Trading Fish The blog of Hector Castro

Installing Tor on FreeBSD 11

Tor is a piece of free software and an open network that enables anonymous communication. Combined, these two components help defend against various forms of traffic analysis and network surveillance. Trying to re-explain Tor in a comprehensive way is outside the scope of this post, but please read about it via the literature provided by the project site and The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) before installing.


The first step toward installing Tor on FreeBSD is deciding whether you want to install the precompiled package with pkg, or you want to compile it yourself from the FreeBSD Ports Collection. The tradeoffs between these two approaches are well-explained within the FreeBSD Handbook. I chose the package because customizing the installation configuration beyond the defaults didn’t seem necessary.

With all of that said, from inside a root shell install the Tor package with:

# pkg install tor


From there, copy the sample Tor configuration file into its default location and open it inside your editor:

# cp /usr/local/etc/tor/torrc.sample /usr/local/etc/tor/torrc
# vim /usr/local/etc/tor/torrc

Once inside the file, there are three settings that we want to make explicit. All should be commented out by default (SOCKSPort,Log, and Log again), so we simply need to uncomment them. Below is a diff of the changes between the sample and our desired configuration file:

< SOCKSPort 9050
> #SOCKSPort 9050 # Default: Bind to localhost:9050 for local connections.
< Log notice file /var/log/tor/notices.log
> #Log notice file /var/log/tor/notices.log
< Log notice syslog
> #Log notice syslog

The SOCKSPort setting ensures that we’re binding Tor to on its default port of 9050. The two Log settings ensure that notice level log messages are written to a specific log file, as well as syslog.

Now, we can launch Tor using the tor command to see if things are working properly:

% tor
[notice] Tor v0.2.8.9 running on FreeBSD with Libevent 2.0.22-stable, OpenSSL 1.0.2j-freebsd and Zlib 1.2.8.
[notice] Tor cant help you if you use it wrong! Learn how to be safe at
[notice] Read configuration file "/usr/local/etc/tor/torrc".
[notice] Opening Socks listener on
[notice] Parsing GEOIP IPv4 file /usr/local/share/tor/geoip.
[notice] Parsing GEOIP IPv6 file /usr/local/share/tor/geoip6.
[notice] Bootstrapped 0%: Starting
[notice] Bootstrapped 80%: Connecting to the Tor network
[notice] Bootstrapped 85%: Finishing handshake with first hop
[notice] Bootstrapped 90%: Establishing a Tor circuit
[notice] Tor has successfully opened a circuit. Looks like client functionality is working.
[notice] Bootstrapped 100%: Done

Once satisfied, CTRL+C the process so that control is returned to your shell.

Lastly, let’s enable the Tor service so that it starts on its own after the system boots. To achieve that, all we have to do is ensure that /etc/rc.conf contains the following line:


Afterwards, launch the Tor service through the service manager if you want it running prior to the next boot cycle:

# service tor start

That’s it. You should now have a fully functional installation of Tor running on FreeBSD.