I was looking for a virtual machine that has Tor relay pre-configured. This came to my mind while thinking about the the amount of security which can be provided by having thousands of similar Tor users with identical OS, screen resolution, browser version, folder structure, keyboard and etc. This is obviously good when somehow some of the users computer information leaks out, so that it is impossible to identify a person based on these info.

A good discussion here

But I'm more concerned about the relay rather than the client, so I searched and found no distribution that has pre-installed and pre-configured Tor relay.

This would be useful for rapidly increasing the number of relays if certain attacks were planned to be activated:

"While there have been claims that Lizard Squad is incapable of taking on Tor, it seems that there have been successful attacks. Security researcher Nadim Kobeissi tweeted a screenshot that shows a large number of relays named LizardNSA" Source

So does anyone know any project or distribution which is contributing to this concept?

  • OT but, LizardNSA's attack failed, tor Relays need to be up for some time (3 days IIRC) before they are allowed to take big chunks of traffic, while they may have thrown up a few thousand relays they where up for less then a day before being blocked, most where up for just a few minutes, and so the attack failed.
    – user5416
    Dec 31, 2014 at 16:41
  • 1
    RE: I fail to see why learning to configure virtualization properly would be easier than learning to configure a Tor relay properly. 1. Some people rent fully managed VPS, so don't have to know how to configure that properly. 2. You give me a simple instruction "Yum install whatever" I'll likely rent a cheap VPS purely to run the relay as a contribution. 3. Regarding patches for exploits, include an auto-update script in the distribution. I've got enough going on and just don't have time to get a new skill set or properly tweak a single-purpose appliance.
    – user5441
    Jan 3, 2015 at 4:33
  • Some of us, myself for one, already do virtualization for our own reasons. Running a plug-and-play tor relay appliance would be a good use of extra bandwidth. It is nowhere near the same as running an exit node, but would contribute to the network as a whole.
    – kuaka
    Dec 13, 2016 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


Do you mean relays or clients with browsers? Your mention of users and screens and browsers suggests the latter. The question you link to is also about Tor Browser, not relays.

A ready-made Tor client + Browser that you could run in a VM is Tails.

I would question the usefulness of a ready-made relays because

  • For relays it is not important to look similar to others.
  • (Relays are publicly known as such anyway.)
  • A relay takes some more config, which is most of the work anyway.
  • Adding a bunch of relays in response to someone else doing this won't do much.
  • Thanks for your answer, I realize I mixed both relay and client together. You are right for a relay it's not that important to have huge pile of them with similar features. Here I meant both, but I'm more interesting in relay since as you also mentioned the relays are harder due to the configuration and technical issues, That's why I think having a pre-configured virtual machine is the best way for this. People who want to contribute to the network would be able to download and run the VM and do their part without having knowledge about Tor and it's internal configuration. Any suggestions?? Jan 1, 2015 at 23:40
  • On the one hand, maybe people who don't want to acquire knowledge about Tor and its configuration, should not be relay operators. If you want to operate a Tor relay, you should be willing to spend an hour or two reading up on what it is and how it works. On the other hand, the more the merrier. I could argue either way, but I would personally not use it, maybe others would. To play devils advocate a bit more: having lots of identical relays may be bad for security/health of the network, as it would increase the impact of any exploit found in this specific setup.
    – Jobiwan
    Jan 2, 2015 at 16:17
  • I agree that having multiple relays with the same configuration may be vulnerable due to some exploits but I think this can be easily done in opensource community and people can update their configuration to cover this. This matter is pretty much like the Linux it self, everyone is using it and there are thousands of multiple similar copies, but the best way people are protecting them selves is keeping softwares update and be cautious. At the end of the day, everyone is pretty much user of a service but not everyone is interested in doing technical configurations. Jan 3, 2015 at 2:53
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    I fail to see why learning to configure virtualization properly would be easier than learning to configure a Tor relay properly.
    – user5
    Jan 3, 2015 at 3:04

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