The Onion Router (Tor) is supported by a network of volunteers offering their computers and internet bandwidth to bring it all together. Millions of users around the world trust Tor to protect their online privacy and the ability to access various websites without compromising their identity.
Hosting your own Tor relay or node gives you the ability to help other users enjoy the same freedoms online with some added benefits. However, it is also helpful to understand the potential risks. Speed ??is not one of the main strengths of Tor. If your goal is anonymity, a reliable VPN can be a faster alternative.
There are also those who prefer to use the service’s anonymity to engage in criminal activity. Thus, it can shed light on you that you would not otherwise be interested in. You can expect a call from your ISP if they suspect something is amiss.
If you still feel like a Tor relay is for you, keep reading for instructions on how you can set up one of your own.
Need to configure the Tor relay
Tor Relay setup requirements
Complete configuration setup will only take time and some technical skills. The whole process for a Tor relay is not overly complicated, but there are a few preliminary steps you need to follow first.
First, gather a few details about your internet connection and the server you plan to use. When it comes to actual bandwidth, it’s best not to take your ISP’s word for it. Instead, it is advisable to visit a site such as speedtest.net to find out the download and upload speeds.
Check your speed during peak hours to get a better idea of ??how much bandwidth is being provided to you during busy traffic. If you are not currently subscribed to an unlimited bandwidth plan, you also need to know the monthly limits on your data.
Then quickly find out what your public IP address is by going to ip4.me. The address will be displayed at the top of the page. It will also be helpful for you to keep in mind if you are using a proxy, NAT, firewall or router on your network.
The same can be said for social apps, which should be hidden. If so, determine which ports are in use and configure them to use others if possible.
Configuring Tor Hardware
Configure your Tor device
It’s time to choose the hardware and operating system that your Tor relay will run on. You need a minimum internet download speed of around 250 Kbps, although the more the better. It is also recommended to download everything using at least 64-bit architecture.
The operating system is ultimately up to you, but Debian (or Ubuntu) is your best bet. The Debian repository includes a Tor package that makes installation easy.
Installing and Configuring the Tor Agent
Installing and configuring the Tor agent
The remainder of this guide assumes Debian is the preferred OS.
- Open a terminal and enter the following:
sudo apt-get install tor pre>
- Press Y and Enter when you receive a message stating that you will need additional disk space.
- When the installation is nearing completion, you should see one of two messages.
Starting the Tor daemon done
- If no message is received, you can find out what caused the crash by typing the following in a terminal:
sudo tail -f / var / log / messages
- Correct the listed problems and try to install Tor again.
- Find the main configuration file (torrc) in / etc / tor or just / etc /. Open the file in a text editor by typing:
sudo vi / etc / tor / torrc
- Go to the end of the file and enter the following:
Exitpolicy reject *: *
The nickname you want,
ContactInfo [email protected]
- You can change the nickname and ContactInfo sections to all , What would you like. If you are going to limit the bandwidth usage, you will need to add more lines. It is not only beneficial to stay within the data usage limit, but it also provides good speed for Tor, while keeping the client PC’s performance in mind. Try to balance this as best you can.
- Add the following lines to the end of the file:
ccountingStart day 0:00
AccountingMax 512 MB
RelayBandwidthRate 5120 KB
RelayBandwidthBurst 10240 KB pre>
- Save the file by typing:
- Press Enter and restart Tor using:
sudo service tor restart
- The Tor exit node must be ready to use.
Monitor your Tor Relay
Monitor your Tor relay
You can monitor your relay using the Anonymous Relay Monitor (ARM). Install it via terminal using the following command:
sudo apt-get install tor-arm
- After installation, launch it using:
sudo arm pre>
Tor Metrics, formerly called Tor Atlas, is another great monitoring service that will display your relay publicly. The site contains a global directory of Tor relays and exit nodes. After configuring your repeater, it will take up to 4 hours before it becomes visible on the site.
- First get the Tor relay fingerprint by entering the following command:
# cat / var / lib / tor / fingerprint
- You are looking for the second block of a long string of letters. Write it down or memorize it for the next step.
- Open the following URL in a browser:
- To find your node, look for the alias you gave it when you set it up.
Don’t expect your repeater to receive a lot of traffic anytime soon. It will most likely take several days to start routing data, and no sooner than 68 days before your relay becomes a possible entry point for other clients.
Just know: Once everything is finally settled, you will be part of a growing collaboration of volunteers who will provide millions of users with a safer way to use the Internet.