Enterprise Onion Toolkit
Awk Shell Perl Dockerfile Makefile
Switch branches/tags
Clone or download


The Enterprise Onion Toolkit

banner image

Primary Supported Platforms

  • OSX Sierra with Homebrew, Latest Updates
  • Raspbian Jessie/Jessie-Lite, Latest Updates
  • Raspbian Stretch/Stretch-Lite, Latest Updates
  • Ubuntu 16.04+, Latest Updates

Maillist / Group

General discussion mailllist: deployment, tweaks and tuning:

NB: bugs are still best reported through Issues, above.

In the News


Work In Progress (HEAD, will become v1.4)

  • TBD


  • new features
    • "Runbook" has been moved to the documentation directory
    • tor2web has been blocked-by-default
      • since the reason for EOTK is to provide Clearnet websites with an Onion presence, Tor2web is not necessary
    • the FORCE_HTTPS feature has been added and made default
      • if your site is 100% HTTPS then you do not need to do anything,
      • however sites which require insecure HTTP may have to use set force_https 0 in configurations.


  • new features:
    • optional blocks to methods other than GET/HEAD
    • optional 403/Forbidden blocks for accesses to certain Locations or Hosts, including as regexps
      • nb: all blocks/block-patterns are global and apply to all servers in a project
    • optional time-based caching of static content for N seconds, with selectable cache size (def: 16Mb)
  • new How To Install guide
  • custom install process for Ubuntu, tested on Ubuntu Server 16.04.2-LTS
  • renaming / factor-out of Raspbian install code
  • fixes to onionbalance support


  • first cut of onionbalance / softmap


  • have declared a stable alpha release
  • architecture images, at bottom of this page
  • all of CSP, HSTS and HPKP are suppressed by default; onion networking mitigates much of this
  • "tunables" documentation for template content
  • troubleshooting section near the bottom of this page
  • See project activity for information


The goal of EOTK is to provide a tool for prototyping, and deploying at scale, HTTP and HTTPS onion sites to provide official presence for popular websites.

The results are essentially a "man in the middle" proxy; set them up only for your own sites or for sites which do not require login credentials of any kind.

The resulting NGINX configs are probably not terribly well tuned; please review for your own consideration. I shall try not to modify the configuration file format.

Important Note About Anonymity

The presumed use-case of EOTK is that you have an already-public website and that you wish to give it a corresponding Onion address.

A lot of people mistakenly believe that Tor Onion Networking is "all about anonymity" - which is incorrect, since it also includes:

  • extra privacy
  • identity/surety of to whom you are connected
  • freedom from oversight/network surveillance
  • anti-blocking, and...
  • enhanced integrity/tamperproofing

...none of which are the same as "anonymity", but all of which are valuable qualities to add to communications.

Also: setting up an Onion address can provide less contention, more speed & more bandwidth to people accessing your site than they would get by using Tor "Exit Nodes".

If you set up EOTK in its intended mode then your resulting site is almost certainly not going to be anonymous; for one thing your brand name (etc) will likely be plastered all over it.

If you want to set up a server which includes anonymity as well as all of the aforementioned qualities, you want to be reading an entirely different document, instead.

EOTK Usage Notes

When connecting to the resulting onions over HTTP/SSL, you will be using wildcard self-signed SSL certificates - you will encounter many "broken links" which are due to the SSL certificate not being valid. This is expected and proper behaviour.

To help cope with this, for any domain (eg: www.a2s3c4d5e6f7g8h9.onion) the EOTK provides a fixed url:

  • https://www.a2s3c4d5e6f7g8h9.onion/hello-onion/

...which (/hello-onion/) is internally served by the NGINX proxy and provides a stable, fixed URL for SSL certificate acceptance; inside TorBrowser another effective solution is to open all the broken links, images and resources "in a new Tab" and accept the certificate there.

In production, of course, one would expect to use an SSL EV certificate to provide identity and assurance to an onion site, rendering these issues moot.

Command List


  • --local: ignore the presence of eotk-workers.conf and operate upon local projects; used to administer projects running locally on a machine which might also be running onionbalance.
  • --remote: functionally the same as --local but denotes remote execution on a worker; used to inhibit recursion and loops amongst worker machines, of A calls B calls A calls B ...


