The TOR project has proven itself an indispensable tool in the fight to protect the anonymity of people on-line. The project needs servers to route traffic through for the project to achieve its goals though. So contributors are needed to donate relays nodes ensuring a free Internet for all.
In this post I am going to run you though the process of installing TOR and configuring a relay service for use by the network on a Debian system.
Installing & Configuring Tor
First up login to your machine via a terminal, update the package library and install the Tor server:
apt-get install tor
Then change into the Tor config directory
Scroll down to around line 35 and decide how and where you would like the TOR to store its logs if any. For the basis of this eample I am going to just uncomment line 37
Log notice file /var/log/tor/notices.log
Uncomment line 83
Go down to Line 93 and you can remove the comment and add in your server name or IP address. This is an optional step though if its left commented out Tor will attempt to try and figure out the address on its own which will work in most cases.
On line 100 uncomment the nickname line and give the node a handle that people can refer to.
Then go down to lines 107 & 108 uncomment and set any speed restrictions you would like to put in place. You may also want to look at line 116 & 118 if you would like to put an actual cap on the total amount of bandwidth TOR can consume in a given period.
On line 126 uncomment and add you name and email address. This can be used in case someone from the Tor project needs to get in touch with you due to a misconfiguration or similar.
Then go down to line 175 and set an appropriate exit policy for your server. I recommend just using the line:
ExitPolicy reject *:* # no exits allowed
Reason being running a TOR exit node requires extra considerations to handle complaints to your service provider etc. If you are interested in acting as an exit node be sure to take a look at the Tor site for some guidelines and tips that will help keep issues to minimum.
Starting the Service
Once you have finished making your changes to the config file, save and restart the tor service
service tor restart
Watch the start up process by following the Tor log file and look to look for any issues.
tail -f /var/log/tor/notices.log
Congratulations you are now running an active TOR relay and helping to keep people everywhere safe from online snooping.