Tips for Running an Exit Node

by mikeperry | July 1, 2010

Updated 06/30/2010: Mention Reduced Exit Policy, ISP Shopping Tips, and Abuse Response Templates
Updated 08/30/2010: Update exit policy with svn, git, hg, Kerberos, remote admin panels, IRC, others
Updated 01/12/2011: Suggest creation of LLC for large exit nodes, provide links to ARIN forms and process.
Updated 02/25/2015: abuse templates URL has changed.
Updated 01/02/2018: Sample Tor exit notice URL has changed.

I have noticed that a lot of new exit nodes have recently appeared on the network. This is great news, since exit nodes are typically on the scarce side. Exits usually occupy 30-33% of network by capacity, but are currently at a whopping 38.5% (156 MBytes/sec out of 404 total).

However, I want to make sure that these nodes stay up and don't end up being shut down due to easily preventable abuse complaints. I've run a number of exit nodes on a few different ISPs and not only have I lived to tell about it, I've have not had one shut down yet. Moreover, I've only received about 4 abuse complaints in as many years of running exit nodes. This is in stark contrast to other node operators following a more reactive strategy. I'm convinced this is largely because I observe the following pro-active guidelines. This guide is primarily US centric. Operators in other countries may have slightly different best practices (such as registering with RIPE and not ARIN).

1. Inform your potential ISP(s)
In general, running an exit node from your home Internet connection is not recommended, unless you are prepared for increased attention to your home. In the USA, there have been no equipment seizures due to Tor exits, but there have been phone calls and visits. In other countries, people have had all their home computing equipment seized for running an exit from their home internet connection. So you will need to find a good colo and save your home connection for bridge or middle node use. Plus, bandwidth will be much cheaper in a colo center anyway.

Pick an ISP you can trust, and let them know exactly what is going on. A good first email is to ask them if they have an AUP you can read if you can't find one online. You should also ask them if they can provide the services mentioned below in this document, such as additional IP addresses, SWIP, and reverse DNS, and if these services might cost extra.

In a follow up email, you should explain Tor to them, and why it is important to the Internet, the world, and to you, their potential customer. Giving them links to our Tor Users, Tor Overview, Tor Legal FAQ and Tor Abuse FAQ is typically immensely helpful. Mentioning China and the current conflict in Iran are also likely to be helpful. If your ISP is your University, you may also want to peruse this set of recommendations specific to dealing with University administrators.

If your ISP does not approve, all is not lost: you can look into running a middle node, or a much less visible bridge node. It is better to learn this up front, rather than have your Internet connection shut down on you without warning. Exit bandwidth is often scarce, but any node is better than no node.

2. Get a separate IP for the node. Do not route your own traffic via this IP. Having a separate IP allows your ISP to more easily recognize that abuse complaints and DMCA notices can be forwarded to you to be quickly responded to with a boilerplate response, as opposed to cutting off your Internet access or providing your personal information to the copyright cartels.

3. Get recognizable Reverse DNS for this IP
Setting a good reverse DNS name for your exit IP helps to prevent knee-jerk reactions from sysadmins and DoS kiddies alike who run into bad apples coming from your node IP. Something like or is the best bet.

4. Set up a Tor Exit Notice
Once you have a good reverse DNS name, you should put some content there that explains what Tor is for those who see the name and try to visit it via http. If you run your DirPort on port 80 with Tor 0.2.1.x or newer, you can use the Tor config option "DirPortFrontPage" to display a notice explaining that you are running an exit node. A sample one is provided in contrib/operator-tools/tor-exit-notice.html in the source distribution. This way, when someone sees in their logs, they hopefully will get the hint and read the notice before flaming you. Be sure to update the contact info and other places marked with FIXME in the notice.

5. Get ARIN registration (if possible)
If you can get your ISP to SWIP your IP block to display a contact and abuse email that you control, this can go a long way to reducing aggravation that they may feel from dealing with the occasional abuse complaint, because the vast majority of the few complaints that are still made will go to you instead of them.

Having your own SWIP allocation is so important to your success that it is worth specifically offering to pay the ISP extra for it if they initially refuse. RWHOIS is another possibility, but it should be considered a second choice, since most people just check the SWIP record.

