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Tor Cloud, the bandwidth donation service which let users surf anonymously, has been shut down
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Tor Cloud, the bandwidth donation service which let users surf anonymously, has been shut down

by AshwinMay 9, 2015

Tor, the organistion behind the popular anonymous browsing service, has announced that it is shuttering it’s Tor Cloud project.

Tor-Browser

It had let users donate bandwidth capacity, which allowed other users browse the internet without the fear of being tracked.

Tor Cloud used the Amazon EC2 Cloud platform, to provide the anonymous browsing service. It achieved this by bridging connections on the EC2 Cloud, and the bandwidth donated by users would provide speed and safety for other users to connect to.

Tor Cloud shuts down:

Tor is a non-profit organisation, and had to rely on donations to maintain the Tor Cloud Project. Tor Cloud bridges have declined since 2014, and the reason for that is believed to be bugs in the service. Here is what the official statement says about the service being shuttered:

The main reason for discontinuing Tor Cloud is the fact that software requires maintenance, and Tor Cloud is no exception. There is at least one major bug in the Tor Cloud image that makes it completely dysfunctional (meaning that users could not use this particular service to access the Internet), and there are over a dozen other bugs, at least one of them of highest priority.

Tor tried and failed to find a sponsor, although it did receive patches. But it did not have any Tor person to approve the patches. Though the Tor Cloud project is dead, users can still start their own cloud bridges. Tor also recommends users to switch to a different project called, the Onion Cloud, which could be a forked version, based on Tor Cloud.

Installing a Tor bridge is still possible, and users can connect to a cloud computing platform. Existing instances of Tor Cloud are not affected by the shut down.

Venture Beat reports that Tor’s anonymous browsing feature, which provided a great deal of privacy, it was popularly used by activists, media companies. But Tor is also used to access websites which are blocked or geo-restricted in various parts of the World.

The Tor Cloud project has been discontinued on May 8, 2015. The change does not affect the anonymous web browser, Tor Browser, which will continue to function as normal.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are probably the ideal replacements for Tor users. But VPNs are quite expensive and charge users a monthly fee, in exchange for their services. Free VPNs are available too, but they are often poor in quality, are supported by advertisements and have very limited bandwidth. Additionally VPNs also require users to sign up for an account with the service.

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