Tor Browser

WARNING: Do NOT follow random advice instructing you to edit your torrc! Doing so can allow an attacker to compromise your security and anonymity through malicious configuration of your torrc.

Tor uses a text file called torrc that contains configuration instructions for how Tor should behave. The default configuration should work fine for most Tor users (hence the warning above.)

To find your Tor Browser torrc, follow the instructions for your operating system below.

On Windows or Linux:

  • The torrc is in the Tor Browser Data directory at Browser/TorBrowser/Data/Tor inside your Tor Browser directory.

On macOS:

  • The torrc is in the Tor Browser Data directory at ~/Library/Application Support/TorBrowser-Data/Tor.
  • Note the Library folder is hidden on newer versions of macOS. To navigate to this folder in Finder, select "Go to Folder..." in the "Go" menu.
  • Then type "~/Library/Application Support/" in the window and click Go.

Close Tor Browser before you edit your torrc, otherwise Tor Browser may erase your modifications. Some options will have no effect as Tor Browser overrides them with command line options when it starts Tor.

Have a look at the sample torrc file for hints on common configurations. For other configuration options you can use, see the Tor manual page. Remember, all lines beginning with # in torrc are treated as comments and have no effect on Tor's configuration.

While the names may imply otherwise, 'Incognito mode' and 'private tabs' do not make you anonymous on the Internet. They erase all the information on your machine relating to the browsing session after they are closed, but have no measures in place to hide your activity or digital fingerprint online. This means that an observer can collect your traffic just as easily as any regular browser.

Tor Browser offers all the amnesic features of private tabs while also hiding the source IP, browsing habits and details about a device that can be used to fingerprint activity across the web, allowing for a truly private browsing session that's fully obfuscated from end-to-end.

For more information regarding the limitations of Incognito mode and private tabs, see Mozilla's article on Common Myths about Private Browsing.

We strongly recommend against using Tor in any browser other than Tor Browser. Using Tor in another browser can leave you vulnerable without the privacy protections of Tor Browser.

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.

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!

You can certainly use another browser while you are also using Tor Browser. However, you should know that the privacy properties of Tor Browser will not be present in the other browser. Be careful when switching back and forth between Tor and a less safe browser, because you may accidentally use the other browser for something you intended to do using Tor.

You can set Proxy IP address, port, and authentication information in Tor Browser's Network Settings. If you're using Tor another way, check out the HTTPProxy and HTTPSProxy config options in the man page, and modify your torrc file accordingly. You will need an HTTP proxy for doing GET requests to fetch the Tor directory, and you will need an HTTPS proxy for doing CONNECT requests to get to Tor relays. (It's fine if they're the same proxy.) Tor also recognizes the torrc options Socks4Proxy and Socks5Proxy.

Also read up on the HTTPProxyAuthenticator and HTTPSProxyAuthenticator options if your proxy requires auth. We only support basic auth currently, but if you need NTLM authentication, you may find this post in the archives useful.

If your proxies only allow you to connect to certain ports, look at the entry on Firewalled clients for how to restrict what ports your Tor will try to access.

Please see the Installation section in the Tor Browser Manual.

Sometimes, after you've used Gmail over Tor, Google presents a pop-up notification that your account may have been compromised. The notification window lists a series of IP addresses and locations throughout the world recently used to access your account.

In general, this is a false alarm: Google saw a bunch of logins from different places, as a result of running the service via Tor, and decided it was a good idea to confirm the account was being accessed by its rightful owner.

Even though this may be a byproduct of using the service via Tor, that doesn't mean you can entirely ignore the warning. It is probably a false positive, but it might not be since it is possible for someone to hijack your Google cookie.

Cookie hijacking is possible by either physical access to your computer or by watching your network traffic. In theory, only physical access should compromise your system because Gmail and similar services should only send the cookie over an SSL link. In practice, alas, it's way more complex than that.

And if somebody did steal your google cookie, they might end up logging in from unusual places (though of course they also might not). So the summary is that since you're using Tor Browser, this security measure that Google uses isn't so useful for you, because it's full of false positives. You'll have to use other approaches, like seeing if anything looks weird on the account, or looking at the timestamps for recent logins and wondering if you actually logged in at those times.

