Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to 4chan's Frequently Asked Questions page. After reading the FAQ, be sure to familiarize yourself with the Rules!


What is 4chan?

4chan is a simple image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images. 4chan's collaborative-community format was inspired by one of the most popular forums in Japan, Futaba Channel. Different boards are dedicated to different topics, from Japanese anime, manga, and culture to videogames, music, and photography. Users do not need to register an account before participating in the community.

How do I access the boards?

In order to access the full site, you must first read and agree to the terms of the disclaimer. To access the disclaimer simply click any board and a dialogue will appear. Your response will be cookied so you'll only need to do this once (providing you don't clear your cache/cookies afterwards). If you wish to browse the site using frames, visit /frames.

What should I know before I post?

Users are encouraged to participate actively in our community, but only after they have familiarized themselves with the rules and this FAQ. Breaking the rules may result in post deletion, a temporary ban, or in some cases, permanent banishment. Understand the rules before you begin posting!

How do I post anonymously?

To post as "Anonymous", simply do not fill in the [Name] field when submitting content. Information such as your personal IP address is viewable only to the administrators, and is not made publicly available.

Can I register a username?

No user registration process is available. If you're worried about somebody impersonating you, consider using a tripcode to help validate your identity.

Must I post an image?

To start a new thread, you must upload an image. 4chan is primarily an imageboard after all! When replying to an already existing thread, no attachment is required.

Can I reply with an image?

Yes. To reply to a thread with an image of your own, click the [Reply] link and fill in the post box as you normally would, making sure to specify an image for attachment.

How do I quote somebody?

To quote a portion of text, simply place a pointer (">") in front of the text you wish to highlight (ex. ">This is a quote"). To link to and highlight an entire post, place two pointers in front of its unique post number (ex. ">>210981"). Cross-linking to another 4chan board is also possible, by placing three pointers before a board letter, followed by a post number (ex. ">>>/x/1208196").

If you're using our inline extension, simply click the post number you'd like to reference and it will bring up a Quick Reply window for you to write your response in. Highlighting text and then clicking the post number will quote the selected text.

Can I mark a submission as a spoiler?

Only certain boards allow you to mask plot-spoiling content. To mark your image as a spoiler, check the [x Spoiler Image?] box before submission. Spoilerizing text makes it unreadable to others until they mouse over it. To spoilerize a comment, place [spoiler] tags around the text you wish to hide (ex. "[spoiler]SPIKE DIES![/spoiler]"). Misuse of these tags may result in a ban.

How do I use a "tripcode"?

Tripcodes can help verify a user's identity to others, and are a type of pseudo-registration. To use a normal tripcode, place a hash mark ("#") followed by a word or short phrase after what you've entered into the [Name] field (ex. "User#password"). Upon submission, the server will generate the hash unique to that particular word or phrase. The previous example would display "User !ozOtJW9BFA" after being posted.

Important note: A tripcode is generated only using the text entered after the hash mark. Your entered name, IP address, cookie information, etc. do not affect the output. Normal tripcodes are not secure, and can be cracked with relative ease. For a more secure solution, see secure tripcodes.

What is a "secure tripcode"?

A secure tripcode can be generated by placing two hash marks in the [Name] field, as opposed to one as with a normal tripcode (ex. "User##password"). Secure tripcodes use a secret key file on the server to help obscure their password. The previous example would display "User !!rEkSWzi2+mz" after being posted.

What is a capcode?

A capcode is a way of verifying someone as a 4chan team member. Normal users do not have the ability to post using a capcode. A moderator capcode will display "## Mod Mod Icon" after their name. Similarly, the administrator capcode displays "## Admin Admin Icon". Often times, a moderator will post as "Anonymous ## Mod Mod Icon" in order to keep their identity secret (which is policy). Janitors do not receive a capcode.

Note: Icons will always appear alongside a capcode, and will display a tooltip that says "This user is a/the 4chan Moderator/Administrator" upon mousing over them. If there is no icon/tooltip, the poster is an impersonator.

