GetTor: New Ways to Download Tor Browser
We are pleased to announce the new features available in the GetTor, a service that provides alternative ways to download Tor Browser, aimed for people who live in places with high levels of censorship (e.g. when www.torproject.org is blocked) or people who just don't want to expose the fact that they are downloading Tor Browser. This work adds important new download options and capabilities and includes improvements to the current code, deployment of new channels and providers, and some brand new features such as the GetTor API. We would also like to give special thanks to Nima Fatemi, who was in charge of the non-coding parts of this project (from funding to technical management).
Update note: we now have the email@example.com account for the XMPP channel. However, we will have the firstname.lastname@example.org account enabled for a couple of more weeks just in case you are still using it.
A GetTor landing page has been created to offer information in one place (statistics, guides, etc.). If you are interested in what is going on with GetTor, following the landing page is highly recommended.
New Distribution Channels
In the past, GetTor has distributed packages by sending the bundles -- and then, later, just links -- via email. Now there are two more ways to interact with GetTor:
- Using Twitter: You can send a direct message to @get_tor account (you don't need to follow the @get_tor acount). Send the word help in a direct message to receive information on how to download the Tor Browser.
- Using XMPP: You can send a message to email@example.com using your favorite XMPP client. Simply enter help in an XMPP message to receive information on how to download the Tor Browser.
Support for Android
Orbot is a free proxy (i.e. an intermediary) app that empowers other apps to use the Internet more securely. Orbot uses Tor to encrypt your Internet traffic and then hides it by sending it through a series of computers around the world. In addition to the download options provided by Guardian Project (Google Play, F-Droid, Direct download), GetTor provides yet another way to download Orbot to your mobile device. To do this, you have to reach one of our distribution channels and specify the android command (See Examples, at the bottom of this blog post). You will then receive instructions to download Orbot's Android Application Package (APK) file from Github, Google Drive or Dropbox. Once you have downloaded the APK file you can use it to install Orbot (similar to .exe files in Windows) and start using it.
Translated Versions of Tor Browser
GetTor provides a small set of translated packages focused on its end users. The available languages are Farsi, Chinese, Turkish, and English (which is the default). If you want to use this feature in the email autoresponder, for example, you send your request to:
For the Twitter and XMPP channels, you just need to add the language word to the
message (e.g. linux fa will get you links for Tor Browser in Farsi).
There are many volunteers who use their own servers to provide mirrors of Tor Project's website. One or more of these mirrors may be not blocked in places where torproject.org is censored and could help in downloading Tor Browser. With this new release, you can request a list of these mirrors from GetTor by sending an email (or message, in case of Twitter and XMPP) with the word mirrors in the body of the text.
Some basic but effective improvements have been made to collect anonymous data and compile meaningful statistics about GetTor usage, including requests per channel, operating system, and language. Safeguards have been implemented so that all information collected is anonymous, and it is erased on a daily basis -- we just keep the number and types of requests. Reports about this data will soon be available on GetTor's website.
One of GetTor's major new features is its API. In simple terms, an API is a set of rules and specifications that allow applications to communicate with each other (following these rules). This is helpful to developers who want to create new services or applications based on the information provided by the API. In this case, the GetTor API provides the following information:
- Links to download Tor Browser by provider, with filters for operating system and language.
- Links to download Tor Browser from Tor Project's website, with filters for choosing the release (latest version , etc.), operating system, and language.
- List of mirrors of Tor Project's website.
You can find more information on the API documentation.
Invitation to Collaborate
If you are a Tor user, a developer, good at writing content for non-technical users or anything else, we are happy to hear from you! You can use the comments section below, the tor-talk and tor-dev mailing lists, or come talk to us on IRC (#tor-dev on OFTC; our nicknames are ilv, sukhe and mrphs).
How to Ask for Tor Browser--Some Examples
To help you get started, here are a few examples of GetTor requests with different locales (languages) and operating systems:
Example 1 (Email): To get links for downloading Tor Browser in Farsi for Windows, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word windows in the body of the message.
Example 2 (Twitter): To get links for downloading Tor Browser in English for OS X, send a Direct Message to @get_tor with the words osx on it (you don't need to follow the account).
Example 3 (XMPP): To get links for downloading Tor Browser in Chinese for Linux, send a message to email@example.com account with the words linux zh on it.
Example 4 (Email): To get links for downloading Orbot for Android, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word android in the body of the message.