Setting Up Your Own Tor Site [Paid]
As censorship grows, awareness needs to be raised
The Daily Beagle has been experimenting with getting a Tor Onion site up to bypass censorship, and we have step-by-step instructions on how to get one running!
These instructions are intended for Ubuntu (which is open source, and thus free), and should work on Ubuntu 20.04 or Later. Similar Linux OSes may see success, however we only tested this for Ubuntu. We won’t be covering installation steps for Ubuntu.
We do not have instructions for Windows, and it is strongly advised to use a Linux OS rather than a Windows OS, as Linux tends to be a more secure and stable operating environment.
You don’t need a dedicated server host as it is possible to be run locally (even if you are behind a ‘DMZ’ or a router that hates port forwarding). If you don’t know what this means: essentially you shouldn’t need to configure any network devices.
Security of the setup isn’t guaranteed, as this is purely to get an Onion site running.
You’d be expected to have read up on good web security practices. It is recommended to have a good understanding, both for your own security, and that of your users.
Anyone who wants to visit your Onion site will require a Tor browser or Tor proxy.
We’ll cover how to install the Tor browser first, then the server.
Installing The Tor Browser
Go to the Tor website and download the Tor browser for your OS. In our case we’re interested in “Download for Linux” as Ubuntu is a Linux OS:
It should prompt you to download a file similar to ‘tor-browser-linux-x86_64-__._._.tar.xz’ (with the underscores being filled with the version number). In our case it’s ‘tor-browser-linux-x86_64-13.0.5.tar.xz’ but the numbers will change.
Download that file, and then move the file into a directory where you want the Tor browser to be.
Whilst in that directory, open Terminal (‘Command Prompt’). It may be as simple as right-click, ‘Open in Terminal’, or you can use ‘pwd’ (print working directory) and ‘cd’ (change directory) in a new Terminal to manually get there.
First update sudo apt, and then install xz-utils (it should already be installed, but in-case it isn’t, this ensures we’re on the same page):
sudo apt update
sudo apt install xz-utils
To save you manually typing the filename, Terminal has a neat trick! If you run:
It will list the files in the directory and enable Terminal’s tab-autocomplete for filenames.
Start typing: ‘tar xf tor-browser’ then press tab (it should autocomplete with your version number). So in The Daily Beagle’s case it becomes:
tar xf tor-browser-linux-x86_64-13.0.5.tar.xz
However in your case the version numbers might be different, so you’ll want to manually correct them.
If the extracted succeeded, you should see a folder that looks like this:
With these files inside:
(If it didn’t, leave a comment detailing the steps and the problem below).
Every time you want to open Tor, either navigate the Terminal to the tor-browser directory, or open up a new Terminal instance in tor-browser and run:
It will fire up the Tor browser, which will allow you to test to see if your Onion site is working.