Tor vs VPN to stay incognito
Regardless of your reason for wanting to stay anonymous online, you will likely choose a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Tor Browser. These are two of the most popular choices among those interested in protecting their digital identity.
But if you are looking to choose one, which one is the best fit?
Simply put, Tor is best for those transmitting sensitive information. A VPN is usually a more efficient solution for everyday use because it strikes a great balance between connection speed, convenience, and privacy.
However, the needs of each online user are different. So let us help you decide which one is better. Here, we’ll delve into:
Tor vs VPN
Tor and VPN are used to stay anonymous on the Internet. These two perform similar but different functions.
What is Tor Browser?
Tor Browser is a free, open source project that allows you to browse the web anonymously. The title is an acronym that originated from the phrase “onion router”. Yes, the name sounds silly, but the idea behind it is cool: the Tor Browser network is built layers upon layers of independent nodes operated by Tor users.
What is a VPN service?
A VPN helps you protect your online privacy by creating a secure connection to any network or server over the Internet. VPNs are widely used to avoid geolocation restrictions, prevent traffic intrusions, and ensure secure interaction with your shopping and banking apps.
What is the difference between Tor and a VPN?
The main difference between Tor and VPN is how many VPN tools and service providers are available but only one Tor Browser network.
Tor relies on a decentralized layer of independent nodes to transmit data securely, while VPN software connects to a central server to provide a secure VPN tunnel.
Another common difference between the two is the details of their usage.
If your online activity is related to Transfer of highly sensitive information Or it may get you in trouble in countries with strict censorship laws, Tor is the best option to go for. The reason is obvious, as VPN providers still have to be registered, pay taxes, and comply with legislation.
If you simply want to ensure anonymity and secure access when traveling or working from home, a VPN is your best option.
You can use these two technologies at the same time to achieve the highest level of privacy. This will unlock Tor through the VPN connection so you can access the benefits of each. However, you will probably not be advised of this unless you are a technically advanced online user.
- It hides your online activity. Your browsing history and cookies are reset automatically when you stop using them.
- Spyware protection. Tor prevents others from tracking the sites you visit.
- Anonymous identity. Tor tries to make all users the same to prevent anyone from identifying you from the characteristics of your browser or devices.
- Multilayer encryption. In the Tor network, your traffic is redirected and encrypted multiple times to keep you completely anonymous.
- free access. Tor Browser allows you to access websites that are blocked by your network.
- VPN allows anonymous web browsing. The VPN hides your real IP address, so you can browse websites anonymously.
- VPN removes regional restrictions. VPN servers are located all over the world, so you can get around regional restrictions and access any website to watch movies or listen to music.
- A VPN that maintains a high-speed connection. Since you are using a specific VPN server to connect to your desired destination, it is much faster than connecting through multiple Tor nodes.
- VPN bypasses censorship. It helps you avoid censorship restrictions imposed by some governments by connecting users to servers outside of country jurisdictions and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
- VPN secures connection over public WI-FI. If you access the internet from a public Wi-Fi hotspot, a VPN keeps your internet connection secure.
When should Tor be used?
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 are trying to access content that is blocked in your country. This includes geo-restrictions (access only US-specific content from Europe or Australia for example), avoiding censorship in countries like Iran and China, and much more.
- You want to access the dark web. Tor’s hidden services are also the gateway to the dark web. It is a component of websites that can only be accessed through a Tor connection and cannot be found through search engines such as Google. The dark web is often associated with criminals which is why it is illegal in some countries.
- You want to stay away from browser trackers. If you want to use the Internet and not leave a digital footprint, using Tor Browser is the best solution. It is almost impossible to trace the connection to the original user, so you can surf the web without leaving any meta tags.
When should you use a VPN?
Use a VPN over Tor if:
- You want to unblock region-locked content. A VPN will help you bypass any local restrictions if you are in a country where access to your favorite shows or streaming services is closed.
- You want to keep your internet connection private. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) uses the most advanced encryption to protect your data. A good VPN also ensures that the websites that process your data don’t see where it came from, giving you the highest degree of anonymity.
- You want to be safe when using public Wi-FI. Using a VPN on public Wi-Fi protects your sensitive information, passwords, and other personal information from potential hackers.
Is Tor better than a VPN?
It depends on your internet activity. It is the best way to avoid censorship and ensure security but provides a limited video viewing and browsing experience.
Is Tor secure without a VPN?
Yes. You can definitely use Tor for regular web browsing without a VPN.
Is Tor illegal?
Although it is not strictly banned in most Western countries, major players in the tech industry avoid encouraging the use of the Tor browser. However, the Tor browser is illegal in some authoritarian countries, such as China and Iran.
Is a VPN dangerous?
Using a free VPN service may put your online security at risk. When you use a VPN server, you are protecting your traffic from being monitored by your ISP. But at the same time, you allow the VPN provider to spy on your traffic. The companies that offer free VPN services do not keep your private information confidential, and instead may share it with third parties.
Should you use a VPN with Tor?
It is possible to use both tools at the same time, but we do not recommend this. The exception is if you are an advanced user who knows exactly how to set up both Tor and a VPN so that your anonymity remains secure.
Does Clario Offer VPN?
In fact, we do! Take a look at Clario’s VPN.
Personal privacy and security are becoming increasingly important as governments, hackers, and even our favorite search engine, Google come up with more advanced ways to break our anonymity and track our behaviour.
While both Tor and VPN services keep your identity anonymous, the latter is a more convenient option when used correctly. Tor is a free browser that encrypts your internet activity, but it is slower, doesn’t provide access to all websites, and can lead to problems with the law.
Updated: Jan 21st, 2021
10 minutes to read
Updated: Jan 21st, 2021
10 minutes to read
A digital content writer with a passion for technology, marketing, and cybersecurity.