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Tor circuits change every 10 minutes. If I leave the Tor browser open on my computer, or the Orbot app connected on my Android, will I add any network overhead for the network? Should I disconnect when I'm not using Tor, or will the client automatically stop creating new circuits until I start using it again?

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For the Tor network, it is fine to leave your Tor Browser open when you're not using it. Tor will occasionally build a few circuits, but only relatively few, and after a bit it will stop doing even that until it receives a request from your browser.

The only thing it will keep fetching every few hours is new information about the available relays. So if a couple of megabytes extra are an issue for you because your internet connection is slow or you have a data cap for mobile, you should turn it off if you won't use it for a few hours.

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No, you should not - you can't add any "overhead" by staying online. A hint : make it a non-exit relay, forward a port and make two lines appear in your torrc :

ClientOnly 0
ORPort 443

It will improve your Tor experience greatly, by the way - it will be a way faster. I just picked port 443, you can pick another one. If you need help doing that - just say it, I'd like to help!

  • I'm already running a relay, and figured out how to use it as a Socks proxy in the Tor browser. – SuperSluether Apr 2 '16 at 17:33
  • @SuperSluether so you know then how faster it is, when you're running a relay =) – Alexey Vesnin Apr 2 '16 at 17:36
  • Actually, I'm not sure if running a relay makes it any faster. Especially considering I have a very slow connection at 6Mbps down and 1Mbps up. Anyone using my relay in a Tor circuit wouldn't even be able to watch a YouTube video. – SuperSluether Apr 2 '16 at 17:38
  • @SuperSluether it will speed you up - you will see a way more nodes. And if you will make a 512Kbps share for relay - it will suite you just fine! – Alexey Vesnin Apr 2 '16 at 18:50

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