If you're using Debian or Ubuntu especially, please use the Tor Project's repository, so you can easily receive updates. In addition, using the package provides other conveniences:

  • Your ulimit -n gets set to a high number, so Tor can keep open all the connections it needs.
  • The package creates and uses a separate user, so you don't need to run Tor as your own user.
  • The package includes an init script so Tor runs at boot.
  • Tor can bind to low-numbered ports, then drop privileges.