What would be the best [and cheapest] way to set up a private Tor network for testing and experimentation?

A rough size estimate is that it should consist of 12 or more onion-routers and should be usable for experimenting with both standard Tor and Tor hidden services.


2 Answers 2


The easiest way is to emulate the network, such as with ExperimenTor (which uses virtual machines) or Shadow (which uses a discrete event simulator).

With Shadow (which I have more experience with), a 20 node network should fit in 4 GB of RAM such as on a Amazon EC2 m1.large server.

Another option is Chutney, which is simpler than either ExperimenTor or Shadow, but is still in need of some development work.


If you did for some reason need discrete machines, some single-board computers would be good inexpensive candidates; Raspberry Pi is a bit slow, and 1024MB of RAM is better than 512MB if you're going to build a lot of circuits.


  • Raspberry Pi (1 ARMv6 core, safely overclockable to at least 950MHz, 512MB RAM)
  • BeagleBone Black (1 ARMv7 core [IIRC], runs real Debian armhf, 512MB RAM)
  • Cubieboard 2 (dual ARMv7 cores, 1GHz, 1024MB RAM, runs Cubian, which is Debian armhf plus hardware specific stuff)
  • @Steven can you please explain how to set up hidden service in Shadow?
    – saurav
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 2:06

You must log in to answer this question.