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Tor Browser – How to Browse the Web Anonymously on Linux

The main application we need to carry out our activities on the Internet is a browser, a web browser that is more advanced in terms of privacy and security of online activities.

On the Internet, most of our activity is recorded on the server/client machine, including IP address, geographic location, search/activity trends, and a lot of information that can be very harmful if used intentionally in a different direction.

Moreover, the National Security Agency (NSA), aka the International Spy Agency, is tracking our digital footprints. Not to mention the fact that a limited proxy server, which again can be used as a server for copying data, is not an option.

Today, most corporations and companies do not allow you to use a proxy server, while a VPN service is a reliable choice for browsing the Internet safely and anonymously.

So, we need an application, preferably small in size, so that it is self-contained, portable and serves its purpose. Here is an application – Tor Browser, which has all the above features and even more.

In this article, we will talk about the Tor Browser, its features, usage and scope, installation, and other important aspects of the Tor Browser.

What is the Tor Browser?

Tor is a free application software released under the BSD license that allows you to surf the Internet anonymously thanks to its secure and secure onion-like structure.

Previously, Tor was called the “onion router” because of its structure and mechanism, which is written exclusively in the C programming language.

Tor Browser Features

  • Cross-platform. That is, Tor is available for Linux, Windows as well as Mac.
  • Comprehensive encryption of data before sending it over the Internet.
  • Automatic data decryption on the client side.
  • It is a combination of the Firefox browser and the Tor project.
  • Provides anonymity for servers and websites.
  • Allows you to visit blocked websites.
  • Performs tasks without revealing the source IP address.
  • Capable of routing data to/from hidden services and applications behind a firewall.
  • Portable – Run a pre-configured web browser directly from a USB drive. There is no need to install it locally.
  • Available for x86 and x86_64 architectures.
  • Simple FTP setup with Tor using “socks4a” proxy configuration on “localhost” port “9050”
  • Tor is capable of serving thousands of relays and millions of users.

How does the Tor browser work?

Tor operates on the concept of onion routing. Onion routing is similar in structure to an onion. In onion routing, layers are nested within each other, similar to the layers of an onion.

This nested layer is responsible for encrypting data multiple times and sending it over virtual circuits. On the client side, each layer decrypts the data before passing it to the next layer. The last layer decrypts the innermost layer of encrypted data before passing the original data to the destination.

During the decryption process, all levels function so intelligently that there is no need to reveal the user’s IP and geographic location, thereby limiting any possibility that someone will spy on your Internet connection or the sites you visit.

All this work seems a little complicated, but when using the Tor Browser as an end user, there is nothing to worry about. In fact, the Tor browser works like any other browser (especially Mozilla Firefox).

How to Install the Tor Browser on Linux

As mentioned above, Tor Browser is available for Linux, Windows and Mac. The user needs to download the latest version (i.e. Tor Browser 12.0.6) of the application from the link below according to their system and architecture.

Download Tor Browser

Alternatively, you can use the following wget command to download the Tor Browser directly on the command line.

---------------- On 64-Bit System ----------------
$ wget 

---------------- On 32-Bit System ----------------
$ wget 

After downloading the Tor Browser, extract the archive using the tar command and set the execute permission to allow the program to run.

$ tar -xvf tor-browser-linux*

Note: In the above command, we used ‘$’ which means the package is being checked out as user, not as root. It is strongly recommended to extract and run the tor browser as a normal user.

After a successful extraction, we can move the extracted browser to any location on the system or to any USB drive and run the application from the extracted folder as a normal user, as shown in the figure.

$ cd tor-browser/
$ ./start-tor-browser.desktop

I’m trying to connect to the Tor network. Click “Connect” and Tor will do the rest of the setup for you.

connect tor network - Tor Browser - How to Browse the Web Anonymously on Linux
establishing tor network - Tor Browser - How to Browse the Web Anonymously on Linux

Welcome window/tab.

welcome to tor network - Tor Browser - How to Browse the Web Anonymously on Linux

Creating a Tor desktop shortcut in Linux

Remember that you need to point to the Tor startup script with a text session every time you want to start Tor. Moreover, the terminal will be busy all the time until you start tor. How to overcome this and create an icon on the desktop/docbar?

We need to create a tor.desktop file in the directory where the extracted files are located.

$ touch tor.desktop

Now edit the file with your favorite editor with the text below. Save and exit. I used nano.

$ nano tor.desktop
#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Anonymous Browse

Note: Be sure to replace the path with the location of your Tor browser.

After that, double-click on the tor.desktop file to launch the Tor Browser.

make tor - Tor Browser - How to Browse the Web Anonymously on Linux

If you trust, you may notice that the tor.desktop icon has changed.

tor browser desktop shortcut - Tor Browser - How to Browse the Web Anonymously on Linux

Now you can copy the tor.desktop icon to create a desktop shortcut and run it.

tor browser welcome page - Tor Browser - How to Browse the Web Anonymously on Linux

If you are using an older version of Tor, you can update it from the About window.


The Tor Browser is a necessary tool in this day and age when the organization you work for doesn’t allow you to visit certain websites if you don’t want outsiders to look at your private business or don’t want to give your digital footprints to the NSA.

Note: Tor Browser does not provide any security against viruses, trojans or other similar threats. In addition, by writing an article about this, we do not in any way want to engage in illegal activities by hiding our identity through the Internet.

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❤ XOXO ❤

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