More recently, Gmail users can turn on 2-Step Verification on their accounts to add an extra layer of security.

This is a known and intermittent problem; it does not mean that Google considers Tor to be spyware.

When you use Tor, you are sending queries through exit relays that are also shared by thousands of other users. Tor users typically see this message when many Tor users are querying Google in a short period of time. Google interprets the high volume of traffic from a single IP address (the exit relay you happened to pick) as somebody trying to "crawl" their website, so it slows down traffic from that IP address for a short time.

An alternate explanation is that Google tries to detect certain kinds of spyware or viruses that send distinctive queries to Google Search. It notes the IP addresses from which those queries are received (not realizing that they are Tor exit relays), and tries to warn any connections coming from those IP addresses that recent queries indicate an infection.

To our knowledge, Google is not doing anything intentionally specifically to deter or block Tor use. The error message about an infected machine should clear up again after a short time.

Google uses "geolocation" to determine where in the world you are, so it can give you a personalized experience. This includes using the language it thinks you prefer, and it also includes giving you different results on your queries.

If you really want to see Google in English you can click the link that provides that. But we consider this a feature with Tor, not a bug --- the Internet is not flat, and it in fact does look different depending on where you are. This feature reminds people of this fact.

Note that Google search URLs take name/value pairs as arguments and one of those names is "hl". If you set "hl" to "en" then Google will return search results in English regardless of what Google server you have been sent to. On a query this looks like:

https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=online%20anonymity&hl=en

Another method is to simply use your country code for accessing Google. This can be google.be, google.de, google.us and so on.

Tor Browser is built using Firefox ESR, so errors regarding Firefox may occur. Please be sure no other instance of Tor Browser is already running, and that you have extracted Tor Browser in a location that your user has the correct permissions for. If you are running an anti-virus, please see My antivirus/malware protection is blocking me from accessing Tor Browser, it is common for anti-virus / anti-malware software to cause this type of issue.

With the release of Tor Browser 6.0.6, we switched to DuckDuckGo as the primary search engine. For a while now, Disconnect has had no access to Google search results which we used in Tor Browser. Since Disconnect is more of a meta search engine which allows users to choose between different search providers, it fell back to delivering Bing search results which were basically unacceptable quality-wise.

In Tor Browser, every new domain gets its own circuit. The Design and Implementation of Tor Browser document further explains the thinking behind this design.

Tor Browser is a modified version of Firefox specifically designed for use with Tor. A lot of work has been put into making the Tor Browser, including the use of extra patches to enhance privacy and security. While it is technically possible to use Tor with other browsers, you may open yourself up to potential attacks or information leakage, so we strongly discourage it. Learn more about the design of Tor Browser.

Sometimes JavaScript-heavy websites can have functional issues over Tor Browser. The simplest fix is to click on the "onion menu," then click on the security slider. Set your security to "Standard".

When using Tor Browser, no one can see the websites that you visit. However, your service provider or network admins may be able to see that you're connecting to the Tor network, though they won't know what you're doing when you get there.

We want everyone to be able to enjoy Tor Browser in their own language. Tor Browser is now available in 25 different languages, and we are working to add more. Want to help us translate? See here

You can also help us testing the next languages we will release, by installing and testing Tor Browser Alpha releases.

We do not recommend running multiple instances of Tor Browser, and doing so may not work as anticipated on many platforms.

Unfortunately, some websites deliver CAPTCHAs to Tor users, and we are not able to remove CAPTCHAs from websites. The best thing to do in these cases is to contact the website owners, and inform them that their CAPTCHAs are preventing users such as yourself from using their services.

We configure NoScript to allow JavaScript by default in Tor Browser because many websites will not work with JavaScript disabled. Most users would give up on Tor entirely if we disabled JavaScript by default because it would cause so many problems for them. Ultimately, we want to make Tor Browser as secure as possible while also making it usable for the majority of people, so for now, that means leaving JavaScript enabled by default.

