How to block web traffic coming from the TOR network

Brian P. Hamachek

The Problem

TOR allows anyone to very easily hide their true IP address when accessing a website.  This makes it very difficult to ban troublesome users from accessing your site by using the common practice of blocking traffic based on IP address.

How TOR Works

TOR achieves anonymity for a user’s web traffic by bouncing all traffic randomly between other nodes in the network (other TOR users) before finally exiting the TOR network and reaching the final intended destination.  Traffic only exists the TOR network from specifically designated exit nodes.  Luckily for us, the TOR network infrastructure maintains a master list of all such exit nodes.  The total number of all such exit nodes is relatively small (less than 100,000 currently).


By maintaining a copy of the list of all TOR exit nodes in our server’s memory, we are able to screen all incoming web traffic against that list to effectively block all…

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