Censorship

If you can't download Tor Browser through our website, you can get a copy of Tor Browser delivered to you via GetTor. GetTor is a service that automatically responds to messages with links to the latest version of Tor Browser, hosted at a variety of locations that are less likely to be censored, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and GitHub. You can also download Tor Browser from https://tor.eff.org or from https://tor.calyxinstitute.org/.

Send an email to gettor@torproject.org. In the body of the mail, write the name of your operating system (such as Windows, macOS, or Linux). GetTor will respond with an email containing links from which you can download Tor Browser, the cryptographic signature (needed for verifying the download), the fingerprint of the key used to make the signature, and the package’s checksum. You may be offered a choice of "32-bit" or "64-bit" software: this depends on the model of the computer you are using; consult documentation about your computer to find out more.

GetTor via Twitter is currently under maintenance. Please use the email instead.

Tor Browser can certainly help people access your website in places where it is blocked. Most of the time, simply downloading the Tor Browser and then using it to navigate to the blocked site will allow access. In places where there is heavy censorship we have a number of censorship circumvention options available, including pluggable transports.

For more information, please see the Tor Browser User Manual section on censorship circumvention.

If you’re having trouble connecting, an error message may appear and you can select the option to "copy Tor log to clipboard". Then paste the Tor log into a text file or other document.

If you don't see this option and you have Tor Browser open, you can navigate to the hamburger menu ("≡"), then click on "Preferences", and finally on "Tor" in the side bar. At the bottom of the page, next to the "View the Tor logs" text, click the button "View Logs...".

Alternatively, on GNU/Linux, to view the logs right in the terminal, navigate to the Tor Browser directory and launch the Tor Browser from the command line by running:

./start-tor-browser.desktop --verbose

or to save the logs to a file (default: tor-browser.log)

./start-tor-browser.desktop --log [file]

You should see one of these common log errors (look for the following lines in your Tor log):

Common log error #1: Proxy connection failure

2017-10-29 09:23:40.800 [NOTICE] Opening Socks listener on 127.0.0.1:9150
2017-10-29 09:23:47.900 [NOTICE] Bootstrapped 5%: Connecting to directory server
2017-10-29 09:23:47.900 [NOTICE] Bootstrapped 10%: Finishing handshake with directory server
2017-10-29 09:24:08.900 [WARN] Proxy Client: unable to connect to xx..xxx..xxx.xx:xxxxx ("general SOCKS server failure")

If you see lines like these in your Tor log, it means you are failing to connect to a SOCKS proxy. If a SOCKS proxy is required for your network setup, then please make sure you’ve entered your proxy details correctly. If a SOCKS proxy is not required, or you’re not sure, please try connecting to the Tor network without a SOCKS proxy.

Common log error #2: Can’t reach guard relays

11/1/2017 21:11:43 PM.500 [NOTICE] Opening Socks listener on 127.0.0.1:9150
11/1/2017 21:11:44 PM.300 [NOTICE] Bootstrapped 80%: Connecting to the Tor network
11/1/2017 21:11:44 PM.300 [WARN] Failed to find node for hop 0 of our path. Discarding this circuit.
11/1/2017 21:11:44 PM.500 [NOTICE] Bootstrapped 85%: Finishing handshake with first hop
11/1/2017 21:11:45 PM.300 [WARN] Failed to find node for hop 0 of our path. Discarding this circuit.

If you see lines like these in your Tor log, it means your Tor failed to connect to the first node in the Tor circuit. This could mean that you’re on a network that’s censored.

Please try connecting with bridges, and that should fix the problem.

Common log error #3: Failed to complete TLS handshake

13-11-17 19:52:24.300 [NOTICE] Bootstrapped 10%: Finishing handshake with directory server 
13-11-17 19:53:49.300 [WARN] Problem bootstrapping. Stuck at 10%: Finishing handshake with directory server. (DONE; DONE; count 10; recommendation warn; host [host] at xxx.xxx.xxx.xx:xxx) 
13-11-17 19:53:49.300 [WARN] 10 connections have failed: 
13-11-17 19:53:49.300 [WARN]  9 connections died in state handshaking (TLS) with SSL state SSLv2/v3 read server hello A in HANDSHAKE 
13-11-17 19:53:49.300 [WARN]  1 connections died in state connect()ing with SSL state (No SSL object)

If you see lines like this in your Tor log, it means that Tor failed to complete a TLS handshake with the directory authorities. Using bridges will likely fix this.

Common log error #4: Clock skew

19.11.2017 00:04:47.400 [NOTICE] Opening Socks listener on 127.0.0.1:9150 
19.11.2017 00:04:48.000 [NOTICE] Bootstrapped 5%: Connecting to directory server 
19.11.2017 00:04:48.200 [NOTICE] Bootstrapped 10%: Finishing handshake with directory server 
19.11.2017 00:04:48.800 [WARN] Received NETINFO cell with skewed time (OR:xxx.xx.x.xx:xxxx): It seems that our clock is behind by 1 days, 0 hours, 1 minutes, or that theirs is ahead. Tor requires an accurate clock to work: please check your time, timezone, and date settings.

If you see lines like this in your Tor log, it means your system clock is incorrect. Please make sure your clock is set accurately, including the correct timezone. Then restart Tor.

Bridge relays are Tor relays that are not listed in the public Tor directory.

That means that ISPs or governments trying to block access to the Tor network can't simply block all bridges. Bridges are useful for Tor users under oppressive regimes, and for people who want an extra layer of security because they're worried somebody will recognize that they are contacting a public Tor relay IP address.

A bridge is just a normal relay with a slightly different configuration. See How do I run a bridge for instructions.

