Improve relay operator instructions for Windows

Becoming a relay operator is a prohibitive experience as Windows user who’s time isn’t worthless. There is no obvious webpage to find out how to do it. ‘Support’ is for existing user help and ‘Community’ is for like talking to other people. After hunting for the ‘Relay Operations’ path in the ‘Community’ link and following the ‘Technical Setup’ link, I had to guess I wanted to run a ‘Middle/Guard’ relay since there was no indication of what does what.

Then, after being given a life story and 500 instructions, I was told to download the source code in a .gz file extension which doesn’t even open in Windows.

The Tor Project is out of touch. Windows users don’t need life stories. We live in a graphical user environment where things are intuitive and don’t need man pages, and we don’t touch source code like someone using Unix clone mess. We expect the developers to have done already the heavy lifting by building something that is easy to use, intuitive and just works.

I have bandwidth to give to the Tor Project, but the Tor Project needs to make my life easy in order for me to give it. Please sort this mess out.


Hello @Kolusion, we do not expect users to become relay operators, especially not from their homes. Operating a public relay from a residential connection can lead to issues such as an increase in captchas and potential blocking by various online services – including streaming platforms and online banking. The instructions for setting up a relay on Windows are intended for system administrators, not for general Windows users.

For Windows users who wish to contribute using their home computers and residential connections, we suggest running a snowflake proxy instead. This option is less likely to disrupt your access to online services. You can find detailed installation instructions on our Snowflake guide at

If you tried to follow the Tor relay instructions and they are not working, please fill a ticket: The Tor Project / Web / community · GitLab.


A simple google search for “How to run a tor relay” and “How to contribute to the tor network” retrieves the information you are seeking for. Actually, the first search results you get for those questions are about contributing to the community in every possible way and the ‘Relay Operations’ section.

Please take the time to read the documentation, since the first article that is shown in ‘Relay Operations’ is about Types of relays on the Tor network, which explains what you had to guess.

Care to share what that life story is? Just so everyone can have a look and suggest a change in the docs. Sadly, all I can see is a short introductory paragraph and just 4 steps to get up and running. We all want the documentation to be as simple and understandable as possible.

About trying to open the ‘.gz’ extension, your issue probably is not having the necessary extracting software. As Gus said, the documentation is aimed for system administrators or, at least in my opinion, some other tech-savvy users.

Please share any other concerns you may have, so the community and/or team can take care of it.


It is possible to add mentions of WinRAR or 7-Zip to instructions, but then user may ask “how to create folder?”, “how to edit file?”, so I’m not sure if it worth it.

As for ease of use, I generally agree, however, Tor network have very small amount of Windows relays, so it makes more sense for developers to focus on more influential changes.

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I do operate a guard relay from my home for many years. And it’s not that much of an issue.

Yes, I am blocked from various services, including many German government websites and some banks. But I’m on a business dial-up connection with a static IP address and it took many months to end on these blacklists. On an ordinary residential dial-up you usually have a dynamic IP address that changes on every reconnect, so it would be easy to get a fresh one.

However, as already mentioned, it would be easier to run a Snowflake proxy, especially if your computer is not running 24/7. Otherwise, one can also use the Linux instructions to get his relay running on WSL on Windows.

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