Use Cases

There a many ways to use OnionBalance to increase the scalability, reliability and security of your onion service. The following are some examples of what is possible.

Current Deployments

SKS Keyserver Pool
Kristian Fiskerstrand has set up a hidden service keyserver pool which connects users to one of the available hidden service key servers.

Other Examples

  • A popular onion service with an overloaded web server or Tor process

    A service such as Facebook which gets a large number of users would like to distribute client requests across multiple servers as the load is too much for a single Tor instance to handle. They would also like to balance between instances when the ‘encrypted services’ proposal is implemented [2555].

  • Redundancy and automatic failover

    A political activist would like to keep their web service accessible and secure in the event that the secret police seize some of their servers. Clients should ideally automatically fail-over to another online instances with minimal service disruption.

  • Secure Onion Service Key storage

    An onion service operator would like to compartmentalize their permanent onion key in a secure location separate to their Tor process and other services. With this proposal permanent keys could be stored on an independent, isolated system.

Research

Ceysun Sucu has analysed OnionBalance and other approaches to hidden service scaling in his masters thesis Tor: Hidden Service Scaling. The thesis provides a good overview of current approaches. It is a recommended read for those interested in higher performance hidden services.