just wondering if anyone can shed a lil light on this,

basically i am wondering what processes must be followed to allow alice to retrieve the descriptors for bobs hidden service, what packets are needed to be sent for this, and what is the structure of these packets as i can not find this information in the spec.

i understand Alice's OP opens a stream to a directory server via Tor, and makes an HTTP GET request for the document '/tor/rendezvous/', where '' is replaced with the encoding of Bob's public key as described above. but what is the structure of this packet

edit i have looked again at the document and think i have found the structure however it states this is for bob and not alice so am a lil unsure if correct :

 KL    Key length                            [2 octets]
 PK    Bob's public key                      [KL octets]
 TS    A timestamp                           [4 octets]
 NI    Number of introduction points         [2 octets]
 Ipt   A list of NUL-terminated ORs          [variable]
 SIG   Signature of above fields             [variable]

is this the packet required to be sent to an HSDir node, what will this packet need to be sent in, I.e. a relay packet ? and could some one explain what the last three items in packet are mainly NI and Ipt, and what values these should be

and what information will i receive back and what structure will this be in ?

Thanks guys

  • 1
    Maybe you know this, but I thought I should point out that '/tor/rendezvous/' is the address used by v1 hidden services. Currently v2 is far more common and the address is '/tor/rendezvous2/' instead. In v2 we don't use the public key, we use a descriptor-id calculated based on the public key and time.
    – user194
    Jul 4, 2014 at 1:40
  • Thank you, i was unaware of that, since v2 is more common i will use that, time for some more research into v2 :) thanks Jul 4, 2014 at 10:04

1 Answer 1


Tor now has a HSFETCH control port command which allows Tor hidden service descriptors to be retrieved from the hidden service directories.

I've uploaded a simple Python script which uses the Stem library to fetch HS descriptors via Tor. https://gist.github.com/DonnchaC/13b744a1e30b7d34bc26


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