GitHub works well with Tor except for the signup step (https://github.com/join).

GitHub employs a broken CAPTCHA that prevents signups over Tor. The CAPTCHA simply does not render properly.

The error message (after submit) is:

Unable to verify your captcha response. Please visit https://help.github.com/articles/troubleshooting-connectivity-problems/#troubleshooting-the-captcha for troubleshooting information.

Very frustrating for anonymous souls. It is unclear whether this is intentional or not.


Use recently launched Tor Exit Node

The workaround is to hand pick a Tor Exit Node that is very new on the Internet (launched hours ago). We only need this for the signup step. It is critical to revert to default Tor settings afterwards.

  1. Search for exit nodes first seen 0 days ago: https://metrics.torproject.org/rs.html#search/flag:exit%20flag:running%20first_seen_days:0-0%20running:true

  2. Click on any node on the list and copy its fingerprint (not to be confused with IPv6 address).

  3. Open your torrc config file for editing. If you use Whonix (and you should!) then edit the one on the gateway VM (not the workstation).

    Location on plain Linux: /etc/tor/torrc.

    Location on the Whonix gateway: /usr/local/etc/torrc.d/50_user.conf.

  4. Add the following line:

    ExitNodes heregoesthefingerprintofthetorexitnode

    This will force Tor to route all connections through this node.

  5. Restart Tor daemon:

    On plain Linux: sudo systemctl restart tor.service.

    On Whonix Gateway: sudo systemctl restart tor@default.service.

  6. Restart your Tor browser

  7. Verify your public IP address matches the Tor exit node you picked:


  8. Sign up on GitHub. The CAPTCHA should now render properly.

    If still no luck please try with another exit node (remember to restart the Tor daemon and Browser). In our case it worked the second time.

  9. Critical cleanup: remove the added line from the torrc file.

  10. Critical cleanup: restart the Tor daemon.

Important: this is only necessary for the signup. You GitHub account will work well over Tor.

  • 1
    The caveat is that if github is monitoring exit nodes, they may know about it and block it before you do so this workaround maybe be more trial and error with no guarantee of success. Other options would be to try different services such as gitlab and bitbucket also.
    – JSEvans
    Apr 14 '20 at 16:17
  • We are aware this workaround worked fine in at least two instances. In our case the second attempt was successful. GitLab or Bitbucket may be alternatives for own projects but one will still likely need GitHub account for general open source collaboration. Apr 14 '20 at 18:49

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