Skip to content

The main difference between Tor and VPN : Tor is free, encrypts browser requests, slow, no access to all sites, can get you in trouble. VPNs are fast, encrypt all traffic, access any Internet site, control over your intended location. Multiple VPN tools and service providers available, only one Tor browser network.

A VPN establishes a fixed tunnel between two known endpoints via a predefined route. Tor creates a random tunnel over a random route between a known endpoint and one of a number of randomly chosen endpoints. Tor and routing traffic is always encrypted; VPN traffic is almost always encrypted but does not have to be.

Online privacy is a growing concern among Internet users. In a January 2019 survey, 53% of online users said they were more concerned about their online privacy this year than they were the previous year.

With these growing concerns, online users are turning to various software methods such as proxy sites, alternate browsers, and private networks. Choosing can be difficult, so we created a guide that compares the benefits and drawbacks of two of the most popular options: Tor and VPN.

A VPN and the Tor network have many similarities, but they serve different purposes.

Both make use of proxies, which act as relays for internet connections. This conceals the user’s true IP address and location from third parties, making it difficult to track the user.

They also both use encryption, which scrambles the contents of data sent to and from the internet so that third parties who intercept the data cannot decipher it.

So, what is the distinction between Tor and a VPN, and which should you use?

In general, VPNs emphasize privacy, whereas Tor emphasizes anonymity. While there is some overlap between these two concepts, consider this: anonymity conceals who you are, while privacy conceals what you do.

A VPN encrypts your connection and routes it through an intermediary server in a different location of your choosing. The VPN provider manages this server.

Tor encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a random sequence of volunteer-run servers.

Whatever your reason for wanting to remain anonymous online, you’re likely to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Tor browser. These are two of the most popular options among those who are concerned about the security of their digital identity.

But, if you have to pick just one, which is the best?

To put it simply, Tor is ideal for those who need to send sensitive data. A VPN is usually a better option for everyday use because it strikes a good balance between connection speed, convenience, and privacy.

A2A: A good analogy is to make between the Tor network and a VPN. (The Tor browser is not the only one that can connect to the Tor Network.) Traffic to and from the Tor network is encrypted in the same way that it is for a VPN. As a result, both prevent snooping on your LAN or by your ISP.

However, because of the way the Tor network is implemented, it cannot provide good performance. It is designed primarily for anonymous communication. On the other hand, very fast VPN connections are possible. VPN is far superior for general web browsing and file downloads.

Why do we need to know the Differences

Many people consider Tor and VPN to be the same term or thing because they perform similar functions, but in reality, tor and VPN are quite different in many ways.

Because both are responsible for accessing blocked or restricted content, the virtual proxy network, or VPN, is faster than the tor in browsing content. The main differences between Tor and VPN can be found in the surfshark guide Tor vs VPN.

When we talk about the TOR, the term comes from the project onion router. The onion browser gets its name from the fact that your data is routed through several security layers, much like different layers of an onion.

Tor’s primary function is to protect the user from tracking and data monitoring tools used by various websites.

Tor has its own network, which can be accessed by using a Tor browser. When you request information through the browser, the browser will choose a random node and connect to it, and then the selected node will choose another random node, and so on.

Because this process occurs at random, there is a very low risk of being tracked by various traffic analyses.

What is the difference between Tor and VPN

A standard internet connection is not encrypted by default, and it connects your device directly to the destination website, app, or service.

Tor and VPN both encrypt data before it leaves your device and route it through proxy servers to hide your IP address and location. Incoming data follows the same procedure as outgoing data.

The key difference between Tor and a VPN is how there are multiple VPN tools and service providers available but only one Tor browser network.

Tor relies on a decentralized layer of independent nodes to transfer data securely, while VPN software connects to a central server to provide a secure VPN tunnel.

Another common difference between the two is the specifics of their use.

If your online activity is related to the transmission of extremely sensitive information or might get you in trouble in countries with strict censorship laws, Tor is the best option to go for.

The reason is obvious, since VPN providers still have to be registered, pay taxes, and comply with legislation.

If you simply want to ensure your anonymity and secure access when traveling or working from home, then a VPN is your most suitable choice.

You can use these two technologies at the same time to achieve the highest level of privacy.

