A quarter-cut red onion (like the Tor logo).

Ctrl blog is now available as an Onion site

Ctrl blog is now available in the Tor Browser on the Onion network. Tor is a specialized program that anonymizes the network routes and contents of your internet traffic. Tor makes it difficult for governments, internet service providers, and others to identify or block specific websites. It can be used to increase privacy, routing security, and to route around censorship.

You need a specialized web browser called Tor Browser (for Android, Linux, macOS, and Windows) to access Onion sites. You can also use the special Private Window with Tor mode in the Brave Browser (Linux, macOS, and Windows versions only). Note that the Tor Browser offers better privacy protections than Brave with Tor mode.

In and , Ctrl blog was intermittently blocked in China over a dozen times. Turkey blocked Ctrl blog’s CDN for five days in . Ctrl blog was unavailable for some visitors in after temporarily having been placed on a piracy block list for 12 days (unknown reason), and on a list of websites spreading malware for 9 days (unknown reason). Russia threatened to block Ctrl blog’s email provider in .

These blocks have likely been the result of automated systems. I don’t believe I’ve published anything on Ctrl blog that has resulted in it being targeted by any government. However, I have admittedly written some articles about technologies (including VPNs and crypto-currencies) that are banned in some countries (including some of those mentioned above). However, it’s no fun being blocked and it exposes some uncomfortable realities about national takes on internet governance.

I’ve decided to offer an Onion site mirror to help ensure global availability and help protect people’s anonymity. I’ve had the Onion site mirror ready to go for over nine months. I wanted a backup plan ready to go if something ever happens to the primary domain name. However, I didn’t ever publish the mirror address anywhere except the /mirrors.txt file. Until very recently, the Tor Browser didn’t have a simple method for mapping ICANN DNS names to Onion domains.

If you visit the primary domain (ctrl.blog) in the Tor Browser, it will display a badge in the address field that will take you to the Tor address. This feature was introduced in Tor Browser 9.5 and is powered by the new Onion-Location HTTP response header.

Instead of visiting https://www.ctrl.blog/ in your web browser, you can visit the following address using a Tor-capable web browser:

http://v65ngaoj2nyaiq2ltf4uzota254gnasarrkuj4aqndi2bb5lw6frt3ad.onion

Please note that the address uses http: and not https:. There’s no need to use HTTPS as the Onion network already uses end-to-end encryption when communicating with Onion addresses (any .onion domain). It’s possible to add one extra layer of protection using HTTPS encryption. However, purchasing HTTPS certificates for .onion domain names is prohibitively expensive.

The Onion site has a few extra privacy protections compared to the main website. Ctrl blog is designed to only load strictly necessary third-party resources. The main website displays ads, and a handful of articles include YouTube videos. The Onion site doesn’t have any ads and displays links to external videos instead of embedding them on the page. Please consider becoming a patron if you’d like to see Ctrl blog become completely ad-free.

You may, of course, continue to access Ctrl blog through the primary address via Tor. However, you’ll miss out on the extra privacy-protections and the website may be slower to load. Tor relies on so-called “exit node” servers when talking with regular websites. These servers are where Tor traffic exits onto the regular internet. Low capacity at these nodes may sometimes cause Tor to slow down.

You can always find an updated list of available mirrors at ctrl.blog/mirrors.txt. Mirrors may change over time.