[tor-project] Onion sites vs onion services vs hidden services

Alison macrina at riseup.net
Wed May 4 13:54:35 UTC 2016

Roger Dingledine:
> On Wed, May 04, 2016 at 07:34:38AM +0000, Colin Childs wrote:
>> Just to clarify, the feedback I received was that "Onion Service" is
>> generally the preferred term; however "Onion site" could be used as a
>> sub-class of "Onion Service" to refer exclusively to websites. Due to
>> this, the user manual[1] has been changed to use the term "Onion Service".
> Right. Onion site is a fine name for an onion service that is served
> by a webserver (akin to the word 'website').
> The phrase onion site, like the word website, reinforces the "consumer"
> model of the Internet. Onion services are inherently better at being
> peer-to-peer (that is, bidirectional rather than unidirectional)
> compared to ordinary Internet services, because they ignore NAT, and
> because their addressing scheme is independent from static IP addresses.
> As Yawning pointed out, Ricochet is a great example of an onion service,
> but there's no webserver serving pages, so my Ricochet client is not an
> onion site.
> At least, that's the terminology we seem to have converged on. There
> is still time to change it if people feel strongly enough.
>> That said, we are still very inconsistent about how we use these terms
>> in many other places.
> Agreed. I had an idea to do the terminology switchover on the Tor website
> just before the 32c3 onion services talk, and then announce it there.
> I didn't get enough momentum to do it then, but I'm still a fan.
> --Roger

Thanks for clarifying. I didn't realize before now that we were using
onion services and onion sites distinctly, but it makes sense given the
use cases. In any case, let's be consistent, and I think we should also
have a glossary of terms in the support docs.


More information about the tor-project mailing list