You have been meddling around with Tor, haven’t you?
Or perhaps you want to see what the dark web has in store for you.
Well, it would be a bummer if everyone on the web can easily identify and your whereabouts.
Even though you’ve likely heard about Tor browsers being able to hide your identity, you still need a much powerful tool to actually encrypt your internet traffic.
Despite extensively routing your network traffic through multiple nodes, even a single compromised node is enough for a hacker to steal your personal information
This is where using a VPN with Tor seriously pays off. With extensive routing and powerful encryption, your data would make no sense to anyone spying on you.
Pretty cool right? Let’s take a look at some of the very best VPN for Tor and check out some of the benefits they each offer.
If you don’t feel like reading through the whole blog, here’s a list of my top recommended VPN Tor.
- ExpressVPN – A bit expensive, but offers the fastest speeds in the entire industry.
- NordVPN – 5000+ servers, exceptional customer support, and affordable prices.
- CyberGhost – intuitive multi-platform compatible apps and excellent performance in a budget-friendly package.
- Surfshark – Cheapest Tor compatible in the entire VPN industry. Only $1.99 a month.
- PureVPN – Excellent performance, considerably large server coverage and flexible subscription plans.
What Is TOR & How Does Tor Work?
TOR, or the onion router, is basically a free software that allows you to browse the internet anonymously from anywhere.
It secures your actual identity by forwarding your traffic towards various TOR servers across the globe.
Dispersing data across nodes masks the source of the network traffic and ensures user identity stays anonymous.
Through extensively rerouting data packets, Tor ensures hackers and ISPs have no clue who the actual person is behind the investigated network traffic.
Tor is highly deceptive and is proven to successfully sway away surveillance alliances from spying on you. Part of the reason why the US Navy originally created the technology to secure their networks.
If you want to learn more about Tor, I highly suggest you go through our extensive what is Tor guide.
What is the best VPN for Tor?
Wondering which VPN is the best for Tor?
Now that you know what Tor is, and what it can be used for, let’s check out some of the most reliable VPNs that you can use with Tor.
To make it super easy for you, I’ve only rounded some VPN providers that offer the following features:
- Doesn’t keep any VPN logs that could jeopardize your privacy
- Offers powerful encryption and robust VPN leak protection
- Offers industry standard speeds
- Complete Tor compatibility
- Supports anonymous payment options
- Extensive money back guarantee
- Excellent support
- Affordable pricing plans
Now that we’ve gotten Tor and VPN out of the way, let’s check out some of the very best VPN for Tor browser to use in 2019.
First up on this list we have NordVPN. Now there are plenty of reasons to love NordVPN and its servers are obviously one of them.
With over 5000+ server, global server coverage isn’t a big deal for NordVPN. As far as features are concerned, specialized servers offered by NordVPN come pre-configured with Tor over VPN.
Not only that, if you want to take your privacy to a whole another level, you can even use NordVPN’s double VPN feature. However, your speeds are going to suffer a bit due to extensive encryption.
Aside from that, 256-bit AES encryption, zero logs, and excellent device compatibility ensure your privacy is never compromised.
Next up we have ExpressVPN. I guess labeling this VPN as the very best wouldn’t be an understatement. It is by far one of the most reliable VPN you can get for pretty much every application.
With over 3,000+ optimized VPN servers, ExpressVPN guarantees crazy fast speeds every time. Heck, if you’re primarily looking for speeds, just go with ExpressVPN.
Another reason why I consider ExpressVPN as one of the very best Tor browser VPN is because of its superb performance.
That said, one thing I don’t like about ExpressVPN is the fact that their Onion website no longer works.
Not a deal breaker, but it’s nice to have one.
Moving on, ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat support, leak protection, kill switch and other awesome feature that are just perfect for Tor browsing.
CyberGhost is another really great VPN you can use for Tor browsing. Even though CyberGhost doesn’t explicitly advertise anything about Tor compatibility, it does work surprisingly well with Tor.
As far as servers are concerned, CyberGhost offers over 3,700 servers in 59 countries. It offers decent speeds, military-grade encryption and even extensive 45-day money back guarantee.
Combine with the fact that CyberGhost doesn’t keep any logs, you can browse over Tor all day long with worrying about a thing.
If you’re looking for a super affordable Tor compatible VPN, then Surfshark is perhaps the best VPN for surfing Tor browser.
Although Surfshark might not offer any Tor exclusive features, you can still use it in conjunction with Tor. Performance is great if not the best and 800+ servers is plenty to get pretty much everything done.
