Tor and a VPN are both technologies that make it more difficult for snoopers to trace you using a mix of proxies and encryption. While they are comparable in some ways, the primary distinction is that Tor is used for anonymity, while a VPN is used for privacy. Both may be used in conjunction to enhance both privacy and anonymity. This post will discuss the best Tor VPN and how to use it.
How to use Tor in conjunction with a VPN
We’ll use Tor Browser as an example, however, connecting to Tor may be accomplished in a variety of methods. After installing the Tor Browser, you will be able to:
How to utilize a VPN with Tor is as follows:
- Join a VPN service. NordVPN is our top suggestion.
- Install the VPN application.
- Start the application and choose a VPN server.
- Connect by pressing the Connect button and waiting for the app to verify the connection.
- Surf the web with the Tor Browser.
Your internet traffic is routed via the VPN server and then through the Tor network under this configuration. This implies that your data is encrypted twice before it leaves your device: first by Tor and then again by the VPN. Your internet service provider cannot see what was sent across the VPN’s encrypted tunnel and hence cannot identify the usage of Tor.
We rated the top Tor-compatible VPN using the following criteria:
- Tor-specific features.
- No logs are kept as per policy.
- Security encryption.
- Methods of payment that are anonymous.
- Connection rates that are rapid.
VPNs to avoid if you use Tor
Due to lax logging procedures that have resulted in the arrest of at least one user in the past and more intrusive data retention legislation recently approved in the UK, anybody who values privacy and anonymity should avoid the England-based VPN company HideMyAss.
Tor over VPN vs VPN over Tor
Is it better to use a VPN over Tor or a VPN over Tor? Both have their benefits in terms of security and usability. We’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks here.
Tor over VPN
Tor over VPN is as simple as connecting to a VPN and using the Tor browser to access the internet. Both Tor and the VPN encrypt your traffic before it leaves your device. The traffic flow is as follows:
My device –> VPN and Tor encryption –> VPN server –> Internet –> Tor Network
- Your ISP is unaware that you are utilizing Tor.
- Neither your ISP nor your VPN provider can monitor your traffic.
- Simple to assemble. Simply connect to a VPN and activate the Tor browser.
- Access to webpages ending in .onion.
- Ability to utilize VPN alone with a standard browser for non-critical activities.
- Tor entry nodes are unable to see the user’s genuine IP address.
- Websites have the ability to prohibit traffic from Tor exit nodes.
- VPNs have the ability to see (and presumably record) your genuine IP address.
- Allows traffic to be exposed to compromised Tor exit nodes.
Note that NordVPN and BolehVPN, when utilizing their Tor-over-VPN-enabled servers, might theoretically examine your traffic before it is encrypted by the Tor network. The trade-off is that all traffic may be routed via Tor without the need to configure specific programs to utilize Tor.
VPN with Tor
VPN over Tor is more complicated to configure since the VPN server must be configured. As far as we are aware, only AirVPN provides this feature. The traffic flow is as follows:
My device –> VPN and Tor encryption –> Internet –> Tor network –> VPN server
- Neither your ISP nor your VPN provider can monitor your traffic.
- Access to websites and applications that are ordinarily inaccessible through Tor exit nodes.
- VPNs are unable to see your genuine IP address.
- Not susceptible to compromise via compromised Tor exit nodes.
- Without individual settings, all traffic is routed via Tor.
- Tor exit nodes make no packet discrimination.
- ISPs are aware that you are utilizing Tor.
- Setup is difficult and needs the aid of a VPN provider.
- No access to webpages ending in .onion.
- Your true IP address is visible in the Tor entry node.
- Because it is not application-specific, it prevents users from running P2P or other apps outside of the Tor network without disabling the VPN.
Methodology: Identifying the best Tor VPNs
If you’re using Tor, you’re probably interested in privacy. However, this is not the only factor to consider when selecting a VPN; you’ll also want one that offers fast connections, stable performance, and the capacity to operate in the shadows. The following are the essential qualities we considered while suggesting the top Tor VPN:
- Security: Providers must have a minimum of 256-bit encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak prevention, and a kill switch to make our list. We also emphasized VPNs that have their own anti-surveillance techniques or cloaking capabilities, since they might theoretically provide access to Tor from anywhere on the globe.
- Privacy: Along with the techniques mentioned before, we demand that our top VPN adhere to a no-logs policy. This guarantees that your actions will never be disclosed. Many of the sites also enable you to pay anonymously, which adds another degree of security.
- Speed: Tor is notoriously sluggish, so it’s critical that we don’t further limit speeds by employing a subpar VPN. The service mentioned above fared quite well in our latest VPN speed tests, but it’s important to keep in mind that its performance is restricted by your base connection speed.
- Unblocking capability: If you want to use Tor in locations where it is not accessible, or just access geo-restricted services while traveling, unblocking capability is critical. To ensure that we can only suggest the most adaptable VPNs, we tested them against a variety of platforms, including HBO Max, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.
