Installing a Tor Relay from Source on a Raspberry Pi

Posted on Sat 03 September 2016 in Uncategorized

The other day I learned on Twitter that I should update the Tor relay software on my Raspberry Pi as the Tor project had introduced a new Bridge Authority. So I lazily ran sudo apt-get update  followed by sudo apt-get upgrade only to notice that no new version of the tor package was available via the package manager. Bummer.

Waiting for the package manager to provide a new version seemed futile so I decided to build Tor from scratch. I found a very helpful answer on StackOverflow that listed all the steps required  for my setup.

  1. Make sure to have all dependencies needed for compiling the sources:

    sudo apt-get install git build-essential automake libevent-dev libssl-dev

  2. Clone Tor from

    git clone

  3. Go into the tor directory:

    cd tor

  4. Switch to the latest release branch:

    git checkout release-x.y.z

  5. Run ./

  6. Run ./configure  or ./configure --disable-asciidoc  if you don't want to build the manpages.
  7. Run make
  8. (Optiona): run make install

This last step installed the new tor binary in /usr/local/bin/ whereas the existing tor binary was still located in /usr/bin/ from where it was picked up by /etc/init.d/tor (I want to run my tor relay as a service whenever the Raspberry reboots). Luckily, this problem had been solved by someone else who shared his findings on a mailing list.

  1. If you're using `service tor {start, stop, reload, etc.}:

    $ /usr/bin/tor --version; /usr/local/bin/tor --version $ grep DAEMON=/etc/init.d/tor

  2. The latter will likely point to /usr/bin/tor, which might be outdated.
    If that's the case, change that line in /etc/init.d/tor to point to the new Tor executable /usr/local/bin/tor - that's where it should be; if you don't like that, change BINDIR = /usr/local/bin in Tor's Makefile and make install again.

  3. The Debian Tor packages seem to like to assume torrc will be placed in /etc/tor/torrc . If that's where your torrc resides, make a symlink to it from /usr/local/etc/tor , which is where the new Tor executable will look for it:

    ln -s /etc/tor/torrc /usr/local/etc/tor/torrc

  4. Stop the running tor service:

    sudo /etc/init.d/tor stop

  5. Reload the tor daemon:

    sudo systemctl daemon-reload

  6. Restart the tor service:

    sudo /etc/init.d/tor start