Newbie questions before building/buying a freedombox

#1

Hello,

I plan to build or buy a freedombox. I would like to know how I can install a Shadowsocks server, not client, on it.

Can I also use my freedombox as a box (running Tor) to which I can connect my home computer and mobile phoneand get a Tor “anonymised” connection?

Also, can I set up a static website (using Hugo, a static website generator)?

How can I have a website on my freedombox if I don’t have a fixed IP?

Thank you.

#2

FreedomBox can run a Shadowsocks client, which connects to a Shadowsocks server. It will also run a SOCKS5 proxy. Local devices can connect to this proxy, and their data will be encrypted and proxied through the Shadowsocks server.

FreedomBox does not currently offer a Shadowsocks server. If you want to run a Shadowsocks server on FreedomBox, you would need to manually install it.

FYI, you can demo the Shadowsocks client app on FreedomBox here: https://freedombox.org/demo/

FreedomBox offers the following use cases for Tor by default. Additional use cases will need to be configured manually:

  • Tor Hidden Services: A hidden service will allow FreedomBox to provide selected services (such as wiki or chat) without revealing its location. Do not use this for strong anonymity yet.

  • Download software packages over Tor: When enabled, software will be downloaded over the Tor network for installations and upgrades. This adds a degree of privacy and security during software downloads.

  • Enable Tor relay: When enabled, your FreedomBox will run a Tor relay and donate bandwidth to the Tor network. Do this if you have more than 2 megabits/s of upload and download bandwidth.

  • Enable Tor bridge relay: When enabled, relay information is published in the Tor bridge database instead of public Tor relay database making it harder to censor this node. This helps others circumvent censorship.

FYI, you can also demo the Tor app on FreedomBox here: https://freedombox.org/demo/

I highly recommend demoing Tor–it makes it easy to see what you can do by default, and what you will need to manually configure.

The static site generator that FreedomBox offers is Ikiwiki. If you want to use a different static website generator, you can manually install it.

Our team discussed this topic extensively on GitLab, on a topic created by @njoseph. Please check it out to learn more: https://salsa.debian.org/freedombox-team/plinth/issues/1323

If your internet provider does not give you a fixed public IP address, then you may have some trouble. I understand that some developers on our team are working on recommendations for that common scenario, but I myself don’t know how to proceed. Perhaps others can help.

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#3

How can I have a website on my freedombox if I don’t have a fixed IP?

FreedomBox has a solution for your IP not being fixed (but public). It is called Dynamic DNS. A daemon running on FreedomBox constantly updates your IP with the Dynamic DNS server. You can also get a free domain name of the form myname.freedombox.rocks

The above solution works if your ISP gives you public IP addresses which keep changing. However, if you’re behind a NAT, you might have to try other solutions provided in FreedomBox like using a tor hidden address (works only within the tor network) or paying for a PageKite tunnel. You should first check with your ISP if they offer a public static IP address as a value added service and try these options if they don’t.

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#4

Thank you for this detailed reply.

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#5

My Freedombox lives on my LAN behind my OpenWRT router. As I have control of the NAT, I simply open the ports I want to access from the Internet on my router and then forward those ports to the Freedombox. If you don’t have full control of NAT, then life is much more complicated.

I do have a freedombox.rocks domain and it works well with this setup. The actual IP address is assigned by the ISP but usually only changes after an extended outage (rare) or if I change hardware for the router (also rare) so my public IP is nearly static as their DHCP server continues to renew it.