So, you want to know what is Tor.
Similarly, you wish to learn how it works.
Moreover, you want to discover what tor is used for.
If yes then read this guide in detail that also highlights the hidden attributes of the famous online anonymity tool appropriately.
What is Tor and how does it work?
Tor, a short form of “The Onion Router” was a brainchild of US Navy. It was created to allow people to browse the internet securely from anywhere. Similarly, it delivers next level online protection by sending users’ traffic towards various Tor servers.
Source Credit: Tor Project
How does it work?
Tor follows the concept of decentralization in true letter and spirit. The best thing about the decentralized network is the availability of numerous layers of security that protect users’ data to new heights. Therefore, nobody can keep an eye on your online activities. This is because these several layers of protection make users’ location anonymous.
Salient features of Tor
Different reasons justify the usage of Tor. Likewise, you are free to avail Tor network for all the right reasons. In case you are working as a journalist in an oppressive country, you should use Tor to anonymize your whole traffic.
Still, Tor is far from being perfect but it will not allow marketers, ISPs, and websites to gather your browsing information. The same applies to police officers too. They can hide their traffic from the vicious eyes of online hackers and other unneeded people to protect their digital whereabouts.
What Tor does not do?
Tor will not secure your online privacy from surveillance agencies as they target users those who opt Tor network in general. The official authorities can easily crackdown Tor network by injecting the malware into the browser. By doing so, they can also recognize the IP addresses of hundreds of users quite easily.
You cannot rely on an anonymity solely. You need to have additional layer of protection that you can obtain after using a VPN. If you just use Tor to keep yourself anonymous, you will not remain protected in all the situations.
Should I Use Tor or not?
It depends how much importance you give to your privacy. If you are a newbie in the domain of online privacy, you should not use Tor. This is because you do not want your government to track your online tasks if you use Tor.
In case you are working on a high profile case as a detective, you will need to use Tor to protect your digital identity. Otherwise, VPNs are enough to secure your online presence from different cyber threats.
What is Tor Browser?
Tor browser bounces your communications through the help of a distributed relays network. This is the reason unwanted personnel on the internet are unable to trace your browsing activities. You can use Tor browser on Windows, Mac, and Linux without any fuss.
Who uses Tor?
Interestingly, people from all around the world prefer to opt Tor when it comes to searching and buying different products and services. Likewise, they can communicate with others those who have limited internet access. By using Tor, you can access to the world of information in no time.
Source Credit: Anonabox
How Tor browser works?
The working methodology of Tor browser is quite simple and you do not need any rocket science to understand the procedure. It routes all your internet traffic with the support of the Tor network. Tor includes a three-layer proxy just like an onion.
The Tor browser uses one of the public listed entry nodes randomly. After making successful connection, it bounces the traffic by a randomly chosen middle relay. In the end, it sends your traffic by the help of final exit node.
Does Tor hide IP address?
Yes, Tor hides your IP addresses. As a result, your ISPs cannot identify your internet traffic that includes website surfing as well. ISPs may recognize that you are connected to a Tor entry node. Furthermore, websites will detect the IP address of Tor exit node not yours.
What is darknet?
Darknet is a kind of content not accessible to everyone over the internet. You need to have some specific tools in your armory like Tor to access it. Otherwise, you will not be able to achieve your mission appropriately.
In addition, darknet includes both legitimate and illegitimate content too. However, it is much popular because of illegal content and other related stuff.
How Tor is associated to darknet?
Tor simply allows you to access darknet according to your own terms. You can search both legal and illegal content through Tor anonymously from any part of the world. That said, you could access darknet sites like .onion sites through Tor.
You can also term these sites as “Tor hidden services”. Moreover, search engines do not index these sites. Hence, you may face difficulties while finding your desired stuff. Tor offers next level protection to the operators of .onion sites therefore nobody can identify who is managing these sites.
Surprisingly, you can even develop .onion site at your own by using the Tor browser.
Are there any downsides to using Tor?
When you use Tor browser, you are able to get a bunch of interesting advantages. On the other hand, you should know some downsides of using Tor. These are:
- Slow speeds
- ISPs detection
- Network administrators’ blockage
In case you use Tor browser to gain an utmost level of anonymity, chances are that you may anticipate speeds issues. The major reason behind the slowness of speed is due to the traffic that does not reach to its destination directly. Likewise, the speeds of traffic flow between the nodes can also slowdown the whole process.
ISPs are able to identify users those who browse the internet through Tor. Still, they cannot trace what you do over the internet. However, they can identify if you are using Tor and create hurdles eventually. Thus, you must use a VPN along with Tor to overcome the said hassle.
Network administrators’ blockage
Network administrators most block users those who opt Tor. Still, you should not lose all your hopes as you can consider using bridges that make Tor nodes undetectable by administrators. Similarly, you will have to use another tool such as Pluggable Transports that makes your Tor traffic a regular traffic.
Does Tor work on mobile?
Luckily, you can use various free proxy apps for Android like Orbot. The app enables you to pass your internet traffic with the support of Tor network. Furthermore, you can select Orfox, a Tor browser for Android that helps you in sending your traffic through Tor network.
Image Credit: DroidViews
Do I still need a VPN when using Tor?
If you do not use a VPN to secure your privacy, you live in fools’ paradise. There are so many ifs and buts are involved with Tor network. Tor offers additional layer of anonymity to users while VPN is more inclined towards privacy.
Likewise, you can trust your VPN service since it will not indulge itself in logging activities. Conversely, Tor does not deliver same level of trust to its users. Surprisingly, Tor entry node may also identify your actual IP addresses. When you connect to a VPN service, you can encrypt all your traffic.
You should check out our Tor vs VPN detailed comparison to differentiate between these two amazing services.
Does Tor work in China?
Unfortunately, Tor does not have a good reputation among official authorities of different countries. The same goes for Chinese think tank too. Any tool used by netizens to circumvent censorship principle is not accepted by the relevant regimes.
China is included in the list of countries like Venezuela and Russia that have been taking stern actions against the usage of Tor for quite some time.
What other projects are related to Tor?
Tor network is just not limited to the Tor browser only. The network has been working as a helping hand for various projects over a course of time. The .onion sites, the Tor instant messaging system, and other projects are some of the prime examples of Tor network.
Here is the list of numerous projects those have been benefitted from Tor that includes:
- Pluggable Transports
Source Credit: Tor Project
How safe is to explore the deep web Reddit?
According to the response of one Reddit user, you can search deep web through Tor without any hassle. It depends on you actually. If you have used Tor network for visiting illegal or criminal sites, you may face the repercussions.
This is where role of VPNs comes in handy as they offer alternative IP addresses to their subscribers.
I hope I have described the query what is Tor and how does it work in detail. I have also explained the benefits of using VPNs along with Tor. Tor is an excellent application to use for those who are concerned about online anonymity.
With no cost associated, Tor can certainly tempt most of the users and serve as their preferable tool. Still, you should not undermine the importance of a VPN at any cost that provides both privacy and anonymity under one roof.