Now let’s talk about features. Right of the bat, MultiHop feature is really great to use. It super secure, but can slow down your connection a bit.
Other than that, Surfshark supports industry standard encryption, offers a no log policy, 30-money back guarantee and best of all, it is compatible on all major platforms.
What makes PureVPN one of best VPN for Tor browser, is its budget-friendly pricing plans.
Although not as cheap as Surfshark, but considering what it has to offer, it makes all the sense in the world to opt PureVPN.
Even though PureVPN doesn’t offer their own Tor, you can still combine both to gain unmatched anonymity.
As far as features are concerned, you do get to play around with 2000+ servers with 99% uptime, military-grade encryption, P2P compatibility and tons of amazing features to keep you totally secure.
Should I use a free VPN for Tor?
Although not preferred, you can technically use a free VPN with Tor if you don’t feel like spending money.
There is no technical obstacle that can prevent these VPNs from working alongside Tor. Nonetheless, using a freemium VPN might prove to be the wrong choice for a few reasons.
First, you can never be sure if a free VPN service keeps logs or not. Usually, logs are kept and sold by these VPN providers in order to fund their business. As such, your privacy is always under threat if you are using these VPNs.
Aside from this, these VPNs do not usually offer proper encryption and come with bandwidth limits. Therefore, it is not recommended to use such VPN providers for Tor.
Enhance Security with a VPN for Tor
There are security vulnerabilities inherent in Tor. More specifically, the entry and exit nodes in Tor can be exploited by skilled hackers to monitor user activities and even control traffic.
This leaves room for improvement in security which can be added through opting a good VPN. Using a VPN together with Tor can significantly improve privacy, anonymity, security, and Internet speed.
When used in combination, Tor and VPN complement each other and covers their inherent flaws. As such, a VPN can take your privacy and security up a notch.
VPN + Tor – Why Can’t You Just Use One?
Do you need a VPN for Tor? Let’s dive in a bit deeper and find out.
One of the most frequently asked questions I see over at Tor sub-Reddit or on various Tor forums is, should I use both VPN and Tor simultaneously? Can’t I just use one?
Well truth to be told, neither of two can guarantee 100% anonymity. It is just not possible.
Let me explain…
While Tor routes your traffic through multiple distributed nodes to mask the network source, it is still quite possible to identify the source of the traffic on a limited basis with the right backtracking methods.
Let me be very clear, it is still not possible to uniquely identify a Tor user.
However, according to top-secret documents disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA has been able to target the Firefox web browser used with Tor and gain complete control over target computers.
Doing so, NSA has been successfully able to access files, monitor keystrokes and even online activities of Tor users. [Source]
Similarly, while VPNs offer powerful encryption, through exploiting VPN logs, anyone looking to run an investigation on you can easily gain vital information about you.
I guess what I’m trying to say is…
Both Tor and VPN have inherent limitations.
That being said, combining both together compensates each of their flaws. For instance, VPN makes up for the encryption that Tor lacks, and Tor makes up for the extensive rerouting that VPNs don’t offer.
So instead of just using one or the other, combine them both to ensure you’re not leaving any loopholes.
Why Use VPN and Tor Simultaneously?
As I said, both Tor and VPN can’t offer complete anonymity. However, combing both together can guarantee unmatched security and anonymity.
By using the encryption of a VPN and decentralized nodes of Tor, you can make it near impossible for anyone to trace you.
There are two ways you can go about using Tor and VPN simultaneously. You can either use Tor over VPN, or VPN over Tor.
It might sound quite similar, however, they both function quite differently. Let’s take a look at each of the two approaches.
Tor over VPN
Tor over VPN is the recommended method of effectively using both technologies simultaneously. If you’re wondering how this works, you basically need to connect to the VPN server and then use the Tor browser.
If you use Tor prior to connecting the VPN server, surveillance agencies or ISPs can identify whether you’re using Tor or not.
However, enabling the VPN mitigates this issue by masking your Tor traffic through powerful encryption.
In addition to that, enabling VPN prior to using Tor ensures one additional benefit.
If you connect to a VPN server prior to browsing over Tor, you’re essentially restricting the Tor browser from knowing your real IP.
Instead of your true IP address, Tor browser will only see the IP address of the VPN server you’re connected to.
Long story short, no one will be able to track you.
- Renders ISPs and VPN providers from identifying your Tor traffic.
