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What is the recommended way to use Tor when I don't need anonymity myself, but want to help increase the anonymity of the whole network so that others can benefit?

I'm not sure I can express my question properly, so let me explain the thinking. There are many guidelines what to do and what not to do in order to remain anonymous. For example, users should not login to Google while using Tor because then the other traffic can be linked to it, compromising anonymity.

On the other hand, it seems to me that the whole Tor network becomes more anonymous if there is as much "normal" traffic as possible. So should users like me (who are personally not bothered about anonymity) follow different recommendations and use Tor for as much normal activity as possible, to make it easier for others to hide? Or is that not wanted because it wastes resources but doesn't help anybody?

I couldn't really find any guidelines for users who just want to increase the overall network anonymity but don't need anonymity themselves personally.

Edit: I already run a relay without problems, can also recommend it as a way to support the Tor. So I don't need help with setup, just clarification about my own client usage and how it affects the anonymity of others.

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Running a relay is a great start if you have the resources, but using Tor for at least some of your daily browsing does help make Tor traffic look more "normal" indeed.

If websites see more of their everyday users coming from Tor then they should see less of a threat. As you come across sites which block Tor traffic, contact the site owners to tell them you use Tor for your privacy & security but still want to be able to access their site.

The more users we have using Tor for their privacy & security, and letting websites (and the world) know that, the better the network will be perceived for everybody.

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    Thanks, the suggestion to use it normally and contact (if possible) blocked sites is good. Also good to run a relay, but I actually do that already. – Stephan Matthiesen Jan 11 '16 at 19:35
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(Just to add to the other answers with one that's possibly quite simplistic and obvious... )

So should users like me (who are personally not bothered about anonymity) follow different recommendations and use Tor for as much normal activity as possible, to make it easier for others to hide?

Just by using the network you're increasing the size of its user-base and making the crowd in which other users can hide that little bit bigger.

One thing you shouldn't do is make yourself stand out from the crowd in any way. By standing out you differentiate yourself from the others, and thereby don't add to the identical, anonymous crowd.

In this respect the usual advice applies for ensuring you remain indistinguishable from other users with regards to browser fingerprinting. For example, one thing you shouldn't do is install browser extensions or add-ons.

One way to test the level of uniqueness in your browser is by using Panopticlick.

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You should run a relay then! Use an open and permissive ExitPolicy, what are your host OS, hardware, ISP connection speed, do you have a static IP? Let's do it step-by-step here? post a reply - I'll guide you step-by-step if you wish

  • Thank you very much for offering help, but I already have set up a relay, so I don't really need help with that. – Stephan Matthiesen Jan 11 '16 at 19:22
  • @StephanMatthiesen Have you set up a pluggable transports + bridge on your relay? Is your DNS protected from poisoning? – Alexey Vesnin Jan 12 '16 at 0:11
  • Yes, I run a bridge. Thanks for your suggestion, but I think this is really moving away from my original questions, so I suggest we leave this topic for now. If I have problems with my bridge that I can't solve I will open another question. – Stephan Matthiesen Jan 14 '16 at 9:37

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