To get a proper SWIP record, you should first create an account at ARIN and create POC handles and the ORG IDs for yourself. You must then get your ISP to submit a resource request template that references your POC handles and ORG IDs.

Templates at ARIN change periodically, so some ISPs may be reluctant to do the paperwork for you if it means changing their submission scripts. Again, offering to pay for this service is a good idea, if they initially stall or refuse.

6. Consider a Reduced Exit Policy
If your node is in the USA, you should consider using a reduced exit policy. Excessive bittorrent abuse over Tor unfortunately means you will likely receive a deluge of DMCA abuse complaints. We (including the very smart lawyers at the EFF) believe Tor nodes qualify as transmission providers under DMCA 512(a), not 512(c). This makes them exempt from "notice and takedown" procedures, including the need to issue "putback" responses. The EFF has even prepared a template response for improper DMCA 512(c) takedown notices that you can use.

However, your ISP may see things differently. If the abuse complaints are arriving in their staff's inbox, they may just want them to stop coming so they do not have to spend resources dealing with them, regardless of their merit. If they still won't provide SWIP registration, you can try a reduced exit policy. Other operators have had great success with using a reduced exit policy consisting of ports 20-23, 43, 53, 79-81, 88, 110, 143, 194, 220, 443, 464-465, 543-544, 563, 587, 706, 749, 873, 902-904, 981, 989-995, 1194, 1220, 1293, 1500, 1723, 1863, 2082-2083, 2086-2087, 2095-2096, 3128, 3389, 3690, 4321, 4643, 5190, 5050, 5222-5223, 5900, 6666-6667, 6679, 6697, 8000, 8008, 8080, 8087-8088, 8443, 8888, 9418, 9999, 10000, and 19638. In fact, the operator of 4 of our fastest exit nodes has reported that after switching to this policy from the default, the bittorrent DMCA complaints ceased immediately.

With that list, the only abuse complaints you should see will come from occasional comment spam (ports 80 and 443), email spam to misconfigured email servers (port 465 and 587 are supposed to be for authenticated SMTP only), and misconfigured NNTP servers (port 563 is authenticated NNTPS). You may want to review Moritz Bartl's abuse complaint template set, as well as the Tor Abuse Template set, and the Tor Abuse FAQ for information on how to handle these rare cases, when they do come up.

7. Rate limit and optionally QoS your node
I've recently conducted some measurements that showed that nodes that used Tor's BandwidthRate config option to set a limit slightly below their actual capacity were much more reliable than those that did not. Along these lines, it may also be useful to use this Linux-based QoS script to prioritize your Tor IP traffic below other traffic on your machine. Similar QoS can also be achieved via DDWRT, openwrt and of course via commercial routers. If you do use QoS other than that script, you should ensure that you provide Tor with a reasonable minimum bandwidth so that it does not starve when you do other things. Somewhere between 33 and 50% of your connection is a reasonable minimum value.

8. Consider creating an LLC to run your node
If you are a high capacity exit node operator, you should consider forming an LLC or similar corporate entity for several reasons.

First, as a high capacity exit node, you may wish to collect donations from others who are unable to run exits themselves but would still like to support the effort. Creating a separate entity with a separate bank account is a really wise idea once outside money becomes involved.

Second, corporate entities provide you with some level of shielding against headaches. Typically, you are required to list a legal representative to act on your behalf to accept legal service and to answer complaints (an Agent for Service of Process). In the United States, this point of contact is the only public piece of information you are required to give anyone about your corporate entity. This point of contact doesn't have to be you, and organizations exist to provide this service at nominal fees ($50/yr). This means that if someone decides to pay a visit, they are visiting this publicly listed legal point of contact, as opposed to your home.

Third (but related to the above), a corporate entity immediately implicitly signals that you are legally savvy and not easily intimidated by empty legal threats. For example: for some reason, some companies see legal threats as better solutions to crawling abuse than say, implementing a captcha. No one has yet brought suit against any Tor operator, but having a corporate entity as that operator tells any potential trigger-happy litigants that you are not likely to be easy pickings.