This will open up a Tor through a VPN connection so you can access the benefits of each. However, this is probably only to be advised if you are a technologically advanced online user.

Tor and VPN are used to protect your privacy when you connect to the internet.

TOR and VPN each have their own set of features. They both have some advantages and disadvantages.

Choosing between them is dependent on the task at hand; in this article, we will discuss the differences between them and highlight the benefits and drawbacks of both with appropriate descriptions.

A virtual private network (VPN) is a technology that protects your online privacy by routing your connection through a server that hides your IP address and encrypts your communication.

Tor’s network functions similarly to a VPN. Messages to and from your computer are routed through the Tor network rather than connecting directly to Internet resources. Tor, on the other hand, provides anonymity where VPNs provide privacy.

VPNs are used to change our IP addresses, while TORs are used to hide our IP addresses. Anyone can trace our information via VPN, but no one can trace your information while using TOR.

Your apparent IP address will vary depending on the exit node assigned to you at random when you start Tor, and there will be an unknown number of intermediate nodes (controlled by unknown parties) between you and the exit node, resulting in an unpredictable amount of latency. There is no guarantee of service quality. There is also no need to log in.

If you want to avoid the limitations imposed by some hosting websites (such as those that only allow you to download one file every X minutes or hours), simply tell Tor to find a new exit node before each download.

A network is a collection of computers that communicate with one another. The router in your home directs traffic (information) to the computer that requires it. Aside from providing Internet access (even if no Internet is available), your router can allow every computer in your home to share files and information.

The Internet can be viewed as a single large router. Every piece of information you send online is stamped with a destination, just like a letter. Your router, along with several other routers on the Internet, transports your data to its destination. It can be compared to a large mail sorting company.

Anything that can be done on the Internet can be done at home with your own computers. You can create a website on a computer at home. You can instruct your router to share the website with the rest of the world or to restrict access to it to computers in your home.

Your home network is not open to the public. When someone calls into your router requesting access to your home network, unless you’ve told your router to allow access, the connection is dropped.

What a VPN does is this: imagine you have a company with five employees spread across the globe. Assume that said company had a printer, saved files, and a few other things on their network that they didn’t want anyone to have access to.

If you want to grant those 5 employees access, a VPN will make it appear as if they are not in 5 different locations, but rather in the same office to the computer network. They’d have access to the printer, file server, and everything else they’d have if they were in the office.

VPN providers do not share all of their bells and whistles (files, printers, databases). Instead, they only share their internet connection with all of their users.

Tor is unique in that it is a network, but it is not designed to be a private network. It is not designed to share services other than the Internet, and you do not get your internet from a centralized location. Every network user has the option of volunteering their internet connection to every other network user.

This also poses a security risk because the person with whom you’re sharing the internet can see any unencrypted data you send through TOR. VPNs notice this as well, but you’re putting your trust in a company rather than random people. Because TOR connects to random people, there is no way to successfully block it because you don’t know which IP address the user connects to. VPNs, on the other hand, can be blocked.

How do they function?

A VPN is made up of a network of servers that are typically located in different countries around the world. When you use a VPN, data from your computer is routed through one of the VPN provider’s servers before reaching its online destination.

The Tor network is designed so that no server knows who you are or what you are doing. The network is made up of thousands of independent servers that are run by volunteers all over the world. When your computer wants to send a message over the Tor network, this is what happens:

Your computer’s software (either the Tor browser or another Tor-enabled program) chooses three Tor servers at random. The software then creates a connection between the three servers.

The procedure begins with the server connecting to the public Internet (called the Exit Node). Your computer’s Tor software encrypts the message in a way that only the Exit Node can decrypt.

This process is then repeated by the software with the server in the middle. The message is now encrypted twice.

The software performs the same function with the server that will receive the message from your computer first (called the Guard Node). The message has now been encrypted three times.

Once the message has been encrypted, the Tor software on your computer sends it to the Guard Node. This server removes the encryption’s outermost layer. Because there are still two layers of encryption, the Guard Node cannot read the original message. When the message is encrypted, the software includes the address of the next server in the path.

In the middle of the path, the Guard Node sends the message to the server. The second layer of encryption is removed by this server. Because there is another layer of encryption, it, like the first computer, is unable to read the message. However, removing this layer of encryption reveals the Exit Node’s address.

