Contribute to privacy: Configure a TOR relay

The Tor network relies on volunteers to donate bandwidth. The more people who run relays, the faster the Tor network will be. If you have at least 2 megabits/s for both upload and download, please help out Tor by configuring your Tor to be a relay too.

You can run a Tor relay on pretty much any operating system. Tor relays work best on current distributions of Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and Windows Server.

The best approach for most users is to run your relay on Debian or Ubuntu using the system Tor package — the deb takes care of running Tor as a separate user, making sure it has enough file descriptors available, starting it at boot, and so on. Tor relays also run nicely on other Linux flavors, and on FreeBSD and NetBSD for those who are comfortable with those operating systems.


Configure Tor by editing the torrc file

Tor’s configuration file is named ‘torrc’.

Locate the file on your system, open it with a text editor and add the following lines:

    ORPort 443
    Exitpolicy reject *:*
    Nickname ididntedittheconfig
    ContactInfo human@...

If you want to be a bridge, read about the BridgeRelay and ServerTransportPlugin values on this page.

Tor will use all your bandwidth if you don’t set limits for it. Some options are described in these FAQ entries.

See the sample torrc file and the man page for other Tor options you may want to set.


Make sure your relay is reachable

If you are using a firewall, open a hole in your firewall so incoming connections can reach the ports you configured (ORPort, plus DirPort if you enabled it). If you have a hardware firewall (Linksys box, cable modem, etc) you might find useful. Also, make sure you allow all outgoing connections too, so your relay can reach the other Tor relays.

Restart your relay. If it logs any warnings, address them.

As soon as your relay manages to connect to the network, it will try to determine whether the ports you configured are reachable from the outside. This step is usually fast, but may take up to 20 minutes. Look for a log entry like

Self-testing indicates your ORPort is reachable from the outside. Excellent.

If you don’t see this message, it means that your relay is not reachable from the outside — you should re-check your firewalls, check that it’s testing the IP and port you think it should be testing, etc.When your relay has decided that it’s reachable, it will upload a “server descriptor” to the directories, to let clients know what address, ports, keys, etc your relay is using. You can search Atlas or Globe for the nickname you configured, to make sure it’s there. You may need to wait up to one hour for the directories to publish the new server information.


Once your relay is working

To learn more about the proper care and feeding for your relay, see the advice on the Tor relay on Debian/Ubuntu page.

By the TOR network

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