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If a client has a not-so-not-fresh consensus (<24hr), does he download the whole consensus again directly (by reaching to the directory authorities) or from his guard relay (client<=>guard relay<=>directory authority)?

Thank you

1

As far as I remember consensus documents are downloaded from the directory guards. Currently, every client has three guards but that's subject to change.

I believe you never download the full consensus but rather only what is needed to build a circuit. (e.g. what is necessary to pick a random path through the network.)

I looked at directory protocol some time back, things may have change and I might misremember. So, you may want to take a look at Tor directory protocol, version 3 specification yourself.

  • Every client now downloads only one guard and sticks to it. – user139336 May 13 '17 at 13:45
  • As far as I know Tor still uses three directory guards by default. There is a ticket to have it reduced to one though. (Not to be confused with the number of entry guards which indeed defaults to one.) – Peter Gerber May 14 '17 at 17:08

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