Tor onion service


This guide describes how to make your services available via a tor onion service that runs in the users uberspace. Note that uberspace also offers an onion service, depending on what you want to achieve you might not need to follow this guide to get what you want. Check out Tor Service first.


For this guide you should be familiar with the basic concepts of


Some service you want to connect to via the onion service should be setup and running. In this guide we will use port 80, on which the Uberspace webserver is running.


Download tor

Go to the tor download page and copy the download link for the latest stable version of the tor expert bundle for the OS GNU/Linux (x86_64)

[isabell@stardust ~]$ curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf -o tor.tar.gz
[isabell@stardust ~]$ tar xvzf tor.tar.gz
[isabell@stardust ~]$

Verify the signature (optional)

To verify the integrity and authenticity of the download check the signatures as described in the docs.


Configure tor as onion service

Create the file ~/tor/torrc and add the following lines:

HiddenServiceDir onionservice
HiddenServicePort 80
ExitPolicy reject *:*

The first line determines where the configuration and keys for the onion service will be stored. This directory contains the cryptographic keys of the onion service and should not be publily accessible.


Do not remove or modify the ExitPolicy. Uberspace does not allow Tor exit nodes.

Optionally you can test if everything works by starting the tor daemon directly from the shell. If tor in configured correctly the output should look like this:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ LD_LIBRARY_PATH=~/tor ~/tor/tor --torrc-file tor/torrc
[notice] Opening Socks listener on
[notice] Opened Socks listener connection (ready) on
[notice] Bootstrapped 0% (starting): Starting
[notice] Starting with guard context "default"
[notice] Bootstrapped 5% (conn): Connecting to a relay
[notice] Bootstrapped 10% (conn_done): Connected to a relay
[notice] Bootstrapped 14% (handshake): Handshaking with a relay
[notice] Bootstrapped 15% (handshake_done): Handshake with a relay done
[notice] Bootstrapped 75% (enough_dirinfo): Loaded enough directory info to build circuits
[notice] Bootstrapped 90% (ap_handshake_done): Handshake finished with a relay to build circuits
[notice] Bootstrapped 95% (circuit_create): Establishing a Tor circuit
[notice] Bootstrapped 100% (done): Done
[isabell@stardust ~]$.


LD_LIBRARY_PATH tells the dynamic link loader where to search for the dynamic shared libraries. Tor won’t run without the addition of its shared libraries.

Set up the daemon

Create the file ~/etc/services.d/tor-onion-service.ini with the following content:

command=%(ENV_HOME)s/tor/tor --torrc-file %(ENV_HOME)s/tor/torrc

Finishing installation

After creating the configuration, tell supervisord to refresh its configuration and start the service:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ supervisorctl reread
SERVICE: available
[isabell@stardust ~]$ supervisorctl update
SERVICE: added process group
[isabell@stardust ~]$ supervisorctl status
SERVICE                            RUNNING   pid 26020, uptime 0:03:14
[isabell@stardust ~]$

To view your automatically generated .onion hostname

[isabell@stardust ~]$ cat ~/onionservice/hostname
[isabell@stardust ~]$.

To test if everything is working, download and install torbrowser and visit your .onion domain.

Note that it may take a few minutes after starting the service until the onion service is reachable.

Best practices


Users connecting to the onion service will look to the service that listens on the destination port like they would connect to it from localhost. If the application that is reachable via the .onion domains grants special permissions to connections from localhost, these permissions now apply to everyone who connects via the .onion service.

Read the tor FAQ and the tor browser manual to understand the security it can provide, the limitations and how to use it correctly:

The folder ~/onionservice contains the cryptographic keys of the onion service, which are critical for the security. Make sure to set restrictive permissions.



In this setup there are no automatic updates. To get informed about new tor releases you can subscribe to the Tor mailinglist


If something fails with this specific error, you should have a look at this specific config, or just reload that service. Try to look into the log at this path.

If the service fails to start you can start the tor binary directly to see the thr error messages:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ LD_LIBRARY_PATH=~/tor ~/tor/tor --torrc-file tor/torrc
[isabell@stardust ~]$.


The folder ~/onionservice should be backed up. It contains the long-term identity keys for the onion service, which are randomly generated when starting tor for the first time. When the keys are lost, the .onion domain is lost.

Written by: @expiringplatform <>