Install Tor Browser on Linux [Step-by-Step]

Getting Started - Install Tor Browser on Linux

Have you ever wondered how to protect your privacy while browsing over the internet? The first solution that comes to your mind is using a VPN. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can be quite reliable for browsing the internet anonymously; however, there is a catch. A VPN works by routing your traffic to a remotely configured server where all your traffic originates. The flaw behind that is that there are VPN companies that store all your logs. Therefore, your IP address can still be traced back to you in case of any arising issue.

A better solution for preventing all these uncertainties is using the Tor browser. With Tor Browser, no one can trace your daily use, what you are doing online, the kinds of websites you visit and your logs are not stored anywhere. Additionally, it's the only browser that would enable you to access the Dark Web.

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This article will cover different methods to install Tor Browser on Linux system where your default repo may or may not have tor browser related packages.

 

How does Tor Browser work?

Tor or The Onion Router works under the Tor network. The Tor network comprises countless nodes, or relay points, that pass your data along using layers of encryption - hence the onion metaphor. Each node that your data passes through peels off another layer of encryption, showing the previous node's IP address, as well as the IP of the next node. The last node your data passes through is the exit node, and it peels off the final layer of encryption and then delivers your data to the intended server. The point of origin, and the intermediary nodes, are completely unknown.

 

Why should you use Tor Browser?

  • Tor Browser has multiple servers which encrypt traffic a couple of times as it passes over them; this makes your traffic more secure from anyone listening to your communication.
  • Tor browser ensures zero monitoring of your browsing habits by either your service provider or anyone in the same network.
  • Tor Browser is ads-free; Tor browser blocks third parties and ads from accessing your details.
  • In addition, Tor Browser allows you to access sites from your home network restricted from accessing freely.
  • Besides browsing the Internet, Tor users can utilize its hidden services to create private websites and messengers that are only accessible using the Tor browser. These private sites are part of the dark web where pages like Silk Road's famous Internet black market can be found.

However, not all activity on Tor is for nefarious purposes. Anonymous Internet usage can be important for journalists reaching out to sources, activists who live in countries that censor or block Internet usage, and even law-enforcement officers who use it for undercover operations.

 

Method 1: Install Tor Browser from Official Linux Repository

Step-1: Install Tor Browser Package

Open Terminal, then run the command below to update your dependencies.

sudo apt update

Then, upgrade the packages available using.

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sudo apt upgrade

Install Tor Browser by running this command, then click Y for the installation to continue.

sudo apt-get install tor torbrowser-launcher

Sample Output:
Install tor browser on Linux [Step-by-Step]

Once the installation process is complete, you can launch Tor from the applications menu or execute the command below on the Terminal.

torbrowser-launcher

 

Step-2: Downloading and Connect to Tor for the First Time

When you first launch Tor, you will have to wait for a few minutes or seconds for the application to download the Tor browser, as shown in the image below.

Install tor browser on Linux [Step-by-Step]

When done, the Tor browser window will open automatically, and you will see two buttons - Connect and Tor Network settings.

Install tor browser on Linux [Step-by-Step]

 

Step-3: Tor Network Settings

Tor network settings give you additional options to improve your browsing activities. You can decide to enable the Quickstart feature that allows Tor Browser to connect automatically. Additionally, you can set bridges if you use Tor in a country where the Tor Network is disabled. Depending on where you are, one bridge may work better than another. Therefore, you have an option to switch between several bridges.

Install tor browser on Linux [Step-by-Step]

 

Step-4: Establishing a Secure Connection

After customizing the Tor settings, click Connect to establish a connection to the Tor Network.

Install tor browser on Linux [Step-by-Step]

 

If the process was successful, you should see a window similar to the image Below telling you that you can now browse privately.

Install tor browser on Linux [Step-by-Step]

 

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You will notice that Tor uses the DuckDuckGo search engine, which does not store user information compared to its counterpart Google.

 

Method 2: Install Tor Browser using Official Archive

If you use a Linux distribution that doesn't have Tor available in their repositories, this method will work like a charm. Navigate to the Tor download page and download the Linux package. After a successful download, launch the Terminal and navigate to the Downloads directory and extract the file using the commands below.

cd Downloads/
tar -xf tor-browser-linux64-10.5.6_en-US.tar.xz

Install tor browser on Linux [Step-by-Step]

When done, use the cd command to navigate inside the newly created tor directory. When you run the ls command, you will see there are two files inside. The Browser directory and the start-tor-browser.desktop file. Run the .desktop file as shown in the image below to start the Tor browser.

chmod +x start-tor-browser.desktop
./start-tor-browser.desktop

Tip: Do not run the .desktop with sudo command or root privileges.

You won't see the "Download Tor For the first time" window with this second method. You will be taken directly to the Tor browser window, as sown in the image below.

Install tor browser on Linux [Step-by-Step]

 

Force the Tor Browser to Use a Specific Exit Node

As we have discussed above, the Tor network makes use of Entry and Exit nodes. The Entry node is the node that relays your traffic into the Tor network. Additionally, it's the only node that knows the user's identity, but it doesn't know the traffic's final destination. The final destination is only known by the Exit node. Therefore, if somebody tries monitoring your online activity, they will only see you connect to a Tor network but won't know which specific server you are accessing.

Now, let's say you want to access information only available in Australia; you would need to fine-tune your Tor browser to use an Exit node in Australia. To specify an exit, navigate to the directory where you extracted the  tor-browser_en-USBrowserTorBrowserDataTor. Here you will see a file with the name torrc.

To specify an exit node, you can use any of the three methods below:

Use a specific IP address by adding the line below in the file. Remember to replace the IP address with your IP.

ExitNodes 226.10.99.202

Specify an exit node with a fingerprint, as shown below.

ExitNodes 19B6F025B4580795FBD9F3ED3C6574CDAF979A2F

Specify an Exit node using a country code as shown below.

ExitNodes {CA} StrictNodes 1

You can set several Exit nodes as shown below.

ExitNodes {US},{AG},{BB} StrictNodes 1

When done, save the file and restart the Tor browser to apply the changes.

 

Conclusion

This post has given a step by step procedure on running Tor on your Linux system. Please feel free to share your views in the comments. If you encounter any issues installing Tor, please, don't hesitate to leave a comment below.

 

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