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

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .