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Why use Tor over VPN

Posted on July 25th, 2018 by in Articles & News.

 

Tor is a powerful privacy tool, but you may not want to use Tor all by itself. Learn why you may want to connect to Tor over a VPN.

When you connect to the Internet, especially if you’re using public WiFi, there’s a good chance people are watching you. Hackers, government spies, and the websites you visit can find out your IP address, your location, the pages you visit, and even the information you send and receive over the network. But there are two easy-to-use technologies that can protect you: Tor and VPN.

This article explains what Tor is and why you might want to consider using Tor over VPN than Tor by itself.

What is Tor and how does it work?

Tor is a free software program developed by The Tor Project, a nonprofit organization based in Massachusetts. Tor allows users to anonymize their Internet traffic, making it a useful tool for journalists and human rights defenders who may be targeted online. Today a lot of people use Tor every day, from victims of domestic violence to high-profile whistleblowers and activists. Edward Snowden used a combination of Tor and PGP to communicate classified information about the NSA with The Guardian.

With Tor, you can also connect to hidden services known as onion sites, which are only accessible via the Tor network. ProtonMail, for instance, has its own onion site. These can be useful for bypassing regional censorship.

When you connect to the Tor anonymity network, your Internet connection is encrypted and bounced among multiple Tor servers operated by volunteers around the world. Unless the entire Tor network (or a significant fraction) of it is being monitored, a third party will not be able to identify the real IP address of the Tor user. Websites that you visit only see the IP address of the Tor exit node (the last node in the Tor network that your traffic passes through), and not your actual IP.

Using Tor in combination with VPN

A VPN, or virtual private network, establishes an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server, concealing your true IP address and your activities from your Internet service provider (ISP) and any hackers or spies who might be monitoring the network. (Follow these links to learn more about how VPNs work and the benefits of using one.)

There are a few advantages to using Tor in combination with VPN. Using Tor with a VPN gives you an extra layer of privacy because the VPN encryption prevents the Tor entry node (the Tor server where you enter the hidden network) from seeing your IP address. A compromised Tor entry node is one common way for an attacker to try to break Tor’s anonymity. It also prevents your ISP from knowing you are connecting to Tor.

Additionally, using Tor over VPN gives you access to onion sites like those operated by ProtonMail, Facebook, and The New York Times, among many others.

However, there are also disadvantages of using Tor over VPN. You must use a VPN service you trust because the VPN server will be able to see your true IP address. VPN trust means using a reputable VPN service that does not keep logs of your activity and does not serve ads or malware. It’s also important to know what a VPN can and cannot protect against. ProtonVPN is the only VPN service that provides this information in a comprehensive overview of our threat model.

ProtonVPN and Tor

There are a number of ways to use Tor. For example, you can download the Tor browser, use a Tor plugin, or run a Tor operating system on your machine. ProtonVPN offers a simpler way of connecting to the Tor network as a convenience for paid users. With a single click, you can gain access to onion sites and to the privacy benefits of the Tor network.

At ProtonVPN, we implement Tor over VPN, meaning your Internet traffic is encrypted all the way through the Tor network, and your true IP address is never revealed to your ISP or to any Tor nodes.

To start using ProtonVPN, click the signup button below (it’s free). Or if you already have a free account, consider upgrading to take advantage of our advanced security features. When you’re ready to connect to Tor via ProtonVPN, you can find step-by-step instructions here.

Best Regards,
The ProtonVPN Team

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Post Comment

8 comments

  1. Independenx

    Came here from /r/TOR, now I have an urge to say this thing is bullshit. Tor is safe without VPN, and chaining a VPN either before or after Tor increases the risk of your IP being exposed significantly. Can’t you stop spreading misinformation already?

  2. Augustinas

    Hello! There is always room for discussion, it would be great if you could elaborate on the risk – maybe we can provide more information on this topic.

  3. Scotus

    Does it matter which VPN you use for Tor? Can you use a normal Secure Core connection for example and then run the Tor browser, or is it strongly recommended to connect to one of the Tor-specific VPN’s and then run the browser?

  4. Augustinas

    Tor over VPN servers eliminates the need for using a Tor browser, but you certainly can use a Tor browser along with a VPN connection if it’s more convenient for you.

  5. Ayman

    not good

  6. Scotus

    If you are browsing the web and using “Tor over VPN”, and then connecting to Tor, is it recommended that you avoid accessing any online services, such as email or web forums? The reason I ask is as I understand it any Tor exit node can be compromised, and Tor draws alot of attention from state security apparatus. Am I right in thinking if you are logging in to a service through Tor, you login details could be compromised?

  7. Eric

    What about browser fingerprinting? It seems like using Tor over VPN might lull some people into a sense of false security, using their regular Chrome browser on their main OS, whereas if they use Tor the regular way, they are probably using an anonymized OS and browser with no unique fingerprint. Is this a real threat and if so, what is the best way to mitigate while using Protonmail’s Tor over VPN? Thanks!

  8. Путин Хуйло

    Great tip! Thanks for your work!

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