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Accessing the Tor Network in ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is integrated with the Tor network and provides users a simple way to route their entire connection through the Tor network with a single click.

In this article, we explain how to connect to the Tor network with ProtonVPN and how you can then access hidden services without the need of the Tor browser. While ProtonVPN is a free VPN service, Tor integration is a feature reserved for our paying subscribers. For more details on the advantages and features of our paid subscriptions, check out our our different VPN plans.

The short summary is:

  • Connect to a Tor VPN server available in designated countries (more details below)
  • Done, your entire connection is routed through the Tor network automatically

Connecting to the Tor network

The ProtonVPN server network include nodes which are set up to reroute entire connections through the Tor network. These servers are designated with a “TOR” in their server names, examples include US#12-TOR, HK#5-TOR and CH#9-TOR. See here for a complete list of servers.

Users simply need to connect to one of these servers on their preferred devices. To get started and set up on your device of choice, see our step-by-step guides for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, or iOS.

Once set up, users simply connect to one of the Tor servers as usual. For example in the native ProtonVPN clients, in the country list on the left, simply go to the country with a Tor server and click connect, wait for it to connect and you’re done.

ProtonVPN-client-as-tor-vpn
ProtonVPN client connected to Tor VPN

 

Accessing hidden services with your regular browser

Now that you’re connected to the TOR network, all your traffic is automatically routed through the Tor network. If you want to access hidden services from your regular browser, such as ProtonMail’s onion site at https://protonirockerxow.onion, there is often one last required step: allowing your browser to resolve .onion domains.

Firefox

To allow .onion domains in Firefox

  1. Open a new tab, go to about:config and confirm the security reminder

    tor-vpn-firefox-allow-onion-site
    ProtonVPN: Enabling Onion sites in Firefox for Tor VPN – about:config
  2. Search for network.dns.blockDotOnion and double click the entry to set the Value to false (default true). This will allow Firefox to resolve .onion addresses

    tor-vpn-allow-onion-in-firefox-protonvpn
    ProtonVPN: Enabling Onion sites in Firefox for Tor VPN
  3. DONE – just enter your desired hidden service where you normally enter your clear net URL and browser like usual.
    ProtonMail-hidden-service-with-ProtonVPN
    The ProtonMail hidden service while connected to a ProtonVPN Tor node
    • Note for Firefox + NoScript users: Some users report that the Proton onion service does not load properly with NoScript installed, even if scripts are allowed for the domain. This may be caused by a feature called ABE (Application Boundary Enforcer). Consider disabling this feature for the duration of your visit or adding an exception for the ProtonMail hidden service. 

Chrome / Internet Explorer 11 / Microsoft Edge

As of writing, .onion domains resolve automatically for the following browser version

  • Microsoft Edge 38
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Google Chrome 59

How ProtonVPN connects you to the Tor network

ProtonVPN Tor nodes connect to the Tor network by establishing a new route each time a user establishes a new VPN session. This way, none of the Tor nodes along the way receive information about the originating client and thus, even in the case of a malicious Tor node, the user details stay hidden.

Related Articles

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Post Comment

30 comments

  1. jane

    so when I am connected to a tor server, onion urls still fail to load, even after following the above instructions,
    not even the duckduckgo onion will load, and ive never seen that down

  2. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello Jane. Please contact our customer support team about this issue since we need more details and information. https://protonvpn.com/support-form

  3. Hi

    In firefox, should network.http.referer.hideOnionSource also be set to true?

  4. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello. No it should not be changed and left on false.

  5. taylor

    Can you describe what the connection would look like when connected to a Tor VPN and also using the Tor browser? I’m trying to figure out if there might be advantages / disadvantages in terms of speed / anonymity or if it’s effectively the same.

  6. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello Taylor. Its pretty simple, our TOR over VPN would go trough VPN server first and then 3 random TOR nodes. Using TOR browser on top of that, you would go trough 6 random tor nodes, that would leave you like ultimately anonymous but the speeds would decrease drastically.

  7. Atom

    Hi, if I use your free VPN and Tor browser installed on my PC, do I get same result as described in this post? And if I first start Tor and then/ VPN, what is the difference, I don’t understand this? Also, I belive I will upgrade to paid verision in the near future. Thanks for your service.

  8. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello Atom, Yes, you do get the same results, since you are using the TOR network on top of the VPN connection. (no matter if you turn on the vpn later on) You achieve the same results as with the Tor over VPN server, you get your whole network under VPN and then the browser goes trough tor network. (in this case, only the browser goes trough it, but with our servers over TOR, all pc traffic would go trough it)

  9. George

    Isnt Secure Core or multi-hop the same as TOR over VPN?

  10. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello. No its not the same to be short. Secure core connects you trough two VPN servers and then reaches the internet. Tor over VPN will connect you to the vpn server first and then a random TOR node to reach the internet.

  11. Nagendranath

    I went to the website of Macy’s store using the Swiss connection and they showed all the prices in CH currency. Does this mean they see only your server ISP ?
    Thanks.

  12. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello. That means your location is determined by your IP if there are no location services on, so that being you connected to the Swiss server will result in Swiss prices on the websites, because they only see your IP.