- Usability: It goes without saying that the VPN should offer applications for the most prevalent OS systems. Anything that improves the service’s usability is a great plus. This might be due to dedicated Tor over VPN servers, round-the-clock customer assistance, or the absence of connection limitations.
FAQs on VPNs for Tor
Why should I use a VPN in conjunction with Tor?
A VPN encrypts all data sent and received by a device and routes it via a remote server located in the location of your choice. This generates a new IP address for the user, which is a string of numbers and decimals that is unique to a device and may be used to determine the user’s location. Due to encryption, internet service providers are unable to track your behavior.
Meanwhile, most reputable VPN companies maintain a “no logs” policy. VPNs require a degree of faith that the provider will not monitor user traffic or give in to businesses, hackers, or governments requesting user information. While your behavior is private, it is not always anonymous.
Tor encrypts user traffic and routes it via a network of volunteer-run nodes called the Tor network. Each time a new website request is issued, the path changes, making it very hard to trace the user. Unlike a VPN service, there is no central authority controlling the flow of traffic, and hence no need for trust.
However, since these entrance and exit nodes are fully documented, your ISP and destination server can readily determine whether you’re using Tor. Certain ISPs, websites, applications, and governments will completely restrict traffic to and from Tor entry and exit nodes. Simply connecting to the Tor network may result in your name being put on an ISP’s naughty list in some countries. This implies that although your behavior is anonymous, it is not completely private.
Speedier VPNs are better suited to video streaming, torrenting, and other download-intensive operations. Tor is better suited for anonymous web surfing and accessing DarkNet .onion websites.
Further, Tor and a VPN may be used in conjunction for security and flexibility. Both can encrypt traffic and route it first via the Tor network and then through a VPN (VPN over Tor), or vice versa (Tor over VPN). We’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of both settings later, but first, let’s discuss which VPNs are best for Tor users. While combining Tor with a VPN enhances anonymity and privacy, it has a greater effect on connection speed and latency than using either one alone.
Is it possible to use a free VPN with Tor?
True, but you may inadvertently do more damage than good. Nothing technically prevents you from connecting to a free VPN provider and launching the Tor browser.
Be suspicious of free VPNs. They seem appealing on the surface, but in fact, they often utilize inferior encryption, lack security, require users to connect through queues, and impose data or bandwidth limitations on customers. They often have fewer servers and IP addresses, which makes tracing individual users simpler. Many insert advertisements and tracking cookies into users’ browsers, jeopardizing rather than enhancing their privacy.
Is Tor a free VPN service?
Tor is a free service, but it is not a VPN. While both Tor and VPN are forms of encrypted proxies, there are a few critical distinctions.
Tor connections are encrypted several times and routed via a randomized sequence of volunteer Tor network nodes. Tor may also be used to browse the dark web’s.onion domains.
A basic VPN encrypts and directs your connection via a single server. The VPN business operates that server, and the user has more control over the server’s location. It cannot be used to access dark web onion sites.
Is it possible for me to be monitored if I use Tor?
Tor is not impervious to assaults that may be used to monitor users. The majority of these assaults target an exit node—the last server relay in the chain.
Such assaults, on the other hand, are often expensive, focused, and would need a well-resourced foe to carry them. For the great majority of users, Tor’s anonymity and security are more than enough.
Bear in mind that if users are not cautious, they might potentially pose a danger to their own privacy. Tor cannot prevent monitoring if you use your genuine email address and password to check in to a website, for example.
Which is the best free VPN for deep web browsing?
Do not entrust your privacy to free VPNs. If you don’t want to spend money, it’s best to trial a premium VPN and cancel before the warranty expires.
Is it legal to use a VPN in conjunction with Tor?
Yes, in the great majority of nations, it is entirely legal to use a VPN, Tor, or both together. If you’re unsure about the laws in your country, see our page on where VPNs are prohibited.
Disclaimer: While we’ve spent several hours researching this subject, we make no claim to be legal experts. Nothing on this page should be construed as legal advice, and we recommend you do your own research if you have any doubts regarding the legality of VPNs (or Tor itself) in your country.
Is Tor a secure network?
Tor is commonly recognized as a secure software application. It employs robust, multilayer encryption and removes many potential security flaws prevalent in other browsers, such as scripting and tracking cookies. While a well-funded opponent may theoretically use correlation to identify Tor users, the overwhelming majority of users would not face such a danger.
Should I use Tor just for browsing?
You can attempt it, but it is unlikely to succeed. Numerous websites explicitly restrict connections from Tor exit nodes. Due to Tor’s script blocking and cookie erasure, many websites become uncomfortable or completely unusable. You’re likely to face a slew of more CAPTCHAs. Additionally, Tor connections are sluggish, which means that websites will take longer to load and movies will often pause to buffer.
Is Tor compatible with iOS and Android?
For Android devices, the Google Play Store now includes an official first-party Tor browser. You might also consider Orbot, which is a third-party program but has a longer history.
iOS users are limited to a third-party browser or the Onion Browser. It is an open-source browser that has the support of the Tor Project. However, one must presume that it suffers from the same iOS limitations that have hindered the introduction of an official Tor Browser.