What are the best routers to run a tor relay behind? Pros and cons would be appreciated. I would like this to become a wiki for people in many different situations to help them decide which router is best for their situation.

  • why are you running the relay directly on a router and not on a machine?
    – Lizbeth
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 13:38
  • 1
    I am not running my relay on a router. WAN --- Router --- LAN. My relay is on my LAN.
    – nullUser
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 14:22

3 Answers 3


In my opinion there is only one type of router that is secure, and that is a open source router that you can flash with firmware from source:


Netgear WNR3500L

Without it being open source there is no way to know what the router does or how secure it is.


PFSense is a full feature firewall/router that runs on various hardware. This gives you all the features of the firewall as well as low level control of the system if need be. Plus, you can easily scale the hardware based on your network's needs.


Really secure configuration would use 2 routers and 2 computers:

  • main home router
  • intermediate router, just for guarding outside traffic and not let anything except TOR traffic pass through - I suggest using MikroTik or Cisco devices, because they give user complete control, without any creators, simplifying anything etc.
  • Tor router - normal computer with full disk encryption and normal Linux distribution, configured as Tor router and firewall
  • Tor workstation - another computer with full disk encryption and Linux distribution

Let me summarize:

  • for main and intermediate routers, I suggest either MikroTik (cheaper and enough) or Cisco (more expensive, bigger and more powerful devices)
  • for computers, I suggest Debian or Ubuntu Linux, but any other distribution with big audience will be fine, if it allows full disk encryption - in general choose the distribution, that you know the best


Because both MikroTik/Cisco and Linux give you the complete control of what's going on inside router/computer, and give you the opportunity to use Tor in a really secure way, without leaving any chance for NSA to track you down.

Of course they only give you the opportunity, but it's completely up to you to make a really secure configuration.

However, when it comes to Tor activity, I wouldn't trust any device that has creator-based web interface, and for main Tor router, I wouldn't even trust MikroTik or Cisco, only normal computer with major Linux distribution installed by hand.

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