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 Answer 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, 2017 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.) May 14, 2017 at 17:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.