TOR Project

Running Tor

Getting up to speed on Tor’s past, present, and future

  1. First, read the overview page to get a basic idea of how Tor works, what it’s for, and who uses it.
  2. Install the Tor bundle and try it out. Make sure you’ve got Firefox installed first, and be sure to read the list of warnings about ways you can screw up your anonymity. Look through the Tor Browser Design Document.
  3. Our FAQ covers all sorts of topics, including questions about setting up a client or relay, concerns about anonymity attacks, why we didn’t build Tor in other ways, etc. There’s a separate Abuse FAQ to answer common questions from or for relay operators. The Tor Legal FAQ is written by EFF lawyers, and aims to give you an overview of some of the legal issues that arise from The Tor Project in the US.
  4. The manual lists all the possible entries you can put in your torrc file. We also provide a manual for the development version of Tor.
  5. If you have questions, we have an IRC channel (for users, relay operators, and developers) at #tor on If you have a bug, especially a crash bug, read how to report a Tor bug first and then tell us as much information about it as you can in our bugtracker. (If your bug is with your browser or some other application, please don’t put it in our bugtracker.) The tor-talk mailing list can also be useful.
  6. Tor has a blog. We try to keep it updated every week or two with the latest news.
  7. Download and watch Roger’s overview talk from Internet Days in Sweden (slides), which provides good background on how Tor works and what it’s for.
  8. Learn about our censorship circumvention side: watch our 28C3 talk in December 2011 on how governments have tried to block Tor (videoyoutube,slides), an overview of what to look for in a circumvention tool, and the original “blocking-resistance and circumvention” talk from 23C3 in December 2006 (videoslidesabstractdesign paper).
  9. Look through our Design Documents. Notice that we have RFC-style specs to tell you exactly how Tor is built.
  10. There’s a skeletal list of items we’d like to tackle in the future. Alas, many of those items need to be fleshed out more before they’ll make sense to people who aren’t Tor developers, but you can still get a general sense of what issues need to be resolved next.
  11. Download and watch Nick’s “Technical changes since 2004″ talk from Defcon in July 2007 (videoslides), Roger’s “Current events in 2007″ talk from 24C3 in December 2007 (videoslidesabstract), and Roger’s “Vulnerabilities in Tor” talk from 25C3 in December 2008 (videoslides).
  12. See Mike’s “Securing the Tor network” talk from Defcon in July 2007 (videoslides). It describes common ways to attack networks like Tor and how we try to defend against them, and it introduces the Torflow script collection.
  13. Learn about the Tor proposal process for changing our design, and look over the existing proposals.
  14. Our sponsor TODO list starts with a timeline for external promises — things our sponsors have paid to see done. It also lists many other tasks and topics we’d like to tackle next.
  15. Once you’re up to speed, things will continue to change surprisingly fast. The tor-dev mailing list is where the complex discussion happens, and the #tor and #tor-dev IRC channels are where the rest of the discussion happens.

Mailing List Information

  • The tor-announce mailing list is a low volume list for announcements of new releases and critical security updates. Everybody should be on this list. There is also an RSS feed of tor-announce at
  • The tor-talk list is where a lot of discussion happens, and is where we send notifications of prerelease versions and release candidates.
  • The tor-relays list is where discussions about running, configuring, and handling your tor relay happen. If you currently run a relay, or are thinking about doing so, this is the list for you.
  • The tor-dev list is for posting by developers only, and is very low traffic.
  • A list for mirror operators for new website mirrors, and supporting current website mirrors.
  • A list for svn and git commits may be interesting for developers.
  • An automated list for bug reports from trac may be interesting for users and developers.

Design Documents

Neat Links

For Developers

Browse the Tor source repository:

svn – Revision 25797: /projects/presentations

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