Saturday, 5 March 2011

How to Configure Google Chrome for Tor

(This article supposes you already have tor installed on your Ubuntu system.  If not, see How to Install Tor in Ubuntu)

With firefox practically pioneering open source browser technology, it's no surprise that there's a turn-key package for tor browsing in firefox.  But I like google chrome or chromium and there's no tor add-on.  Not to worry, it's fairly easy to make yourself.  Below are 3 completely different ways to get chrome working with tor:

Method 1 - Configure on Launch (best)

This is the best option for a couple reasons: it's easy to setup and it protects the most data.  All you need to do is run the following command from terminal:

google-chrome --proxy-server="127.0.0.1:8118;https=127.0.0.1:8118;socks=127.0.0.1:8118;sock4=127.0.0.1:8118;sock5=127.0.0.1:8118,ftp=127.0.0.1:8118" --incognito check.torproject.org


This command line:
- tells chrome to load using proxy settings
- ensures http, https, socks, socksv4 and sockv5 all use localhost port 8118 (127.0.0.1:8118)
- loads incognito
- goes to http://check.torproject.org for verification

You can substitute any homepage you wish for check.torproject.org but it's nice to have positive verification on load.  You may also remove the --incognito option but I recommend you do not.  Incognito ensures your cookies are not seen by visited websites (cookies easily show the website who you are).

If you don't want to remember that command, simply create a launcher and stick it in the Applications > Internet menu next to chrome:


Just remember that, using this method, you must close all instances of chrome before launching with tor.  If you already have chrome open, the open application's settings will override the tor launch.

Method 2 - Switchy! extension (ok)

This method involves adding the Proxy Switchy! extension to chrome and configuring it for tor/non-tor browsing.  It's good because it allows you to turn tor on and off with the push of a button, but is bad because it doesn't hide your cookie data.

To configure, visit the Proxy Switchy! extension page and install to chrome.  After install, open the extension's settings page and configure to speak with tor/polipo.


Create a profile and name it tor.  Configure this profile to use proxy 127.0.0.1 port 8118 for all protocols.  Your settings should look like the image above when finished.  Now move to the General tab and enable Quick Switch and Binary Switch.  I have my default settings as Profile 1 and my Tor settings as Profile 2.  Just hit the extension image in your toolbar to switch back and forth.


Make sure you visit check.torproject.org to ensure it's working!

Method 3 - Proxy Location (worst)

This is another easy method but not my favourite, as it requires a manual switch from non-tor to tor (each time) and it doesn't protect your cookie information.  For this method, we will create two profiles (or "locations" as chrome calls them) and tell one to use tor, and the other to use a direct connection.



Tools > Preferences > Under the Hood  will get you to the Network settings.  Open Change Proxy Settings and select New Location from the Location drop-down menu.


Select Manual proxy and add proxy 127.0.0.1 and port 8118. Select the checkbox asking if you want to use the proxy for all protocols, and you're finished (screen should look like above image).  Now you must switch from default to tor profile whenever you wish to browse the net over the tor network. This is a good option for someone who wants to use tor all the time and doesn't keep saved cookie data.

Happy anonymous browsing!

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

doesnt work anymore. either the ip or port adresses are wrong.

andrew said...

Which method isn't working for you? Which version of Ubuntu are you using?

Anonymous said...

I used method 2 and it does not seem to work, unless I have Firefox opened with Tor as well. When I close Firefox, and go on check.torproject.org on Chrome, it shows a message that says it's unable to connect to the proxy server. Help?

andrew said...

Have you already installed Tor & polipo on your system? What OS are you using?

Robyred said...

Yes, I got the same error message as Anonymous. I'd like some help here too.

andrew said...

@Robyred which version of Ubuntu? Did you install Tor using the method in 1st paragraph italics or another?

Robyred said...

Ah-ha! Sorry just realised this blog is for Ubuntu users! I'm on Windows 7. Still, I had the same problem when using method 2. Any help would be appreciated...

andrew said...

@Robyred, yes this is for Ubuntu. But it shouldn't really matter your OS so long as you have Tor + some sort of proxy app installed which utilises 127.0.0.1:8118. Ensure you have installed Tor and the appropriate Win7 proxy (vidalia?) and method 2 should work for you too.

Anonymous said...

You say method2 is ok but not the best because it does not hide cookies. If you use method2 in icognito mode does that make it just as good as method 1?

Stefan said...

Can you please answer the question asked above?

andrew said...

@Stefan Should be as good as if you are in incognito and go right to tor. If you browse around a bit first, chrome might store temp session cookies which may still be available upon activating tor. Not 100% sure.

Stefan said...

Thank you for your answer.

Stefan said...

Have you seen this article:

https://blog.torproject.org/blog/google-chrome-incognito-mode-tor-and-fingerprinting

Apparently Chrome Incognito + Proxy Switchy is not so safe after all. On the bright side, I hope these guys are successful in developing a Chrome Tor extension which will result in full anonymity with minimal vulnerability

Shiva said...

Well I, too, have experienced the same error issues as others have mentioned....quite frustrating really (especially when you know you're following everything to letter). Idk what could be the problem but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one going through this.

Who knows maybe something changed w/in Chrome that makes pairing it up w/ Tor not possible now...who knows. But somebody needs to come up w/ a better way of doing things.

andrew said...

@Shiva are you also using a non-Ubuntu system like the others?

Shiva said...

@andrew,

Yeah, I am. But I'm happy to report that after hours of head banging (mix w/ a lil' bit of sleep, lol), I finally cracked into getting Tor to work in Chrome!

But I will say one thing, all these people that work to make Tor should really consider a much more simpler way of accommodating, or even explaining how to use & configure Tor, for the Windows' install base of Tor users. ESPECIALLY when it comes to explaining the in's & out's of what you can/have to do get browsers working w/ Tor.

If it weren't for the fact that I have some knowledge w/ tech/computers and being a heavy computer user this stuff would've completely had me enraged. I had to put in some serious digging (search-wise) just to find info that could apply to my issue (an issue that seems to have at some point plagued a may Tor/Windows users).

andrew said...

Agreed. I think the Vidalia/Firefox combo is a turn-key solution in Windows. But I guess that doesn't help if one uses Chrome.

Anonymous said...

Something missing in the article is how to get the tor actually running after messing up with settings, here it comes!

$ sudo /etc/init.d/tor restart

SS said...

I could not get TOR to work with Chrome no matter what even though I followed the instructions of this article to the letter. After hours of messing with the settings I finally got it to work by setting the SOCKS v5 Host Port to 9050 instead of 8118 (all of the others are still 8118).

I do not know why, but if I use the same proxy server and port for all protocols Chrome gives me an error and says it cannot connect to the internet.

Website Usability said...

Its not working for me. any help ?

andrew said...

@Website Usability - More info please... what version of Ubuntu are you running? Which method(s) did you try? What happened to make you say it didn't work?

Anonymous said...

Just used the advice of SS... well done... now works perfectly. Many thanks

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