How to Install Tor Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04

Tor, also known as The Onion Router, is open-source, free software that enables anonymous communication when using online services such as web surfing. The Tor network directs the Internet traffic through an accessible worldwide volunteer overlay network with over six thousand relays and continues to grow. Many users want to find more ways to keep their information and activities anonymous or at least as private as possible, which has led to Tor Browser growing quite popular in recent years as it conceals a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis.

The Tor network is intended to protect the personal privacy of users and their freedom and ability from conducting communication without having their activities monitored, and data were taken without their consent and used to sum it up.

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the latest Tor Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04.

Prerequisites

  • Recommended OS: Pop!_OS 20.04 or higher.
  • User account: A user account with sudo or root access.
  • Optional Packages Required: wget

Update Operating System

Update your Pop!_OS 20.04 operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status.

To verify sudo status on your account:

sudo whoami

Example output showing sudo status:

[joshua@popos ~]$ sudo whoami
root

To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on adding a User to Sudoers on Pop!_OS 20.04.

To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.

su

Install Tor Browser with APT with Tor Repository (Recommended)

The easiest and best way to install and keep Tor Browser up to date in the options listed in the tutorial is to create and install Tor Browser from the official repository. This will mean you will be on the latest stable version at all times, and you won’t need to manually download and install future updates that can be tedious and harder for novice and newer users of Linux.

First, install the dependency; if unsure, run the command; it will cause no harm.

sudo apt install apt-transport-https

Import the GPG key so the installation will not cause a GPG error.

wget -q -O - https://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org/A3C4F0F979CAA22CDBA8F512EE8CBC9E886DDD89.asc | sudo apt-key add -

Example output if successful:

OK

Next, import the stable branch repository using the following terminal command.

echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org $(lsb_release -cs) main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list

If you would like something more cutting edge than the stable version of Tor Browser, you can import either the experimental or nightly build repositories. Note, these should not be expected to work correctly as stable be warned.

Import experimental branch repository:

echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org tor-experimental-0.4.6.x-focal main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list

Import nightly builds branch repository:

echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org tor-nightly-master-$(lsb_release -cs) main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list

Now update your repository listing to reflect the new addition and install Tor Browser.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install tor deb.torproject.org-keyring torbrowser-launcher

Example output:

How to Install Tor Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04

Type Y, then press the ENTER BUTTON to proceed with the installation.

Confirm the installation by checking the Tor Browser version as follows:

tor --version

Example stable branch output:

Tor version 0.4.5.10.

Example nightly build output (difference):

Tor version 0.4.7.1-alpha-dev.

Suppose you check out the second part of the tutorial installing from the APT default repository. In that case, this is quite far ahead and is the latest stable Tor version available unless you use the third option and install the latest version manually.

Now the Tor Brower will be visible in your Activities > Show Applications > Tor Browser.

Example:

How to Install Tor Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04

Next, proceed to the next part of the tutorial in launching and configuring Tor Browser.

Install Tor Browser with APT Default Repository

By default, Tor Browser comes in Pop!_OS 20.04’s (Ubuntu) default repository. Installing this version is recommended. It may be outdated; however, Tor Browser is still updated for the latest security threats.

To install Tor, run the following command:

sudo apt install torbrowser-launcher

Example dependencies that will be installed:

How to Install Tor Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04

Type Y, then press the ENTER BUTTON to proceed with the installation.

Confirm the installation by checking the Tor Browser version as follows:

tor --version

Example output:

Tor version 0.4.2.7.

Now the Tor Brower will be visible in your Activities > Show Applications > Tor Browser.

Example:

How to Install Tor Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04

Next, proceed to the next part of the tutorial in launching and configuring Tor Browser.

Install Tor Browser Manually

The second option of installation is to install Tor Browser using the latest archive from the downloads page. At the time of this tutorial, version 10.5.6 is the latest; however, in the future, this will change, be sure to get the updated version.

Install wget Package

You will need to have wget installed for this tutorial. To find out if you have it, use the following:

wget --version

Example output if you have it installed:

GNU Wget 1.20.3 built on linux-gnu.

By default, wget should have this installed. If missing, use the following command:

sudo apt install wget -y

Download Tor Browser Archive

The next step is to use the wget command to download the latest .tar.xz link as follows:

wget https://www.torproject.org/dist/torbrowser/10.5.6/tor-browser-linux64-10.5.6_en-US.tar.xz

Note, the above command is an example only. Make sure to check for the latest version.

Once you have downloaded the installation archive, extract it using:

tar -xvJf tor-browser-linux64-10.5.6_en-US.tar.xz

Launch Tor Browser Installation

Now, CD into the directory with:

cd tor-browser_en-US

To start Tor Browser and set up configuration installation, use the following command:

./start-tor-browser.desktop --register-app

Note, the –register-app flag is for creating the Tor Browser link in your applications menu.

Example output:

Launching './Browser/start-tor-browser --detach --register-app'...
Tor Browser has been registered as a desktop app for this user in ~/.local/share/applications

Now the Tor Brower will be visible in your Taskbar > Show Applications > Tor Browser.

Example:

How to Install Tor Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04

Configure Tor Browser

On the first launch, you will come across the following window as below:

How to Install Tor Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04

Most users would use Connect; however, Tor Network settings can use proxy settings for countries such as China, Egypt, and Turkey, to name a few where using such services is prohibited. Please make sure you are not breaking any laws using this. Bypassing in some of the said countries could get you into some severe trouble possibly.

How to Install Tor Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04

In the tutorial, the method used was to connect straight to the network as most users would. When you click connect, depending on your location, it may take 2 to 10 seconds to connect to the network, and you will see this message while connecting:

How to Install Tor Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04

Once connected, you will get the following page:

How to Install Tor Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04

Congratulations, you have connected to the Tor Network through your Tor Browser.

Tor Onion Services

When using Tor Browser, instead of using regular websites, you can elect to use the part of the Online services of the Tor Network. The websites, however, must be available in this format, and if they are, they use a .onion address.

For those unfamiliar with onion services, they are anonymous network services that are exposed over the Tor network. In contrast to conventional Internet services, onion services are private, generally not indexed by search engines, and use self-certifying domain names long and complex for humans to read.

Some notable sites using .onion services are:

To see more services visit the wiki page List of Tor onion services.

Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have learned how to download Tor Browser from the source, install and add the icon to your application menu. Tor Browser is an excellent option for users wanting to keep their internet activities out of the hands of advertisers, ISPs, and websites. The other benefit of using Tor Browser is that it can help in most cases getting around censorship restrictions in their country, people looking to hide their IP address, or anyone else who doesn’t want their browsing habits linked to them.

The downsides of using Tor is it is going to load pages a lot more slowly than a standard browser like Chrome or Firefox when using the Tor Network, along with many websites and web services choose to block the use of Tor so you may be limited browsing the web depending on what you visit and use daily.

Please note that Tor should not be an incentive or an option to use the Dark web or services that violate any country’s laws.



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