In the US, the cost of setting up an LLC with good privacy protections is between $100-$1000/yr, depending upon the state you incorporate in and the services you contract from independent providers (such as preparing and filing the paperwork for you, and phone+mail forwarding). States that have laws that make this process easy are Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, and to a lesser extent Delaware. States to avoid include Massachusetts and California (though the latter cannot be avoided if your ISP is also in California -- you must pay a $900 'franchise fee' to CA if you do most of your business there, regardless of incorporation).

You do not have to be a resident of a state to incorporate there. In fact, in most of the states listed above, you do not even have to be a US citizen. It is also never too late to switch your existing exit nodes from your personal control into the hands of a newly formed LLC. All you need to do is inform your ISP, and have the newly formed LLC begin paying the bill from its bank account.

We do not want to recommend specific services here, because we have not personally used them all, but full-service remote incorporation services for those states are easy to find on the web.

That's it! Happy operating!


Please note that the comment area below has been archived.

June 21, 2009


Thanks so much for this post. I was running an exit node a few days ago and ended up using ~20GB in 24 hours! I had to shut it down because my ISP (Comcast, bastards) was checking my ports and seemed to be cutting me off, as the traffic on my circuits dropped WAY off.

Yeah, it's likely you weren't discovered by port scanning and more likely by the total bandwidth use. However, if you're sure that is port scanning, you can put your Tor server on an unused high-numbered port (check /etc/services for blank ranges) and then customize your firewall rules to DROP as opposed to REJECT packets to your unused port ranges on your machine. DROP rules greatly increase the time it takes to port scan your machine, because scanner's packets need to be retransmitted many times to differentiate between normal packet loss and DROP rules. Also, choosing an infrequently used port will often completely escape scanners' notice, because they typically scan frequently used ports to save time. You probably also want to disable your DirPort in this case too, as that is plain text http, often contains strings that say "Tor" and easily seen by filters at *your* ISP.

There are also rumors that some of Iran is blocking port 443, so putting your Tor server on strange ports is actually helpful for that too.

Note this likely only makes sense for middle and bridge nodes. Exit nodes will be so noisy you'll eventually get some sort of abuse complaint if you don't follow Mike's steps (and possibly sometimes even if you do, it sounds like).

June 24, 2009


The rationale here is understandable, but #1 & 2 appear to have the undesirable side effect of making exit point surveillance by Government Organizations easier, assuming that the ISP in question is colluding with them (frequently the case, and in many nations, mandated by law or regulation). Is my conclusion in error? This might be less of a problem if a TOR user could whitelist or blacklist specific exit point countries (this rests on a presumption that authorities in Venezuela, for example, would likely be relatively uninterested in issues that are locally "sensitive" in Iran, for another example, and vice versa). Is there any tool in TOR that allows this? I do understand that the trade-off for wide use of such a capability would be a potential net reduction of bandwidth in an already constrained network.

June 24, 2009

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)


Exits are already listed in the Tor directory that clients use, which is public. The Tor project also provides a DNSRBL with Tor exit nodes to prevent incorrect blocking of Tor nodes that do not actually exit:

So the additional threat of government monitoring is not really a valid argument.
However, it might be the case that your ISP doesn't figure it out until you till them, but that will only last until your first abuse complaint if you are running an exit.

June 24, 2009


Another useful tactic might be to register your reverse DNS domain name with a top level country code that is not the same as the jurisdiction for your IP address. It might be the case that the "copyright cartels" (lol) and others will give up if they see a .se domain name, or similar :)

Interesting suggestion - Love the idea!

I fear it won't actually make a lot of difference... for the most part, I think, they're just running scare tactics. As a result, even if the DMCA notices are irrelevant, will never be pursued, and will generally get ignored, they're still increasing their coverage at no extra cost. However, I suppose at some point they've got to make a decision about whether they're going to attempt to make a lawsuit stick, and a .se (or similar) reverse DNS may mean you get filtered-out early in that process.

June 24, 2009


We've run an exit node in the past. Currently not running, will be again soon, I hope...

We had an excessively simple strategy for reducing entanglements: being based in the US, we only allowed exit to IP space delegated to Europe, Asia, etc.

Reducing the chances that any local TLA would want to come knocking is a good thing.

