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What Is VPN Over TOR? How to Use It?

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It’s quite long debates going on these days; I thought I might summarize the little. Most people get confused about the working environment of the Tor network.

I have just found that people keep searching for things like;

  • Tor over VPN?
  • Onion over VPN?
  • Tor + VPN what to expect?
  • TOR Vs. VPN, which is the best?

If you have the same kind of questions in your mind, then keep reading.

Tor Vs. VPN | What’s The Main Difference?

The first thing to understand is that Tor and VPN are different networks.

Where Tor provides anonymity through;

  • No tracking is allowed through the browser
  • Secure your footprints
  • Provide another identity from its servers
  • Layer-to-Layer protection
  • No restriction on any site

People mostly get confused when they see another IP and access to a blocked site. That is one of the functions provided by VPN, but that’s not all about it.

How Tor Works

It’s not a simple thing to get familiar with that easily. Tor builds a connection between your device to its onion network. After it’s connected, it will drive all of your browsing data through its relay and node system.

For example: if you hit “facebook.com” by using Tor, it will send that request through its different layer of nodes until it reaches the desired location, in this case, is the Facebook server.

It will be hard to find out where that request comes from by routing your traffic node to node.

What’s The Issue With Tor?

There are many issues while you are browsing around on the Tor network. Here are a few examples;

  • Pathetic user experience
  • Connection building takes several minutes to connect
  • Browsing speed reduced by 70%, which is frustrating
  • NO data encryption provided
  • Your ISP can see that you are using Tor Browser

These are the significant problems with the Tor browser; if you are looking for anonymity, then Use VPN + Tor. That’s the best combination to use.

Now let’s talk about VPN (Virtual Private Network)

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

VPN is the best tech that provides data encryption; you can encrypt all internet traffic just once using a VPN. If you are using Tor, it will only offer the anonymity of your browsing history or searches. But VPN provides the full encryption protocol to your device or systems.

How VPN Works:

VPN does almost the same behavior as Tor. It’s an advanced tech that offers encryption. VPN first connects you with its server as you picked. Once you have joined, it will drive all the internet through that tunnel.

As the Tor process, VPN does almost the same thing. It will drive your internet traffic through a different layer, but in the VPN case, it will be encrypted with encryption.

Example: If you hit “facebook.com” when you connect to VPN service, it will wrap this request with encryption protocol and look like this “%^HgyE^rH*$3$” and then send it to the Facebook server. VPN provides 256bit encryption, also known as military-grade encryption; nobody ever finds out what that was.

Features Of VPN:

VPN comes with some great features if you use a trustworthy VPN provider. Otherwise, it’s a significant risk. Many fake VPN providers are involved in hacking user data.

  • 256 Bit Encryption protocols
  • Unblock any site you want
  • Watch US Netflix from anywhere
  • Other streaming channels also be available
  • Anonymous and secure browsing
  • Download unlimited torrents
  • Kill switch and DNS leak protection included

Note: only choose a trustworthy VPN provider that provides that kind of stuff. Don’t get involved in free and fake stuff.

Issues With VPN:

VPNs are undoubtedly great security tools. However, there still might be slight issues to using a VPN service such as:

  1. Many VPN providers claim to offer strict security and an even strict no-logs policy. However, they have ended up abusing the privacy of their users. 
  2. VPNs are not accessible by everyone as you have to pay to subscribe to a service. Often these payments are high, and therefore not everyone can use them. 
  3. Some VPN providers offer excellent services; however, they have a shady logging policy as they may retain some parts of your information and sell it. 
  4. Not all VPN providers offer the best encryptions. Some may provide weak encryption, which is again bad for security. 

Although these issues are indeed something to put into consideration, however, using a legitimate VPN service can help overcome them 

VPN+ Tor / what to expect?

Tor and VPN are both considered to be essential security tools. They both can be used to gain privacy and anonymity online. Therefore, what happens when you combine both of them?

I tested out this theory, and just as my expectations, the result is indeed great. Once combined, they can ensure privacy and security much more effectively, as VPN cancels out all the negativities of TOR. 

You are aware that Tor only protects your data with a layer of concealment that falls so fat the end node- after which the data goes on unprotected. If you use Tor with a VPN, the protection level increases as VPNs make an encrypted tunnel through which the information travels. Therefore any chance of snoopers snooping on your data is eliminated. 

Apart from that, with Tor, you might have experienced that connection speeds become significantly low. This can be because of the ISPs who detect the use of Tor and start throttling your bandwidth. 

However, with a VPN, your ISP will be unaware of your reactivity altogether because of the encrypted tunnel. Therefore it won’t throttle you. This way, you will not experience any speed issues. 

Tor over VPN- which is better?

Choosing which security tool to opt for can be hard to consider at times. Therefore I have compiled a table which sums up everything and allows you to choose wisely. I have rated every feature with a “yes” and “no” comment. 

S.NoFeatures to consider VPNTOR
1Browsing SpeedYesNo 
2Compatibility on various platforms Yes No 
3P2P file sharing (Torrenting)Yes No 
4 Anonymity Yes  Yes 
5Data EncryptionYes No 
6User-friendlyYes No 
7Easy on the pocket price$2.6/m No
8Bypass restrictionYes Yes 
9Support team Yes No 

Final words

Tor and VPNs are both great tools to obtain privacy and security. However, by now, you might have a clearer picture of which is a tool you should go for. Therefore no matter what tool you choose, VPNs or Tor, ensure that your privacy over the internet remains intact. 

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Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.

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