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Basic Use FAQ

Is it easy to use?

Yes! The Embassy is designed to be plugged into power and internet, and after a short setup, is immediately ready to use. Getting Services is as easy as getting apps for a smartphone. As with anything new, you should expect to spend a little time learning the functions and features, and keep in mind that some Services may be more complex to understand and use than others.

So I can run my own cloud?

Yes! No special skills or knowledge are required to host all your own services and replace those previously thought “necessary” for modern digital life.

Can I run multiple Embassies?

Yes, but there is currently no way to synchronize or federate them. We are working on ways to make this possible in the future.

What if I forget my Embassy password?

Please follow the password reset guide.

My Embassy is set up, now what?

Check out the Dashboard Overview for some details on your Embassy. You can now access your Embassy and find the Services you want from the “Marketplace” tab, then clicking “Install.” The Service will let you know if you need any “dependencies,” or pre-requisite Services, first. After you have a Service installed, don’t forget to “Start” the service.

Can I move my Embassy to another location? What happens when I do this?

Yes, you can move the Embassy to another network. Your service tor addresses will remain the same. Remember that you can only access via LAN if you are accessing with a device on the same network as your Embassy.

What’s the advantage of using the .local address over the .onion address?

If you are in your home/office network with an Embassy, it is both faster and more private since the connection never leaves your household/office. The downside is that it won’t work if you’re on the go.

Can I use the .local addresses over the Tor Browser?

No. The Tor Browser requires all web visits to first enter the Tor network. Once you have entered the Tor network there is no way to exit the Tor network in such a way that .local/mDNS addresses resolve.

Can I use .local addresses on Android?

This will depend on your Android device. This support was added in Android 12, but may not yet be added to custom ROMs, such as Calyx, Graphene, or Lineage. Please see Android Limitations for more deatils.

Can I have multiple users on my Embassy?

Currently, the Embassy itself is designed for a single user. There is no way to grant others access to your Embassy without sharing your personal, master password, which is not recommended. There are certain services, however, such as Bitwarden, File Browser, and Mastodon, that do support multiple users (aka multi-tenancy, aka the Uncle Jim model) where people who trust you (and vice versa) can create their own, personal accounts for these services on your Embassy. Just remind them that they are trusting you with their data, and that it might be preferable for them to take the final leap of self-sovereignty and get an Embassy of their own.

Multi-tenancy is a high priority for the upcoming Embassy:Pro device.

What can I do if I am having issues connecting to a mobile app over Tor?

Unfortunately, Orbot can be finicky. The best solution to connection issues is normally to restart Orbot, or to reboot the phone. This will solve most common problems.

If I uninstall a service, then re-install it, does any data remain?

No. When uninstalling a service, you completely destroy everything associated with it. This is because each service runs in it’s own ‘container’, which includes all the required software and operating system environment that it needs to function. When uninstalling, this container is wiped from your Embassy’s system, and with it, any associated service data that you have not backed up.

This can be useful, as you may want to wipe a service and start anew. For example, you might want to receive a fresh Tor .onion address, or to spin up a new Lightning node. However, if you do this, YOU MUST BE 100% CERTAIN THAT YOU ARE PREPARED TO LOSE ALL DATA for this service. Also, keep in mind that other services may depend on the service you are uninstalling.

Do I need to delete existing backups before doing a new backup? Or does a new backup override the old backup?

No, you don’t need to delete the old backups. The technology we use updates the existing backup. This is known as a “diff-based” model, where the “difference” in backups is what is recorded.

Can I clone my Embassy SSD for backup purposes?


DO NOT do this if you are running LND or CLN. If you clone the SSD, then go back to running LND or CLN, and you ever try to restore the SSD, there is a good chance you will lose all your channel funds. Also, if you try to use the SSD for a 2nd Embassy, that will also result in loss of funds. This has nothing to do with Start9 or the Embassy; it is inherent to the architecture of Lightning.

It is neither necessary, nor recommended to do this. The backup solution available in embassyOS (v0.3.0+) allows all data to be written to another drive remotely, and this can mean another SSD, attached to a computer on your network. You may also do a backup to a local drive if it has external power. Please follow the directions in the backup UI for more details.

Why would I even buy this when I can just build it for free?

  1. You will get white glove support in your preferred format, from email to text chat to screen sharing conference calls.

  2. Supporting the project. Buying an Embassy from Start9 is your way of supporting the development of the project. And it’s not just out of gratitude, but rather, a recognition that if the project isn’t funded, the cool software stops coming.

  3. Convenience. This is the big one. It’s true, some people will choose to use the software without buying an Embassy, but most will not. Very few people on Earth are comfortable using the command line, compiling code, and configuring an OS. Furthermore, hardware is necessary. Sure, some people already have a Raspberry Pi, and others may try to re-purpose an old laptop, but many people would be choosing between buying the Embassy hardware components themselves and assembling vs buying pre-assembled at a reasonable markup.

Bottom line…We are charging a very marginal rate for something incredibly powerful, and we think the convenience of a plug-and-play device, free service marketplace, and free white glove support is where the money is. Anyone could build their own couches too, but here is a reason furniture stores exist. How much is your time worth?

The fastest way to get support is via our Community channels. You can also email us. Please do not hesitate to reach out!

I bought an Embassy before Q3 2022 and it came with a ‘product key,’ what is that?

This will entitle you to white glove support as well as future benefits yet to be announced.