Tor Relay Setup

Tor Relay Setup

In this tutorial, you will learn how to set up a tor relay and run it afterwards.

Minimum system requirements

  • CPU: Any modern CPU
  • RAM: At least 2 GB
  • Storage: Anything will be fine, tor needs 200 MB of free space
  • Network: A stable connection, which can provide 1 MB up and down


This section covers how to set up a tor relay

Automatic software updates

It’s important that your system stays up to date. To automate it, you can use a program.

apt-get install unattended-upgrades apt-listchanges -y
nano /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades

Delete everything in this file. Afterwards, paste this content to the file.

Unattended-Upgrade::Allowed-Origins {
Unattended-Upgrade::Package-Blacklist {
nano /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades

Add the following content to the file.

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";
APT::Periodic::AutocleanInterval "5";
APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "1";
APT::Periodic::Verbose "1";


This section will explain, how to add the tor project repositories.

apt install apt-transport-https
nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/tor.list

Add this content to the new created file.

deb     [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/tor-archive-keyring.gpg] <DISTRIBUTION> main
deb-src [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/tor-archive-keyring.gpg] <DISTRIBUTION> main

Replace <DISTRIBUTION> with your distribution. Run this command to check the operating system version.

lsb_release -c


cat /etc/debian_version

Now add the GPG key.

apt install gpg -y
wget -qO- | gpg --dearmor | tee /usr/share/keyrings/tor-archive-keyring.gpg >/dev/null

Install tor and tor keyring.

apt update
apt install tor -y

Configure tor

This section will explain how to configure tor.

nano /etc/tor/torrc

Add this content to the file

Nickname    yourRelayName  # Change "yourRelayName" to something you like
ContactInfo email: yourEmailAdress # Write your e-mail and be aware it will be published
ORPort      443          # You might use a different port, should you want to
ExitRelay   0
SocksPort   0

AccountingMax 1000GB # Change this to the maximum bandwidth limit / month
AccountingStart month 1 0:00 # When the "AccountingMax" will be reset

RelayBandwidthRate 1 MB # How much bandwidth the tor relay can use / second
RelayBandwidthBurst 2 MB # How much bandwidth the tor relay can use / second as burst (for short amount of time)

ControlPort 9051
CookieAuthentication 1

The last thing to do is to restart tor.

systemctl restart tor@default


To monitor the relay, you can use nyx. To install nyx run.

apt install nyx -y

Now you will see your relay running. Don’t be surprised. In the first 3 day the relay will do very little, after the 3 days the relay will be slowly used by more and more people. Read more about it here:

To furthermore monitor the relay you can use vnstat, vnstat will show the used bandwidth of the system. To install vnstat run.

apt install vnstat -y

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