Simplified Privacy

Guide to “Good” Nostr Relays (Tor Onions, No Big Tech, & XMR)

This is a guide to avoiding Nostr censorship by better understanding its relays.

How Relays Work

On Nostr, users both post and receive content from relays. You get to pick which ones YOU post to, but you can’t pick which ones the people you’re following post to.

HOWEVER, your client automatically figures out which relays the person you’re pulling content posts to, compared to the other people you’re following. And then the client automatically pulls all these together from the SAME relay to make it faster.

This means that if you only post to unpopular relays, you’re technically slowing down the speed of your followers because you’re forcing them to connect to yet another server to pull content. However, if you only post to the most popular relays, there are censorship with those popular providers having all the power.

Therefore, Simplified Privacy recommends posting to BOTH popular and unpopular ones, so you can achieve both a mix of censorship resistance and speed. In general, Nostr users lack adversarial thinking, and blindly trust Cloudflare and Hetzner.

Can Nostr be censored?

There’s a few ways Nostr can be censored. The first way is that the bulk of the relays are same large cloud companies (Cloudflare, Hetzner, & Amazon). So although they are technically different servers, it’s easy to collude. There’s 2 answers to this problem.

Tor Onion Relays

The first answer is to post and receive from Tor Onion relays.

For this you’ll need to get Tor from somewhere, it could be Whonix, Tails, Torify, Orbot on mobile, ParrotOS, or others. You might want to check our guide to using Nostr with Tor.

Here’s a list of SOME of the many Tor Relays that exist:

oxtrdevav64z64yb7x6rjg4ntzqjhedm5b5zjqulugknhzr46ny2qbad.onion,

bitcoinr6de5lkvx4tpwdmzrdfdpla5sya2afwpcabjup2xpi5dulbad.onion, 2jsnlhfnelig5acq6iacydmzdbdmg7xwunm4xl6qwbvzacw4lwrjmlyd.onion, skzzn6cimfdv5e2phjc4yr5v7ikbxtn5f7dkwn5c7v47tduzlbosqmqd.onion,

nostrland2gdw7g3y77ctftovvil76vquipymo7tsctlxpiwknevzfid.onion

Tor Onion Negatives

Tor Onion Relays with Linux clients completely deprive governments of the ability to censor, but come at the price of connection speed and convincing Nostr users with low threat models (Apple, Google phones, Windows) to use Tor. This is why I am a big fan of Session messenger as a Telegram supplement to Nostr, because the built-in “app only” onion routing with cross-platform support outside of Google/Apple notifications is easy for new adopters to use.

Variety of Cloud companies

The second solution is the post and receive from a variety of cloud companies. You can figure out what company it is from a DNS lookup, or check out my full list where I did the work for you. Here’s some of the better ones from smaller companies:

Bytefilter

wss://nostr.sethforprivacy.com/

swissns GmbH

wss://nostr.thank.eu/

Nubes
wss://nostr21.com

Bitcoin Censorship

Another way Nostr can be censored is by forcing the use of Bitcoin lightning to post on popular relays. This would/could be done as a way of potentially censoring out altcoins from conversations in the future. This censorship would NOT be framed in the context of censorship, but they would propagandize it as just monetization of Nostr’s popularity.

The way around this censorship is to start posting to paid Monero relays now, and to encourage people to read from at least one of them. Pluja of KYCnot.me has open sourced his framework for relays. Here’s 3 of them:

Contabo, but not popular

xmr.ithurtswhenip.ee

Pluja’s official instance is Cloudflared, but the most popular:

xmr.usenostr.org

Amazon

portemonero.com

I recommend you post to xmr.ithurtswhenip.ee and follow it, because its a double-slam of no cloudflare and XMR. However, its not popular yet. Let’s show him love.

Conclusion

Take your freedom technology to next level, follow Simplified Privacy on Nostr:
npub14slk4lshtylkrqg9z0dvng09gn58h88frvnax7uga3v0h25szj4qzjt5d6

Are you brand new to Nostr? Consider this video guide.

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