June 25, 2009


Excessively simple perhaps, but arguably effective, for parties at both ends of the pipe. Now if there was a mechanism for clients in a given location to select an exit node that only exited to IP space in some defined elsewhere, a user in that location could have a little bit more comfort (never guaranties!) in his or her privacy.from the snooping noses of das Heimatland Sicherheit and ilk.

>We had an excessively simple strategy for reducing entanglements: being based in the >US, we only allowed exit to IP space delegated to Europe, Asia, etc.

June 27, 2009


Re the subject and previous comments. Apparently this is possible, see TOR FAQ 3.15. However, it is not recommended, for several reasons. In that same FAQ item, there is a reference to using Blossom for this purpose. Has anyone here tried this? Is it possible to just run the Blossom client service that allows this option with an existing TOR client, or are the two clients mutually exclusive? Also, my intent was not to hijack this thread; it might be best if someone could fork this into a separate topic.

June 28, 2009


Our non-US exit strategy was the outgrowth of an idea that seems to have been largely ignored by Tor developers.

IPv4 space is largely (not completely reliably) delegated to entities called Regional Internet Registries (RIR's) in large swaths. The RIR is then responsible for passing out space to the entities in its region. There are entanglements, such as multinationals, or legacy delegations, but in large part, you can wave your hands a bit and know that any IP address between and is handled by the European RIR, RIPE, IP addresses between and are handled by Asia Pacific's APNIC, etc. You can fairly readily break down large chunks of space by RIR based on the first octet, sorting unknown or mixed use stuff into a different category.

This means that it would be fairly easy to generate "buckets" that roughly categorize IP space. Tor nodes could be separated into each of these buckets, and you could have a rough idea that you'd likely be crossing political boundaries anytime you went from one bucket to another, simply because most countries do not exist in multiple geographic regions.

So you categorize Tor nodes into buckets while indexing them: this is a 256-entry database plus a half page of code.

Now, you can do things with that data. Rather than just "randomly" picking Tor nodes for a circuit, you could prefer a first hop outside your own bucket, a second hop in neither of those buckets, and a completely random third hop. So when your US-based PC goes to Amsterdam for the first hop, Taiwan for the second, and ends up exiting in Canada, you've done a lot to make it more difficult for any one country to track back to you.

Perhaps we don't have to worry about this in the US, but looks like the Iranians do.

Getting back to the previous comment, however ----

For those of you who would like to allow exit to non-local space, I suggest looking at

Determine your own RIR (ARIN, APNIC, etc) and then generate a list of prefixes that are served by *other* RIR's. Allow exit to those prefixes. For example, a host in America can probably more safely offer exit to 41.*, 51.*, 58-62.*, etc.

June 28, 2009


I am running a TOR Bridge here in Darwin Australia for the Nedanet i am under constant heavy network hacking attacks originating in china you name it and there trying it !! I think a good tip for anyone running Tor is to make sure you have a better than average firewall setup ... i also run a DMZ from the router to a locked down linux box ... i have noticed also no network scanning or attacks from iran .... makes me wonder if China helps Iran with their IT security ?

If you are dealing with a box that is running other services besides Tor, simply assign it a second IP and firewall in a manner that puts on the the Tor service on that IP and disallow anything else.

Worked for me.

June 29, 2009


I've followed mikeperry's advice and sent my ISP a heads-up, suggested URLs and all. And, somewhat to my surprise, instead of some e-mail boilerplate in 48-hours or so, I got a phone call from "Steve" in within three hours. Suffice to say, 1) I shall call him tomorrow and ask him to respond exclusively via e-mail from now on, as I'm severely deaf, and 2) determine what level of service I can can be to Tor which is within the ambit of CableOne's AUP, savvy?

To wit: "This is to inform you that given the situation in Iran (and of course, China!) I shall be running Tor exit node kencf0618 mostly but not entirely from midnight to 5 a.m. I'm still tweaking my settings with your AUP in mind, as it is not my intention to degrade anyone's service.
Submission Date: 6/29/2009 2:43:39 PM"

I rather suspect that inasmuch as I had for a day or so checked off everything on Vidalia's exit node configuration, "Steve" shall play the Moral Panic card. My usage was 1.5G in in March, 3.0 in in April, and 2.4 in May, but 8.0 in June due to Tor, so I figured that I might've raised a red flag somewhere.