For users who want to have JavaScript disabled on all HTTP sites by default, we recommend changing your Tor Browser's security slider (in the Tor Browser Onion menu under "Security Settings"). The standard level allows JavaScript, but the safer and safest levels both block JavaScript on HTTP sites.

Running Tor Browser does not make you act as a relay in the network. This means that your computer will not be used to route traffic for others. If you'd like to become a relay, please see our Tor Relay Guide.

There is currently no supported method for setting Tor Browser as your default browser. The Tor Browser works hard to isolate itself from the rest of your system, and the steps for making it the default browser are unreliable. This means sometimes a website would load in the Tor Browser, and sometimes it would load in another browser. This type of behavior can be dangerous and break anonymity.

Tor Browser is currently available on Windows, Linux and macOS.

There is a version of Tor Browser for Android and The Guardian Project also provides the app Orbot to route other apps on your Android device over the Tor network.

There is no official version of Tor for iOS yet, though we recommend Onion Browser.

Tor Browser often makes your connection appear as though it is coming from an entirely different part of the world. Some websites, such as banks or email providers, might interpret this as a sign that your account has been compromised, and lock you out.

The only way to resolve this is by following the site’s recommended procedure for account recovery, or contacting the operators and explaining the situation.

You may be able to avoid this scenario if your provider offers 2-factor authentication, which is a much better security option than IP-based reputations. Contact your provider and ask them if they provide 2FA.

Tor Browser prevents people from knowing the websites you visit. Some entities, such as your Internet Service Provider (ISP), may be able to see that you're using Tor, but they won't know where you're going when you do.

Tor Browser has two ways to change your relay circuit — "New Identity" and "New Tor Circuit for this Site".

Both options are located in the Menu, but you can also access the New Circuit option inside the site information menu, in the URL bar.

New Identity

This option is useful if you want to prevent your subsequent browser activity from being linkable to what you were doing before.

Selecting it will close all your tabs and windows, clear all private information such as cookies and browsing history, and use new Tor circuits for all connections.

Tor Browser will warn you that all activity and downloads will be stopped, so take this into account before clicking "New Identity".

Tor Browser Menu

New Tor Circuit for this Site

This option is useful if the exit relay you are using is unable to connect to the website you require, or is not loading it properly. Selecting it will cause the currently-active tab or window to be reloaded over a new Tor circuit.

Other open tabs and windows from the same website will use the new circuit as well once they are reloaded.

This option does not clear any private information or unlink your activity, nor does it affect your current connections to other websites.

New Circuit for this Site

Please see the HTTPS Everywhere FAQ. If you believe this is a Tor Browser issue, please report it on our bug tracker.

Please see the NoScript FAQ. If you believe this is a Tor Browser issue, please report it on our bug tracker.

Please see the DuckDuckGo support portal. If you believe this is a Tor Browser issue, please report it on our bug tracker.

DuckDuckGo is the default search engine in Tor Browser. DuckDuckGo does not track its users nor does it store any data about user searches. Learn more about DuckDuckGo privacy policy.

Using Tor Browser can sometimes be slower than other browsers. The Tor network has over a million daily users, and just over 6000 relays to route all of their traffic, and the load on each server can sometimes cause latency. And, by design, your traffic is bouncing through volunteers' servers in various parts of the world, and some bottlenecks and network latency will always be present. You can help improve the speed of the network by running your own relay, or encouraging others to do so. For the much more in-depth answer, see Roger's blog post on the topic and Tor's Open Research Topics: 2018 edition about Network Performance. That said, Tor is much faster than it used to be and you may not actually notice any change in speed from other browsers.

Click the button labelled "Copy Tor Log To Clipboard" that appears in the dialog window when Tor Browser is first connecting to the network. If Tor Browser is already open, click on the Torbutton icon (the small green onion at the top-left of the screen), then "Open Network Settings", then "Copy Tor Log To Clipboard". Once you have copied the log, you will be able to paste it into a text editor or email client.

One of the most common issues that causes connection errors in Tor Browser is an incorrect system clock. Please make sure your system clock and timezone are set accurately. If this doesn't fix the problem, see the Troubleshooting page on the Tor Browser manual.

