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493 words by gman999 written on 2017–06–27, last edit: 2017–09–03, tags: bsd, vps ⋔ Previous post: Back to the Buildbot ⋔ Next post: OnionOO/JSON-Based Statistics Reports
One of TDP’s recent projects is accumulating a list of virtual private server services (VPS) that provide a BSD option.
VPS’s are generally inexpensive services that enable the user to only concern themselves with software configuration, and not be bothered with hardware or basic operating system setup. In the pre-Cloud era, VPS providers were the “other people’s computers” that users outsourced their systems to.
The same shortcomings of cloud services apply to VPS providers. You don’t control the hardware. Your files are likely viewable by users up the directory hierarchy. The entropy source or pool is a single source for multiple systems. The same time drift applies to all time-keeping services.
Nevertheless, VPS services are often cheap and provide a good spread in terms of geography. All a provider really needs is a few server-grade computers and a decent network connection. VPS’s are still a gateway drug to bare-metal servers, although it seems more and more of these gateway users stop at stage one.
Cheap systems with a public IP are also a great way to tinker with a new operating system.
For this reason, TDP created this list of BSD VPS providers. Some explicitly deny running Tor as a server. Some just reference vague “proxy services.” Others don’t mention Tor or proxies at all: https://github.com/torbsd/torbsd.github.io/blob/master/docs/bsd-vps.md
The current fields, with comma-separated values for easy Unix shell manipulation, include:
The list is a start with currently just under 70 VPS providers listed. Input through various channels already started, and TDP intends to update the list over the coming months. A first draft email and open letter addressed to the providers were drafted, and we are looking to speak directly to at least some of the better-known BSD VPS providers.
We may be able to convince a few to allow public Tor relays, or at least published bridges. These providers could be new BSD users’ gateway drug into the world of BSD Tor nodes. Running a Tor relay shouldn’t be considered a particularly risky activity. Maybe we can adjust that perception.
Let us know any input via email or GitHub, and we’ll be glad to make updates.
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