Any and all advice would be appreciated. Basically, I want a stable state of whatever it is I can get away with re Tor within my ISP's AUP. Think Venn diagram.

Thanks, folks!

July 01, 2009


hi there,
is it possible to have a special build only allowing my exit node for clients originating in china, iran etc.? unfortunately i don´t know very much about this software but am unwilling to hassle with problems from my isp. right now i´m running only in bridge mode.
i think there might be a lot more people out there like me that would install a special iran package without having to think about it anymore


July 01, 2009


Despite the local CableOne tech telling me in the morning that Tor wasn't a problem and that bandwidth wasn't an issue (especially between midnight and noon), that afternoon I came home after work to a nasty DMCA take-down notice and a frozen ISP account. I could receive mail, but that was it, and so perforce had to deal with the sanction by phone... Apparently someone had sent a bit torrent through my machine. Some game... I'm no gamer.

Well! I steered everyone and their dog to the EFF's legal boilerplate, but it was only today that I finally reached someone who knew what they were talking about, Tech No. 2, and he informed me that Tor on a residential account was in itself a no-no. And by then I no longer had the nous to contest the matter. I had acted in good faith & received bad information, and that was that. Time to move on. (He was very interested in the identity of Tech No. 1!)

You learn by doing. Knowing then what I know now, I probably would have stuck with a humble relay or bridge node and stayed under the radar. Parse your TOS's and AUP's well!

July 11, 2009


A local CableONE executive has admitted that their AUP is deliberately vague, but inasmuch as he hasn't told me what of Tor if anything I can run, I am currently running a bridge relay on occasion. My reading of their AUP is that so long as I'm not degrading anyone's service or doing anything illegal, I'm good. If I'm wrong, there's always Qwest!

July 26, 2009


I truely believe what you did say here because I read most of the things you write.
But sometimes it just doesn't work for me.

July 26, 2009


"Our non-US exit strategy was the outgrowth of an idea that seems to have been largely ignored by Tor developers."

I may yet have to try that strategy. I thought I had found a viable alternative by using the "excludeexitnodes" directive in torrc, but experimentation indicates that even after paring the excluded jurisdictions down to just one, the directive is still ignored more often than honored in the interests of building what tor considers to be a viable network. That is not a complaint, just a results report from one experiment. More to follow.

July 29, 2009

In reply to phobos


I may have taken the documentation of "StrictExitNodes" in the manual too literally, as it mentions its use only in conjunction with "ExitNodes", not "ExcludeExitNodes" (and yes, I do have that one coded correctly :-) Thank you, that is worth a try. Be right back...

July 29, 2009

In reply to by itsmeagainamargaret (not verified)


Unfortunately my first impression was correct. Using "StrictExitNodes 1" with "ExcludeExitNodes {XX}" produces a log message "[Warning] StrictExitNodes set, but no ExitNodes listed." Of course there is an obvious, if ludicrous alternative - use "StrictExitNodes 1" with "ExitNodes", passing the entire list of country codes except those to be excluded. I've already coded the list (good thing that wasn't tedious :-) It occurs to me to wonder if ExitNodes/torrc will accept an 800 char parameter string (246 each ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes x 4 chars ).  I further wonder just how rigorously that part of teh code has been tested for bounds checking and buffer overflows :-0  I will learn at least some of those answers, I believe...  

July 29, 2009

In reply to by obsess much? (not verified)


No joy. With 238 country codes specified on ExitNodes, the log message is "[Notice] Have tried resolving or connecting to address '[scrubbed]' at 3 different places. Giving up." Restoring the redacted country codes and/or changing "StrictExitNodes 1" to "StrictExitNodes 0" produces the same message. Evidently it is choking on too long a parameter string, or the process is timing out while it attempts to process it (probably the latter). I needed to try it though - thanks for the help. I'm back to "ExcludeExitNodes {XX}" - at least Tor takes that one "under advisement" :-)

January 07, 2010


I used to run an exit node on a server hosted by intergenia (server4you), germany.

I first got notified of a complaint they received reagrding botnet activity, so I restricted the outgoing ports to HTTP and a few similar only, as well as told them the usual (its running a TOR exit node, links to the FAQ and legal disclaimer, etc...)

