Setup a Tor (The Onion Router) proxy with Raspberry PI and Raspberry PI OS Lite


Last Updated on 6th February 2022 by peppe8o

What Are Proxy Servers And Why Use Them

Following Wikipedia description, “a proxy server is a server (a computer system or an application) that acts as an intermediary for requests from clients seeking resources from other servers. A client connects to the proxy server, requesting some service, such as a file, connection, web page, or other resource available from a different server and the proxy server evaluates the request as a way to simplify and control its complexity“. A descriptive picture is also shown in the same page:

Wikipedia Proxy Concept

Proxy servers are useful in many contexts:

  • in Office context: to control internet traffic by blocking some websites or some keywords, to manage contact with external internet from a single point or to optimize internet bandwidth usage by caching pages at the proxy level
  • in Home context: for example to control family internet access to block dangerous websites for children
  • in Personal use context: for example to use an anonymous connection or to bypass network ISP blocks

What Is Tor Project

Also for this description Wikipedia comes to help us in Tor (anonimy network) Wikipedia page:

Tor is free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication. The name is derived from an acronym for the original software project name “The Onion Router”. Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult to trace Internet activity to the user: this includes “visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms”. Tor’s intended use is to protect the personal privacy of its users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored.

Tor Project is a nonprofit association which currently develops software to make easy the use of Tor Network.

Do I Need A Tor Proxy Or Alternative Way To Use Tor Network?

You can find a simple answer to this question with a few checks:

  • If you need a way to use the TOR network with your current browser or you need to connect a number of computers maintaining their current browsers, then you would opt for a Proxy
  • If can use a different browser within a single computer, then you could also evaluate the Tor Browser installation

TOR Proxy can be installed in a cheap Raspberry PI with the following steps in this article.

On the other hand, a TOR Browser is a browser that can be installed on your PC and allows you to browse the web with a TOR network. People needing a TOR Browser can get it from TOR Browser Download Page.

What We Need

As usual, I suggest adding from now to your favourite e-commerce shopping cart all the needed hardware, so that at the end you will be able to evaluate overall costs and decide if to continue with the project or remove them from the shopping cart. So, hardware will be only:

Raspberry PI 4 model B image

Step-By-Step Procedure

In this guide, we are going to use the default Raspberry PI OS Lite as the Operating System. Then we’ll install Tor from the Raspberry PI OS repository and apply a very simple configuration to use it as a Socks proxy.

I’ll configure Tor proxy to manage access for all clients on a private network to the internet. You will need to modify this network depending on your needs and networking configurations.

Install OS And Tor

Start with a fresh Raspberry PI OS Lite installation.

Make sure your OS is updated:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Simply install Tor by using the aptitude repository:

sudo apt-get install tor

At the installation end, you will have 2 services running as tor: “tor.service” and “[email protected]

The first one is a dummy service, which appears to the user as active but in exited status. In fact, a simple check:

sudo systemctl status tor.service

will give the following result:

● tor.service - Anonymizing overlay network for TCP (multi-instance-master)
   Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/tor.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (exited) since Tue 2019-10-01 20:25:18 BST; 35s ago
 Main PID: 5546 (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
   Memory: 0B
   CGroup: /system.slice/tor.service

…which is normal. The real service to check if Tor is running is the second one:

sudo systemctl status [email protected]

should give a more familiar result:

[email protected] - Anonymizing overlay network for TCP
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/[email protected]; enabled-runtime; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running) since Tue 2019-10-01 20:25:30 BST; 1min 36s ago
Main PID: 5552 (tor)
Memory: 23.5M
CGroup: /system.slice/system-tor.slice/[email protected]
└─5552 /usr/bin/tor --defaults-torrc /usr/share/tor/tor-service-defaults-torrc -f /etc/tor/torrc --RunAsDaemon 0

Configure Tor

Tor’s main configuration file is named torrc. Before editing, create a backup copy:

sudo cp /etc/tor/torrc /etc/tor/torrc.backup

A very simple configuration will expose Tor Socks proxy service on tor default port (9050) and will accept connections only from local LAN ( It will run as daemon, so that we’ll not need to call it each time we use it. Finally, it will store data in the default directory (/var/lib/tor/).

Edit configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/tor/torrc

and make it include only the following lines (assuming that is your Raspberry PI IP address):

SocksPolicy accept
RunAsDaemon 1
DataDirectory /var/lib/tor

Close and save the file. Restart Tor service:

sudo systemctl restart [email protected]

Configure Your Client To Use Proxy Server

Now you need to configure your client to use Socks proxy server for internet connections. You have to check this depending on your client’s browser. Surely Mozilla Firefox can use Socks proxy and can be configured in Options -> Network Settings -> Settings button.

In the following window, select “Manual Proxy Configuration”, insert the Raspberry PI IP address in SOCKS Host field, insert 9050 in the related port and make sure “SOCKS v5” flag is active. You should have a configuration like the following picture:


Close and open again your browser. Now you are using your Tor network in your browser. You can verify it by browsing the URL



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