In its recent newletter the Tor Project asked for help with setting up new, uncensored bridges. Since this is a good way to contribute to the project, I went ahead and did it. While doing so, I've compiled this quick reference guide on how to run a bridge relay and why doing so is a good idea.
TL;DR: Tor is a network for circumventing censorship and protecting identity online.
TL;DR: The Tor browser connects to a network of publicly-listed interconnected nodes. They toss the packets to each other in a randomized fashion, anonymizing the sender of the packets.
TL;DR: Bridge relays allow to connect to Tor network even if it's banned by the government. Also, the bridges hide the fact that a person uses Tor.
TL;DR: It allows people living in oppressive regimes to have access to the open internet. Free access to information is a basic human right.
- Rent a VPS or use the one already at your disposal. I found DigitalOcean the most convenient provider to use, but went ahead with my local provider to reduce the cost of running the relay.
- Follow the installation instructions. Docker installation is the easiest one.
Post-install notes describe the process. You can also count the number of users by viewing the relay logs. It can take up to several month before your bridge gets its first user. It's advised to be patient and wait until your bridge accumulates users.
Big thanks to Philipp Winter of the Tor Project for helping me to set up my first bridge.
If you find yourself in need of advice, don't hesitate to email me to firstname.lastname@example.org.