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Do you want to learn how to differentiate between Tor and VPN?

If yes then you should read this exclusive Tor vs VPN comparison guide in detail.

Tor and VPNs are one of the most popular online privacy tools that provide anonymity to their users. However, some attributes make these privacy tools entirely different from each other.

If you want to know the difference between Tor and VPN, read this exclusive guide.

What is Tor?

Theoretically, Tor looks like a VPN. However, VPNs offer privacy whereas Tor offers anonymity to its users. On the other hand, VPNs keep outsiders at bay. Likewise, it does not allow unwanted people to see users’ online activities.

When you have opted Tor, you do not need to trust someone else. This is because Tor makes you virtually anonymous. It would be next to impossible to recognize you in case you use Tor network.

Do you want to know what is Tor in detail? Check out this exclusive guide.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is an online privacy tool that hides your internet traffic through the help of alternative IP addresses. As a result, you are able to encrypt your online communication to new heights. In simple words, users avail IP address of a VPN server that allows them to encrypt the connection between a VPN server and a user’s device.

It actually acts on behalf of users’ devices when they are browsing online.

If you want to know what is a VPN all about, explore our detailed guide.

How a VPN works

A VPN provides you next level online protection and anonymity to its users. It keeps your online identity hidden from the vicious eyes of online hackers and ISPs by spoofing your online locations. When you use an IP address of your VPN server, you may access to your preferred geo-blocked content from anywhere.

In addition, VPNs encrypt users’ data and do not log users’ information too.

Tor vs VPN: which is better?

Do you know how you can use Tor over VPN when you have to safeguard your digital whereabouts? If yes then you have arrived at the right place. Through this guide, you would be able to use either Tor or VPN depending on your situation.

How Tor works

Tor is a short form of “The Onion Router”. It is known as an “Onion” router because it is routed through several layers of online security before reaching its final destination.  It protects users against “traffic analysis” that may expose your personal information including location too.

Tor vs VPN

You can access the Tor network by downloading its free browser. After placing a request for information in the browser, it makes a contact with Tor server or node. Hence, the particular node forwards your request to the next node and the process continues.

As a result, you can send your request among different nodes before reaching its final point. The same process takes place when your data is passed back to you. These various “hops” enable you to keep your online identity anonymous.

It means each node knows the IP address of the previous node only. Therefore, it becomes an unattainable task for someone to identify the origin of the data. Sadly, your data resides on the exit node that makes your data highly vulnerable and unsecure.

In case you are not using a HTTPS connection, chances are that online hackers can access to your information.

Tor vs VPN

Tor vs VPN

Tor vs VPN

Tor Advantages

  • Tor does not accompany any price that user needs to pay in exchange – it is a FREE application
  • Tor promises security by tunneling your traffic through a sophisticated network comprising divergent nodes
  • Tor keeps you safe from hackers as the circuit or network formulated is tough to infiltrate
  • Tor hides your IP – making you untraceable online

Tor Disadvantages

  • Tor’s origin represents the efforts of US Naval Forces; therefore, it might be possible that the NSA monitors all the traffic passing through Tor’s network and Tor may only be just another NSA’s backdoor
  • Through Tor you can bypass geo-restrictions; however, not all barriers can be crossed
  • Some ISPs and firewall structures such as the Great Firewall of China block requests sent via Tor relays
  • Tor decelerates your Internet surfing experience because your requests transfer through a sophisticated path of nodes in a random pattern, which causes sluggishness of the process
  • Tor’s circuit comprises different nodes where anyone volunteering an exit-node can access all your data and even monitor your online activities; it can be a hacker or the NSA itself.

VPN Advantages

  • By using a VPN, you can bypass any geo-restriction and access any content you desire
  • Your identity is protected with a VPN as it masks your real IP and makes your completely anonymous
  • While being connected through a VPN, no one can trace your location through your IP address
  • A VPN tunnels your data through a secure network – making it impossible for hackers or even the NSA to infiltrate your security
  • A VPN is formulated through different protocols such as PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, SSL and SSH etc
  • The encryption supported by these protocols protects serves as a backup plan
  • If someone somehow was able to penetrate into your security, he will get nothing but encrypted data only

VPN Disadvantages

  • A VPN comes with a price to pay
  • You will have to purchase the service eventually from the service provider if you wish to continue
  • A VPN deteriorates your Internet speed to a certain portion. Hence, your surfing experience can be a bit lethargic if you do not have a high-speed Internet connection
  • Security and Internet speed are inversely proportional while using a VPN
  • A VPN encrypts your data by using different protocols
  • The most secure protocol selected while connecting a VPN can cost you significant decline with respect to the Internet speed

TOR-vs-VPN

Tor Onion Routing vs. VPN Encryption

When you use a VPN to send your message, it is encrypted first and then it is sent to a particular VPN server. Once you have performed the said process, it is decrypted again and forwarded to the final destination.

Messages those come to your system are sent to the VPN server where they go through the process of encryption and sent to your system/. Your VPN service decrypts the message on your computer.

Tor applies the concept of Onion Routing that is a more complex phenomenon. When you send the message through Tor, it needs to pass through at least three nodes or servers before it reaches to final destination.

The Tor software encrypts your message multiple times. When your message is passed through the network, each server decrypts one layer at a time. But, when your message is gone through final server, it decrypts the last layer and expose your message in the end. As a result, the message is forwarded to its destination outside Tor network.

When Should You Choose a VPN over Tor?

VPNs have turned out to be effective options when users want to secure their privacy while performing various online tasks. These are:

  • Online shopping
  • When using public Wi-Fi networks
  • Doing banking transactions
  • Torrenting
  • Unblocking banned sites

Furthermore, you cannot undermine the importance of different benefits that you avail through a VPN. These are:

  • Speed
  • Compatibility
  • Pricing
  • User friendly apps

When should you use Tor over a VPN?

Surprisingly, you can use Tor over a VPN too.

You might be wondering how it is possible.

The use of Tor comes in handy when you are working as a journalist on highly sensitive political issues. In these scenarios, you are bound to secure your online as well as physical whereabouts. Sadly, a third part can access to your crucial information by cracking down on your VPN provider.

Therefore, you must use Tor to avail such advantages:

  • Complete anonymity
  • User friendly
  • Free of cost

Tor vs VPN Reddit

Reddit has become one of the most followed communities that allow you to explore unbiased reviews about different products and services. As per the response of one Reddit follower, you can use a VPN along with Tor.

FAQs

Tor is not a VPN or proxy. A VPN hides your online activities through alternative IP addresses. On the other hand, a proxy allows you to unblock your preferred sites. However, it does not encrypt your traffic from unwanted sources like ISPs and hackers.
Yes, you can use Tor and VPN together quite easily. Still, you will need to connect to the VPN server first. Once you are connected to the VPN server, you can connect to the Tor network before using the internet.

Users’ devices>VPN>Tor>Internet

No, Tor does not have a built-in VPN as it works as a free browser that allows you to defend against traffic analysis.
According to my analysis, it is only safe as your OPSEC. Therefore, you must use Tor after connecting to a VPN service of your choice.

Wrapping Up

I expect you would like my detailed Tor vs VPN comparison. Overall, both VPNs and Tor are amazing ways of safeguarding your data online. That said, VPNs offer much room when it comes to attaining next level anonymity from anywhere.

Feel free to share your views or experiences in the comments section given below.