It went well for a couple of month, when they contacted me again, after receiving another complaint from a corporation that complained about "spying out information by electronic means" which is a crime since a couple of years ago.
the HTTP request in question was something like GET /internal/search?*.* HTTP/1.1
on port 80

The ISP informed me that "regardles of who or what caused that traffic originally, I'd be legally responsible for traffic originating from my IP, and if they'd get any more complains they'd take the entire server of line at my cost, and terminate the contract."

I am no lawyer, though this sounds pretty much like bullshit to me.
Nevertheless the TOR is no longer running as an exit node.
Does anyone know a hosting provider in germany that will accept open proxies and the like in their IP range?

I think the solution to the problem is simple. Use prepaid debit cards, pay monthly, and don't use your real name! They won't be able to come after you then. Nobody would have enough information to go after you at least. At least nobody with enough interest to. It wouldn't be a criminal matter. Setup the thing via a wifi connection at a coffee shop too because trying to go through Tor to sign-up for the ISP/host with get your account suspended from the get-go. Everybody thinks a foreign IP and/or changing IP means fraud.

Another option is to contact the CCC in Germany and see if the ISP's legal thoughts are correct. In most countries, Tor is like a common carrier, where you are not responsible for the traffic it carries. ISPs generally bend this into "your fault, not ours" and people accept it.

January 20, 2010


Great tips. Tor is a traffic routing network. I personally have never experienced problems using the Tor Network. Generally, most computers that join Tor are good ones and have the intent to help others. Security is very important especially when it comes to your computer.

February 13, 2010


Nice one..
I completely agree but I also think experimentation indicates that even after paring the excluded jurisdictions down to just one, the directive is still ignored more often than honored in the interests of building what tor considers to be a viable network.
online games

February 24, 2010


I have a question for you ExitNode experts. There are only a few people who run ExitNodes for the whole of the UK. So, as a tor user, if I always exit through one of those, say, 10 nodes does that mean that I always appear to have one of 10 ip addresses to programs that would check for my ip address ?

If the above is true then I would be surprised how easy it would be to ban those specific IPs as 'not really being trusted to only have people from the UK'. Or is there some IP trickery built into tor that keeps the IPs more random ...

February 24, 2010


The ExitNode sends the final request, so the ExitNode's IP is what is seen. If they are all blocked you're out of luck.

July 01, 2010


Good article!!!!!!! Also the port 8088 is sometimes used for HTTP!!!!!

However, and i wrote this to the TorProject, there is the threat of ACTA on coming!!!! remember!?!!! «If it'll pass, you won't have anymore a safe harbor nor anything to protect tor nodes whenever they're used to download copyrighted things!!!!! It isn't something like the DMCA!!!!! It's a world-wide law (or almost!!) so it'll apply in the USA, Europe (Sweden and Germany included!!), Australia, Japan, and so on!!!!!!
What's also funny, is that criticizing the pro-copyright (or anti-piracy) laws will be "illegal" too!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's the freedom of speech, as seen from lobbyists!!!!!
Yeah!!! Say goodbye to the TorProject, if ACTA will go through!!!!!»


July 01, 2010


Is it normal for an exit node to only use 1/3rd of the bandwidth available? What would prevent tor from using all the available bandwidth?

July 03, 2010


For we Windows uses that are not high tech as opposed to lazy --- How do we tell if the IP provider might be a problem? I have been running two bridges for a year and every so often the just stop showing any traffic. I have found the only way to get them going again is to uninstall the program and reinstall it. Yes I know I have been told I shouldn't have to do that but for now it that or just quit.

July 03, 2010


Suffice to say, the EFF runs a relay, and so do I; CableOne has a three-strikes policy, and furthermore at the second and third strikes you have to deal, not with help desk morons by phone, but with lawyers by snail mail. I wish I had had some of the fresher salient information in this thread a year ago, but as it is, a tip of the hat to those running exit nodes...! (kencf0618)

July 08, 2010


How do we tell if the IP provider might be a problem? I have been running two bridges for a year and every so often the just stop showing any traffic. I have found the only way to get them going again is to uninstall the program and reinstall it.

