Original Thread Archive: https://archive.is/Y2T07
Welcome to the official Project Crescent Isle thread. This thread is only
for Crescent Isle/Redchannit/Tor related issues including:
>Questions, comments, and technical support
In the classic Dreamcast RPG Skies of Arcadia, the heroes are a band of Blue Rogue air pirates; swashbucking heroes pursued across the world by an evil empire. In the middle of the game the party discovers a tiny, uncharted island in the corner of the map and they turn it into a hidden fortress paradise. A base of operations, safely hidden from their enemies in a place called Crescent Isle.
What is Crescent Isle?
It is a clearnet portal to 8chan's tor server (.onion) created by combining a specially configured proxy server called Tor2Web with an HTTP Accelerator cache, all hosted on a dedicated server and with its own domain.
What does it do?
It allows anons to potentially post on any number of imageboard .onions from the clearnet, using any browser and viewing/posting from anywhere, without needing to use Tor Browser themselves. And they can do it almost as fast as using the site on the clearnet due to the aggressive dynamic caching system that front-loads things like thumbnails and CSS.
How does it work?
There is a separate server that is currently running the open source Tor, Tor2Web, Varnish Cache, and Hitch Proxy software programs, all specially configured to play nice together and with 8chan's LynxChan software. The system uses a single .onion site as a default (this site in our case) but through the use of special custom subdomains a single Crescent Isle server can proxy traffic for any number of imageboard sites.
When you go to the site running Crescent Isle, it connects you via encrypted HTTPS to the proxy server, then Tor encrypts your traffic and connects you to the .onion site. Due to Varnish caching things like CSS, HTML, and thumbnails the site will load and function much faster than it normally would if you were connecting over Tor yourself.
What is Redchannit?
A meme, son. "Redchannit" or "Redchanit" was the name of the evil darknet site used by the badguys in the infamous #GamerGate Law and Order episode "Intimidation Game." The 2.0 version of the system has now been launched on a new server at:
How is Redchannit's Crescent Isle system configured?
The server currently has no subdomains and only serves 8chan, but we can still add other sites as time goes by. We no longer use Vanwanet and the server has been upgraded to a duocore machine with 4GB of RAM. All logging has been disabled apart from a transient cache debug log that stays in active memory and overwrites itself several times a day. Nothing is logged to disk. Varnish has been configured to send proper X-REFERER headers so that the site will now work the same as on clearnet, including mod tools and user accounts. The site uses a LetsEncrypt certificate and handles its own HTTPS now instead of needing a site like Cloudflare to do it for us.
Why is this system important?
>Server protection. The actual webserver can stay hidden, safe, and anonymous on the Tor network.
>Public portal. Even with the imageboard itself buried in the Tor network, it still has a public face with a human readable domain and doesn't require special tools to access.
>Deniability. As a public proxy Redchannit hosts nothing, stores nothing, logs nothing, and caches only to industry standards.
>Deplatforming-resistant. The argument that "this public proxy is capable of displaying content from shitlord site X" is a much harder sell to a business than "shitlord site X has Y content on its server pls deplatform." Public proxies are everywhere and even picky registrars and hosts rarely try to hold them accountable for displayed content that they do not store, especially for legal content.
>Clearnet fallback. In the event of a catastrophic deplatforming of the main site, Crescent Isle can be used (or brought online on a different server) very quickly if domain names are made public in advance.
>One or All. A single imageboard can run a Crescent Isle system very cheaply to serve as the front door to its service. It needs only a mediocre processor and ~4GB of RAM. The prototype was built and tested on a $15 DigitalOcean Droplet before being moved to a production server, and it works with Cloudflare's free DDoS protection for those so inclined. For a small, low traffic site you could run the portal on a laptop in your kitchen. A "full monty" install like Redchannit can serve as a central portal to many different sites as well, like a tor based webring or "onion ring."
>Free, open source. All of the required software is open source and free of charge. The magic is in the slightly unusual configurations which will also be made available for free, by us. If you don't trust Redchannit for whatever reason, I'll show you how to set up your own Crescent Isle.
>A VPS or Droplet with at least 4GB of RAM and a not-shit processor
>A domain name for the portal
>Debian 10 with Sudo and Nano installed
>Tor, Tor2Web, Varnish, and Hitch installed
>Properly set up tor2web.conf and varnish default.vcl config files, a letsencrypt.vcl file for Hitch
>The .onion address of your imageboard(s)
>Enough IT knowledge to do basic things like service port configurations, systemd configurations, and a little bit of C programming language for the Varnish .vcl configuration syntax.
How did you come up with this?
Zeronet has clearnet proxy sites that have been around for a while. I conceived of something like that for Tor to make a distributed imageboard system resulting in the first concept pic above. Doing further research I learned that Tor proxies like onion.ws already exist, but are widely shit on by the tor community because of them using tracking cookies and Google ads, logging and selling user IPs, eavesdropping on logins and cookies, and other sketchy things to pay their bills. Deciding the only safe way was to do it in-house, I looked into adapting their same system (tor2web) to do what I wanted. Once I got it working through a lot of trial and error (due to tor2web being effectively abandoned), combining it with an HTTP accelerator cache to speed up user experience was my idea.
The End Result
You can browse and post on 8chan anonymously via the Tor network from any clearnet connection anywhere, almost as fast as on clearnet, and the proxy and the site server both are far more resistant to being deplatformed. If you use DNS over HTTPS on top of this I think you're about as anonymous as you can get. If the .moe and .se domains get taken down you can access the site via Redchannit, and if Redchannit gets taken down another one can pop up in minutes as opposed to us having to move and restore the entire site itself. From a user standpoint the only things different are that opening files will be slightly slower due to Redchannit having to pull them from across the Tor network, and all Redchannit users will appear as Tor users with the black "00000" ID.
I'm waiting for the final release of Debian 11, which is coming in a few months, to release detailed setup instructions for the new 2.0 version. This is because all the core pieces will be available right in the repositories, so all you'll need is the Tor2Web software. We are also looking into implementing unique visible IDs for Tor users, which will allow other anons to tell them apart. This system will work with Lynxchan 2.5's new Proof of Work captcha system to control spam over both Tor and Redchannit.