computer to use a static IP address. You can find more information on how to do this on
  • Configure your router so that it redirects RetroShare's port to your computer's local IP address (both TCP and UDP).
  • Set RetroShare's server options to "Manually Forwarded Port" mode. Make sure that you set the same port for both internal and external IP's and that the port number matches the one set in your router.
  • Restart your router if necessary and run the test again.

Incorrect IP address or port number

There can be an IP address and/or port issue if you or your friend don't have a static IP or if one of you has recently changed the port used by RetroShare. If you can, ask your friend for his/her new IP and port and compare them against what is shown in "Friend details". Ask your friend to do the same on his/her end.

To find out your actual IP address you can visit a website such as

If the IP address doesn't match, you can:

  • Exchange keys with your friend again to obtain the new IP and port.
  • Activate DHT (see howto above). Your friend must activate DHT too.
  • Set up a Dynamic DNS in the server options. This will allow your friends to obtain your IP even when DHT is disabled.
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