Lantern - Alternative Censorship Circumvention Tool


Lantern is a censorship circumvention tool which can provide an alternative to Tor bridges. The design is similar to a VPN and encrypts all of a user's data through their servers and then proxies blocked sites. Note that Lantern in isolation is not an anonymity tool because it is technically possible to spy on user activity under this model. Another downside is that bandwidth limits also exist for non-subscribers: [1]

Lantern is designed to provide you with fast unfettered access to information online. Lantern is secure and encrypts your connection to blocked sites, but it is not an anonymity tool, so if you need or would like to be anonymous online, please use Tor. Otherwise, Lantern will give you faster access to blocked sites. ... To keep our free version running, we implemented a bandwidth limitation of 500 MB/ month. When the bandwidth limit is reached, the connection is slowed down and Free users are prompted to upgrade to Lantern Pro.

After bandwidth limits are reached the connection slows down to approximately 20KB/s, making Lantern virtually unusable. In order to remove this restriction, users must pay for the 'Lantern Pro' service. [2] The available options mean any payment is likely traceable, but this is not necessarily any more 'damaging' to privacy and/or anonymity than connecting to Lantern in the first place. [3] Interested readers can learn more at the Lantern forums and develeopers Q&A.

Connecting to Lantern before Tor[edit]

It is possible to configure Tor to use Lantern as a proxy to establish the following tunnel: User -> Lantern -> Tor -> Internet

Before applying the following instructions, it is recommended to first read:

1. Create a new standalone ProxyVM called Lantern-Gateway based on the Debian-9 template.

2. Unload all firewall rules in Lantern-Gateway ProxyVM.

The iptables rules must be unloaded.

If using Qubes, disable qubes-iptables and qubes-firewall systemd services. Non-Qubes users can skip this.

sudo systemctl mask qubes-iptables
sudo systemctl stop qubes-iptables
sudo systemctl mask qubes-firewall
sudo systemctl stop qubes-firewall

Open ~/fw-unload in an editor.

If you are using a graphical environment, run.

kwrite ~/fw-unload

If you are using a terminal (Konsole), run.

nano ~/fw-unload



## Copyright (C) 2012 - 2015 Patrick Schleizer <>
## See the file COPYING for copying conditions.

set -o pipefail

error_handler() {
  echo "ERROR!" >&2
  exit 1

trap "error_handler" ERR

[ -n "$iptables_cmd" ] || iptables_cmd="iptables --wait"
[ -n "$ip6tables_cmd" ] || ip6tables_cmd="ip6tables --wait"

$iptables_cmd -P INPUT ACCEPT
$iptables_cmd -P FORWARD ACCEPT
$iptables_cmd -P OUTPUT ACCEPT

$iptables_cmd -F
$iptables_cmd -X
$iptables_cmd -t nat -F
$iptables_cmd -t nat -X
$iptables_cmd -t mangle -F
$iptables_cmd -t mangle -X
$iptables_cmd -t raw -F
$iptables_cmd -t raw -X

$ip6tables_cmd -P INPUT ACCEPT
$ip6tables_cmd -P OUTPUT ACCEPT
$ip6tables_cmd -P FORWARD ACCEPT

$ip6tables_cmd -F
$ip6tables_cmd -X
$ip6tables_cmd -t mangle -F
$ip6tables_cmd -t mangle -X
$ip6tables_cmd -t raw -F
$ip6tables_cmd -t raw -X

exit 0


Make ~/fw-unload executable.

chmod +x ~/fw-unload

Unload all iptables firewall rules.

sudo ~/fw-unload

After firewall unload, run the following command to see if all firewall rules are really unloaded.

sudo iptables-save | sed -e 's/\[[0-9:]*\]/[0,0]/' -e '/^#/d'

The output should show.


3. Disable IP Forwarding in the Lantern-Gateway ProxyVM.

This should be disabled since it is not required.

sudo sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=0

4. Install a missing Lantern dependency. [5]

sudo apt-get install libappindicator3-1

5. Download and install Lantern.

Check if the path to the downloadable deb file is still correct. Navigate to and check for Linux desktop downloads.

curl --tlsv1.2 --proto =https --output ~/lantern-installer-beta-64-bit.deb

Install Lantern. [6]

sudo dpkg -i ~/lantern-installer-beta-64-bit.deb

6. Launch Lantern and configure HTTP proxy requests.

Start Lantern while listening on all, not just the internal, network interfaces so it is reachable from sys-whonix.

