Note: You should only run a Windows bridge if you can run it 24/7. If the operator is unable to guarantee that, a Snowflake is a better way to contribute resources.

1. Download the Windows Expert Bundle and the Tor Browser

You will need to show hidden items and file name extensions. In your Explorer window, in the top-left, click on the View tab. In the Show/hide section furthest to the right, check the checkbox for Hidden items; check the checkbox for File name extensions.

2. Build files and relocate

Open up the Tor folder on your desktop. Double click tor.exe. Once the command prompt reads: [notice] Bootstrapped 100% (done): Done, close the window. This creates the folder C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\tor\ (where <user> is your user name).

From the Tor folder on your desktop, select all .dll's and .exe's and cut/paste them into the C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\tor\ folder.

Open up the Data folder on your desktop. Inside that Tor folder, select both geoip and geoip6 and cut/paste them into the C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\tor\ folder.

Navigate to C:\Users\<user>\Desktop\Tor Browser\Browser\TorBrowser\Tor\PluggableTransports. Select obfs4proxy.exe and cut/paste it into the C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\tor\ folder.

3. Create and edit your Tor config file

In the C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\tor\ folder, right-click on white space and select New > Text Document. Name the file torrc; there is no extension.

Double-click on the torrc file. When prompted How do you want to open this file?, select Notepad. Add the following:

Log notice file C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\tor\notice.log
GeoIPFile C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\tor\geoip
GeoIPv6File C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\tor\geoip6

BridgeRelay 1

# Replace "TODO1" with a Tor port of your choice.
# This port must be externally reachable.
# Avoid port 9001 because it's commonly associated with Tor and censors may be scanning the Internet for this port.
ORPort TODO1

ServerTransportPlugin obfs4 exec C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\tor\obfs4proxy.exe

# Replace "TODO2" with an obfs4 port of your choice.
# This port must be externally reachable and must be different from the one specified for ORPort.
# Avoid port 9001 because it's commonly associated with Tor and censors may be scanning the Internet for this port.
ServerTransportListenAddr obfs4 0.0.0.0:TODO2

# Local communication port between Tor and obfs4.  Always set this to "auto".
# "Ext" means "extended", not "external".  Don't try to set a specific port number, nor listen on 0.0.0.0.
ExtORPort auto

# Replace "<address@email.com>" with your email address so we can contact you if there are problems with your bridge.
# This is optional but encouraged.
ContactInfo <address@email.com>

# Pick a nickname that you like for your bridge.  This is optional.
Nickname PickANickname

Don't forget to change the ORPort, ServerTransportListenAddr, ContactInfo, <user>, and Nickname options.

  • Use a fixed obfs4 port larger than 1024, still avoiding 9001.

  • Note that both Tor's OR port and its obfs4 port must be reachable. If your bridge is behind a firewall or NAT, make sure to open both ports. You can use our reachability test to see if your obfs4 port is reachable from the Internet.

4. Start tor

Open up the Command Prompt App. Change your directory with: cd C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\tor\. Type: tor.exe -f torrc.

5. Monitor your logs

To confirm your bridge is running with no issues, you should see something like this in C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\tor\notice.log.

[notice] Your Tor server's identity key fingerprint is '<NICKNAME> <FINGERPRINT>'
[notice] Your Tor bridge's hashed identity key fingerprint is '<NICKNAME> <HASHED FINGERPRINT>'
[notice] Registered server transport 'obfs4' at '[::]:46396'
[notice] Tor has successfully opened a circuit. Looks like client functionality is working.
[notice] Bootstrapped 100%: Done
[notice] Now checking whether ORPort <redacted>:3818 is reachable... (this may take up to 20 minutes -- look for log messages indicating success)
[notice] Self-testing indicates your ORPort is reachable from the outside. Excellent. Publishing server descriptor.

6. Final notes

If you are having troubles setting up your bridge, have a look at our help section. If your bridge is now running, check out the post-install notes.