I compiled tor from the source tarball annd configured it to run as a relay. The problem is that it won't start automatically on boot. I'm running raspbian jessie on a raspberry pi.

  • 1
    You don't have to compile from source anymore on the Pi 2 and newer. The Debian repository is fully compatible now. Sep 7, 2016 at 19:06
  • The Raspbian repository version of Tor is v2.5 and heavily deprecated. Version 2.8 is current, version 2.9 arrives soon. I recommend you not use the versions of Tor less than 2.7. Dec 6, 2016 at 19:48

2 Answers 2


You can make Tor start on boot by running (as root):

update-rc.d tor enable

Because you compiled Tor from source, you may not have the files to automatically start Tor at boot. If it says some file is missing, you can extract /etc/default/tor and /etc/init.d/tor from Debian's Tor package.


The best way is to use a three components:

  • /etc/rc.local - It's a script that is executed on boot. I'm using it to start the components I need - see how downstrings.
  • A daemontools package - it's available via apt-get install daemontools. It's homepage is here. This package runs it's main binary in foreground and after that it is spawning a process-control mechanism. It works brilliantly on Linx and FreeBSD - chacked it myself.
  • A screen package - it's available via apt-get install screen. It's homepage is here, and it's a well-debugged app. What it does: it runs something "as in tty/screen", so the program thinks that it is running interactively.

How to elaborate it: I'm using a shellscript named as /service/tor/run to run the Tor interactively( = explicitly saying in torrc config RunAsDaemon 0 and User tor) like this:

cd /path/to/your/tor/install/prefix
nice -n -12 /path/to/your/tor/install/prefix/bin/tor -f /etc/torrc 2>&1

That rises up Tor with altered priority and under tor username. Oki-doki! And in /etc/rc.local I'm using just this before it's exit 0 clause:

/usr/bin/screen -d -m -S dt /usr/sbin/svscan /service

And that will spawn the Screen that will take care of running the Daemontools to ensure starting and re-starting on crush the Tor binary.

That's it! This setup works 2+ years on RPi and no single failure even with auto-updates and release-upgrades: it's a fuckup-proof. Makes sense?

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