That is normal Tor behavior. The first relay in your circuit is called an "entry guard" or "guard". It is a fast and stable relay that remains the first one in your circuit for 2-3 months in order to protect against a known anonymity-breaking attack. The rest of your circuit changes with every new website you visit, and all together these relays provide the full privacy protections of Tor. For more information on how guard relays work, see this blog post and paper on entry guards.

You might be on a censored network, and so you should try using bridges. Some bridges are built in to Tor Browser, and you can use those bridges by choosing "configure" (then following the prompts) in the Tor Launcher window that pops up when you open Tor Browser for the first time. If you need other bridges, you can get them at our Bridges website. For more information about bridges, see the Tor Browser manual.

Sorry, but there is currently no official support for running Tor Browser on *BSD. There is something called the TorBSD project, but their Tor Browser is not officially supported.

If you run Tor Browser and another browser at the same time, it won't affect Tor's performance or privacy properties. However, be aware that your other browser is not keeping your activity private, and you may forget and accidentally use that non-private browser to do something that you intended to do in Tor Browser.

Modifying the way that Tor creates its circuits is strongly discouraged. You get the best security that Tor can provide when you leave the route selection to Tor; overriding the entry/exit nodes can compromise your anonymity. If the outcome you want is simply to be able to access resources that are only available in one country, you may want to consider using a VPN instead of using Tor. Please note that VPNs do not have the same privacy properties as Tor, but they will help solve some geolocation restriction issues.

Unfortunately, we don't yet have a version of Tor Browser for Chrome OS. You could run Tor Browser for Android on Chrome OS. Note that by using Tor Mobile on Chrome OS, you will view the mobile (not desktop) versions of websites. However, because we have not audited the app in Chrome OS, we don't know if all the privacy features of Tor Browser for Android will work well.

It's strongly discouraged to install new add-ons in Tor Browser, because they can compromise your privacy and security.

Installing new add-ons may affect Tor Browser in unforeseen ways and potentially make your Tor Browser fingerprint unique. If your copy of Tor Browser has a unique fingerprint, your browsing activities can be deanonymized and tracked even though you are using Tor Browser.

Basically, each browser's settings and features create what is called a "browser fingerprint". Most browsers inadvertently create a unique fingerprint for each user which can be tracked across the internet. Tor Browser is specifically engineered to have a nearly identical (we're not perfect!) fingerprint across it's users. This means each Tor Browser user looks like every other Tor Browser user, making it difficult to track any individual user.

There's also a good chance a new add-on will increase the attack surface of Tor Browser. This may allow sensitive data to be leaked or allow an attacker to infect Tor Browser. The add-on itself could even be maliciously designed to spy on you.

Tor Browser already comes installed with two add-ons — HTTPS Everywhere and NoScript — and adding anything else could deanonymize you.

Want to learn more about browser fingerprinting? Here's an article on The Tor Blog all about it!

Only Tor Browser's traffic will be routed over the Tor network. Any other application on your system (including other browsers) will not have their connections routed over the Tor network, and will not be protected. They need to be configured separately to use Tor. If you need to be sure that all traffic will go through the Tor network, take a look at the Tails live operating system which you can start on almost any computer from a USB stick or a DVD.

Flash is disabled in Tor Browser, and we recommend you to not enable it. We don’t think Flash is safe to use in any browser — it's a very insecure piece of software that can easily compromise your privacy or serve you malware. Fortunately, most websites, devices, and other browsers are moving away from the use of Flash.

The file you download and run prompts you for a destination. If you don't remember what this destination was, it's most likely your Downloads or Desktop folder.

The default setting in the Windows installer also creates a shortcut for you on your Desktop, though be aware that you may have accidentally deselected the option to create a shortcut.

If you can't find it in either of those folders, download it again and look for the prompt that asks you to choose a directory to download it in. Choose a directory location that you'll remember easily, and once the download finishes you should see a Tor Browser folder there.

Most antivirus or malware protection allows the user to "whitelist" certain processes that would otherwise be blocked. Please open your antivirus or malware protection software and look in the settings for a "whitelist" or something similar. Next, exclude the following processes:

  • For Windows
    • firefox.exe
    • tor.exe
    • obfs4proxy.exe (if you use bridges)
  • For macOS
    • TorBrowser
    • tor.real
    • obfs4proxy (if you use bridges)

Finally, restart Tor Browser. This should fix the issues you're experiencing. Please note that some antivirus clients, like Kaspersky, may also be blocking Tor at the firewall level.