The message is sent to the Exit Node by the middle server. The Exit Node is responsible for removing the final layer of encryption. This means that the Exit Node is aware of your original message. The Exit Node, however, does not know who sent the message because it was relayed through the other servers in the path.

Let’s look at what each server in the Tor Network’s path knows:

The IP address of your computer is visible to the Guard Node. However, due to the additional layers of encryption, it has no idea what the message says. So the Guard Node only knows that your computer used Tor to send a message and that it needs to forward that message to the middle server.

The middle server recognizes that the message came from the Guard Node and that it must be forwarded to the Exit Node. It is unable to read the message because there is only one layer of encryption remaining. Because information is not passed through the Tor network, the middle server does not know who sent the message to the Guard Node.

The Exit Node understands what the message says because it must remove the final layer of encryption before it can be sent to the public Internet. However, it has no idea where the message originated. It only knows that the message was forwarded by the middle server.

If you are more concerned about your online identity, TOR is preferable; however, if you prefer good speed, P2P file sharing, and access to a support team, VPNs are preferable. You can get help from the TOR community.

VPNs also store connection and user logs, which can be exposed if the VPN is compromised or the provider is forced by authorities to do so…

However, in the case of TOR, this is not possible.

How to unblock a website blocked by administrator

Tor is superior to VPNs in the following ways:

Accessing the internet anonymously – It’s nearly impossible to track down the original user of a Tor connection. You can visit a website without leaving any identifying information on your device or the website’s server.

Tor is a tool that can be used to access the dark web (a.k.a. the darknet). The majority of the dark web is made up of websites that can only be accessed through a Tor connection and are not found on Google. It is frequently associated with criminal activity, such as black markets, but it is also used for a variety of legal purposes.

Tor is superior to VPNs

Untraceable communication – Journalists and their sources, whistleblowers, activists, dissidents, and victims of crime who wish to remain anonymous can use Tor to communicate securely without being tracked or leaving a trail of evidence.

Tor does not allow you to select the location from which you access the internet by default. Furthermore, most websites can detect traffic coming from a Tor exit relay and block it accordingly.

Tor is extremely secure, but connections must pass through Tor entry and exit relays. Because these relays are open to the public, your ISP and other third parties can see when you’re using Tor.

Even if they can’t tell what you’re doing or who you are online, the fact that you’re using Tor may raise suspicions because many people associate it with criminal activity. It is possible to circumvent this using a Tor feature called bridges, but that is a topic for another article.

For the following reasons, a VPN is preferable to Tor:

Unblocking region-locked content – Many streaming services, for example, only allow viewers from specific countries to access them. A VPN allows a user to “spoof” their location by changing it to any country where the VPN provider has servers, allowing them to avoid region restrictions.

Torrenting – VPNs are typically much faster than Tor, allowing for significantly more bandwidth for downloads.

VPN is preferable to Tor


Securing public wifi – A VPN is a more convenient solution if you’re on the go and need to connect to public wifi. The VPN’s encryption will prevent hackers from snooping and launching man-in-the-middle attacks, but it will not interfere with your browsing experience in any other way.

Bypassing censorship – If you live in a country where much of the internet is blocked by authorities, such as China, a VPN allows you to access censored content as if you were in another country.

Prevent ISP throttling – If your internet service provider is throttling specific types of internet traffic, such as torrents or video streams, a VPN can hide this activity so that it is not discriminated against.

Accessing restricted content at work or school — If you work or study in an environment that restricts internet access, a VPN can help you get around these restrictions.
Although a VPN can conceal your IP address, the VPN provider can still view connection data and traffic passing through its servers.

Although most VPN providers claim they do not keep logs of this information, using them for anonymity still necessitates trusting the VPN provider, whereas Tor employs a trustless system (more on that later).

A VPN will not allow you to access the dark web (although their use is still popular). To access.onion websites, you must have a Tor connection.

Benefits of Tor

Hides your online activity. Your browsing history and cookies are automatically reset when you stop using it.

Anti-spy protection. Tor prevents others from tracking the websites you visit.
Anonymous identity. Tor tries to make all users look-alike to stop anyone identifying you from the characteristics of your browser or devices.

Benefits of Tor

Multi-layer encryption. In the Tor network, your traffic is redirected and encrypted several times to keep you totally anonymous.