  13. KT

    Hi. When using a Tor Proton VPN connection, I encounter sites like foxnews.com that block all Tor traffic. Is Proton VPN working on a solution like vpn to tor to vpn to help address this problem? From what i have read a couple of other vpn providers have solutions like this since they not only increase anonymity but also address the blocking of Tor traffic. Thanks.

  14. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello, Currently we do not have any plans for triple connection methods as vpn over TOR is already really slow and adding another layer of VPN will make the connection crawl if not load pages at all, especially when visiting onion websites. So for now, we do not have a solution for that, terribly sorry about it.

  15. Joey

    I have the firefox quantum and I changed the browser like the instructions stated and changed the VPN to a tor server but it still does not let me access .onion sites. Also on a related subject what is more private using secure core w tor browser or using a tor server w tor browser?

  16. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello Joy, first you need to make sure that the onion site that you are trying to reach is active via that link as links change. Second, its up to you to decide. Secure core with tor browser would bounce through 2 VPN servers and then exit trough random node. As in Tor server + tor browser, you would bounce through 1 vpn server then two Tor nodes. So which one you feel is more comforting, ether more tor nodes or more vpn servers, its for you to decide.

  17. Joey

    Thanks for the response but the new Quantum Firefox does not access .onion sites. I have formatted it like the instructions on this site state and I have checked several .onion sites on tor so I know they are active and I even checked proton’s .onion site and no go for the firefox quantum browser. Any thoughts?

  18. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello Joey, sadly for now we cannot provide any deep insights in to this issue what could be causing it, but most of the times its a browser limitation, if it works with one, for example chrome, then it has to work with other browsers too, but if it doesnt, then its a browser limitation.

  19. blue

    I have a question using the ProtonVPN app for Android in conjunction with TOR. As I understand from the above information, the ProtonVPN utilizes TOR natively by default as all traffic is sent from the VPN servers to TOR then back out, is this true in the Android client as well? I’m curious because I cannot find an option to connect to TOR services in the Android app through the below instructions which I think only pertain to the PC or MAC client.

    The ProtonVPN server network include nodes which are set up to reroute entire connections through the Tor network. These servers are designated with a “TOR” in their server names, examples include US#12-TOR, HK#5-TOR and CH#9-TOR. See here for a complete list of servers.

    Users simply need to connect to one of these servers on their preferred devices. To get started and set up on your device of choice, see our step-by-step guides for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, or iOS.

    Once set up, users simply connect to one of the Tor servers as usual. For example in the native ProtonVPN clients, in the country list on the left, simply go to the country with a Tor server and click connect, wait for it to connect and you’re done.

  20. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello,
    The asnwer is Yes, android users can connect to TOR servers too. When you have opened the app in front of you with the server list, scroll down and search for the country that has Onion logo near it , that means it has TOR server in it. Then expand the list of the servers in the coutry and connect to the one that has that logo again.

  21. Pierre

    1- On my laptop with a protonVPN Plus connection and network.dns.blockDotOnion being set to false in Firefox, I can’t access https://protonirockerxow.onion Why? Is it still the right url?
    2- Is the connection always linked to the Tor server? I use ch-ca-01.protonvpn.com.udp1194.ovpn and on my mobile phone, Secure core ON, I do not see a Tor server for Canada via Switzerland.

  22. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello Pierre.
    1 – We do not yet have .onion link for Proton services.
    2 – Tor servers cannot be used with Secure core servers as both serve different purpose. Turn off secure core option to see Tor servers.
    If you have any further questions please direct them to our support team and we will happily answer them.
    https://protonvpn.com/support-form

  23. Interesting

    Can you provide a bit more information. What is not clear to me is if accessing a clearnet link or exiting an onion server to a clearnet site, would my traffic still be anonymized? In other words is a TOR server the same as your VPN servers but with just the added ability to “onramp” onto onion sites?

  24. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello,
    Our Tor servers work like this : When connecting to it you firstly connect to the VPN server and then afterwards you exit through Tor node to reach the internet. So it works the same as Tor with extra layer of protection being the VPN server. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact our support team and we will happily assist you. 🙂
    https://protonvpn.com/support-form

  25. Adrian

    So, the ISP will see I’m connecting to the VPN, but ultimately won’t know you are routing the traffic through TOR?

  26. ProtonVPN Team

    That is correct, since the first connection node will be our VPN server.

  27. sweeps

    While I appreciate the description of how to use your firefox browser to access Tor, I wonder how discernible this browser would be from say OrFox or the Tor Browser. I love this function of protonvpn’s servers (encrypting my traffic to the vpn server and then passing it off to Tor) however in terms of practical anonymous browsing…….I am unsure of just changing the config in Mozilla Firefox.

  28. ProtonVPN Team

    Hey, it really comes down to personal preference. There are no issues using a VPN along with a Tor browser.

  29. dan

    Hello
    how do you use the proton VPN + protonmail.onion with the Tor Browser adding Tails in live usb mode ?
    thanks

  30. ProtonVPN Team

    Hello Dan,
    Please contact our support team and we will help as much as we can.
    https://protonvpn.com/support-form

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