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Run a TOR Server Setup at Home

Guest Post by Hammer’s Thor
Free Speech On Your Own Terms… originally published at Hammers Thor Ingelligentsia, a TOR-ONLY website. The party of tolerance has made it very clear that they intend to deplatform, censor and silence conservatives. If we don’t act proactively, eventually they will succeed. We believed that they would not take down President Trump with a stolen election, and they have. We believed that justice would be served, and that the deep state, and everything it represents, would finally, FINALLY pay for their crimes against the American people, face the music for their treachery, and be held accountable for their treason.

We believed it. Many Americans believed it. But evidently not enough. Now, those in power, along with those who have come back into power, will do everything possible to silence dissent. This is what communists do. This is what communism is.

So, you already know this. Everyone knows this. Now it is time to push forward with alternatives, since the kingmakers will not permit us to speak against them on their platforms. This is fine. In fact, this is actually excellent, because it removes the shackles of our own ignorance and allows us to learn how to circumvent their rule and live free. That is what we’re going to learn today.

TOR Server Setup

Your computer is a very powerful weapon of information against those who seek to silence us. Now it’s time to learn how to use it, by creating a TOR server setup at home. This will be a tutorial on how to set up your own hidden-service website/blog, that cannot be taken down by your web host, because YOU are the web host. Your domain name cannot be seized by powerful government forces because it is not registered with ICANN. This is what is known as a dark web website, accessible through the TOR Browser network. Even tracing the signal to your computer will be very, very difficult, and you are going to keep a backup of it, to be installed elsewhere, in case they somehow do trace it back to your computer. We will detail the steps to do this, and if you follow them correctly (don’t worry, it’s so easy a caveman can do it) you will have your website up in a matter of a couple of hours. Even if you’ve never built a web page before, you will be able to do this, and as you create it, refine it, and hone your skills, you will also be speaking your mind, sharing your ideas, and building a community of like-minded individuals working together, in a decentralized fashion, to bring the truth, and freedom, to everyone.

Protecting Your Computer

The first step is critical. This tutorial should be followed in the order presented. Some assumptions will be made, but no matter what kind of system you use, you should very easily be able to have your website up in short order. It is essential you have a notebook and pen to make some notes as you perform the steps, so you can easily repeat them when it is time to update your site, add new content, etc.

It is advisable to use a stationary, desktop computer for this purpose. No matter what kind of operating system, or OS you use, whether it is Windows, Mac or Linux, you should be connecting to the internet through a VPN. This is a bit of software that encrypts your internet signal and makes it difficult to impossible for bad actors to intercept your internet traffic and see what you are doing online. This is especially important to protect your identity and your finances, but also to guard against spying on your activity. No doubt you have seen several VPN ads lately on TV, or listening to various podcasts. There are many companies to select from, and you might consider NordVPN and ProtonVPN. These are paid services, but generally quite affordable. Both NordVPN and ProtonVPN (a division of Protonmail) are hosted outside the United States, so they aren’t subject to the same disclosure laws as US-based VPN providers. This is one case (of very few) where “Made in America” is not better. Check out their websites, linked above, and subscribe to one of their services (or another based upon your research). Even if you never set up your own TOR website, you absolutely should encrypt your internet activity with a VPN in place. Even more important, be sure to set the “kill-switch” offered by these services, which will completely disable your internet connection in the event the VPN server goes down, thus keeping you protected.

Setting up a Virtual Machine

This step is not absolutely necessary, but strongly recommended, provided your computer has enough memory. Most computers have at least 4GB of RAM, but 8 would be better. This needs to be set up on a computer that you will leave on all the time, since you will want your TOR site up all the time.

A Virtual Machine can best be understood as a “computer within a computer”. In other words, say you are running Windows, or a Mac. The virtual machine will be a completely independent operating system that runs within your main computer, kind of like having two computers in one. For the purpose of this tutorial, your virtual machine will be specifically for running your TOR website, although it can serve many additional functions.

This author runs a virtual machine called Virtualbox. You can download the software for your operating system here and install it on your computer… it is free software and very stable. Install the software per the instructions for your specific system, then on to the next step.

We’re going to install Linux Mint in Virtualbox. Linux Mint is a fabulous operating system that makes a wonderful replacement for Windows. It is free, and comes with some excellent (and free) programs already installed. Download the ISO file of Linux Mint here… it is a large file, and depending on your internet speed, can take from a few minutes to several hours to download. Save it to your Downloads folder, and go get a cup of coffee.

Now that you’ve downloaded the file, it’s time to install it in Virtualbox.

Click on the menu icon in the lower left if using Linux Mint Cinnamon, and type Virtualbox – it should come up as Oracle VM Virtualbox Manager. Once open, click New at the top.

From the screenshot, you can see we selected Ubuntu 64 Bit as the OS (this is what Linux Mint is based upon). You may only get an option to install 32 bit OS’s… if this happens, do a quick search on DuckDuckGo on how to set up your system to run 64 bit Virtual Machines… you will find a solution based on your current OS that the Virtual Machine is operating within. Follow the prompts… I suggest a minimum of 2GB of memory, and preferably 4GB (that is 4096 MB). It will ask you to create a Virtual Machine… select create and use the default selections. Next you will ask how big to make the Virtual Hard Disk. 10GB is selected, but this will not be enough to install the OS… change to 20GB… when you need more it will allocate more space automatically.

Now it’s time to start the Virtual Machine. Click Start, where you will see a screen asking you to select the start-up disk. Click the folder icon to the right of the Host Drive VBOX CD-ROM, and navigate to the folder where your Linux Mint ISO file is located (probably Downloads).

