I am trying to run the tor service on a Debian Stretch machine, and it works intermittently. However, after every successful start, upon the time I try to start it again, it doesn't work. By this I mean that I cannot connect to the hidden service. When I run systemctl status tor it says active (exited). I'd post the entire error log, but sadly it is on a virtual machine. What is causing this, and how can I fix it so that every time I start the service it works as it should?

  • welcome to unix stack exchange! Well, we cannot help much without the log, it should indicate what is wrong. Please help us help you. You should be able to get the log into a text file and retrieve it. What is the host system you use ? Please edit your question with this info.
    – thecarpy
    May 18 '19 at 18:18
  • Also, please indicate how you installed tor, did you follow any instructions ?
    – thecarpy
    May 18 '19 at 18:52

In the packages by the upstream Tor project, tor.service is a dummy service that only executes /bin/true – that’s why it says “exited”. The real Tor service is tor@default.service and possibly other instances of the tor@.service template, and tor.service only serves to group them together, so that administrators can still use systemctl restart tor instead of systemctl restart tor@default or systemctl restart tor@*.

Whatever problem your Tor service has, you’ll have a much better chance of figuring it out if you start to investigate tor@default.service (e. g. systemctl status tor@default or journalctl -u tor@default).

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