[Workshop] Sysadmin 101 for new relay operators - June 4th 2022 @ 19 UTC

Join us June 4th at 1900 UTC for new and prospective Tor relay and bridge operators on the basic “sysadmin fu” required to contribute to the network.

So you want to contribute to the open-source Tor network by running a relay or maybe a bridge?

The Tor network is the most important tool for evading surveillance and bypassing internet censorship. And Tor relays and bridges are vital to the health and integrity of the Tor network. Millions of users rely on relays and bridges to stay safe, and how you configure and maintain that relay or bridge is critical.

Volunteers aren’t a nice enhancement. They are a core feature.

Running a relay or a bridge raises frequent questions:

  • Should I run a relay or a bridge?
  • Should I run a relay or a bridge from a residential/home internet connection?
  • Which operating system should I run for my Tor node (hint: the one you are most comfortable with securing and maintaining)
  • More generally, what does it take to keep that relay or bridge operating safely, but both you and Tor users?

This workshop will start with a presentation approaching some of the core issues that arise when running a Tor node. The session will move into an “ask me anything” discussion to approach other common and less common questions.

The 90-minute event will be geared towards current and prospective Tor bridge and relay operators, particularly those relatively new to running public internet services.

Seasoned Linux and BSD Tor operators will be attending the event ready to address the discussion.

How to join the workshop

The workshop is entirely free, and participants need to fill out this registration form. The event will take place on BigBlueButton, an online video conference platform, on June 4th from 1900 - 2030 UTC.


The workshop will be facilitated by:

  • George (@gman999) - Tor *BSD Diversity Project member, Serge bridge directory authority maintainer, long-time relay operator and a wide variety of other contributions.

  • Kushal Das (@kushal) - RPM Tor maintainer and member of the Tor Community team.


What a brilliant idea! Thanks for taking the time & energy to devise this training.

I’m spreading the news of this training amongst friends, family & others to generate interest & give encouragement to participate.

A few of us are also going to share some flyers & posters at the local level, in our city, at the local university & colleges, maker spaces etc & also local cafes & hangouts.


I am looking forward to the event and am already very excited. I hope I can still learn a few things :slight_smile:

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Tor Sysadmin 101 & Snowflake Promo in Brighton & Hove
East Sussex England May 28 2022

We headed out across the city to promote the forthcoming Sysadmin 101 for new Tor relay operators & the Browser Snowflake proxy.

We shared Sysadmin 101 & Snowflake flyers with various small businesses who agreed to display our leaflets in their store/store window. We handed out flyers at cafes & boutique restaurants, at the central train station & also at some of the city’s parks & green spaces.

Rather than just handing out leaflets we made the effort to chat with people, to gauge their interest & knowledge of the Tor Project, the Tor Browser & other uses of Tor.

Awareness, approval & the reputational credibility of the Tor Project was very good, bordering on excellent with many people stating they frequently use the Tor Browser & many folk were aware of some of the important core roles Tor serves. This response was widespread among the people we chatted with, ranging from teens right through to a significantly lesser demographic of seniors.

Most folks stated they were Tor Browser users rather than Tor relay operators, so we had ample opportunity to encourage them to take things to the next level by running a relay.

The Snowflake browser add-on seemed less well known so we were able to promote the use of Snowflake as a convenient way of contributing to the Tor Project & to enable people to access Tor in countries where censorship is rife.

Those we chatted with generally ‘got’ the Snowflake concept & the feedback was positive with many people stating they’d install Snowflake.

To provide some context, it’s worth mentioning that the city of Brighton & Hove is home to two Universities, a number of language schools, further education colleges, a vibrant squatting scene, arts scene, including street graffiti, music scene & Brighton is also considered to be the LGBTQ capital of the UK

The city attracts international students, business visitors & tourists from across the UK & abroad. The city of Brighton & Hove has also become a magnet for people working in various aspects of the IT industry including the digital marketing sector, along with developers working for a broad range of businesses & services.

In our promotion of Snowflake we attempted to encompass the LGBTQ community to highlight how Snowflake could be embraced here in the UK & around the world, with Russia being just one example.

Our Snowflake leaflet was intended to highlight causes we felt people might care about at the moment. Obviously we didn’t want to bludgeon people with the world’s woes but we decided on something quite abrupt & intense yet solution focused, to hopefully have an impact in a positive way & next time we’ll use an approach with less words!

Admittedly, our leaflets were in no way artistic LoL & they were very informational but we wished to encourage people who are perhaps not technically confident to install a Snowflake & especially a Tor relay & to feel confident about it, to believe it’s achievable to set up & manageable to maintain a Tor relay & even to feel like they could contribute to & belong to a community of like-minded people doing the same thing :slight_smile:

Maybe we over-thought & over-laboured the point on our leaflet but hopefully brought clarity rather than confusion about using Snowflake with split tunneling for folk who run VPNs.

We didn’t want people to install Snowflake only to find they weren’t helping anyone when they checked their Snowflake’s status. I guess it’s about finding a useful balance somehow.

Overall we consider our promotional efforts yesterday to be a good starting point & we’re currently considering future promotional activities, where time & energy permits, to raise awareness of the valuable uses of Tor & to enable the folks of Brighton & Hove to understand the power & value of Tor for themselves & others & how they can get involved, often in very simple ways.

Needless to say, we’d love to see some rainbow-coloured Onion logos in prominent view at this years Pride festival in Brighton & Hove in August, an idea we’re currently exploring further.

For example, we’re currently investigating the possibility of hosting a promo area at Brighton Pride 2022, if there’s still time & availability, in a section of the festival where a range of organisations provide useful information & support services to empower the LGBTQ community in Brighton & Hove, across the UK & beyond.

We’re heading out across Brighton & Hove again early this week to visit colleges & the universities to specifically promote the Tor Sysadmin 101 online event on June 4.

When I say ‘we’ we’re really only a a handful of friends who were enjoying a pleasant summers day yesterday promoting Tor whilst enjoying the sunshine. We’ll do the best we can moving forwards to take things further but recognise we have our limitations. However, with forward planning we hope to be able to cover some more ground.

Disclaimer: We have no formal training, education or involvement in marketing & the thoughts shared here are merely from our own perspectives.


PS - Here’s the revised version of the Snowflake leaflet which refers in more detail (perhaps too much) about using Snowflake with browser on a system running a VPN with split tunneling.

It was intended to help people who might overlook this caveat.


Thanks to all for this stunning first Sysadmin workshop. I was able to take away a lot for myself and also implement it immediately for my relays.


Thx for this! Perhaps im creating a german one.


I have missed this session. Is there a recording available for download or a slide deck?

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Hi @Loedgreem, we didn’t record the session.
You can find the slides here: https://nycbug1.nycbug.org/sysadmin101/.

And all the notes here:


Thanks Gus!


Thanks Gus! Shared it at the Fediverse :link: