Expand description

Implementations for the core Tor protocol


The tor-proto crate lies at the core of Arti, a project to implement Tor in Rust. Most people shouldn’t use this crate directly, since its APIs are needlessly low-level for most purposes, and it is easy to misuse them in an insecure or privacy-violating way.

Most people should use the [arti-client] crate instead. This crate is of interest mainly for those that want to access the Tor protocols at a low level.

Core concepts

At its essence, Tor makes connections called “channels” to other Tor instances. These channels are implemented using TLS. Each of these channels multiplexes a number of anonymized multihop “circuits” that act as reliable transports for “relay messages” that are sent between clients and the different relays on the circuits. Finally, each circuit multiplexes a number of “streams”, each corresponding roughly to an application-level request.

This crate implements the logic, protocols, and cryptography that implement these channel::Channels, circuit::ClientCircs, and stream::DataStreams. It uses rust async code and future-related traits, and is intended to work with (nearly) any executor implementation that complies with the futures API. It should also work with nearly any TLS implementation that exposes AsyncRead and AsyncWrite traits.

Not in this crate

This crate does not implement higher level protocols, like onion services or the Tor directory protocol, that are based on the Tor protocol here. Nor does it decide when, how, or where to build channels and circuits: that’s the role of higher-level crates.

This crate also has no support for timeouts, so every network operation here has the potential to block the current task indefinitely. Timeouts are another necessary piece that gets added at a higher level.

In order to create channels and circuits, you’ll need to know about some Tor relays, and expose their information via tor_linkspec::ChanTarget and tor_linkspec::CircTarget. Currently, the [tor-netdir] crate is the easiest way to do so.

For an example of this crate in action, see the [arti-client] library, or the arti CLI.

Design notes

This crate’s APIs are structured to explicitly avoid any usage of an asynchronous runtime: It doesn’t launch tasks or include timeouts. Those are done at a higher level in Arti, via the [tor-rtcompat] crate.

To the extent possible, this crate avoids doing public-key cryptography in the same functions it uses for network activity. This makes it easier for higher-level code to parallelize or yield around public-key operations.


This is all a work in progress, and will need severe refactoring before it’s done.

This is a client-only implementation; there is no support the operations that Relays need.

There are too many missing features to list.

There isn’t enough documentation or examples.

This crate was my first attempt to use async in rust, and is probably pretty kludgy.

I bet that there are deadlocks somewhere in this code. I fixed all the ones I could find or think of, but it would be great to find a good way to eliminate every lock that we have.


pub use channel::params::ChannelsParams;


Code for talking directly (over a TLS connection) to a Tor client or relay.

Multi-hop paths over the Tor network.

Implements Tor’s “stream“s from a client perspective


A reported amount of clock skew from a relay or other source.

An error type for the tor-proto crate.

Details about an error received while resolving a domain


Return the amount of time since we last received “incoming traffic”.

Type Definitions

A Result type for this crate.