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If I was to run a tor service on a real server such as Ubuntu Server, is there a background mode to run tor in, or does the browser have to be open at all times?

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If you want to run a tor hidden service, you should use tor, not tor browser. You can run tor as a daemon.

sudo apt-get install tor
tor

Make sure you properly set up your hidden service too.

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    If you're running Ubuntu, you should add the Tor Project repository so you have the latest version of Tor: torproject.org/docs/debian.html.en Apr 2, 2016 at 17:40
  • also you should run tor as a system service daemon, e.g. service tor start so that it runs as a low privileged user rather than, in this example, a user with sudo capabilities.
    – cacahuatl
    Jun 14, 2016 at 1:22

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