Tor Network Map: exit Servers/exit Nodes

3 years ago
I've just started using TOR and I like it ;) however there're things I still have to better understand.
In the Tor Network map, relays are listed. Let's say I'm interested only in those with the English flag, so from Great Britain. I sort them by nationality (and bandwith) and I obtain a (quite long) list of relays from England:
- Torland1
- Torland2
- JointNetBridge
and so on.
First, easy, question: is it normal that I can't "use" directly one of these relays just (double) clicking on it, but rather doing a more complex operation of copy/paste through the advanced preferences?
So, I do know, thanks to many guides/tutorial, I may copy/fingerprint a bunch of them and past them in the TORCC text editor, in order to make TOR use (only) these relays. HOWEVER I figured out either a bug or a great limitation: just a small part of the relays (that appears in the Tor Network Map) can be used as nodes, or more correctly, as "exit nodes", i.e. how "I'll be seen" from outside, in other words my public IP. So, if I - say- just paste "JointNetBridge" as ExitNode, I won't be able to use it, in other words I'll never appear with that public IP. Even worse, if I (also) added the line "StrictExitNodes", than TOR won't really work!

As a matter of fact, the site "Tor Network Status" specifies whether a relay (router) is and Exit Node (exit server). Again, just 10% or less are exit nodes.
So, if I Understand correctly, many tutorials are gross and wrong when they state that is sufficient to choose "some" relays/servers, copy them (their server name, or fingerprint) and paste them in the TORCC edit file; because if you happen to have not choose a server that's actually an exit server, nothing will work!

3 years ago
Tor is not Vidalia and Vidalia is not Tor. Tor is (relatively) small program, designed to work like a system service, or network daemon, and not an end-user app. Tor runs on different platforms, and some of them have no GUI at all. That's why it is configured with torrc file and not graphically.

Vidalia is TOR Network visualisation & administration tool. It gives friendly interface, but is not actually required for tor to work.

According to Exit Nodes. It is only up to you - to make your copy of Tor an Exit Node, an internal relay, or just a client. Being an Exit Node means you give your IP to another TOR users. Who knows what will they do with it? Not everybody feels comfortable sharing IP with a stranger. While being a relay means you just forward encrypted traffic inside Tor network, it never go outside. So relays never get their IP blacklisted, never experience problems with antispam, never receive copyright infringement notices, and so on. That's why (I think) only 10% of nodes are Exit Nodes.

Also some Exit Nodes are overloaded, some are down, some have strict policies disabling all kinds of traffic exept http or https, some have poor internet conection etc. That's why you should try and check, and even if you pick up a fast working node - one can not guarantee it will stay online forever.


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