tor isn't routing, how do I configure it?

Tor Asked by imrek on September 28, 2021

Operating system:

Ubuntu 20.04 

uname -r:


Tor installed via sudo apt-get install tor

tor version:
Command used to start tor: sudo service tor start

Status output:

● 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 Sun 2020-07-12 20:21:11 CEST; 51s ago
    Process: 24521 ExecStart=/bin/true (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
   Main PID: 24521 (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)

Jul 12 20:21:11 XXXXX systemd[1]: Starting Anonymizing overlay network for TCP (multi-instance-master)...
Jul 12 20:21:11 XXXXX systemd[1]: Finished Anonymizing overlay network for TCP (multi-instance-master).

Problem: There doesn’t seem to be any routing going on. If I go to a website that displays my IP, it’s the same with or without tor, from which I deduce that tor isn’t working properly.

PS. I know tor-browser, and know how to use it. But in this case, I would like to run an application other than a browser through the tor network. How do I configure it to route properly?

One Answer

It turns out, the "error" was in not understanding how applications can be run with networking via the tor network. Rather than running all network traffic through tor after installing and starting tor, the user has to explicitly run individual applications with networking through tor. By default, all applications will communicate through the "normal" network, i.e. no tor.

To run an application through tor, the command has to be "prefixed" with torify, i.e.

torify <app> [arguments]

To give an example that demonstrates running with and without tor, consider "obtaining" your IP with curl.


The above should display your "normal" IP address. Now try

torify curl

The latter should display an IP different from the one above, demonstrating that you are know fetching the page via the tor network.

Answered by imrek on September 28, 2021

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