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I am planning on hosting and managing a hidden Tor service on a off-shore VPS paid by crypto. This however means that my ISP would notice a unusual amount of Tor-traffic coming from me which could raise some alarm. I want to avoid this.

One way to avoid this is by using a VPN in combination with Tor. But maybe it is also possible to just use a bridge relay? It seems to be possible to use a bridge relay as entry node not listed publicly as Tor node meaning that the ISP won't know I am using Tor.

So I was thinking of hosting my own Tor bridge relay, again using a off-shore VPS paid anonymously in crypto. Of course another hosting provider then the one hosting my Tor service. Then I'd configure Tor to always use that bridge relay as entry node.

But is this safe? Because using Tor normally the entry node is always different and random. If I'd configure Tor to always use the same entry node, wouldn't that make it easier to track me?

Me > Tor 1 > Tor 2 > Tor 3 > My hidden service.

The chance that a government organisation controls the three nodes in my connection are small. But if Tor 1 would be my own bridge relay I always use in each connection, the chance of Tor 2 and 3 being controlled by a government are a lot bigger!

Also, if I by accident leave a payment- or communication-trail while buying/configuring my bridge relay my identity will be at risk.

So wouldn't it just be safer to use a VPN?

Also: The dilemma I am having is that a) I don't want my ISP to know I am using Tor, so I can't use a publicly known Tor entry node and b) using the same bridge relay (I have bought and configured myself) for each connection seems risky. Do there exist pools of people who host their own bridge relay and only communicate their bridge relay to a limited array of people? If a group of e.g 15 people would all host their own bridge relay and only share their bridge relay in that group, it would be hidden from the ISP and tracking would be more difficult.

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It's a right thing to do to host your own bridges - especially private ones! It will not compromise your privacy but it will greatly improve the connection quality and stability

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