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I have a currently unused budget VPS, and I'd like to contribute to the Tor Project by making it a bridge node in the network. However, I'm having trouble finding a clear and reliable guide outlining how to do this through the command line. Would anyone like to outline the process?

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That is very simple.

echo "deb     http://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org sid main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
gpg --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv 886DDD89
gpg --export A3C4F0F979CAA22CDBA8F512EE8CBC9E886DDD89 | sudo apt-key add -

apt-get update

apt-get install lynx tor torsocks deb.torproject.org-keyring

Then check if it works:

usewithtor lynx http://check.torproject.org/

Now let's configure it for relay: just open the torrc file, and edit Relay config.

nano /etc/tor/torrc

Good luck. More info at: https://www.torproject.org/docs/tor-relay-debian.html.en

| improve this answer | |
  • Awesome, thanks so much. I was wondering, might torify be more reliable than usewithtor, considering that the prior is provided by the Tor Project? – Mike Sep 17 '13 at 16:25
  • Additionally, is there any empirical way to test if the bridge is working? My log file contains only successful statements, but there isn't any mention of a bridge. – Mike Sep 17 '13 at 19:15
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After you have done what Teddy suggested, you will need to correctly edit /etc/tor/torrc. Since you have specifically asked about a bridge, which doesn't publicly advertise its existence, and not a relay (which does), you will need to edit the following lines:

Nickname mybridge
ContactInfo Teddy Okidoki <teddy @ okidoki dot net>
DirPort 80  (this is best for bridges, since clients may have other ports blocked)
ORPort 443  (ditto)
RelayBandwidthRate 200 KB
RelayBandwidthBurst 400 KB
BridgeRelay 1
 # PublishServerDescriptor 0 (leave this commented out)

You will need to make sure that your firewall is set up to allow traffic to your box on ports 80 and 443. Reload the config file.

/etc/init.d/tor reload

Read the log at /var/log/messages to make sure this is happening.

tail -f -n 100 /var/log/messages | grep Tor

You may wish to optionally subscribe to the tor-relays mailgroup.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks. It's worth noting that on my VPS the log file was located at /var/log/tor/log. – Mike Sep 17 '13 at 16:30
  • Additionally, is there any empirical way to test if the bridge is working? My log file contains only successful statements, but there isn't any mention of a bridge. – Mike Sep 17 '13 at 19:14
  • I should also mention that the line DirPort 80 gave the error [warn] Can't set a DirPort on a bridge relay; disabling DirPort on restart. – Mike Sep 17 '13 at 19:18
  • A bridge is totally hidden. Only the Tor operators know about it. Making it a Directory server is out of the question. It would be like a spy standing in an information booth. The log is in the correct place. A good way to see if the relay is working is to install a program called "arm": torproject.org/projects/arm.html.en – zkilnbqi Sep 19 '13 at 13:36

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