It is well known that ChatGPT is free, but if you want to try the latest and strongest GPT-4, there is basically only one way to go –
either subscribe to ChatGPTPlus or pay to call the API.
Although there are also some websites that integrate GPT, such as Microsoft Bing, You.com, etc., they may have some proprietary content.
So, what if you want to experience a more native GPT-4 but don’t want to spend money?
Recently, a project called GPT4Free has emerged. Not only has it won 18.5k stars on GitHub, but it has also made it onto the Trending weekly list.
However, Xtekky, the CS student who created this project, stated that OpenAI has requested him to shut down the entire project within five days or face legal action.
Project URL: https://github.com/xtekky/gpt4free
The contradiction here is that the websites used by GPT4Free have themselves paid a large amount of fees to use the GPT model from OpenAI.
Therefore, the queries that come through the script not only require the website to pay for it, but also do not generate any revenue.
If this website relies on advertising revenue to offset API usage costs, it is likely to lose money after this operation.
Now, in order to use GPT-4, besides directly upgrading your membership, you have to wait in line for the API and continue to pay…
Whereas GPT4Free allows us to use the GPT-4 and GPT-3.5 models for free through websites such as You.com, Quora, and CoCalc.
In addition, GPT4Free is very easy to set up.
First, install GPT4Free on WSL2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux) on your computer. This only takes a few minutes, including cloning the GitHub repository, installing some necessary libraries with pip, and running a Python script.
After starting the script, you can access a chatbot by visiting http://localhost:8501 with your browser.
In the backend, GPT4Free utilizes various API addresses from websites such as You.com, which provide answers through GPT-3.5/GPT-4.
Specifically, the GPT4Free script will first visit https://you.com/api/streamingSearch and send various parameters, then retrieve and format the returned JSON.
In addition, the GPT4Free repository also contains scripts to obtain data from other websites such as Quora, Forefront, and TheB, which any developer can use to create their own chatbot.
Xtekky stated that “you can achieve the same effect by simply opening these websites in tabs. I can open tabs to Phind, You, and other websites on my browser and make numerous requests. My repository simply makes this easier.”
On Sunday, Xtekky announced that he is making some improvements to his chatbot, which is independent of the GitHub repository and primarily serves as a demonstration of how to use GPT4Free.
Xtekky plans to migrate the chatbot to a different domain, rename it g4f (the abbreviation for GPT4Free), and change the logo (the current one is very similar to OpenAI’s).
Xtekky stated that, since the project does not directly connect to OpenAI’s API, OpenAI should not target him for using APIs from other websites, especially since these APIs are not protected on public networks.
“OpenAI can also contact these websites and warn/notify them, and then work with me to take down content, but it seems that this (legal threat) is entirely from OpenAI, and their point basically is that my project is directly attacking OpenAI,” Xtekky said.
If the owners of these websites have issues with his script queries, they should contact him directly. For example, Xtekky has already removed scripts using phind.com, ora.sh, and writesonic.com at the request of some websites.
More importantly, Xtekky pointed out that these websites can prevent external use of their internal API through common security measures, such as blocking API traffic from non-home IP addresses.
Xtekky stated that he has advised all the websites that have contacted him to ensure the security of their APIs, but none of them have taken any corresponding measures. Therefore, even if he withdraws these scripts from his repository, other developers can do the same thing.
Now, even in the face of OpenAI’s warning, Xtekky decided to keep this repository. Furthermore, he directly told OpenAI that if they want to remove it, they should make a formal request to GitHub instead of him personally.
“I think they contacted me before to make me delete this repository on my own,” he said, “but the right way is to submit a formal DMCA request through GitHub.”
And as long as these websites’ APIs continue to be unprotected, anyone can find a way to use them, even if GPT4Free never existed.
“Now, GitHub users are sharing and hosting this project everywhere,” Xtekky said. “Deleting my repository will be irrelevant.”
However, I am curious that as of press time, GitHub has not yet deleted this repository, and I do not know if OpenAI will formally initiate legal proceedings.