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Re: Setting up a private tor network

Hi Shreyas,

Sorry for the late response, I've seen your mail on the list only now.

I was also setting up my own Tor network based on the instructions in the FAQ, but I've been trying to reproduce it as a virtual network running a number of User Mode Linux based virtual machines on one PC. It is available as a Netkit laboratory; I think it is quite easy to install and run, so if you want to experiment, let me know and I send it to you.

I have seen similar error and warning messages to what you have mentioned, both with and with Currently I'm trying to figure out what do I have to change in the torrc files to make startup smooth. Anyway, after some time, you can set up circuits and run your connections through it. You can grab packets flowing in the network, see the logs of each node, etc. You can also run copies of your application on each node (as long as you have a Linux version) . Basically, you can do anything you would be able to do in a real network, but the whole thing is running on one PC.

After seeing PuppeTor I've realized that mine is quite similar to it in its goals, with the main differences being:
- mine has no java involved
- mine runs only on Linux
- each node is a separate (virtual) PC
- I suppose mine uses more resources (it uses about 20 MB per node, which is not too much anyway) - I think it gives you lower level access to node configuration and to what is happening in the network ... at the price of restricting your experiments to Linux and giving up the convenience of Java - of course PuppeTor is much more evolved, I've just started with this lab now

Let me know if you want to give it a try,


I am using I am planning to run an application over tor so i was
not sure puppetor will work. I think i will try using that.

Then you might encounter problems with, because PuppeTor is
configured to be used with the development versions. This is kind of a
dilemma: Newer Tor version require certain configuration options to be
used in a private setting which are not understood by older Tor
versions. So, you will need to remove some configuration strings before
being able to use PuppeTor with Or use the trunk version. Or I
could include a version check and select configurations appropriately --

You could also use PuppeTor only to establish and initialize private
network configurations, without performing actual test. Afterwards, you
can re-use the working directories with their configuration files and
state files and start the Tor processes on your own. Up to you.

My problem is
that the logs say that there is enough directory information but still it
does not try to make a circuit. I changed the code so that it builds
circuits all the time. But, it is like tor is not running at all. It is
supposed to make a circuit once it gets directory information but is not
doing so. Are there any reasons why it is not able to do so?

Hard to say without your log files. From PuppeTor I know that newly
configurated private Tor networks require multiple reloads before being
stable. And this process also fails quite often.

In general you should not have to change the Tor code to create a
private Tor network. Maybe your changes are what prevents Tor from
working properly?!

Could you try whether PuppeTor is able to create a private network
configuration for you -- with your changed and the unchanged Tor? If you
have specific questions on PuppeTor, e.g. how to configure it for, you could also mail me off the list. And if this all fails,
you could post a link to your info-level log files here.

- --Karsten