Tor is an extremely important tool for people living under oppressive governments. It allows them to get around the restrictions put in place on them, essentially allowing them access to the full, unfiltered Internet. Tor needs more relays/nodes to be more efficient and provide more bandwidth and speed for these users.
Tor is also used for illegitimate reasons, too, like torrents, all types of illegal network activity, and various other things. I believe the legit uses of Tor far outweigh the illegitimate uses.
If you can run a Tor relay/node, you should. It’s really easy to do, even on Windows.You don’t need to be an exit point, as exit points are subject to more scrutiny and usually violate most hosting provider’s TOS.
I used to run a Tor relay about a year ago but stopped, don’t even remember the reason.
The DigitalOcean relay is crazy good. It’s amazing how much data passes through it, I’ve got the bandwidth speed limits set pretty high.
I’ve currently got two months of free DigitalOcean hosting, that I’m not really doing anything with, so I figured I might as well run a tor relay, especially since DigitalOcean seems to be OK with customers running them.
After my two free months of DigitalOcean run out, it should cost me about $5/month to keep the droplet (DigitalOcean’s weird name for a vm) to use for small projects when needed, and to run as a dedicated tor relay.
If you can afford an extra $5/month, you should look into doing the same. It’s good to help when you can.