Matt Traudt

An onion (v3) (SAT [What's this?]) a day keeps the bad guys away | About me

How to Ask for Help Regarding Tor

Posted on 22 Oct 2016 by Matt Traudt

Last upated 16 Jan 2017 at 4:50 pm
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Sometimes using Tor isn't as easy as it should be. That sucks, but there's people out there willing to help. Help make their job easy and come prepared to answer clarification questions and provide background information. Help them help you.

Simply stating "I downloaded tor and I can't connect" is unlikely to get you any help. If someone does come by and offer advice, it is unlikely that it will actually be relevant to your situation because no one knows anything about what you're dealing with.

So to help people better help you, please share the following information in your original quesiton. There's a template at the end if you can't bother to read this, but you'll only hurt your chances of getting good help if you aren't specific and detailed.

Background information

Operating System

Are you using Windows, OS X, or Linux? Something else? What specific version or distribution? Be as specific as you can.

Tor software

Are you using Tor or the Tor Browser Bundle? This is important. Many people ask for help for Tor, but are actually using the TBB.

The TBB looks like this.

Tor is just a command line program with no GUI that you probably are running as a system service.

Please specify which you are using.

Other Tor software

Are you having trouble with torsocks, the handy command line wrapper to easily torify many programs?

Are you having trouble with arm, a Tor relay monitor?

Are you having trouble with Orbot, the offical release of Tor for Android? How about Onion Browser, the Tor-Project-endorsed app for iOS? (Note: people may decide to help with unoffical Tor releases on, say, iOS, but don't expect anyone to.)

Something else? Please specify.

Download location

Where did you get Tor or the TBB? Did you download Tor from your Linux distribution's repositories? Say so. Did you download the TBB from https://torproject.org? Say so.

Did you get them from somewhere else? Please describe where and why.

Configuration

Did you make any changes to how Tor, the TBB, or any Tor software works? What exactly did you change? Why? Does it work if you leave things with their default values?

Be very specifc.

Commonly, people will ask for your torrc file if you are using Tor (not the TBB). It would be very helpful if you would find it and share it proactively. On linux, a very common location for it is /etc/tor/torrc. See this section for how to share your torrc.

Also commom is requests to see log output from Tor or the TBB. For Tor on linux, the most common location for Tor's logs is /var/log/tor/. Relevant torproject.org FAQ. If you are using the TBB, then click on the green onion, click Tor Network Settings, and then near the bottom is a button to copy the log to your clipboard. Click it and the share the logs as this section describes.

Problem description

What

What are you doing?

What is happening?

Why

In some cases, this could be seen as too nosy. You have a right to your privacy, and your reasons aren't always relevant. However, if you are forthcoming about what your reasons are, people will be able to tell if you're trying to solve your problem in the wrong way and suggest a better solution.

For example, you're trying to tunnel Firefox through Tor. This is possible, but usually not a good idea. Most likely you should use the TBB instead. If you ask for help tunneling Firefox through Tor, but don't say why you're doing this, don't be surprised if people tell you to just use the TBB. If you have a good reason for why the TBB isn't the right solution, share it.

Previous attempts

Hopefully you've already tried something. Right? What did you try? What was the outcome?

Template

I am trying to:

I want to do this because:

I changed the following settings:

I have tried:

The problem seems to be:

I am using

Links to configuration files and log output:

Sharing text files

When people ask to see files or log output, please be considerate and upload them to a pastebin service. Doing so keeps the discussion clean.

It would be great if you could use one such as https://paste.debian.net, which doesn't block people using Tor from accessing pastes.

After pasting text into a pastebin service, share the resulting link with the people helping you.


tags: tor