  • eotk config [filename] # default onions.conf
    • synonyms: conf, configure
    • parses the config file and sets up and populates the projects
  • eotk maps projectname ... # or: -a for all
    • prints which onions correspond to which dns domains
    • for softmap, this list may not show until after ob-config and ob-start
  • eotk harvest projectname ... # or: -a for all
    • synonyms: onions
    • prints list of onions used by projects

Onion Generation

  • eotk genkey
    • synonyms: gen
    • generate an onion key and stash it in secrets.d

Project Status & Debugging

  • eotk status projectname ... # or: -a for all
    • active per-project status
  • eotk ps
    • do a basic grep for possibly-orphaned processes
  • eotk debugon projectname ... # or: -a for all
    • enable verbose tor logs
  • eotk debugoff projectname ... # or: -a for all
    • disable verbose tor logs

Starting & Stopping Projects

  • eotk start projectname ... # or: -a for all
    • start projects
  • eotk stop projectname ... # or: -a for all
    • stop projects
  • eotk restart projectname ... # or: -a for all
    • synonyms: bounce, reload
    • stop, and restart, projects
  • eotk nxreload projectname ... # or: -a for all
    • politely ask NGINX to reload its config files

Starting & Stopping OnionBalance

  • eotk ob-start projectname ... # or: -a for all, if applicable
    • synonyms:
  • eotk ob-restart projectname ... # or: -a for all, if applicable
    • synonyms:
  • eotk ob-stop
    • synonyms:
  • eotk ob-status
    • synonyms:

Configuring Remote Workers

  • eotk-workers.conf
    • if not present, only localhost will be used
    • if present, contains one hostname per line, no comments
      • the label localhost is a hardcoded synonym for local activity
      • other (remote) systems are accessed via ssh, scp & rsync
  • eotk ob-remote-nuke-and-push
    • synonyms:
  • eotk ob-nxpush
    • synonyms:
  • eotk ob-torpush
    • synonyms:
  • eotk ob-spotpush
    • synonyms:

Backing-Up Remote Workers

  • eotk mirror
    • synonyms:
  • eotk backup
    • synonyms:


Please see How To Install guide

Video Demonstrations

These videos are instructive, but slightly dated. Commands may have changed slightly, but not much, and I will try to help you understand what has changed rather than break the command entirely.

Basic Introduction to EOTK

Rough Edges: SSL Certificates & Strange Behaviour

Using OnionBalance


After installation, if you want to experiment with some prefabricated projects, try this:

  • ./010-configure-demo.sh
    • creates working config files, and tor & nginx config files
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to start your onions
  • Connect to your onions
  • Play exciting games of "SSL-Certificate-Acceptance-Whackamole"

I want to create my own project!

Okay, there are two ways to create your own project:


Create a config file with a .tconf suffix - we'll pretend it's foo.tconf - and use this kind of syntax:

set project myproject
hardmap %NEW_ONION% foo.com
hardmap %NEW_ONION% foo.co.uk
hardmap %NEW_ONION% foo.de

...and then run

eotk config foo.tconf

...which will create the onions for you and will populate a foo.conf for you, and it will then configure EOTK from that. You should probably delete foo.tconf afterwards, since forcibly reusing it would trash your existing onions.


  • Do eotk genkey - it will print the name of the onion it generates
    • Do this as many times as you wish/need.
    • Alternately get a tool like scallion or shallot and use that to "mine" a desirable onion address.
      • https://github.com/katmagic/Shallot - in C, for CPUs
        • Seems okay on Linux, not sure about other platforms
      • https://github.com/lachesis/scallion - in C#, for CPUs & GPUs (GPU == very fast)
        • Advertised as working on Windows, Linux; works well on OSX under "Mono"
      • Be sure to store your mined private keys in secrets.d with a filename like a2s3c4d5e6f7g8h9.key where a2s3c4d5e6f7g8h9 is the corresponding onion address.
  • Create a config file with a .conf suffix - we'll pretend it's foo.conf - and use this kind of syntax, substituting a2s3c4d5e6f7g8h9 for the onion address that you generated.
set project myproject
hardmap secrets.d/a2s3c4d5e6f7g8h9.key foo.com

...and then (IMPORTANT) run:

eotk config foo.conf

...which will configure EOTK.


Like this:

eotk start myproject

What if I have subdomains?

