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What are they and should you use them together?

One common online privacy issue concerns using the Tor browser and the Tor network with a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Both tools protect your privacy, but in different ways. Understandably, users are amazed at how to combine the privacy and security features of each tool.

So you can use Toria and VPN at the same time?

Are Tor and VPN the same?

The first thing to consider is the difference between Tor and VPN. In particular, Tor and VPN are not the same.

  • Tor is an anonymous communications network that routes Internet traffic through a global node network, protecting your information in the Tor browser and the Tor network.
  • VPN encrypts the network connection by tunneling all your data through the VPN service provider’s server. Your Internet traffic appears to come from the IP address of the VPN server rather than from your actual location.

Tor and Tor browser

So when you use Toria, you connect to the Tor network using the Tor browser (a modified version of Mozilla Firefox). All internal operations of the Tor browser use the Tor network to protect, each node running on your traffic maintains network encryption.

The Tor network does not protect any Internet activity that takes place outside of the Tor browser. So if you search with your regular browser, you don’t have the same multi-layered security and privacy as Tor.

Here is a detailed explanation how the Tor network works and protects your information

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The Tor browser and Tor network provide extensive protection in that environment, as well as access to a dark network (for better or worse). In it, many people use the Tor browser for certain tasks and access certain content instead of relying on a daily Internet browser.


While a VPN encrypts your entire Internet connection by routing it through the VPN service provider’s servers. VPN differs from Tor in that all of your Internet activity is protected, rather than just activity in the Tor browser.

If you’re not already using a VPN, check it out reasons why you should start right away!

You can use VPN all day, every day, to improve your privacy and security online. One misconception is that a VPN provides complete privacy. That’s not true. If you log in to your online account while using a VPN, the service will still know that you are logging in. The only difference is that the service sees your Internet traffic coming from a different location than usual.

In addition, if you use a free VPN service, there is no guarantee that your service provider will not keep log information about your information or pass your information to the authorities.

Should you use VPN with the Tor browser?

Now that you’ve read what Tor and VPN are, you might start to see how they fit together. Tor encrypts traffic in the Tor browser. VPNs encrypt your network connection by capturing everything else.

The question remains: should I use VPN with the Tor browser?

Official Tor Documentation notes that you do not need to use a VPN with Tor to increase privacy. Tor network configuration is secure. In spite of the threat of harmful exit and entry nodes

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there is, it shouldn’t cause you any problems.

That is the official line. However, using a VPN with Tor affects the connection.

Tor over the VPN

If you connect to your VPN service provider before connecting to the Tor network, the input node receives the IP address of the VPN service as the source of the information instead of your actual IP address. Your ISP will not be able to connect to Tor, which could protect your privacy or even allow access to the service in some countries.

This method is known as Tor over VPN. It has some notes about your VPN provider. If you trust your VPN provider is completely logon-free

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and lives in a safe jurisdiction, you can use this method.

Otherwise, you only change the trust from your ISP to your VPN provider. If your VPN provider records your information and works with authorities, you should stay using Tor without a VPN.

Tor Over VPN also provides protection against malicious access nodes, which is another plus.

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VPN over Tor

The VPN Over Tor method is a little different. This method allows you to first open the Tor browser and connect to the Tor network. You then connect to the VPN provider through the Tor network (not just turning on VPN on the desktop).

The primary advantage of the VPN Over Tor method is access to certain sites that do not allow connections to known Tor removal nodes. VPN Over Tor also protects against malicious deletion nodes, which is another plus.

The VPN Over Tor method is considered more difficult to use because the VPN must be configured to be used through Tor. It can provide more anonymity and protect traffic as it passes through the deletion node and back to the VPN provider’s server, but it also makes Tor more difficult to use.

Some users suggest that the VPN Over Tor method does not add enough security or privacy to justify it, especially given the time it takes to configure a VPN for use with Tor. Also, if done incorrectly, it can reveal your information.


The Tor project recommends the use of a bridge relay (bridges for short) to increase the privacy of the access node. The Tor bridge is a non-listed entry node. If you suspect your ISP or otherwise monitors attempts to connect to the Tor network through standard input nodes, you can use the bridge relay to communicate with an unattended relay and switch to the Tor network securely.

There is a list of default Tor bridges that anyone can use. However, because they are available to the public, most of them are likely to be traceable.

For more information on Tor bridges, check out Section 5.1 of the Informal User’s Guide to the Market

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, entitled “Use of the market in a restricted country”. You can also look Tor: Bridges documentation.

Is using a VPN secure with Tor?

You can use VPN with Tor securely with the Tor Over VPN method. For most people, a layer of privacy is more than enough.

As with all VPN security and privacy issues, you must use a reliable, logless VPN connection. If you don’t pay for the service, you’re a product. This is true for VPN services. In addition, many of the best VPN services allow independent auditors to review their privacy certificates to make sure they don’t keep log files or add ads to your traffic.

Check guide to the best VPN services

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complete list of proposals.

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