Whenever we release a new stable version of Tor Browser, we write a blog post that details its new features and known issues. If you started having issues with your Tor Browser after an update, check out blog.torproject.org for a post on the most recent stable Tor Browser to see if your issue is listed. If your issue is not listed, please file a bug report about what you're experiencing.

Digital signature is a process ensuring that a certain package was generated by its developers and has not been tampered with. Below we explain why it is important and how to verify that the Tor program you download is the one we have created and has not been modified by some attacker.

Each file on our download page is accompanied by a file with the same name as the package and the extension ".asc". These .asc files are OpenPGP signatures. They allow you to verify the file you've downloaded is exactly the one that we intended you to get. For example, torbrowser-install-win64-8.5.5_en-US.exe is accompanied by torbrowser-install-win64-8.5.5_en-US.exe.asc.

We now show how you can verify the downloaded file's digital signature on different operating systems. Please notice that a signature is dated the moment the package has been signed. Therefore every time a new file is uploaded a new signature is generated with a different date. As long as you have verified the signature you should not worry that the reported date may vary.

Installing GnuPG

First of all you need to have GnuPG installed before you can verify signatures.

For Windows users:

If you run Windows, download Gpg4win and run its installer.

In order to verify the signature you will need to type a few commands in windows command-line, cmd.exe.

For macOS users:

If you are using macOS, you can install GPGTools.

In order to verify the signature you will need to type a few commands in the Terminal (under "Applications").

For GNU/Linux users:

If you are using GNU/Linux, then you probably already have GnuPG in your system, as most GNU/Linux distributions come with it preinstalled.

In order to verify the signature you will need to type a few commands in a terminal window. How to do this will vary depending on your distribution.

Fetching the Tor Developers key

The Tor Browser team signs Tor Browser releases. Import the Tor Browser Developers signing key (0xEF6E286DDA85EA2A4BA7DE684E2C6E8793298290):

gpg --auto-key-locate nodefault,wkd --locate-keys torbrowser@torproject.org

This should show you something like:

gpg: key 4E2C6E8793298290: public key "Tor Browser Developers (signing key) <torbrowser@torproject.org>" imported
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:               imported: 1
pub   rsa4096 2014-12-15 [C] [expires: 2020-08-24]
      EF6E286DDA85EA2A4BA7DE684E2C6E8793298290
uid           [ unknown] Tor Browser Developers (signing key) <torbrowser@torproject.org>
sub   rsa4096 2018-05-26 [S] [expires: 2020-09-12]

After importing the key, you can save it to a file (identifying it by fingerprint here):

gpg --output ./tor.keyring --export 0xEF6E286DDA85EA2A4BA7DE684E2C6E8793298290

Verifying the signature

To verify the signature of the package you downloaded, you will need to download the corresponding ".asc" signature file as well as the installer file itself, and verify it with a command that asks GnuPG to verify the file that you downloaded.

The examples below assume that you downloaded these two files to your "Downloads" folder.

For Windows users:

gpgv --keyring .\tor.keyring Downloads\torbrowser-install-win64-8.5.5_en-US.exe.asc Downloads\torbrowser-install-win64-8.5.5_en-US.exe

For macOS users:

gpgv --keyring ./tor.keyring ~/Downloads/TorBrowser-8.5.5-osx64_en-US.dmg{.asc,}

For GNU/Linux users (change 64 to 32 if you have the 32-bit package):

gpgv --keyring ./tor.keyring ~/Downloads/tor-browser-linux64-8.5.5_en-US.tar.xz{.asc,}

The result of the command should produce something like this:

gpgv: Signature made 07/08/19 04:03:49 Pacific Daylight Time
gpgv:                using RSA key EB774491D9FF06E2
gpgv: Good signature from "Tor Browser Developers (signing key) <torbrowser@torproject.org>"

You may also want to learn more about GnuPG.