[tor-relays] [WARN] Your computer is too slow to handle this many circuit creation requests

Roger Dingledine arma at mit.edu
Wed Feb 21 21:51:35 UTC 2018

On Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 01:13:00PM +0000, Vasilis wrote:
> I see a number of warning log messages on a dedicated server:
> [WARN] Your computer is too slow to handle this many circuit creation requests!

You get that warning message when there are too many create cells coming
in, and your relay ends up sending back preemptively destroy cells for
some of them. That is, it tries to estimate internally how long it will
take to handle the current queue of create cells, and if the queue gets
so big that the one that just arrived will take several seconds before
it can be processed, Tor just sends back a destroy cell instead, and
gives you this warn.

The flood of circuits created by the ddos storm will be causing this
sort of warning sometimes. For example, my FreeBogatov relay gets 30-70
million create requests per 6 hours, and when that number goes over
about 100 million, there are times where it can't keep up.

(Careful though because the heartbeat message about number of circuits
does not count circuits that come from client connections. That is, the
circuits in the heartbeat count are only circuits that come via other
relays. So non-Guards are giving you a reasonably accurate count, and
Guards are leaving out an unknown number of circuits from their count,
and that unknown number could be quite large.)

Ultimately, the fix needs to be that more and more relays upgrade to a
version of Tor tht includes the DDoS mitigation. One of the main goals
of the mitigation is not to help *your* relay in particular, since hey
maybe your relay is huge and it can keep up, but rather to slow down the
mass of circuits heading towards *other* relays after yours.

That is, you need *other* relays to deploy the mitigation in order to
help you.

> Setting the NumCPUs option to the actual number of CPUs (2) didn't help.

Are you sure you only have 2 cores? These days each cpu has many cores,
so a system with 2 cpus could easily have 8 cores.

> Is this hardware really too old/slow to run a relay on one ethernet Gigabit link?

Well, there are times where it isn't able to keep up. But if you turn
off the relay or turn down its capacity, then it will just increase the
load on the other relays. So I think we shouldn't worry too much about
these warnings during this period of overload.

Oh, I guess I should ask: are you using or a version with
the ddos mitigation? If not, that's a clear next step.


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