- Zero configuration required, just connect to a VPN server before using Tor.
- Entry node of Tor won’t be able to see your real IP address.
- Allows access to Dark web and onion websites.
- Allows easy switching between Tor and everyday browsing.
- VPN providers can potentially log your real IP address.
- Websites that don’t permit Tor can actually block traffic from Tor exit nodes.
VPN over Tor
VPN over Tor on the other is a bit tricky to implement. Besides that, this method is not really recommended as most VPN providers support this model.
This method basically takes your Tor traffic from the exit node and passes it through the VPN server you’re connected to.
Again, this method is not recommended and requires quite a bit of tinkering around to properly configure.
- Renders ISPs and VPN providers from identifying your Tor traffic.
- Can bypass and access Tor blocking websites.
- Through extensive routing, VPN providers won’t be able to see your real IP address.
- Greater anonymity.
- Freedom to choose the server location of your choice.
- ISPs can see you are using Tor.
- Can be difficult to set up as it requires quite a bit of tinkering, and even the help you VPN provider.
- Can’t access onion websites.
- Entry nodes can see your real IP address.
Tor over VPN or VPN over Tor – Which one should you choose?
As I mentioned earlier, I highly suggest Tor over VPN as opposed to VPN over Tor. The reason is simple, Tor over VPN is reliable, easy to set up and effective. Whereas VPN over Tor is hard to implement and can be head some times.
Is Tor even Legal?
No, I’m not going to beat around the bush here, Tor is totally legal.
Even though you might see pretty scandalous headlines depicting how evil Tor is, in reality, it is just a technology that facilitates safe and anonymous browsing.
In fact, the Onion network is fully legal and can be pretty much used freely anywhere in the world.
That being said, while the technology itself is totally legal, some individual do use it for pretty shady reasons. I’m talking about accessing the dark web for nefarious services.
For those of who have no idea what shady services I’m talking about, you can basically hire a hitman to do all your dirty work.
Not only that, you can even purchase explosives, stolen credit card numbers, social security number and god knows what else. [Source]
This is exactly the reason why ISPs and government agencies closely monitor Tor traffic. If you’re even remotely considering browsing the dark web, I highly suggest you use a VPN.
TOR and Deep Web
As I mentioned earlier, the deep web is somewhere you don’t want to be lurking around. The deep web is pretty hard to access and pretty much invisible to conventional web browsers. More specifically, search engines do not index the content of the deep web.
If you want to access the deep web, you will need to use a dedicated browser such as Tor. That said, do use a VPN to avoid compromising your privacy.
Tips to stay safe while browsing over Tor
Even though combining Tor with VPN should be enough to keep you safe and anonymous online, there are few easy precautionary steps you can take to further strengthen your privacy.
Here are my top 5 tips to stay secure while browsing over Tor:
- Don’t visit sketchy or suspicious sites. Usually, the sites look and feel is the biggest give away, so pay close attention.
- As a general rule of thumb, always check the URLs of the sites you’re visiting. Make sure the site you’re visiting is HTTPS encrypted. To verify, just look at the lock icon at the beginning of the URL.
- Periodically delete your cookies and temporary files to flush unwanted trackers.
- Prior to connecting to any public network, always make sure you are connected to a reliable VPN server.
- Avoid paying with credit cards. Try using alternative payment modes such as cryptocurrencies or PayPal.
VPN for TOR Twitter
Twitter is a very interactive platform that provides neutral opinions about pretty much everything. On that note, I decided to look at Twitter to see what Twitter users had to say about Tor and VPNs.
While a VPN is still the best bet, Tor Browser is also good for anonymity, though a tad slower than other browsers.https://t.co/iWa0uuOZwK
— Varr | Raven [@Chimes] (@KaedeVarr) March 29, 2017
You should opt Tor if you’re not a fan of annoying ads.
So the best thing to do for the individual internet user is to learn to use ad blockers, look into setting up a VPN, use Tor… goodbye ads.
— C. B. Wright (Self-Publishing Supervillain) (@ubersoft) March 31, 2017
If you’re like tons of other folks that think they can secure their privacy with just Tor, you’re just fooling yourself.
As I mentioned plenty of times in this blog, you just can’t rely on just one technology. To truly remain anonymous in the ever so intrusive world, it’s imperative that you get yourself one of the absolute best VPN for Tor browser.
So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a Tor-friendly VPN today.
If you like me to cover more Best VPN for Tor, do let me know in the comments below.