Stem Docs

East of the Sun & West of the Moon

East of the Sun & West of the Moon

The following is an overview of some of the utilities Stem provides.

Connection Resolution

Connection information is a useful tool for learning more about network applications like Tor. Our stem.util.connection.get_connections() function provides an easy method for accessing this information, with a few caveats...

  • Connection resolvers are platform specific. We support several but not not all, most notably Windows (ticket 9850).
  • By default Tor runs with a feature called DisableDebuggerAttachment. This prevents debugging applications like gdb from analyzing Tor unless it is run as root. Unfortunately this also alters the permissions of the Tor process /proc contents breaking numerous system tools (including our resolvers). To use this function you need to either run as root (discouraged) or add DisableDebuggerAttachment 0 to your torrc.

Please note that if you operate an exit relay it is highly discouraged for you to look at or record this information. Not only is doing so eavesdropping, but likely also a violation of wiretap laws.

With that out of the way, how do you look up this information? Below is a simple script that dumps Tor's present connections.

import sys

from stem.util.connection import get_connections, system_resolvers
from stem.util.system import pid_by_name

resolvers = system_resolvers()

if not resolvers:
  print("Stem doesn't support any connection resolvers on our platform.")

picked_resolver = resolvers[0]  # lets just opt for the first
print("Our platform supports connection resolution via: %s (picked %s)" % (', '.join(resolvers), picked_resolver))

tor_pids = pid_by_name('tor', multiple = True)

if not tor_pids:
  print("Unable to get tor's pid. Is it running?")
elif len(tor_pids) > 1:
  print("You're running %i instances of tor, picking the one with pid %i" % (len(tor_pids), tor_pids[0]))
  print("Tor is running with pid %i" % tor_pids[0])


for conn in get_connections(picked_resolver, process_pid = tor_pids[0], process_name = 'tor'):
  print("  %s:%s => %s:%s" % (conn.local_address, conn.local_port, conn.remote_address, conn.remote_port))
% python
Our platform supports connection resolution via: proc, netstat, sockstat, lsof, ss (picked proc)
Tor is running with pid 17303

Connections: => =>