I recently started a Tor Relay on my own VPS. It has 500GB bandwidths each month, and I limited bandwidth rate to 1500 KBytes.

I don't know which one is better for Tor network: Running a fast relay that exhausts it's bandwidth in two weeks (like mine) or running a Tor relay that is slower but is always available ?

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    A quick "answer" (as a comment since there's nothing here to back up my claim): A stable relay will be much more useful to the network. Definitely go for stable; and thanks for running a relay! – Sam Whited Jan 31 '15 at 13:27

The choice is yours to make. There are advantages and disadvantages to both scenarios. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of each scenario are listed below.

Advantages of stable relay:

  1. If the relay is fast enough at the time of entering the network according to rules and regulations applied to relays at that particular period of time (These rules and regulations are subject to change without notice), an stable relay has a chance to become Guard. Once it become a guard, you maybe able to use it as your own guard if you desire to do so and improve the chances of having uncompromised guard. An unstable relay does not have any chance of becoming guard.

  2. In general an unstable relay is not generally considered as useful as stable relay and may not have the same level of prestige.

Advantages of fast relay:

  1. Some users may prefer fast relays and could change their circuit if it does not include fast relays.

You need to think about these points and other points that may be important to you but not listed here and decide on your own preference. Remember at the end the choice is yours to make to best suit your aspirations.


This is a tough one. You don't have enough bandwidth to become a guard, so assuming you're not running an exit node, your node will only be used in the middle position. 500GB / month is about 100KB/s, which is (just) enough for your node to be considered "fast" and so it will be used in most people's circuits. However, if we look at this graph:


we see that even the 25th percentile of Tor circuits appears to be getting at least 250KB/s, so there's a good chance that your node will be a bottleneck for anyone who uses it. Running a faster node for part of the month might be more helpful (even half a month might be too much). But I'm not 100% sure how such a node interacts with other mechanisms, such as bandwidth authorities.

As a side note, "Stable" as used in the Tor directory means a node that is up for long periods of time (has a high time between failure); a node that stays up for a week or two in a month will be classified as stable. But it will have a low fractional uptime, so it will never qualify as a guard (with good reason!).

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