Free access. The Tor browser allows you access to websites blocked by your network.

Benefits of a VPN

A VPN allows anonymous web surfing. A VPN hides your real IP address, so you can browse websites anonymously.

A VPN removes regional restrictions. VPN servers are located across the globe, so you can overcome regional limitations and access any website to watch movies or listen to music.

Benefits of a VPN

A VPN keeps a high-speed connection. As you use a specific VPN server to get connected to your desired destination, it’s much faster than connecting through several Tor nodes.

A VPN surpasses censorship. It helps you avoid censorship limitations imposed by certain governments by connecting users to servers outside of a country’s jurisdictions and Internet Service Providers (ISP).

A VPN secures connection via public WI-FI. If you access the internet from a public Wi-Fi hotspot, a VPN keeps your internet connection secure.

When should you use Tor?

Tor is more effective than a VPN in the following cases:
You want to stay safe while accessing geo-restricted content. Using Tor is a good way to protect your privacy when you’re trying to access content that’s prohibited in your country.

This includes geographical limitations (accessing US-only content from Europe or Australia for example), avoiding censorship in countries like Iran and China, and much more.

When should you use Tor

You want to access the dark web. Tor’s Hidden Services is also the gateway to the dark web. It is made up of websites that are only accessible through a Tor connection and cannot be found through search engines like Google. The dark web is often associated with criminals which is why it’s illegal in some countries.

You want to stay away from browser trackers. If you want to use the internet and leave no digital footprint, using the Tor browser is the best solution. It’s almost impossible to trace a connection to the original user, so you can surf the web without leaving any identifying signs behind.

When should you use a VPN?

You want to unblock region-locked content. A VPN will help you bypass any localised restrictions if you are in a country where access to your favorite programs or streaming services is closed.

When should you use a VPN

You want to keep your internet connection private. A VPN uses the most advanced encryption to protect your data. A good VPN also ensures that the websites processing your data don’t see where it came from, giving you the highest degree of anonymity.

You want to be secure when using public Wi-FI. Using a VPN on public Wi-Fi protects your sensitive information, passwords, and other personal information from would-be hackers.

Comparison between Tor and VPN:

Comparison between Tor and VPN

Tor is free to download and use. VPN is not completely free you have to pay for it to use it’s all the features.
Tor increases latency and decreases bandwidth. VPNs can increase the bandwidth but typically slightly decrease it, and increase latency.
Tor is decentralized. VPN is centralized.
Tor is not recommended for P2P activity. VPN is recommended for P2P activity.
Tor is not compatible with all devices. VPN is compatible with all devices.
Tor is not capable to protects from all online connections. But VPN can Protects from all online connections.
Tor is slower compare to VPN because of the onion routing. VPN is faster compare Tor.

Is TOR a genuine and dependable VPN alternative?

True, TOR is a type of VPN that prevents your ISP from seeing what you’re doing.

Nothing else about TOR is true; it will not make you invisible on the Internet, it will not make you untraceable, and it will not erase all trace of you from the Internet; these are all lies spread by TOR fanatics to promote their VPN software and trick people into using it.

Is TOR a genuine and dependable VPN alternative

To disconnect the requester from the responding website, TOR employs multiple layers of obfuscation.

TOR is a favorite of world-class criminals everywhere because it is thought to make the user invisible and untraceable.

TOR employs layers of collaborating users to take each request for a website, strip off the IP address, encrypt it, and relay it to another volunteer; this process is repeated several times until the recipient receives the data packet from the original requestor; the same thing occurs for the response.

This, of course, implies that there appears to be some privacy because the data packets are encrypted and there is no easy way to determine the originating IP address after the first volunteer has encrypted it and passed it along to the second volunteer.

This method was promoted by its supporters as completely protecting the original user.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The FBI has already arrested and prosecuted two criminal organizations (Silk Road I and Silk Road II), both of which are currently serving lengthy sentences in a US prison.

Since then, Dutch police have led a collaborative effort that has included the FBI to arrest and prosecute several more criminal organizations.
TOR is used exclusively by all of the organizations listed above.
TOR does not make you untraceable, and it does not make you untrackable.

Indeed, since the initial arrests, the NSA (United States Government National Security Agency) has deployed high speed TOR servers all over the world that are so fast that they can respond to your TOR connection request, implying that the NSA can monitor everything you do on TOR.

