Running a Tor Relay on the BeagleBone Black for about a year

I have been running a Tor relay on a BeagleBone Black since last August. It’s been reset twice. Once after Heartbleed, which effectively destroyed the uptime calculation since it looks like a new relay. The other was when I accidentally unplugged it.

Bandwidth graph on my BBB for the last month from Tor Atlas
Bandwidth graph on my BBB for the last month from Tor Atlas

On the various Tor mailing lists people have reported difficulties running on a Raspberry Pi. The Pi just doesn’t have the horsepower IMHO to handle the number of connections a relay receives. It will probably do fine as Bridge as Roger Dingledine suggests.

Also, raspian is not debian. The BBB uses actual arhmf so it is fully compatible with the debian ecosystem. See this post for more details.

However, I’ve been fine with my relay on the BBB for some time so I’d figured I’d post my torrc:

Log notice file /var/log/tor/notices.log
RunAsDaemon 1
ControlPort 9051
CookieAuthentication 1
ORPort 443 NoListen
ORPort XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX:52333 NoAdvertise
MaxAdvertisedBandwidth 200 KB
RelayBandwidthRate 520 KB 
RelayBandwidthBurst 640 KB 
ContactInfo <tor AT datko dot net> GPG: BF35C7AC
ExitPolicy reject *:* # no exits allowed
DisableDebuggerAttachment 0

Line 6 is the internal port of the BBB relay, the external port (to my home router) is 443. Therefore you must forward port 443 to port 52333 in this case. Also, replace the XXX with your internal BBB IP.

The MaxAdvertisedBandwith field may not be doing what you/I think. See this bug. However, it has worked for me.

The nickname is not my relay’s nickname since I really don’t want to advertise my IP address, although it is essentially well-known because I run a relay. For home users, I would recommend running a bridge as I had problems with Hulu with my non-exit relay.

Follow the instructions from the Tor Project on installing the experimental branch for debian.

Lastly, the Onion Pi receives a lot of attention but if want Tor to really work, following these warnings.

The pcDuino3 looks like it has the specs to act as relay, but I’m a BeagleBone fan 😉

3 thoughts on “Running a Tor Relay on the BeagleBone Black for about a year

  1. Could you please share your beagle bone black Tor Relay image ?
    We can download it to our beagle bone black and get the Tor relay online in 10 mins.
    (maybe change torrc file a little bit…)
    Thank you very much

    1. Thanks for the question. I’m using’s Debian image. They do a very good job of creating the image, I don’t want to repackage and maintain an image, but leech of their great work. From that image I add Tor’s development repo and apt-get install tor.

      There is similar stuff going on with the RPi. These guys have a set of scripts that run post install. I haven’t yet scripted my BBB tor install; it’s on my TODO list.

      I’ve tweaked my torrc to be more like the RPi examples but I haven’t got around to posting it yet.

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