How can I configure Tor to use a minimum of overhead network traffic?

My situation:

I have a weather station connected to a Raspberry Pi in a cottage, with a 4G USB dongle for network connectivity. The weather station is used to monitor both the weather and the indoor temperature.

I've set up a Tor onion address on the Pi, to be able to ssh to it since I'm not getting a public IP address on the 4G USB dongle.

As the weather station only produces a few kilobytes of data per day, and I'm not even ssh'ing to it every day to check the status, I've gone with the cheapest pay-as-you-go plan available on the SIM card.

This works fine, but I've noticed that the Tor daemon uses about 30MB of network traffic per day regardless of whether I ssh to it or not. That adds up to almost 1GB per month, and 1Gb would easily last me a year if it wasn't for the Tor traffic.

So my question is if there is any way to decrease the amount of Tor network traffic overhead. Can I configure it to download some directory information less frequently, send keepalive packets less frequently, and so on? I'm fairly new to using Tor so I'm not too familiar with how to configure it.


1 Answer 1


For the cases like yours ClientOnly 1 setting is made. It trims functionality, so the tor instance acts like a client only. However - you can't set traffic cap specifically. If you're able to buy a traffic package of some size - you can tweak the size using limit directives, Daily limit is the one you're looking for and keep in mind that like 7-11% overhead to it still can happen(as from my experience), so make your calculations. By your traffic size you've mentioned - 30Mb daily traffic is more just a modest volume, a regular phone consumes much more

  • Sorry, I don't understand. What calculations should I make? What are the 7-11% overhead number based on? 11% of overhead on zero ssh traffic on day should be zero overhead for that day, but it's still 30MB. I'm looking to buy as cheap a SIM plan as possible, it's much cheaper to buy 1GB/year than 1GB/month, yes a phone consumes more but the Pi doesn't produce much data so that's why I'm hoping to reduce the Tor overhead traffic.
    – ftpltl
    Commented Mar 16 at 16:30
  • the calculations are about the daily traffic limit in torrc config, so as the overhead
    – Alexey Vesnin
    Commented Mar 17 at 12:53

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