Linux

Speek: A Privacy-Focused Chat App Built on the Tor Network

Most messaging apps nowadays promise to offer their users a secure messaging environment to keep their personal data and communication private and secure.

Speek is a new entrant in the secure messaging space that aims to take this up a notch. It’s a decentralized messaging app that doesn’t require an ID or a phone number and routes communication via the Tor network to deliver a more secure messaging experience.

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Here’s a look at Speek and the instructions to use it on Linux.

What Is Speek?

Speek is a decentralized app that uses multiple technologies in tandem to offer a secure messaging platform on the internet. It’s free to use and open-source, which means its source code is out there on GitHub for you to check out.

All your conversations in Speek are end-to-end encrypted, so all the messages and media you share with other users on the app remain private. Similarly, since Speek is decentralized, it doesn’t have a central server to store metadata and chats. As a result, the entire communication happens over a P2P network. And, as soon as you close the app, your entire chat history in the active chats gets deleted.


In addition to using E2E encryption, Speek also routes your traffic through the Tor network, which enhances your anonymity and helps you hide your IP address on the internet.

How to Install Speek on Linux

Speek (also referred to as Speek.Chat) is available as an AppImage for Linux.

Download: Speek

After you’ve downloaded the Speek AppImage, you need to make it executable. To do this, first, open the file manager on your system and navigate to the directory where you’ve downloaded the Speek AppImage.

Right-click on the AppImage and select Properties. In the Properties window, click on the Permissions tab. Here, check off the box beside Allow executing file as a program if you’re using a Nautilus-based file manager.

On the other hand, if you’re on Dolphin, tick the Is executable option and change the Execute dropdown to Anyone on PCManFM.

Finally, double-click on the AppImage to fire up Speek.

Alternatively, you can also use the CLI to make the Speek AppImage executable. For doing this, open the terminal and use the cd command and ls command to navigate to the directory where you’ve saved the Speek AppImage.

Now, run the following command to make it executable:

chmod +x Speek.Chat-*.AppImage

To run it, enter:

./Speek.Chat-*.AppImage

How to Use Speek on Linux

As soon as you fire up the Speek app on your Linux machine, the first screen will prompt you with two options: Launch Speek Chat with default settings and Advanced Network Configuration.

Choosing the first option will take you directly to the Speek.Chat window. On the other hand, if you pick the latter option, it will land you on the network settings page, where you can configure settings for proxy type, address, port, username, password, etc., based on your requirements. If you go this route, fill in the entries appropriately and hit Connect to continue.


Once you’re on the Speek home screen, you can now either add a contact to start a conversation with them or share your ID with the other person, so they can initiate a connection request. Follow the instructions in the sections below to find out how to do this.

1. Add a Contact to Speek

Since Speek doesn’t require you to sign up using an email address or phone number, you need a user’s Speek ID to add them to your contacts. So first, ask your friend for their Speek ID. Then, click on the hamburger menu icon on the Speek home screen and select Add Contact.

In this window, paste the Speek ID beside the ID text field. Similarly, enter their name in the Name field and add a message (optional) to notify them. Finally, enter your username beside the Your Username text field and hit the Add button at the bottom to add the contact.

As soon as you initiate the request, it can take anywhere between 10-20 seconds for it to appear on the other person’s Speek ID. After which, they can head to View Contact Requests, tap on the request, and hit Accept to accept your request.

Once done, you can start exchanging messages and files with the new contact, just like you’d do with most messaging apps.

2. Accept a Connection Request in Speek

Although using a contact’s Speek ID is one way to add them, you can also send your Speek ID across to the other person and ask them to initiate the request. For this, click on the hamburger menu icon and select View Speek ID. Here, tap on the copy icon below the Speek ID field and send it across to the other user.

After this, they can add your Speek ID to initiate a connection request, which you can accept to start exchanging messages and files.

3. Run Multiple Instances of Speek at Once

If you intend to use different Speek IDs to communicate with different people, Speek offers you the ability to run multiple instances with different Speek IDs.

For this, click on the hamburger menu icon and select Open Other Identity. Since this is your first time creating another ID, tap on the text field at the bottom, create a Speek ID, and hit Add. Now, tap on the newly-created ID, and it will give you two options to proceed—the same ones you saw when you launched Speek for the first time.

Select an option accordingly to continue. Then, when you need to switch back, go to the Open Other Identity menu and simply tap on the other ID.

4. Send Messages and Files

Once you’ve added a contact, click its name in the left-hand menu to open the chat. Here, click on the text field at the bottom that reads Write a message, enter your message, and hit Enter to send it across.

Similarly, to add an attachment, hit the Pin icon next to the text field and use the file manager to find the file you want to send. If you want to send just images, click the image icon beside the pin icon and select the images in the file manager to send them.

5. Other Speek Operations

So far, we’ve covered most Speek operations—everything from setting up Speek to adding contacts and sending messages—but there are a few more operations that Speek lets you perform.

Most of these are configuration operations. To access these options, you need to go into Speek Preferences, which you can do by clicking the menu icon on the Speek main screen and selecting Settings.

Below is a list of a few useful Speek options you may want to configure:

  • Change username
  • Disable rich text editing
  • Play audio notifications
  • Change language
  • Switch theme, add a custom theme, and change chat background
  • Configure Tor settings
  • Backup your Speek data (excluding chats)

Communicate Securely and Anonymously on the Internet

Although many messaging platforms promise to offer better privacy and security, Speek stands out from the rest due to its use of the Tor network, which ensures an even more secure, private, and anonymous texting experience.

Install and get started with Speek on Linux, so you can chat securely and anonymously with your friends going forward. Speek is also available on other desktop platforms, and you can even use it on your Android smartphone.

If you aren’t obsessed with anonymity, there are several other chat apps that you can also check out.

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