Over at one of the guides on setting up hidden ssh service via tor, http://mancoosi.org/~abate/hidden-ssh-service-tor, it's claimed that due to all the layers of indirection it'll be really slow.

and then ssh-way youronionhost.onion server . The connection will be veeeeery slow since you are going through different layers of encryption and indirection.

Is the claim substantiated?

How many ms of latency are we talking about?

Are there any settings to control the delay?

Can I still expect an uninterrupted connection?

  • Tor in general is slower than a direct connection. For SSH it would be more noticeable because of the interactive nature of it. But there is no reason why doing a file transfer over SSH would be slower than over (say, for example) https.
    – Jobiwan
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 18:40

2 Answers 2


The article you're referencing is 5 years old. While the Tor network is still fairly slow, I believe it's come a long way since then.

How do we define "slow"?

Either by quantifying the speed, or by reference to something most people are more familiar with. Jobiwan's answer does the latter, using a comparison to an HTTPS connection. Qualifiers like "very" or "really" are relative and subjective, so for the article to say it's "veeeeery" slow doesn't help unless you know the baseline from which the author is commenting.

If it's numbers you want, have a look at the Tor Metrics pages. This gives an ongoing, historical record of download times for files of different test sizes. It should provide some idea of network latency. That said, there are no "Tor vs. the clearweb" comparison charts.

For details on why Tor is "slow" (yes, bouncing traffic around different relays), have a look at this entry in the Tor FAQ.

Is there any way to change the delay?

Probably not without fiddling about with the source code to change the number of hops your traffic goes through.

If you're happy to do that, and if you're unconcerned with the anonymity afforded by Tor - which seems to be the case, given the use-case in the article - then take a look at the following discussion: How can one make Tor faster, when willing to to sacrifice anonymity?

(It's possible some of the suggestions in there would help, though from the comments there seems to be some debate.)

That said, if you're unconcerned about being anonymous, perhaps a VPN or standard proxy would be a solution worth considering.


I use SSH over Tor on a regular basis and torify the connection or use a hidden service to connect to. Usually the connection "feels" quick, but I never made measurements and thus can't provide a number.

However SSH over Tor and plain SSH feel equally fast. I'd say in 1 out of 20 cases the SSH-over-Tor-connection is considerably slower. In those cases some server in a circuit is probably slow. It helps to wait and reconnect.

You can't really control the delay. This depends on what circuit Tor builds.

In very few cases the connection is interrupted. This often happens when the connection over Tor feels slow. It is a good idea to use GNU screen or tmux.

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