Many governments around the world now consider TOR to be a primary tool of criminals, so they are collaborating to monitor all TOR traffic, effectively defeating the anonymity that TOR fanatics falsely advertise.

Tor, also known as The Onion Router, is a service that allows people to browse the Internet anonymously. It is a decentralized system that allows users to connect via a network of relays rather than directly.

The advantage of this method is that your IP address is hidden from the websites you visit by randomly bouncing your connection from server to server, effectively losing the trail.

While your data is encrypted at each relay node in the chain, the final connection point at the last relay in the chain may be compromised if the requested site does not use SSL.

Tor has the well-known disadvantage of significantly slowing down your browsing due to the numerous hops your data is relayed through. Tor was developed in collaboration with the United States Navy and is still used by many government agencies for those concerned about the government’s prying eyes.

Many governments are wary of Tor users because it has been widely used by political dissidents, journalists, and even criminals. This could result in you being identified as a criminal and having all of your online activity monitored.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network connection that allows you to establish a secure connection to another location, allowing you to appear to be in another location.

Using VPN protocols such as diebesten vpn, your computer creates an encrypted virtual tunnel to the VPN server, and all of your browsing appears to be coming from the VPN server.

It is critical that you select a high-quality VPN service that does not keep data or communications logs. Users would be exposed if a government agency demanded that the VPN provider reveal logs.

All else being equal, which is more secure for private communication, TOR or VPN?

Tor, or the Onion Router, is a non-profit organization that creates online privacy tools and is constantly looking for new ways to protect one’s privacy online. Tor is a browser that can be downloaded for free on Linux, Windows, Mac, and mobile devices.

Tor’s main goal is to provide users with a browser that allows them to surf the web anonymously while also protecting their online identities. When you use the Tor browser, all of your traffic is encrypted, which helps you keep your activities private.

which is more secure for private communication, TOR or VPN

Tor is also the only way to access the Dark Web. The Virtual Private Network, or VPN, has a large network of servers that belong to the VPN itself. When you use a VPN, you connect to one of the VPN provider’s servers.

When you connect to a VPN server, your traffic is encrypted, and your IP address is changed to that of the chosen server. As a result, you will be completely anonymous and secure online. VPNs are frequently used not only for security but also to circumvent geographical restrictions.

Especially popular with streaming services like Netflix. VPN is much faster than Tor browser because it only uses one server rather than a layer of servers. If you choose a VPN with fast servers, your internet speed will even remain the same as before you started using VPN.

You can easily circumvent geographical restrictions online with the help of a VPN. With a single click, you can connect to any country and watch content that is available there but not in the one you are currently in.

The difference between Tor and VPN is that with VPN you have complete control over the location of your IP address. You can select any location available on the VPN app, which means that if you need to connect to the United States and obtain their IP address, you can easily do so with a GoingVPN.

This is much more difficult with Tor, and the polling of IP addresses is always dependent on people who share their servers. Tor only encrypts your browser requests, whereas VPN encrypts all of your traffic from your mobile or PC.

Is it safe to use Onion over VPN?

The major flaws in such a network configuration can be attributed to the separate intermediaries: the VPN or the Onion network.

When it comes to VPNs, not all of them are created equal. You must be certain that the VPN service has no logs. Do not rely on the provider’s word for it.

Is it safe to use Onion over VPN

Third-party audits and records of refusal to cooperate with law enforcement can essentially prove whether you can trust a service. If the VPN keeps your logs, your privacy claims are null and void, and you risk losing your anonymity.

The biggest disadvantage of the Onion network is that it is community-based, and anyone can set up a Tor node. It means that some rogue nodes are being managed by hackers and may be spying on you.

De-anonymizing your connection isn’t as simple as it sounds. It would almost certainly necessitate funding available only to national governments. Even if it’s a remote possibility, it’s worth considering.

The best part about using Onion in conjunction with a VPN is that your anonymity is supported by two distinct entities. Even if there are risks and potential points of failure, the chain is longer and there are more added safety measures than if you used the service alone.

Furthermore, the VPN encrypts some internet traffic that Tor does not encrypt, such as ICMP. Furthermore, if you only use the Tor network, your ISP will be able to detect it. It’s impossible to tell with a VPN.

