I was considering about running a relay to help the Tor community.

But I was wondering what's happening if someone using the Tor network to access illegal websites (such as pedophile websites).

Do I have to setup my firewall to prevent the relay to open these websites or does the Tor network already filter these kind of illegal websites?

  • You can specify an ExitPolicy to define what endpoints you're willing to carry Tor traffic for, however censoring your relays own connection is considered "bad" activity. See: trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/…
    – cacahuatl
    Jan 6, 2017 at 9:58
  • @canonizing ironize: I understand why censoring could be considered as a bad activity but in some cases in can be a good one.
    – A.G.
    Jan 6, 2017 at 14:28
  • If you live in a country where you would not be protected from prosecution based on what people use your relay for, you shouldn't run an exit relay. Remember also that law enforcement uses Tor to monitor "illegal" websites, because they wish to do so anonymously.
    – cacahuatl
    Jan 6, 2017 at 18:29
  • 1
    Where the line between "good" and "bad" is drawn isn't yours to decide for people other than yourself and "good" and "bad" certainly doesn't map to "legal" and "illegal".
    – cacahuatl
    Jan 6, 2017 at 18:39
  • I understand your point of view which is right for many cases but I think some websites such as pedophile ones can't be good whatever the reaso ns are, Whereever you live even if your country doesn't clawsify those websites as illégal. I won't run a relay. Thanks for your replies.
    – A.G.
    Jan 6, 2017 at 18:58

3 Answers 3


A thing is that Tor is an anonymity network, so you can't set an "exit relay using policies" on per-relay basis. There're some guidelines and fair usage presumption - but you can't disable all "bad things". ExitPolicy directive will not help you: DNS names of "bad sites" are changing, and existing DNS names are changing hosts, i.e. IP's(that can be rejected via ExitPolicy directive). So - the security for you here is that it is not you personally and intentively surfing porn or hacking bank when (ab)using Tor. Also please keep in mind that subjects like "good" and "bad" are very personal and subjective ones: what's good and absolutely OK for you personally can be a death-sentence-reason from another person's point of view. So either you are an exit relay, or you're not an exit relay. Dot.


Use this script to bootstrap a debian server to be a set-and-forget Tor relay

apt-get install -y git
git clone https://github.com/micahflee/tor-relay-bootstrap.git
cd tor-relay-bootstrap

Aside from the censorship concerns, this is nearly impossible. There's no list of illegal websites to block and without inspecting all the content passing through your relay (which might mean decrypting https or other encrypted traffic) I'm not sure how you'd hope to achieve this.

You can define exit policies to disallow traffic to certain IPs, but again, do you know all the illegal sites' IP addresses? Or (a terrible decision) you could firewall exit traffic to certain IPs but this would make your relay drop connections to reachable sites with no explanation to the Tor user.

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