Mirror Your Site Over Tor

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Now that you have a website, why not offer it on a private alternative such as the onion network?

Setting up Tor

Installing Tor

Firstly we need to add the Tor repos to our system to get the latest version of Tor:

apt install -y apt-transport-https gpg
echo "deb https://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org buster main
deb-src https://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org buster main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/tor.list

Then we need to add the gpg keys to our keyring:

curl -s https://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org/A3C4F0F979CAA22CDBA8F512EE8CBC9E886DDD89.asc | gpg --import
gpg --export A3C4F0F979CAA22CDBA8F512EE8CBC9E886DDD89 | apt-key add -

Now update and install Tor:

apt update
apt install tor deb.torproject.org-keyring

Enabling Tor

Next edit the file /etc/tor/torrc, uncommenting the following lines:

HiddenServiceDir /var/lib/tor/hidden_service/
HiddenServicePort 80

Now start and enable Tor at boot:

 systemctl enable --now tor 

If the next command outputs active in green you're golden!

 systemctl status tor

Now your server is on the dark web. The following command will give you your onion address:

 cat /var/lib/tor/hidden_service/hostname

Adding the Nginx Config

From here, the steps are almost identical to setting up a normal website configuration file. Follow the steps as if you were making a new website in the webserver tutorial up until the server block of code. Instead, paste this:

        server {
            listen ;
            root /var/www/landchad ;
            index index.html ;
            server_name your-onion-address.onion ;

Now we are almost done, all we have to do is enable the site and reload nginx which, is also covered in the webserver tutorial.

Advertise your onion service

You can add the Onion-Location header to your normal website to advertise your onion service to Tor users. On your regular site's nginx config, add the following line:

server {
    add_header Onion-Location http://your-onion-address.onion$request_uri;

After doing this and reloading nginx, when visiting your regular site via Tor, you should see a ".onion available" button on the address bar, which should take you to the onion service.

Update regularly!

Make sure to update Tor on a regular basis by running:

apt update
apt install tor


You do not need to run certbot for an ssl certificate. HTTP over tor is plenty secure!

Contributor - tomfasano.co