Really, it all comes down to trust!

Often, you don’t know who or what company is providing the VPN service.
Some of them have different logging policies, and as you can read in the link above, they will reveal your identity if you ask.

TOR is frequently a better choice for political reasons (or other reasons to remain anonymous) and in other cases of normal web browsing where you want to remain as anonymous and untrackable from third parties as possible (like a state actor or otherwise).

If you want to stream large file downloads/uploads privately, or if you want access to streaming (video/audio) services all over the world (avoiding geoblocking), or if you want to use filesharing services anonymously, such as bittorrent, then VPN is the way to go. Again, when it comes to filesharing, trust can be a source of contention.

Some large corporations, such as Volvo, have their own tunneling solutions.
This is most likely more secure (but there is always the “insider” risk for leak of information).

The main technical difference between TOR and VPN is that with TOR, you have a bunch of TOR users (connected to each other) from the entry point (which is ALICE in the image above) to the exit point (which goes to (and from) BOB.

When using a VPN, Encryption occurs only within and outside of the tunnel (which is secure 99.9% of the time). If you have faith in your VPN provider, that is.)
(Double VPN tunnels are also available.) A tunnel within a tunnel. Or a number of them. However, there is a cost. They are also slower.)

When information is sent from one computer to another using TOR, it is encrypted every time it passes through a computer. The points where this occurs are referred to as “nodes.”

The relay users/computers cannot “see” or know who the others are.
They also have no idea who you (Alice) are.

And Bob (the website you visit) has no idea who ALICE (and all nodes in between) is.

Trust isn’t an issue here because nothing is recorded and no one knows who the other is!

And each time you switch to a new website (in the example above, from BOB to JANE), a new relay (the route of hopping from computer to computer within that network) with a different set of TOR users is selected (at random).

Because every computer in The (Onion) Network is undergoing extensive encryption and decryption, the process is slower and more unpredictable in terms of speed (you may get lucky at times, but the speed can vary greatly).

The different bandwidths for the nodes that participate in it also contribute to the access times (again not reliably predictable due to the differences between each node).

Some ISPs are also blocking some TOR nodes.

If you REALLY want to remove trust from the equation while maintaining stable and fast file transfers, the best way is to use programs or plugins that use point-to-point encryption protocols like open-PGP, rather than relying on any third party, “middle man” actor.

Signal is an example of this, as is the open-pgp plugin “Enigmail” for Mozilla’s Thunderbird browser.

The advantages of these two are that they are open source, so any changes to the programs/plug-ins that, for example, made backdoors suddenly possible would be obvious.

There are numerous encryption services that are similar to these two.

The issue is that many of them are commercial in some way and are not always open source. IF they are open source, you will most likely have to rely on a third-party service because they want to make money from you, usually through some kind of subscription. That eliminates the “no middleman” advantage!

Furthermore, for commercial services/companies, it frequently occurs at a point in time when policies for what has previously been a trustworthy service/company may change when they are acquired by some other unknown actors/companies (that may have ties to states with dubious and, in some cases, unethical ways of handling privacy).

Centralized vs decentralized

The main distinction is that a VPN is a centralized service. That is, connections are controlled and managed by a centralized authority. In this case, the VPN provider, which is usually a private company, is to blame.

A VPN company may own and operate thousands of servers around the world to which its users can connect. While VPNs provide adequate privacy and fast connections, they do necessitate some trust in the VPN provider.Tor is a decentralized network. It is not owned or managed by anyone. Thousands of volunteers around the world run the proxy servers, known as “nodes” or “relays.” When you connect to Tor, your connection is routed through a random sequence of these servers whenever you visit a new website.

An exit relay (the last relay in the sequence) may be able to read unencrypted traffic passing through it, but it cannot determine the source of that data.

Tor onion routing vs. single hop VPN

Most VPNs employ only one proxy server. Outgoing data is encrypted on your device before being sent to the VPN server, decrypted, and then delivered to the destination website, app, or service. A few VPNs provide multi-hop configurations, but these are the exception rather than the rule.

Tor onion routing vs. single hop VPN

Tor routes your data through three relays at random. Your data, including the IP address of the next relay in the sequence, is encrypted once for each relay. At each relay, a layer of encryption is removed, revealing the next relay in the sequence while concealing it from previous relays in the chain.