Let Lantern listen for HTTP proxy requests.

lantern -addr

Or let Lantern listen for SOCKS5 proxy requests which is preferred.

lantern -socksaddr


7. Change sys-whonix NetVM settings.

Shut down sys-whonix if it is running. Set the sys-whonix NetVM to Lantern-Gateway, then restart sys-whonix.

It is also encouraged to run various Tor tests at this step; see footnote. [8]

8. Edit the Tor configuration file in sys-whonix.

Open /usr/local/etc/torrc.d/50_user.conf.

If you are using Qubes-Whonix ™, complete the following steps.

Qubes App Launcher (blue/grey "Q") -> Whonix-Gateway ™ ProxyVM (commonly named sys-whonix) -> Tor User Config (Torrc)

If you are using a graphical Whonix-Gateway ™, complete the following steps.

Start Menu -> Applications -> Settings -> /usr/local/etc/torrc.d/50_user.conf

If you are using a terminal-only Whonix-Gateway ™, complete the following steps.

sudo nano /usr/local/etc/torrc.d/50_user.conf

Depending on the proxy type configured at step 6, add the relevant setting below. [9] [10] is just an example and it must be replaced with the IP of the Lantern-Gateway ProxyVM. To discover the Lantern-Gateway ProxyVM IP, run the following command in sys-whonix: qubesdb-read /qubes-gateway


9. Reload Tor.

Reload Tor.

After editing /usr/local/etc/torrc.d/50_user.conf, Tor must be reloaded for changes to take effect.

Note: If Tor does not connect after completing all these steps, then a user mistake is the most likely explanation. Recheck /usr/local/etc/torrc.d/50_user.conf and repeat the steps outlined in the sections above. If Tor then connects successfully, all the necessary changes have been made.

If you are using Qubes-Whonix ™, complete the following steps.

Qubes App Launcher (blue/grey "Q") -> Whonix-Gateway ™ ProxyVM (commonly named 'sys-whonix') -> Reload Tor

If you are using a graphical Whonix-Gateway ™, complete the following steps.

Start Menu -> Applications -> Settings -> Reload Tor

If you are using a terminal-only Whonix-Gateway ™, press on Expand on the right.

Complete the following steps.

Reload Tor.

sudo service tor@default reload

Check Tor's daemon status.

sudo service tor@default status

It should include a a message saying.

Active: active (running) since ...

In case of issues, try the following debugging steps.

Check Tor's config.

sudo -u debian-tor tor --verify-config

The output should be similar to the following.

Sep 17 17:40:41.416 [notice] Read configuration file "/usr/local/etc/torrc.d/50_user.conf".
Configuration was valid

The procedure is complete and Tor will now use Lantern as a proxy.


  2. In early-2019, this costs $32 (USD) for one year, or $48 (USD) for two years.
  3. This is because advanced adversaries can discover that a user connected to Lantern (via logs), and pluggable transports are incapable of successfully hiding Tor use in all cases. Therefore, a payment trail simply acts as another confirmation mechanism and is not necessarily 'worse' under the circumstances.
  4. Non-Qubes-Whonix ™ is unsupported at present.
  5. Lack of a dependency declaration when installing Lantern on Debian - broken link.
  6. In Lantern-Gateway, check if Lantern's HTTP port is functional.
    curl --tlsv1.2 --proto =https --proxytunnel --proxy
    In Lantern-Gateway, check if Lantern's SOCKS port is functional.
    curl --tlsv1.2 --proto =https --socks5-hostname socks5h://
  7. In sys-whonix, test if Tor is able to connect to the HTTP proxy that Lantern is providing.
    UWT_DEV_PASSTHROUGH=1 curl --tlsv1.2 --proto =https --proxytunnel --proxy
    In sys-whonix, test if Tor is able to connect to the SOCKS proxy that Lantern is providing.
    UWT_DEV_PASSTHROUGH=1 curl --tlsv1.2 --proto =https --socks5-hostname socks5h://
  8. SOCKS is considered to be better. According to this issue, Lantern already has SOCKS support. Open issues:
  9. Setup should now be easier (less need for IP changes) because Qubes has implemented optional static IP addresses.

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