The Tor Project, the nonprofit developers of the Tor network and Tor Browser, have announced two exciting developments for onion services: affordable DV certificates for v3 onion sites from HARICA, and new, easy onion site setup guides.
Millions of people use the Tor every day to route around censorship, protect themselves from surveillance, and take back their privacy online. Beyond that, a growing number of sites and services—including the New York Times, BBC, Deutsche Welle, and Facebook, use Tor .onion sites to offer their audiences a more private way to browse.
Onion sites are websites that are only accessible over the Tor network: you can spot them because they end in the TLD .onion. For example, the DuckDuckGo onion is https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion. You can access these websites by using Tor Browser. Using onion services obfuscates your metadata and offers end-to-end authentication and end-to-end encryption – to put it simply, onion services offer some of the most private browsing experience you can get on the internet.
New onion site setup guides
Now it’s even easier for organizations, sites, and services to set up their own .onion site and offer their users this next-level of privacy with the help of the Tor Project’s new Onion Zine and updated onion service documentation in the Tor Project Community Portal, developed with the support of Digital Defenders Partnership.
Designed with human rights defenders and their organizations in mind, the Onion Zine is aimed at helping website administrators understand the benefits of .onion sites and how to set up their own .onion site for their website. Anyone can read the Onion Zine in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and use these zines alongside updated onion service documentation to set up an .onion site.
DV certificates for onion sites
On top of that, site administrators can also now easily acquire a DV certificate for your v3 onion site using HARICA, a Root CA Operator founded by Academic Network (GUnet), a civil society nonprofit from Greece. With HARICA, acquiring a certificate has become much more accessible for .onion site operators.
The Tor Project made sure to note that those applying for a DV certificate with HARICA should make sure to do it for a v3 onion address, since v2 will be deprecated in July 2021.