Several countries, including China and Iran, have found ways to detect and block connections to Tor bridges. Obfsproxy bridges address this by adding another layer of obfuscation. Setting up an obfsproxy bridge requires an additional software package and additional configurations. See our page on pluggable transports for more info.

Snowflake is a pluggable transport available in Tor Browser to defeat internet censorship. Like a Tor bridge, a user can access the open internet when even regular Tor connections are censored. To use Snowflake is as easy as to switch to a new bridge configuration in Tor Browser.

This system is composed of three components: volunteers running Snowflake proxies, Tor users that want to connect to the internet, and a broker, that delivers snowflake proxies to users.

Volunteers willing to help users on censored networks can help by spinning short-lived proxies on their regular browsers. Check, how can I use Snowflake?

Snowflake uses the highly effective domain fronting technique to make a connection to one of the thousands of snowflake proxies run by volunteers. These proxies are lightweight, ephemeral, and easy to run, allowing us to scale Snowflake more easily than previous techniques.

For censored users, if your Snowflake proxy gets blocked, the broker will find a new proxy for you, automatically.

If you're interested in the technical details and specification, see the Snowflake Technical Overview and the project page. For other discussions about Snowflake, please visit the Tor Forum and follow up the Snowflake tag.

Snowflake is available in Tor Browser stable for all platforms: Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux, and Android. You can also use Snowflake with Onion Browser on iOS.

If you're running Tor Browser for desktop for the first time, you can click on 'Tor Network Settings' on the start-up screen and then select 'Use a bridge'. Click on 'Select a built-in bridge' and choose 'snowflake' from the dropdown menu. Once you've selected Snowflake, scroll up and click 'Connect' to save your settings.

From within the browser, you can click on the hamburger menu ("≡"), then go to 'Preferences' and go to 'Tor'. Alternatively, you can also type about:preferences#tor in the url bar. Check 'Use a bridge' and 'Select a built-in bridge'. Then select 'snowflake' from the dropdown menu.

If your internet access is not censored, you should consider installing the Snowflake extension to help users in censored networks. When you run Snowflake on you regular browser, you will provide connection as a proxy to an entry node in the Tor Network, and that’s all.

Add-on

Firstly make sure you have WebRTC enabled. Then you can install this addon for Firefox or the add-on for Chrome which will let you become a Snowflake proxy. It can also inform you about how many people you have helped in the last 24 hours.

Web page

In a browser where WebRTC is enabled: If you don't want to add Snowflake to your browser, you can go to https://snowflake.torproject.org/embed and toggle the button to opt in to being a proxy. You shouldn't close that page if you want to remain a Snowflake proxy.

You might be on a network that is blocking the Tor network, and so you should try using bridges. Some bridges are built in to Tor Browser and requires only a few steps to enable it. When you open Tor Browser for the first time, click "Tor Network Settings". Under the "Bridges" section, select the checkbox "Use a bridge", and choose the "Select a built-in bridge" option. From the dropdown, select whichever pluggable transport you'd like to use. Once you've selected the pluggable transport, scroll up and click "Connect" to save your settings.

Or, if you have Tor Browser running, click on "Preferences" (or "Options" on Windows) in the hamburger menu (≡) and then on "Tor" in the sidebar. In the "Bridges" section, select the checkbox "Use a bridge", and from the option "Select a built-in bridge", choose whichever pluggable transport you'd like to use from the dropdown. Your settings will automatically be saved once you close the tab.

If you need other bridges, you can get them at our Bridges website. For more information about bridges, see the Tor Browser manual.

Users in China need to take a few steps to circumvent the Great Firewall and connect to the Tor network. First, get an updated version of Tor Browser: send an email to gettor@torproject.org with the subject "windows zh-cn" or other operating system (linux or macos).

After installing Tor Browser, you will probably not be able to connect directly to the Tor network, because the Great Firewall is blocking Tor. Therefore, the second step will be to obtain a bridge that works in China.

There are three options to unblock Tor in China:

  1. Snowflake: uses ephemeral proxies to connect to the Tor network. It's available in Tor Browser. You can select Snowflake from Tor Browser's built-in bridge dropdown.
  2. Private and unlisted obfs4 bridges: contact our Telegram Bot @GetBridgesBot and type /bridges. Or send an email to frontdesk@torproject.org with the phrase "private bridge" in the subject of the email. If you are tech-savvy, you can run your own obfs4 bridge from outside China. Remember that bridges distributed by BridgeDB, and built-in obfs4 bridges bundled in Tor Browser most likely won't work.
  3. meek-azure: makes it look like you are browsing a Microsoft website instead of using Tor. However, because it has a bandwidth limitation, this option will be quite slow. You can select meek-azure from Tor Browser's built-in bridges dropdown.

If one of these options above is not working, check your Tor logs and try another option.

Sometimes websites will block Tor users because they can't tell the difference between the average Tor user and automated traffic. The best success we've had in getting sites to unblock Tor users is getting users to contact the site administrators directly. Something like this might do the trick:

"Hi! I tried to access your site xyz.com while using Tor Browser and discovered that you don't allow Tor users to access your site. I urge you to reconsider this decision; Tor is used by people all over the world to protect their privacy and fight censorship. By blocking Tor users, you are likely blocking people in repressive countries who want to use a free internet, journalists and researchers who want to protect themselves from discovery, whistleblowers, activists, and ordinary people who want to opt out of invasive third party tracking. Please take a strong stance in favor of digital privacy and internet freedom, and allow Tor users access to xyz.com. Thank you."

In the case of banks, and other sensitive websites, it is also common to see geography-based blocking (if a bank knows you generally access their services from one country, and suddenly you are connecting from an exit relay on the other side of the world, your account may be locked or suspended).

If you are unable to connect to an onion service, please see I cannot reach X.onion!.