Because no relay can see the contents, source, or destination of internet traffic, tracing it is extremely difficult. This is known as onion routing, and it gets its name from the fact that the layers of encryption are removed in the same way that an onion’s layers are removed. Tor is an abbreviation for “The Onion Router.”

Anonymity vs. privacy

We investigated the parallels and differences between Tor and VPNs. And there is, without a doubt, some overlap between the two. However, in practice, VPNs are more concerned with privacy, whereas Tor is more concerned with anonymity. Privacy conceals what you do, whereas anonymity conceals who you are.

When you sign up for a VPN, the VPN provider usually knows your identity. You most likely paid with a credit card. Furthermore, while some VPN providers accept anonymous cash payments or cryptocurrencies, the vast majority of users pay with a credit card. As a result, whatever you do should be kept private – your connection is encrypted, and the provider does not keep logs.

If a legal authority issues a data request, the VPN provider is obligated to comply. It couldn’t, however, hand over data that it didn’t have in the first place, such as your browsing history. However, your payment information, which is linked to your identity, may be disclosed.

VPNs improve your privacy; they do not make you anonymous – especially if you log in to any of your online accounts while connected to a VPN…

Tor, on the other hand, does not have a single owner or centralized server. Tor is a distributed network of volunteer-operated nodes. There is no sign-up, no payment, and no need to provide any identifying information. Simply download, install, and begin using it.

This, combined with the fact that your traffic is encrypted and bounced between four to six random locations before being sent to its final destination, makes tracing a Tor connection extremely difficult. Tor can make you anonymous online as long as you follow certain guidelines (such as not logging into any of your online accounts).

To ensure complete anonymity, never log into any online account associated with you while connected to the Tor network. This defeats the purpose of anonymity by potentially tying your Tor session to your identity.

Tor pros

  • Tor is inexpensive and simple to use: you can get it for free from the project’s website. It is compatible with all major operating systems. The Browser is as simple to use as any other browser.
  • Tor’s network is difficult to shut down because it is run by volunteers who operate nearly 7,000 relays around the world. As a result, the network is a difficult nut to crack.
  • Only the entry node knows your IP – but it has no idea what data you’re sending, only that you’re using Tor. The exit node can inspect the data you send but cannot see who is sending it.
  • Tor can help you circumvent geo-blocking and censorship: if a website is blocked in your country, Tor can help you access it.
  • Tor, as we know, is based on a distributed network that is run by a number of different volunteers, making it nearly impossible for any governmental organization to shut it down.
  • It protects you from having your personal information misused because it saves your IP address. Without it, no one can track who you are or where you are, protecting you from all types of cybercrimes, hackers, and criminals.
  • It is extremely secure because it passes data through multiple layers, and it is also very simple to use.
  • Because the Tor network is run by a group of volunteers, it is nearly impossible for any governmental organization to shut it down, making it extremely reliable.
  • It enables the user to gain access to all types of restricted data websites and content that is restricted for a specific region or country.
  • The Tor browser is completely free, and there are several free browsers available on the internet that are ready to install and use right away.

Tor cons

  • Slow: your data is routed through three random relays. As a result, your connection can only be as fast as the slowest node. As a result, many.onion websites appear sparse in comparison to regular websites.
  • Not suitable for file downloads: The Tor network is already sluggish. Using it to download files further slows it down.
  • If you are not using an HTTPS connection, your data is visible on the exit node. Because Tor is a volunteer network, you have no way of knowing if your data is being intercepted. However, Google reports that 90 percent of Chrome browsing is done over an HTTPS connection, so this issue is no longer as pressing.
  • Accessing specific geo-blocked content is difficult: it is difficult to access geo-blocked content that is only available in a single country. You can’t really control the country where your exit node – and the IP service reads – will be because of random node selection.
  • Website access is restricted: some common websites block connections via the Tor network. There have also been reports that some ISPs have threatened to cut off Tor users’ access, and that security agencies are more likely to track them.
  • Tor is extremely slow when compared to VPNs. The main reason for the tor’s insanely slow browsing speeds is that it passes data through multiple layers and several nodes, making it secure but also extremely slow.
  • As a result, it is a general rule that Tor is not suitable for streaming movies and videos online, as they take too long to load and the user loses patience.
  • The exit node is node protected, making it extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks and hacking, so anyone running the Tor network’s exit node can see all of the user’s personal information as well as their IP address.
  • Tor is extremely problematic because it can only be properly run on websites that are integrated with the tor browser; therefore, Tor does not provide protection for browsers that are not tor integrated.
  • Because the Tor network is completely free, there is no maintenance, and any network problems take a long time to resolve.
  • Tor is primarily used by users who want to conceal sensitive information, which means that a large number of hackers and cyber attackers are present, and frequent use of the tor can also mark your IP address.
  • Tor allows easy access to the dark web, which could be dangerous for those who are unaware of it and end up being hacked.