When you are setting up the mappings in a config file, you may have to accomodate "subdomains"; the general form of a internet hostname is like this:

...and so on, where:

  • tld = top level domain
  • domain = generally the name of the organisation you are interested in
  • subdomain = some kind of internal structure
  • hostname = actual computer, or equivalent

When you are setting up mappings, generally the rules are:

  • you will map one domain per onion
  • you will ignore all hostnames
  • you will append all possible subdomain stems

So if your browser tells you that you are fetching content from cdn7.dublin.ireland.europe.foo.co.jp, you should add a line like:

hardmap %NEW_ONION% foo.co.jp europe ireland.europe dublin.ireland.europe

...and EOTK should do the rest. All this is necessary purely for correctness of the self-signed SSL-Certificates - which are going to be weird, anyway - and the rest of the HTML-rewriting code in EOTK will be blind to subdomains.

Subdomain Summary

Subdomains are supported like this, for dev as an example:

set project myproject
hardmap secrets.d/a2s3c4d5e6f7g8h9.key foo.com dev

...and if you have multiple subdomains:

hardmap secrets.d/a2s3c4d5e6f7g8h9.key foo.com dev blogs dev.blogs [...]

My company has a lot of sites/domains!


  • www.foo.com.au
  • www.syd.foo.com.au
  • www.per.foo.com.au,
  • www.cdn.foo.net
  • www.foo.aws.amazon.com
  • ...

Put them all in the same project as separate mappings, remembering to avoid the actual "hostnames" as described above:

set project fooproj
hardmap %NEW_ONION% foo.com.au syd per
hardmap %NEW_ONION% foo.net cdn
hardmap %NEW_ONION% foo.aws.amazon.com

Onion mapping/translations will be applied for all sites in the same project.


The logs for any given project will reside in projects.d/<PROJECTNAME>.d/logs.d/

If something is problematic, first try:

  • git pull and...
  • eotk config <filename>.conf again, and then...
  • eotk bounce -a

Lots of broken images, missing images, missing CSS

This is probably an SSL/HTTPS thing.

Because of the nature of SSL self-signed certificates, you have to manually accept the certificate of each and every site for which a certificate has been created. See the second of the YouTube videos for some mention of this.

In short: this is normal and expected behaviour. You can temporarily fix this by:

  • right-clicking on the image for Open In New Tab, and accepting the certificate
  • or using Inspect Element > Network to find broken resources, and doing the same
  • or - if you know the list of domains in advance - visiting the /hello-onion/ URL for each of them, in advance, to accept certificates.

If you get an official SSL certificate for your onion site then the problem will vanish. Until then, I am afraid that you will be stuck playing certificate "whack-a-mole".

NGINX: Bad Gateway

Generally this means that NGINX cannot connect to the remote website, which usually happens because:

  • the site name in the config file, is wrong
  • the nginx daemon tries to do a DNS resolution, which fails

Check the NGINX logfiles in the directory cited above, for confirmation.

If DNS resolution is failing, PROBABLY the cause is probably lack of access to Google DNS /; therefore in your config file you should add a line like this - to use localhost as an example:

set nginx_resolver

...and then do:

eotk stop -a
eotk config filename.conf
eotk start -a

If you need a local DNS resolver, I recommend dnsmasq.

I can't connect, it's just hanging!

If your onion project has just started, it can take up to a few minutes to connect for the first time; also sometimes TorBrowser caches stale descriptors for older onions. Try restarting TorBrowser (or use the New Identity menu item) and have a cup of tea. If it persists, check the logfiles.

OnionBalance runs for a few days, and then just stops responding!

Is the clock/time of day correct on all your machines? Are you running NTP? We are not sure but having an incorrect clock may be a contributory factor to this issue.

Help I'm Stuck!

Ping @alecmuffett on Twitter, or log an Issue, above.


EOTK stands largely on the experience of work I led at Facebook to create www.facebookcorewwwi.onion, but it owes a huge debt to Mike Tigas's work at ProPublica to put their site into Onionspace through using NGINX as a rewriting proxy -- and that he wrote the whole experience up in great detail including sample config files.

Reading this prodded me to learn about NGINX and then aim to shrink & genericise the solution; so thanks, Mike!

Also, thanks go to Christopher Weatherhead for acting as a local NGINX sounding board :-)

And back in history: Michal Nánási, Matt Jones, Trevor Pottinger and the rest of the FB-over-Tor team. Hugs.


hardmap 1

hardmap 1

hardmap 2

hardmap 2

softmap 1

softmap 1

softmap 2

softmap 2

softmap 3

softmap 3

softmap 4

softmap 4

eotk (c) 2017 Alec Muffett