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Standalone monitoring node

Onionprobe comes with full monitoring environment based on Docker Compose with:

  • An Onionprobe instance continuously monitoring endpoints.
  • Metrics are exported to a Prometheus instance.
  • Alerts are managed using Alertmanager.
  • A Grafana Dashboard is available for browsing the metrics and using a PostgreSQL service container as the database backend.

Configuring the monitoring node

By default, the monitoring node periodically compiles the Onionprobe configuration from the official Tor Project Onion Services into contrib/tpo.yaml, by using the script.

This and other configurations can be changed by creating an .env file in the toplevel project folder.

Check the sample .env for an example.

Starting the monitoring node

The monitoring node may be started using docker-compose:

docker-compose up -d   # Remove "-d" to not fork into the background
docker-compose logs -f # View container logs

The monitoring node sets up storage volumes, which means that the monitoring dataset collected is persistent across service container reboots.

Accessing the monitoring dashboards and the exporter

Once the dashboards are started, point your browser to the following addresses if you're running locally:

  • The built-in Prometheus dashboard: http://localhost:9090
  • The built-in Alertmanager dashboard: http://localhost:9093
  • The built-in Grafana dashboard: http://localhost:3030
  • The built-in Onionprobe Prometheus exporter: http://localhost:9935

These services are also automatically exported as Onion Services, which addresses can be discovered by running the following commands when the services are running:

docker exec -ti onionprobe_tor_1 cat /var/lib/tor/prometheus/hostname
docker exec -ti onionprobe_tor_1 cat /var/lib/tor/alertmanager/hostname
docker exec -ti onionprobe_tor_1 cat /var/lib/tor/grafana/hostname
docker exec -ti onionprobe_tor_1 cat /var/lib/tor/onionprobe/hostname

You can also get this info from the host by browsing directly the onionprobe_tor volume.

It's also possible to replace the automatically generated Onion Service addresses by using keys with vanity addresses using a tool like Onionmine.

Protecting the monitoring dashboards and the exporter

By default, all dashboards and the are accessible without credentials.

You can protect them by setting up Client Authorization:

  1. Enter in the tor service container: docker exec -ti onionprobe_tor_1 /bin/bash.
  2. Setup your client credentials according to the docs. The tor service container already comes with all programs to generate it. Onionprobe ships with a handy generate-auth-keys-for-all-onion-services available at the tor service container and which can be invoked with docker exec -ti onionprobe_tor_1 /usr/local/bin/generate-auth-keys-for-all-onion-services (it also accepts an optional auth name parameter allowing multiple credentials to be deployed).
  3. Place the .auth files at the Onion Services authorized_clients folder if you did not create them with the generate-auth-keys-for-all-onion-services script:
    • Prometheus: /var/lib/tor/prometheus/authorized_clients.
    • Alertmanager: /var/lib/tor/alertmanager/authorized_clients.
    • Grafana: /var/lib/tor/grafana/authorized_clients.
    • Onionprobe: /var/lib/tor/onionprobe/authorized_clients.
  4. Restart the tor service container from the host to ensure that this new configuration is applied:
    docker compose stop tor
    docker compose up -d

Note that the Grafana dashboard also comes with it's own user management system, whose default user and password is admin. You might change this default user and not setup the Client Authorization for Grafana, or maybe use both depending or your security needs.

Managing the monitoring node with systemd

The monitoring node can be managed with systemd. A sample service file is provided and can be adapted..

Using the monitoring node

Once your monitoring node is up and running, you can create your dashboards an visualizations as usual, getting the data compiled by Onionprobe using Prometheus as the data source.

Grafana already comes with a basic default dashboard as it's homepage.


Onion Service latency:

Onion Service descriptors:

Introduction Points:

Enabling Tor's Prometheus metrics exporter

For debugging and research purposes, Onionprobe support Tor's MetricsPort and MetricsPortPolicy configuration parameters, along with a Prometheus, Alertmanager and Grafana integrations.

These Tor parameters are available on Onionprobe as metrics_port and metrics_port_policy configuration or command line parameters.

WARNING: Before enabling this, it is important to understand that exposing tor metrics publicly is dangerous to the Tor network users. Please take extra precaution and care when opening this port. Set a very strict access policy with MetricsPortPolicy and consider using your operating systems firewall features for defense in depth.

We recommend, for the prometheus format, that the only address that can access this port should be the Prometheus server itself. Remember that the connection is unencrypted (HTTP) hence consider using a tool like stunnel to secure the link from this port to the server.

These settings are disabled by default. To enable it in the monitoring node, follow the steps below.

1. Onionprobe configuration

At the Onionprobe config you're using (like configs/tor.yaml), set metrics_port and metrics_port_policy to some sane values.

The most basic, non-recommended example:

# The following should work by default for Docker containers in the
# subnet.
metrics_port: ''
metrics_port_policy: 'accept'

Another basic, non-recommended example:

# The folloing should work by default for a local network, including local
# Docker containers (not recommended):
metrics_port: ''
metrics_port_policy: 'accept,accept,accept'

A safer, more restricted and recommended example:

# This will allow only the host to connect, and requires
# that the Prometheus service containers binds to this IP address.
metrics_port: ''
metrics_port_policy: 'accept'

2. Docker Compose configuration

It's recommended metrics_port_policy to be the most restricted as possible, bound to a single IP address.

To do that, edit docker-compose.yaml and ensure that the prometheus container have a fixed IP like the from the example above. This can be done by uncommenting the following lines:

    # Use a static network IP to allow Prometheus to collect MetricsPort data
    # from onionprobe's Tor process.


  # Use a static network range to allow Prometheus to collect MetricsPort data
  # from onionprobe's Tor process.
          - subnet:

3. Applying the configuration

Once you have set the configuration, stop and then restart all containers for the configuration to take effect.

The metrics should then be automatically available on Prometheus, Alertmanager and Grafana.

Check the MetricsPort documentation for more information.