VPN pros

  • Good internet speed: Because VPNs only route your traffic through a single server, your connection is much faster.
  • Blanket protection: a VPN secures and encrypts all of your device’s connections. This includes not only browsing but also gaming, streaming, file downloads, and so on.
  • Adaptability: While Tor is primarily used through the Tor Browser, a VPN can secure any device that it supports. Alternatively, you can simply secure an entire Wi-Fi network by installing a VPN on a router.
  • A VPN is the ultimate solution to geo-blocking because it allows you to access content that is restricted in your country. You can also access content restricted to a specific country by connecting to a VPN server in that country.
  • There are no specific website restrictions: some streaming services, such as Crunchyroll, are combating VPN users. However, the vast majority of websites are not.
  • The VPN is much faster than the TOR because the TOR routes data through several different nodes, which slows down browsing, whereas the VPN connects you to a single VPN server, which allows you to browse much faster than the TOR.
  • There are several VPN software and apps available for free on the internet and the Google Play store.
  • Because some VPNs are paid, the funding aids in the maintenance of the VPN network, ensuring that it operates smoothly at all times, making it more reliable than the TOR network.

VPN cons

  • It is not free. There are free VPNs available, but you should not rely on them. Paid VPNs provide the only dependable service that poses no risk to your data.
  • Presumably knows your IP: if your VPN provider has a poor no-logs policy, your data may be jeopardized. That is why it is critical to use a VPN with no logs.
  • Putting all of your eggs in one basket: When using a VPN, you are only connecting to one server. In theory, this is a less difficult compromise than Tor’s three-node system.
  • Some VPNs are notorious for logging into the user’s browser history, exposing him and jeopardizing his privacy.
  • Some VPNs are very expensive, and some offer a trial period after which they ask you to upgrade to a premium account or experience a slow network that is even slower than Tor.
  • Tor has its own benefits, as does VPN, but they are both important depending on their use and user requirements.
  • Aside from that, they are similar in that they both protect privacy while allowing access to restricted content.

VPNs that include an Onion over VPN feature

Only a few VPNs incorporate Tor functionality into their services.

NordVPN, which has an Onion over VPN feature built in, is the market leader in this area. It does not require any additional configuration to be used. The setup is pre-configured so that you can browse anonymously right away, without using the Tor browser or Tortilla.

Double VPN vs. Onion over VPN

Keep in mind that Onion over VPN is not the only option for remaining anonymous. Tor isn’t the only way to connect multiple secure connections. It is also possible to use multiple VPNs. As a result, your traffic is routed through several servers and encrypted twice.

Double VPN vs. Onion over VPN

Different VPN providers with this built-in feature call it by a different name. It’s referred to as multi-hop, double VPN, nested VPN, or something else. You can also try to set it up yourself using two different VPN providers. You may, however, run into software compatibility issues (especially when Windows is prone to TAP driver errors). You may also be asked to pay two subscription fees.

Should I use Tor bridges rather than a VPN?

When using the Tor network, you can connect via Tor bridges. Bridges function similarly to relays, but they are not public and are not listed in the main Tor directory. Finding one, on the other hand, can be difficult. You could do it yourself, but it’s not easy. Otherwise, if you’ve discovered it, it’s already public, which means it can be blocked.

Should I use Tor bridges rather than a VPN

Tor bridges can improve the flexibility of your browsing experience. There are specific variants, such as obfuscated tor bridges, that can be useful when accessing restricted content. In most cases, your ISP will not be able to block private Tor bridges.

Links to Tor and the top VPN

Tor Browser


Difference between Tor and VPN - 2 Popular Privacy Options