What is "sage"?

Entering "sage" (by itself) into the [Options] field while replying will cause the thread not to bump to the top of the page. Contrary to popular belief, a sage is not a downvote, and should not be used as one. "sage-bombing" or announcing that you've saged a thread may result in a ban.

How can I be returned to the board index after I post?

In August 2012 the default behavior of posting was changed. Upon posting users are redirected to their post instead of the board index. To enable the legacy behavior of being returned to the board index after posting, enter "nonoko" into the [Options] field.

Can I use nonoko and sage at the same time?

Yes, enter "nonokosage" into the [Options] field.

How do I report posts?

Reporting posts for review is extremely encouraged, as it helps us remove rule breaking and/or illegal content faster. To file a report, click the "▶" button to the right of the post number to expand the post menu, and then select the "Report post" option. A confirmation dialogue will pop up and ask if the post you are reporting is a rule violation, spam, or if it contains illegal material. Be sure to mark this appropriately! Fill out the captcha, and then click on the Submit button.

Important note: Submitting intentionally false reports may result in a ban. This policy is in place to discourage abuse of the system; it is not meant to dissuade users from submitting legitimate reports.

How do I delete my own post(s)?

When you submit a post, a password cookie is automatically set that will allow you to delete your post should you choose to. As long as your browser retains this cookie, you will be able to delete posts made using it. To delete your post(s), check the box in the upper lefthand corner of the specific post(s) you wish to remove, and scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the [Delete] button on the right. Checking the [x File Only] box will cause only the image to be deleted, leaving the comment untouched. Note that some boards and threads (ex. stickies) do not allow a user to delete their posts.

Why won't my thread bump?

All threads have a set bump limit (varies board to board). When this limit is reached, a thread will no longer "bump" to the top of the board, causing the thread to descend through the pages until it is bumped off of the last page and pruned. This method of post-limiting, while sometimes inconvenient, assures that content is kept fresh on the boards.

What does "work safe" mean?

"Work safe" is defined as "content that is safe for viewing in the average working environment." Boards that default to the Yotsuba B or Burichan (blue) theme are to be considered work safe. Posting content that is not suitable for this environment may result in a ban. The goal behind enforcing this rule is to keep the cleaner sections of the site accessible to those in restricted viewing situations.

My post disappeared! Where'd it go?

Threads expire and are pruned by 4chan's software at a relatively high rate. Since most boards are limited to ten pages, content is usually available for only a few hours or days before it is removed. Most times, the post was probably pruned automatically, however in some cases it may have been removed by a moderator or janitor. We ask that users refrain from reposting material that they believe to have been deleted by the moderators.

Can I retrieve an old post/image?

No. Content that has expired is removed from our servers. Please do not contact us requesting content that has been pruned, for it is impossible for us to assist you. Instead, try placing a request on the /r/ board.

Can you help me contact a specific user?

No. Unless a user elects to include an e-mail address or other contact information in their post, there is no way to contact that user privately. More details regarding our storage of personal information can be found here.

How can I find the source of an image?

Google Image Search and iqdb are great resources to identify the source of an image. You can access these services using our inline extension by clicking the "▶" button to the right of a post containing an image, and then selecting "Image search". Remember: Posting requests for source information on the boards may get you banned—use /r/ for all requests.

Who is "Anonymous"?

"Anonymous" is the name assigned to a poster who does not enter text in to the [Name] field. Anonymous is not a single person, but rather, represents the collective whole of 4chan. He is a god amongst men. Anonymous invented the moon, assassinated former President David Palmer, and is also harder than the hardest metal known the man: diamond. His power level is rumored to be over nine thousand. He currently resides with his auntie and uncle in a town called Bel-Air (however, he is West Philadelphia born and raised). He does not forgive.

What is a "meme"?

A meme is basically an idea that is easily transferable from one mind to another. Think "catchphrases." Memes are created when a large group of users come to identify with a particular image or slogan. Their continued [mis]use will bring about the destruction of the universe.

