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Hosting Location Hidden Services

Comparison Table[edit]

Tor Hidden Services VPN with Remote Port Forwarding pagekite .onion webspace Anonymous Third Party Hosts
accessible over Tor .onion Yes No No Yes Yes, if you install Tor.
.onion domain censor resistance Highest There is no .onion domain. There is no .onion domain. Depends on .onion webspace host. [1] Depends on Anonymous Third Party Hosts. [1]
server admin can not take away your .onion domain Yes, you are the admin. There is no .onion domain. There is no .onion domain. No, he must have private keys for .onion domain to make service work No
accessible over clearnet http(s) tor2web only Yes Yes tor2web only Yes [2]
clearnet domain censor resistance Depends on tor2web legislative. Depends on domain registrar legislative. Depends on pagekite legislative. Depends on tor2web legislative. Depends on Anonymous Third Party Hosts legislative.
server administrator can not take away your clearnet domain No, tor2web can. [3] Yes No [3] No, tor2web can. [3] No [3]
other services than web Yes Yes Yes No Yes
price Free Paid only (?) Depends Some are free Paid only
no anonymous money required Yes No (?) Depends Depends No
no need to sign up Yes No No No No
online, when you are offline No, only online as long as your server is online. No, only online as long as your server is online. No, only online as long as your server is online. Yes [4] Yes [4]
attack against Tor (hidden services) Fail [5] Fail [5] Fail [5] Safe [6] Safe [6]
attack against server software (lighttpd, etc.) Fail [5] Fail [5] Fail [5] Safe [6] Safe [6]
further reading Tor Hidden Services - pagekite Anonymous Third Party Hosts Anonymous Third Party Hosts

Introduction[edit]

If you are only interested in Tor hidden services, move on to Hidden Services. This page discusses and compares different kinds of Location/IP Hidden Servers.

There are three different ways to run location hidden servers. Tor Hidden Services, pagekite. .onion webspace and Anonymous Third Party Hosts. Below is an overview.

If you don't know which one to use, probably Tor Hidden Services are most easy and most anonymous. Below is also a conclusion and a comparison table.

Tor Hidden Services[edit]

  • censor resistant, no one can take the .onion domain offline [7]
  • additionally accessible over tor2web over http [8]
  • they are completely free
  • no sign up required
  • and don't require any additional software besides of course the server software you want to anonymize.
  • Can be run at home; on any server you physically own; or on (anonymous) third party hosts.
  • Has its own wiki page, see Hidden Services.

VPN with Remote Port Forwarding[edit]

  • censor resistance depends on the VPN provider
  • reachable by clients, who do not have to use Tor
  • there are probably no free VPN services providing Remote Port Forwarding
  • probably sign up required
  • can be run at home, on any server you physically own, or on (anonymous) third party hosts

pagekite[edit]

  • alternative service called pagekite
  • must comply with pagekite terms of service
  • requires registration and an (anonymous) E-Mail address
  • free for Free Software authors; can apply for a free account; or subscription based service
  • known to work inside Whonix-Workstation out of the box
  • less tested by Whonix developers
  • there is no documentation besides this chapter, however, usage is simple and their service is well documented. See Running PageKite over Tor.
    • Instead of localhost you could use the Whonix-Gateway IP 10.152.152.10 and a custom port such as 9159, i.e. replace "--torify=localhost:9050" with "--torify=10.152.152.10:9159".
    • Or you could drop the "--torify" switch at all and even follow the default pagekite GNU/Linux tutorial, because misc traffic in Whonix-Workstation gets automatically routed through Tor's TransPort.
    • See Stream Isolation for an explanation of misc traffic, custom Socks Ports and Tor's TransPort in Whonix.

Anonymous Third Party Hosts[edit]

  • Has its own wiki page, see Hosting.
  • There are some free .onion web hosting services. Also paid ones.
  • There are also anonymous VPS servers, although no free ones, which would require anonymous money.

Conclusion[edit]

Each way to run location hidden servers has its own advantages and disadvantages.

With Tor Hidden Services, you don't have to learn and obtain anonymous money, which is difficult on its own. You have to trust no one, but your own skills setting up a server. No one can censor the server, there is no signup, no terms of service. Disadvantage is, if someone compromises your hidden service either by an successful attack against Tor hidden services are by an successful attack against your server software and breaking out of Whonix, it's game over. It's only accessible over .onion (visitors need Tor) and tor2web does not get indexed by search engines. Tor Hidden Services are only online as long as your server is online.

A free (or paid) .onion web space host can steal your domain any time and take it over. You don't have to worry about server security and successful attacks against the Tor hidden services won't lead to your location or IP address.

Anonymous Third Party Hosts for VPS hosting involve anonymous money, which is difficult on its own. They can provide clearnet domains and/or you can use them to host Tor hidden services. You don't have to worry about server security and successful attacks against Tor hidden services won't lead to your location or IP address.

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 The admin can and will most likely see what users are doing on their server and decide accordingly.
  2. Yes, if you buy a domain.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 They must do so, if they are forced by legislation or other reasons.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Besides server downtime, in which case you can do nothing but wait until the host has fixed it.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Fail as in, it would deanonymize you.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Safe as in, you are still anonymous. The domain may be lost.
  7. Besides compromising of the host and / or flood attack.
  8. Which doesn't offer as much censor resistance as the .onion domain does

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