Tor Bridge Setup

Bridges are used by people behind restrictive firewalls that block access to the Tor network. They are only used as entry node to reach the Tor network, and only pass encrypted traffic between Tor clients and Tor middle nodes. As such, they will not generate abuse complaints or any trouble.

You can help even if you have only 100kb/s and a dynamic IP.

This guide will set up a bridge on port 443 and pass its details to Torproject, who will take care of distributing it to those in need. If you want to distribute the bridge IP yourself, uncomment the “PublishServerDescriptor 0” line in torrc before starting Tor. If you want to use a different port, change the “ORPort” line.

Windows (& Mac/KDE?)


What about other Linux distros? Why don't you provide a distro independent solution? Other distros should be similar. Please add sections on other distros. There is no independent solution, but most Linux distros work very similar.


The Tor Project maintains a page with instructions for Debian and Debian packages. This website also has an interface which outputs the correct line for your sources.list file.

# add tor sources
echo 'deb jessie main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/torproject.list
echo 'deb tor-experimental-0.2.6.x-wheezy main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/torproject.list
gpg --keyserver --recv 886DDD89
gpg --export A3C4F0F979CAA22CDBA8F512EE8CBC9E886DDD89 | apt-key add -
aptitude update

Besides the normal Tor software it is quite useful to also enable Pluggable Transports. This helps users in heavily censored regions to get access to the Internet.

# use obfs4proxy
echo 'deb obfs4proxy main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/torproject.list


apt-get install tor tor-geoipdb obfs4proxy
service tor stop
cd /etc/tor
mv torrc torrc.dist
wget -O torrc
service tor start

Make sure that incoming connections to port 443 TCP are allowed in your firewall configuration.

Amazon Elastic Computing Cloud

Here is a tutorial on how to set up and run a Tor node from the Amazon EC2.

Keep in mind that this tutorial is written by someone who has throttled the amount of traffic their node will relay to 100 GB/month. By signing up for the Free Usage Tier you will be allowed to relay about 30GB of traffic before billing begins (for 12 months). After the free usage tier, EC2 is pretty expensive and their pricing model complicated. In our testing, a fairly idle bridge costed $27 for one month.

The Tor Project recently released cloud images that can be launched quickly on Amazon EC2.

How do I know if it worked?

Open /var/log/tor/log (Linux). In Vidalia: Message Log → Advanced. The last lines should be similar to this:

Mar 01 21:24:31.143 [notice] Bootstrapped 100%: Done.
Mar 01 21:24:31.143 [notice] Now checking whether ORPort YOURIP:443 is reachable... (this may take up to 20 minutes -- look for log messages indicating success)
Mar 01 21:25:28.438 [notice] Self-testing indicates your ORPort is reachable from the outside. Excellent.
Mar 01 21:25:33.150 [notice] Performing bandwidth self-test...done.


Don't be afraid to ask. There are helpful people on in the channels #tor and #torservers around the clock.

setup/bridge.txt · Last modified: 2015/07/29 19:52 by qbi