What are "GETs"?

"GETs" happen on the approach to significant or unique post numbers on a board, usually /b/ (ex. "5MGET", "1234567GET", "7777777GET", etc.). GETs are sought after by many, and normally thousands of users will compete for one, often posting very quickly in order to better their chances of achieving the desired GET number. GETs are no longer automatically "stickied." This feature was disabled due to some alleging that the moderation team was rigging them behind the scenes. That, and because GETs tend to implode on themselves within minutes of being posted.

What is considered positive contribution?

Our definition of "positive contribution" is the submission of substantial, helpful, friendly, and humorous posts to the boards, along with the uploading of quality images and files. We feel that positive contribution should be treated as a way of donating to 4chan without actually having to fork over cash.

Why is contribution so important?

Contribution is important because it is what drives this website. If we didn't have a dedicated pool of users who frequently contribute, we'd be yet another stagnant run of the mill forum. But we aren't. By having an increasing number of diverse and quality contributors, 4chan becomes more unique, interesting, and enjoyable to use.

How can I become a good contributor?

It's really quite easy. If you have something to add to a topic: reply. If you have an interesting, high quality, neat, rare, etc. picture: upload it! Share your mind and image collections with us. Don't just leech! Give back to the community which you take from. It's a simple and effective way to grow the site. Before contributing, make sure you're acquainted with the rules.

What is "shitposting"?

Shitposting is "knowingly contributing low quality, off-topic, or ill intentioned posts."

What is a "sticky"?

"Stickied" threads are posts that are stuck (hence "sticky/stickied") to the top of a board's index page. A stickied thread is denoted by a small thumbtack icon placed next to its post number. Threads can only be stuck by moderators, and cannot be saged or otherwise unstuck by users. Trolling, sage-bombing, or reporting a sticky may result in a ban.

What is the blotter?

The blotter provides a short brief of recent site developments. A full list of blotter updates is available here.

Where are 4chan's feeds located?

4chan maintains a number of Atom & RSS feeds, which are located at the following URLs:

Image Boards: http(s)://boards.4chan.org/board/index.rss (RSS)
4chan Blog: RSS
4chan Blotter: Atom

4chan also has a read-only JSON API.

Does 4chan have an official browser extension?

Yes! As of late 2012, our browser extension is built right into the site. To use it, simply click [Settings] in the upper or lower right-hand corner of your screen.

Where is the 4chan Flash archive?

The 4chan Flash archive is a page dedicated to the preservation of user-made 4chan related Flash. To inquire about making a submission, please contact the administrator.

What is a trial board?

Trial boards are added every now and then to broaden the scope of the website. We open new trial boards as resources permit, based on requests from the userbase. If a board does not perform well, it is removed to make way for others. A board's trial status is denoted by its name appearing italicized on the navigation menu.

Can you add "x" board?

Short answer: no. Long answer: maybe. Boards are added only if we believe there is enough interest to drive quality traffic to them.

What is CAPTCHA?

CAPTCHA is an effective means to mitigate automated spam and ensure a submission is coming from a real person.

Why does 4chan use CAPTCHA?

CAPTCHA was implemented on the imageboards to deal with a deluge of automated spam some years ago. It has proven effective in reducing the amount of automated spam that appears on the site.

Why do I still see spam on the boards?

CAPTCHA is not 100% foolproof. Many spammers will pre-fill CAPTCHAs or pay CAPTCHA solving teams (actual people to sit around and fill out challenges) to spam manually. Spam that is not caught by CAPTCHA should be reported and it will be removed by the moderation team.

When will the CAPTCHA be removed?

Unfortunately, CAPTCHA is a permanent addition to the site. Despite its shortcomings, it is extremely effective at reducing automated spam and without it the site would be awash with spam.

Is there any way to post without a CAPTCHA?

Users who purchase a 4chan Pass may post and report posts without typing a CAPTCHA verification.

Why doesn't "x" work properly?

