I managed to get my private_key and hostname following the instructions here, which I copied over the one generated by starting the tor browser, in the hidden_services folder. (EDIT: Not sure it's important, but I ran scallion in windows.)

When I start ./start-tor-browser (TBB 4.0.1 in Ubuntu), I get a message:

Nov 02 18:16:01.000 [notice] Closing stream for '[scrubbed].onion': hidden service is unavailable (try again later).

Every now and again I see this in the tor log:

Nov 02 17:32:25.000 [warn] Could not open "/var/lib/tor/hidden_service//private_ key": Permission denied
Nov 02 17:32:25.000 [warn] Error reading private key from "/var/lib/tor/hidden_s ervice//private_key"
Nov 02 17:32:25.000 [err] Error loading private key.
Nov 02 17:32:25.000 [warn] Error loading rendezvous service keys

I am 100% certain that it's relevant, even though it's staggered by about a half an hour (ie, it's now actually 6:23, so really... almost a whole hour).

For sh*ts and giggles, I chmod'ed to 777. It had no effect (still 'unable to connect, firefox can't establish a connection...'). If I blast the private_key and hostname, and restart tor (a few times, plus or minus a few restarts of ubuntu)... I get a regular hostname and private key that DO work perfectly.

What am I doing wrong? I looked for whitespace, but I seem to be saving / copy-pasting okay.

  • Could you edit your question and paste the result of sudo ls -l /var/lib/tor/hidden_service? I assume that the files have wrong permissions. – Jens Kubieziel Nov 3 '14 at 10:18
  • Hi Jens. I also suspected that. Please see my next comment for those results. (Sorry about the formatting!) The ~ files are the non-generated hostname/private_keys that the Tor browser WAS able to serve. – user426364 Nov 4 '14 at 0:31
  • -rw------- 1 debian-tor debian-tor 23 Nov 3 19:29 hostname -rw------- 1 debian-tor debian-tor 23 Nov 3 19:12 hostname~ -rw------- 1 debian-tor debian-tor 891 Nov 3 19:28 private_key -rw------- 1 debian-tor debian-tor 887 Nov 2 20:00 private_key~` – user426364 Nov 4 '14 at 0:31
  • The permissions seem not correct. You start Tor Browser which runs as local user, but the files in /var/lib/tor/hidden_service belong to the Tor daemon. So changing permissions would help. However it seems better to use Directories in your Tor Browser Installation. – Jens Kubieziel Nov 4 '14 at 7:57

Well... I booted up today and started tor and tried to hit my onion site, and it said no-go ... so I check my hostname and it is the one I generated earlier! So I check that one ... and what do you know... it's serving!

How or why, I don't know. I am not aware of doing anything differently. Could be I had a process open that was unwittingly locking something TOR needed and a fresh reboot with ignorance being bliss was all it needed for things to go smoothly.

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