It's not the IP provider. And you meant to say ISP. It's something with your computer that is screwy it would appear most likely. Even if it isn't and it does haves something to do elsewhere it isn't the ISP. That's about the only thing you can be sure of.

August 09, 2010


you should check your provider list. some of them forbid the use of their servers for tor and other anonymization systems.

September 11, 2010


That thing about the separate IPs is helpful. It would also mean that you wouldn't experience slow-down.

September 17, 2010


I just had to shut down my exit node due to DMCA complaints for bittorrent traffic. My exit node received 7 DMCA complaints within two months. After the first two, I restricted my exit policy just slightly more open than what's listed in this article, but still pretty limited. That delayed the next couple complaints, but they kept coming. The provider was very understanding, but were getting pressure from their upstream provider. I know it's a necessary evil, but the bittorrent traffic really hurts the tor network.

The key thing about the ports listed here is that there are only ~60 of them, which represent the 60 most commonly used ports. This drastically reduces the odds that a bittorrent user will select your node.

Since bittorrent clients can be run on any port, and most of them pick random ports, every port you add to your exit policy increases the probability of a bittorrent client using your exit node to connect to a monitored peer that is listening on that port. This means that enabling ranges of ports is especially bad, unfortunately. Each new port adds 1/65535 to your risk of getting DMCA takedowns.

February 07, 2011


can someone help me in how use ExcludeExitNode and ExitNode in my toorc file..??StrictExitNode????

I too am in the same situation. There is very little documentation on the subject. From what I can see, one simply adds ExcludeExitNodes, ... to thier torrc config file. No matter what I do I just cant get this to work. Tor continues to use the Excluded Exit nodes.

Here's what I do,
Add ExcludeExitNode XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX to my torrc file.
Restart Tor
Check my external IP

Nothing say 1 in every 5 goes, TOR will use the IP I specified in ExcludeExitNode. WTF? Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

February 18, 2011


I've been running a relay and a bridge relay continually since my last comment (in July 2010) without any trouble whatsoever. Not a peep from anyone. Given that my ISP doesn't want to deal with the DMCA legal paper overhead, and just cuts you off at the knees if they get a take-down notice, I'm sticking with what works. I'm not front line, exit node troop, I'm a stable segment in the logistical tail. (kencf0618)

Because this post was written years before this first seizure. And the seizure wasn't because it was a Tor exit, it was because the IP showed up in some log file for some site they were investigating. Meaning, ICE didn't target Tor exit nodes, they were trolling for IP addresses and this exit node was caught up in it.

September 09, 2011

In reply to phobos


Right. But there was a reason that the Tor Exit was caught up in it, and having any reason at all to get caught up in legal issues is an unacceptable risk to some.

September 23, 2011


Been running a tor exit node on an unencrypted wifi bridged to my home 5 city blocks from me. still up and running after 1 year.

seemed like a good use for an old laptop and an extra alpha card and a cheap outdoor panel antenna

after i wiresharked 1k of user names and passwords i stopped logging and just left the thing on.


September 30, 2011


been tr yin to run relay for a month but all i get is a message ( NO UPNP FOUND )
i am stuck please help !!!

November 04, 2011


Please explain the implications of running anti-virus and/or internet security applications.

Every now & then I get notified by mine that tor is accessing such content. I'm glad that my security software catches these, but there are two portions to this:

* I my AV/IS stops this, it never gets to the recipient?
* If this is visible to my AV/IS, it's visible to my OS. Therefore, if my AV/IS doesn't catch it, surely I could still be compromised?

November 18, 2011


seemed like a good use for an old laptop and an extra alpha card and a cheap outdoor panel antenna

after i wiresharked 1k of user names and passwords i stopped logging and just left the thing on.

December 04, 2011



Tor is only used for child porn, piracy and credit card fraud.
This whole project offers nothing but a method for criminals to subvert protection.

The law is catching up to the internet; this was not the original intention of darpa. You're causing great harm to the economy.

This goes before the NCIC board soon; I would suggest you don't run exist nodes in North America. Your isp's will be served under the Protect IP act that looks like it will pass. Hence you will be breaking a federal mandate for infustructure protection.

Peace through superior firepower - an unnamed government employee.