Select it, and finish by selecting Start. Best suggestion is to watch it count down and start automatically. If all goes well you should see the Linux Mint Logo as your system boots into the ISO. Be patient… it takes a few minutes to load from the virtual DVD.

Double click on Install Linux Mint. If you’re already running Linux Mint as your main operating system, it will be the same as your initial installation. If you’re running Windows, a Mac, or some other flavor of Linux, simply follow the prompts.

Go ahead and select the box to install multimedia codecs… you’ll likely want them in the future, and better to just install them now.

The next screen is kind of scary… it will ask you if you want to erase the disk and install Linux Mint. Don’t worry, it will be installing it on your virtual drive that you created earlier. Select that for simplicity, and click Install Now. Select your time zone, or choose a random time zone, select your name and a strong password, and complete the installation. Once finished, it will ask you if you wish continue testing, or restart. Select restart, and you will be good to go. It will ask you to remove the installation medium, then press enter. Just press enter.

One more thing that you can do that may be helpful, is install the Guest Additions once you have rebooted. This will give you more options for screen size. The way to do this is select Devices in the menu bar at the top of the Virtual Machine window, and click Insert Guest Additions CD Image.

Before you do anything else, enable the firewall. Left click on the menu in the lower left corner, and type firewall. The Firewall Configuration will come up… select it. It will require you to enter your password. Set to enable, and choose DENY for Incoming. ALLOW for outgoing is fine. Close the window.

Next step is to perform all of the updates. Because this is a new install, there will be a lot of them. Be patient, you’re almost ready to set up your TOR Server. To perform the updates, look for the badge in the lower right corner with an orange dot on it. Click that, and it will bring up your update panel. Again, follow the prompts. It may ask you if you want to switch to a local mirror. You can do this if you wish, but “local” will be wherever your VPN server is located (you are running the VPN now, right?)

Another option to update your system is to use the terminal. Ouch! What did he say? It’s easy. The terminal is in the lower left corner with a couple of other panel applets. Mouse over them until the word terminal shows up, and click on that, or you can select CTRL+ALT+T to open it. A gray screen (don’t worry, you can customize that later, just like everything else in Linux Mint) will come up with the name of your server and a blinking cursor.

Type the following:

sudo apt update

It will ask you for your password… enter it… it will show up as asterisks. Now you will see how many packages can be updated. Update them all.

We’ll do this by entering the following:

sudo apt upgrade

You will face a screen with a lot of updates, and it you ask you if you want to continue. Type the letter Y for yes

Time for another cup of coffee.

Now you can watch the progress. Once this is complete, restart your computer. You can either do this by selecting the menu icon in the lower left and selecting quit, or typing sudo reboot in the terminal.

This is good practice for you to become accustomed to using the terminal. It’s not difficult, and there are thousands of tutorials online if you ever get lost, or simply want to learn more.

Once your computer has rebooted, you are ready to install TOR and the TOR Server. Let’s get started!

Open your terminal and type the following:

sudo apt install tor

Enter your password, then wait for the installation.

Now install a text editor:

sudo apt install gedit

Now we need to configure the torrc file located in etc/tor/torrc (it’s easiest to copy and paste the commands so you don’t make an error or miss a space):

sudo gedit /etc/tor/torrc

This will open the torrc file for editing… see the screen shot, and look for the highlighted text:

Now, remove the hashtag from the two highlighted lines, so they look like this:

Click save and close the file.

Now restart Tor by typing the following in the terminal:

sudo service tor restart

It will ask you for your password, so enter it.

Now it’s time to install a web server. This is also easy.

Open your terminal and type the following:

sudo apt install apache2

Enter your password, then confirm the installation by pressing “y” for yes.

Now you need to know what your .onion address is. Type the following:

sudo cat /var/lib/tor/hidden_service/hostname

You will receive a string of characters followed by .onion… this will be your .onion address. Right click on the line and select copy, then save it to a file for future use.

Now it’s time to edit your index.html page and set up your website. The easiest way to do this is simply to navigate to the page as follows:

sudo gedit /var/www/html/index.html

It may be more convenient to simply open the www folder as root. To do this you double click on Computer (top left of your screen), then open File System, then open var, then right-click on www and select Open as Root: This will require your password, then the folder will open. Be careful not to delete the html folder or the index.html file inside – this is your main page for your website. You might right-click inside the window and create a new folder, and name it backup or something like that, then copy the html folder into it.

Now you have a hidden service website. Edit your index.html to create a new page with either a text editor if you’re comfortable editing html, or a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Editor such as Blue Griffon, which is available in the Software Manager in Administration in your Menu. If starting with a text editor, you might try something like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
               <title>Welcome to My Hidden Site</title>
<body> This is the first line of my hidden website. Now it is time to edit!</body>

Save that file as index.html, then on your computer with the TOR Browser installed, try opening your page with the .onion address you copied down earlier. If you have done everything correctly, you will be able to open your page in the TOR Browser. You can also open it in Chrome, Brave, or Dissenter Browser by copying the url, select Shift+Alt+N and pasting the url into the address bar.

Congratulations! You now have a hidden website, and as long as your computer is on, you will be able to access your site from anywhere, and others will be able to access your content. Your next step will be to design your page, and there are several resources on the internet to download free website templates, including the one you are reading now that came via Free CSS Website Templates by ZyPOP. Time to get started… if you’ve never built a website before, start small, and grow from there.

Please use your website for good and positive purposes, and watch this site for more helpful and informative articles. Most importantly, use every tool at your disposal to fight tyranny. This is one of those tools.

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