Here are four common solutions to problems users might experience:

  1. Enable first & third party cookies.
  2. Enable JavaScript.
  3. Don't block HTTP referers.
  4. Whitelist 4chan.org, 4channel.org and all of the subdomains.
Why does 4chan think my post is spam?

If 4chan's servers detect that you have JavaScript and cookies enabled, but not HTTP referers, you will receive the following error when attempting to post:

"Detected JavaScript + cookies + blocked referer. Your post looks like spam this way, so either enable referers or disable JavaScript and cookies."

Follow the instructions given and either enable HTTP referers, or disable JavaScript and cookies. Read above for more ideas.

In addition, 4chan maintains a list of blocked URLs and keywords that may result in your post being rejected.

What's this "4chan.org" image?

If a black and white "4chan.org" image is being displayed instead of thumbnails, your browser/firewall/proxy is blocking the transmission of HTTP referers, which is triggering our anti-leech filter. Disable anything that might be blocking your browser's referer from being sent to our servers, and refresh the page.

Where should I go if 4chan is unreachable?

The 4chan Blog and @4chan Twitter will be available and contain information regarding downtime when the main site is unreachable.

Will 4chan remove copyrighted material pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)?

Yes—please refer to our DMCA Policy for more information regarding our takedown process. Note that only the copyright holder(s) or their authorized representative(s) may issue such a request, under penalty of perjury, using the DMCA takedown process.

Who operates this website?

Lots of people have contributed to 4chan as volunteers over the years. Without their support, we wouldn't be where we are today. Here's to Anonymous ## Mod Mod Icon! \( '-')c[~]

Who is the administrator?

Hiroyuki Nishimura is the administrator of 4chan.

How do I contact the administration?

Contact information can be found on our Contact page.

Who founded 4chan?

Christopher "moot" Poole founded and served as the founding administrator of 4chan for more than eleven years, from October 2003 until January 2015.

Who are the moderators?

Moderators are individuals selected to perform general site maintenance. They may delete posts globally, ban users, sticky and close threads, etc. There is no publicly available list of moderators. Since 4chan is primarily an anonymous website, the moderators abide by that same mindset.

What are "janitors"?

"Janitors" are a class between "end user" and "moderator." They are given access to the report system and may delete posts on their assigned board(s), as well as submit ban requests. Janitors are selected via an application, orientation, and testing process. Janitors are instructed to not reveal their position to others and are to conduct themselves as would be expected of any other user. A breach in confidentiality is grounds for immediate expulsion from the program.

I never see proof of moderation! Why?

...Why would you? There is no public record of deletion, and since threads are frequently pruned, there is no way of knowing which have been removed by the moderation team. The "(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)" message is optional and only used under certain circumstances, so it's not a good indication of how frequently users are being banned. Usually when a user is banned, their posts are removed because they're in violation of the rules! Quite simply, there is no way for an end user to accurately judge the amount of moderation taking place at any given point in time. Rest assured though; the moderators and janitors are always working hard to do their best and keep the boards free of rule breaking content.

Can I volunteer to join the team?

Yes and no. Admission to the moderation team is by invite only. Period. The janitor program is occasionally opened up to new applicants. Watch the global message and blotter for notices concerning the application process. If there is no advertised janitor recruitment going on, you're out of luck. Be patient!

How do I know if I am banned?

If you're banned you will be redirected to https://www.4channel.org/banned when trying to post on the board(s) you're banned from. If you're getting 403 or 404 errors, this doesn't necessarily mean you're banned.

Can I appeal my ban?

Yes. Use the embedded appeal tool on the banned page to appeal your ban. Read the entire banned page carefully before disputing your ban. Note that some bans require you sit out for a few days before allowing you to appeal the ban. If you believe an error has been made, or you are being mistakenly affected by a ban meant for somebody else, contact a moderator on IRC at #4chan @ Rizon. Moderators are available to assist users with bans and technical issues on the website. PM a moderator (operators in the channel denoted by @ or % symbols before their name) with all relevant information, including your IP address if banned. Please note: this is a public channel, everything you say here can be logged and repeated elsewhere. Do not release your personal information in the channel!

