I edited the torrc-defaults file and added the line ExitNodes {GB} to get a UK exit node. (I myself am not in the UK.)

It seemed to work, here's what dnsleaktest.com tells me

enter image description here

However, other sites, like whatismyip.com seem to disagree on where I am and what my IP is.

enter image description here

Google also thinks I'm in France. If I go to google.com, I am redirected to google.fr.

This is all within a single session. This happens even if I go to all these sites at the same time.

Why is this happening? I'm looking for a technical description of it's possible for different sites can think I'm in different places. (A solution to the problem would be cool, too.)

By the way, I'm using Tor Browser 5.5.5 on OS X 10.10.1.

Update: I've tried to add StrictNodes 1 and ExcludeNodes {fr}, but it didn't change the output of whatismyip.com. Google.com did stop redirecting me to google.fr .

  • Duplicate of tor.stackexchange.com/questions/11782/… also without StrictNodes it will make connections from other exits. You should consider RTFM before making janky changes that you don't understand.
    – cacahuatl
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 19:31
  • @canonizingironize Hey, thanks for the help! I did try searching for a dupe before asking, but that question eluded me. I'm not sure which "f*****g" manual you are referring to, but maybe this one? It's a bit long and technical for a non-savvy novice like me, I would think? Have you read the whole thing yourself? I find people are generally kind and helpful on SE, so I can usually seek some expert assistance here. I don't use Tor for anything sensitive or serious, so I'm not too worried about getting compromised.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 19:52
  • @canonizingironize Please note, also, that my question is actually asking for why this is happening. Basically the technical reason. That's not mentioned in the other question. Just a small point. By the way, I've now added StrictNodes 1 and ExcludeNodes {fr} to torrc-defaults, but I still get the same output from whatismyip.com . I even get the exact same IP. Google, though, doesn't redirect me to google.fr anymore :) Thanks again for your input!
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 19:54
  • Read the rest of my answer as to why IPs "country" might be reported entirely differently by different entities. There is no such thing as "GeoIP", thats not how the internet works.
    – cacahuatl
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 19:57
  • @canonizingironize Cool, I'll take a look at it. Also, check this out: meta.stackexchange.com/q/74080/321647
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 20:00

1 Answer 1


ExitNodes {GB} StrictNodes 1

If StrictNodes is set to 1, Tor will treat the ExcludeNodes option as a requirement to follow for all the circuits you generate, even if doing so will break functionality for you. If StrictNodes is set to 0, Tor will still try to avoid nodes in the ExcludeNodes list, but it will err on the side of avoiding unexpected errors. Specifically, StrictNodes 0 tells Tor that it is okay to use an excluded node when it is necessary to perform relay reachability self-tests, connect to a hidden service, provide a hidden service to a client, fulfill a .exit request, upload directory information, or download directory information.

StrictNodes means if your local GeoIP database says it's not GB it will hard-fail. Their GeoIP database may well disagree with yours, this is because there is no such thing as GeoIP. It's generated by scraping whois records and using the listed associated addresses to determine their location -- no one would lie on the internet, right?


Furthermore, your Tor client cannot predict where it will exit the Tor network. It knows where to connect into the exit relay but this has absolutely no relation to where it will exit from. Some Exit relays will exit from entirely different address ranges than those that it runs it's ORPort on. Your client can only make decisions based on the address associated with it's advertised ORPort address.

Even if GeoIP weren't just some arbitrary listing that could be intentionally fooled the times that it didn't get it plain wrong, there is no guarantee that the times it gets it right it would even relate to where your traffic exits from.

This entire approach is folly, and the GeoIP-based restrictions is a misfeature.

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