Installation and configuration

 
How do I install Bitmessage
 
Bitmessage does not needs to be "installed". it is simply downloaded and executed. You can find instructions to download and run bitmessage from the Main Page. A great write up for setting up and using Bitmessage on Windows can be found Here.
Bitmessage should run on any OS though it is only lightly tested on OSX. The start-on-boot and minimize-to-tray features are only implemented for Windows thus far. Several examples of how to install Bitmessage on *nix and OSX platforms can be found in the forums.
 
How do I become a node to help the network
If your connection indicator is green then you are already accepting incoming connections and helping the Bitmessage network.
If your connection indicator is yellow, check your firewall settings and port forwarding to make sure incoming connections are allowed to your machine on the correct TCP port (Default: 8444), the port can be found in the Bitmessage settings.
You can click on the indicator for more information about each color.
 
Why is my Connection Indicator Yellow
Bitmessage will work normally with a yellow indicator. If your indicator is yellow, you can have up to 8 connections. To make your indicator green, please forward the required TCP port (usually 8444). You can find the Port in the Bitmessage settings.
 
How do I setup Bitmessage to work with Tor
If you need a TOR client, more complete instructions can be found on the TOR page. If you already have a client, follow the instructions below.
 
Tor
If you are using the Tor Browser Bundle skip to the next section. In order for Bitmessage to use Tor as a proxy follow these steps.

 
Tor Browser Bundle
 
How do I setup Bitmessage as a hidden service on Tor
Bitmessage can accept incoming connections as a Tor hidden service. This feature is supported since https://github.com/Bitmessage/PyBitmessage/commit/1a40c29d221f036e82a87444ace331afbb8e80c6. In order to use it you have to manually add a new hidden service in your tor configuration. The following table explains the settings combination for Bitmessage's keys.dat. IP addresses and port number are just examples, adjust them if you have a different setup:
Outgoing connections
Incoming connections only through clearnet
Incoming connections only through Tor
Incoming connections from both clearnet and Tor
Over clearnet
socksproxytype = none
onionhostname = none
socksproxytype = none
onionhostname = abcdefgh.onion
onionbindip = 127.0.0.1
onionport = 8444
sockslisten = false
socksproxytype = none
onionhostname = abcdefgh.onion
onionport = 8444
sockslisten = true
Over Tor
socksproxytype = SOCKS5
onionhostname = none
sockslisten = true
socksproxytype = SOCKS5
onionhostname = abcdefgh.onion
onionbindip = 127.0.0.1
onionport = 8444
sockslisten = false
socksproxytype = SOCKS5
onionhostname = abcdefgh.onion
onionport = 8444
sockslisten = true

 

Usage

How can I run Bitmessage in daemon mode

Refer to the Daemon Mode Page.

 
How many connections should I have
As long as you have at least one connection, you can communicate with the network. If your connection indicator is yellow, you can have a maximum of 8 connections.
 
Can I send a message to someone that is offline
Yes. However, if you go offline then they must come back online within 2 days of the message being sent. Nodes delete data, and do not accept data, older than 2 days.
 
How do I format my messages
Here is the list of supported HTML tags.
 
What are subscriptions?
subscription allows you to receive messages, that were broadcasted by the address you subscribe too. Since broadcast messages are encrypted with a key, that can be created by everyone who knows the address, you must be subscribed to an address to actually read the messages.
Subscriptions are also required to use a Mailing List.
 
What are "chans"?
Chan is another word for DML. Please refer to this article for a complete documentation of this rather complex feature.
 
How does Bitmessage work

Startup
When you first start Bitmessage, your client connects itself to the network and starts downloading a list of known nodes. Each new node that you connect to shares its list of known nodes. In addition to the known nodes, you will also start receiving person-to-person messages, broadcasts, and public keys. If any of these messages are bound for you, they will be shown in your inbox. All of this data is exchanged between all of your connections to make sure that everyone has a copy.

Sending a Message
When you send a message, your client must first compute a Proof of Work (POW). This POW helps mitigate spam on the network. Nodes and other clients will not process your message if it does not show sufficient POW. After the POW is complete, your message is shared to all of your connections which in turn share it with all of their connections.
 
Where can I find more documentation about Bitmessage
 
How does Bitmessage compare to other messaging methods

Here is a table comparing Bitmessage to other common messaging services.
"Fully Distributed" means that after bootstrapping, the service will no longer depend on any central authority and will have no single point of failure.
"Voice calls" and "Video Calls" are irrelevant to clients which do not support "Instant Messaging".
Comparison of Messaging Services
 
Trustless
P2P
Open Source
Requires Proof of Work
Hide Sender?
Hide Receiver?
Mobile Version
Application or Web Based
Attachments or File Transfers
Acknowledge delivery
Fully Distributed
Instant messaging
Voice calls
Video calls
Offline messages
Bitmessage
Yes
Yes
MIT
Yes
Yes
Yes
Beta, requires server
Application
220KB
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Up to 28 days
Standard Email
No
No
Depends
No
No
No
Yes
Both
Yes
Partial
No
No
No
No
Yes
Email + GPG
Yes
No
Depends
No
No
No
Yes
Both
Yes
Partial
No
No
No
No
Yes
XMPP + OTR
Yes
No
GPL V2.1
No
No
No
Yes
Application
No OTR, not trustless
Depends
No
Yes
Depends
Depends
Yes
TorChat
Yes
Yes
GPL
No
Yes
Yes
No
Application
Yes
 
No
Yes
No
No
Queued
Skype
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Application
Yes
 
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Tox
Yes
Yes
GPL
No
No
No
Yes
Application
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Queued
Scayl
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
Alpha
Application
Yes
 
 
 
 
 
 
I2P Bote
Yes
Yes
GPL V3
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Application
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Up to 100 days
CryptoCat
No
No
GPL
No
No
No
Yes
Both
No
 
No
Yes
No
No
No
IRC
No
No
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
Both
No
 
Yes
No
No
No
Depends
SMS
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Application
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
RetroShare
No
Yes
 
No
No
No
 
 
Yes
 
 
 
 
 
 
Freenet + Frost
Yes
Yes
GPL
No
Yes
Yes
No
Application
Yes
 
Yes
No
No
No
 
Freenet + FMS
No
Yes
 
No
No
Yes
No
Application
No
 
Yes
No
No
No
 
Freenet + Freemail0.2
No
Yes
GPL
No
No
No
No
Application
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
No
 
Freenet + FLIP
Yes
Yes
 
No
No
No
No
Application
No
 
Yes
No
No
No
 
EMP
Yes
Yes
BSD
No
Yes
No
Yes
Application
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Up to 30 day
Troubleshooting

My Connection Indicator is Red
Check your connection settings. Check if you can access the internet. In case you have a firewall with outgoing restrictions (not Windoes firewall) allow unrestricted access for Bitmessage through your firewall. Sometimes Bitmessage takes time to connect to the network, especially if knownnodes.dat is large. Please allow at least 30 minutes for it to connect before posting to the forum. You can also try deleting knownnodes.dat.
If none of that works, please visit the forum here.
 
I have not received a reply from the Echo Server
If you still do not receive a response, visit the forum to see if there is a current technical issue or to submit a new request for assistance.

 

Other
Here is a list of average times for different parts of Bitmessage. PyBitmessage Help
Please visit the forum for all other issues.