Before You Begin

Before you get started, read the Installation Overview and familiarize yourself with the glossary and the passphrases involved in SecureDrop’s operations. You may wish to leave these documents open in other tabs for reference as you work.

SecureDrop is a technical tool. It is designed to protect journalists and sources, but no tool can guarantee safety. This guide will instruct you in installing and configuring SecureDrop, but it does not explain how to use it safely and effectively. Put another way: at the end of this guide, you will have built a car; you will not know how to drive. The Deployment Guide contains best practices for working with SecureDrop. Make sure to read it after completing the installation.

Installing SecureDrop is an extended manual process which requires extensive preparation, equipment, and organizational support. You will likely need to set aside a day to complete the install process. Installing SecureDrop requires an admin with at least basic familiarity with Linux, the GNU core utilities, and Bash shell. If you are not proficient in these areas, it is strongly recommended that you contact the Freedom of the Press Foundation for installation assistance.

Before you begin, you will need to assemble the required hardware.

To assist in the installation process, we offer a SecureDrop Installation Worksheet. It is critical that you destroy this worksheet when your installation is complete and all of your passphrases have been safely stored in a password manager.

When running commands or editing configuration files that include filenames, version numbers, usernames, hostnames, or IP addresses, make sure to use the appropriate values for your instance.

Once you’re familiar with SecureDrop, have made your plan, ensured your organization is ready to follow through, and assembled the necessary hardware, you’re ready to begin.


Remember to destroy the SecureDrop Installation Worksheet after the installation is complete.