Why am I temporarily blocked from posting?

Users are temporarily blocked from posting when there is a pending ban request placed on their IP. This block lasts 15 minutes from the time a janitor submits a ban request, and is removed immediately if the request is denied by a moderator. If the request is approved, a regular ban is applied.

Which ISPs, IP ranges, and countries are blocked from posting?

A number of ISPs, IP ranges, and countries are disallowed from posting due to repeated abuse. These blocks are often temporary and don't always affect the entire site. Please note that posting from proxies or VPNs is not allowed.
4chan Pass users are exempt from these blocks (but not individual bans)—click here to learn more.

What software does 4chan use?

4chan runs a proprietary version of imageboard software that we refer to internally as "Yotsuba." Currently there are no plans to make our code available to the public. Many open source alternatives exist though, and are only a search away!

4chan includes GeoLite2 data created by MaxMind, available from maxmind.com.

What hardware does 4chan run on?

4chan is powered by a rack of colocated servers and a CDN (CloudFlare), enabling us to serve more than 100 terabytes of data per day, and over 680 million pageviews to more than 22 million unique visitors per month!

What personal information is collected?

4chan collects and stores user information for postings. Once a post is pruned or deleted, it is removed from our web server. We value the privacy of our users, and will not make private information such as IP addresses available to others, except to comply with court orders or to cooperate with law enforcement agencies when appropriate.

What is your Tor/proxy policy?

Due to repeated abuse coming from Tor exit nodes and open proxies, our official policy is to block them when possible. Our apologies for the inconvenience this might cause those who use these services for legitimate purposes.

How do I donate?

4chan has not accepted donations since the fall of 2005, during our "DONATE OR DIE" fundraiser. It is our goal to provide the site free of charge to all users, and to support the site through advertising revenue and 4chan Passes. Purchasing a self-serve ad is an alternative way of supporting the site.

What keeps 4chan running smoothly?

$CASH MONEY$, and of course our talented team of volunteers! You can help support the site by purchasing a 4chan Pass, making sure you have ads unblocked on *.4chan.org/*", and also by clicking ads relevant to your interests.

Do you accept alternative donations?

Alternative donations such as computer hardware, bandwidth, hosting, et cetera cannot be accepted. Thanks for the offer though!

Where does 4chan hold events?

4chan has held official panels at Anime USA (2005), Otakon (2005/2006/2007), and Anime Weekend Atlanta (2013). In addition, we've held a few smaller meetups at Anime Weekend Atlanta (2005 & 2006), and Anime Central (2006). It's likely our 10th Anniversary Panel was our last.

Can I host my own 4chan panel?

We highly discourage and would prefer our users not host their own 4chan panels. If you choose to ignore this, please don't tout your panel as "official" and do things that would reflect poorly on the site. Notify the administrator with details before planning your panel.

When did 4chan open?

4chan opened to the public on October 1st, 2003. Actually, it opened a few days earlier but had no site structure and wasn't using the 4chan domain name, so 10/01/03 (the date of the first news post) is the officially recognized birth date.

How did it all start?

4chan was started as a project by Christopher "moot" Poole, a user of a small IRC/DC community known as Raspberry Heaven, which was [then] composed of users from the "Anime Death Tentacle Rape Whorehouse" (ADTRW) sub-forum of The Something Awful Forums. The site began as a small image dump for those communities that soon spread like wildfire and garnered enough traffic and popularity to become its own fully fledged community.

What were 4channel and world4ch?

4channel and world4ch were two sites spun off from 4chan but later merged back into the main site. 4channel was basically "work safe 4chan", and world4ch housed our discussion boards.

4chan generally does not endorse third-party projects. Please do not market your project as "official" or "sponsored" by 4chan, or use the 4chan name or logo to promote them in any way without first obtaining our written permission.