Dear Anonymous/Congrats,

Well, it's certainly refreshing to know that I am (apparently) a pirating, credit-card-stealing child pornographile ... boy, are there going to be a few surprised people who know me!

Tempted as I am to resort to name-calling & labeling, I shall not do so in your case .... it's just not worth the effort.

I use Tor (surprise surprise) because I don't especially enjoy being tracked, analysed or otherwise presumed guilty of something, simply because I am online. I also GPG encrypt my email and access many things in the most secure manners feasible. Am I a criminal or a terrorist ? No, not even a bit. But I do have a reasonable expectation of privacy ... basically, unless you have solid grounds to suspect me of illegal activity, then the contents of my "Hi Mom, how's it going?" emails are none of your business (nor of Government, Federal Agencies, Google, DCMA and anyone else feeling some bizarre 'right' to see what's there).

Help for the congenitally stupid, please ... how do you qualify your statement "You're doing great harm to the economy."? I await a response with some interest (but not a lot of hope - please prove me in error here...).

BTW, being a Government employee does not mean you are obliged to check your intelligence and ethics in at the door ... there is still scope for being human. The Borg are not yet in complete control ...

Peace through superior means - an unnamed Human Being.

Dear Congrats/Anonymous,

Forgive one more question - please explain in Simplified Plain English what you mean by "subvert protection" ....

Whose protection? Subversion how? Help! I am a Bear of Little (and rapidly shrinking) Brain ...

Yours in Piracy, Fraud and Pornography.

You sir, make me proud to be an American. If you are concerned with credit card companies profits, join the club... There are plenty of people in Washington lobbying congress that (are paid to) share your concern. If you are worried about stopping kiddy porn (I still don't understand the correlation between anonymity and the production of said brand of porn- but call me crazy), go volunteer as a big brother for some poor kids, or join one of the many organizations that actually fight child abuse without censoring everyone and everything. Studies have shown that focusing on at risk children or even abused children mitigates the risk of abuse much more effectively than prosecuting pedophiles AFTER THE CRIME HAS BEEN COMMITTED.
Lastly, although I believe people who have the time to post stuff like this in places like this are simply trolls (that are usually paid by some trade group that advocates for a certain industry), maybe you can ask your bosses or yourself to enlighten us on how anonymity decreases profits for media companies. Every study I have seen that was compiled by a neutral observer cannot show a correlation between anonymity and loss of profits... I'll be holding my breath waiting for a response. Troll

December 18, 2011


Thank you for all of these comments. Not to play Mr. Censor, but for the purpose of trying not to arise suspicion or ire from government officials, from the community, or even defy my own personal ethics; is there a way to have a TOR exit but still "filter" sites or content for Ethically or more importantly Legally wrong subjects like child porn or illegal content sharing?

My understanding is that you can do a fair bit to reduce the chances and frequency of abuse of your TOR exit (with reference to your desie to be able to filter legally/ethically suspect traffic) ... but, much like the USPS or any other carrier service (digital or otherwise), all you can do is reduce incidence/likelihood.

I am as yet unaware of any way to definitively stop the bad-apple traffic. Aside from just not having TOR. Or the ol' InterWeb ...

Of course you can filter in- and out- bound traffic on an ExitNode, but you would or you should get a BadExitNode flag if you do that. The main purpose of tor is to provide annonymity and fight censorship.
If you start looking at the traffic than you are only one step to censor it.
Who decides what is worth to censor and what is not?
Would you like to try e.g. 10 ExitNodes until you find one that says "ok i won't filter your traffic"? I ExitNode Operators start to do such a thing than the whole purpose of using Tor is gone. There is a strict "don't look at and don't touch the traffic" rule.

January 26, 2012


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March 09, 2012


Anonymous "Censor"

If you want to attempt block access to unsavory destinations and decrease chances of trouble, you could try running filtering software such as Peer Block. AFAIK this would still allow use of tor for more most purposes. As for a bad exit node flag, i have no idea if that will happen or not. Cheers, A New Relay Runner.

March 10, 2012


This seems like too much trouble for what it's worth to be honest. The amount of friggin configuration required outside of the box is just unbelievable....

Not worth it me thinks; especially if I'm going to possibly be served DCMA notices!!!