Why Use a VPN with Tor?
Before going into the hot pressing topics, there is one misconception floating around the internet. It is that Tor is illegal to use and could potentially get you into trouble. The Onion network on which Tor operates is actually fully legal and offers legitimate services to users worldwide. However, Tor users have been linked to the Dark Net, which is infamous as a popular location for illegal activity. While using Tor might not get you in trouble, it can certainly raise a few questions with your ISP. That is why we recommend you to use a VPN service alongside it.
Tor encrypts your traffic and runs it through several nodes, known as the Tor network. It routes your connection through at least three different servers before it reaches the destination. There’s no centralized authority that watches over your connection, so the guarantee of trust and anonymity is unquestionable. Even though this is the case, your entry and exit nodes on the Tor network are documented. This means that both the server you are using and your ISP can easily find out if you’re running your connection on Tor. Depending on the country you’re located in, this could mean a whole range of things, and could potentially get you in a lot of trouble.
This is why you should consider combining it with a VPN service. Most reputable VPN’s have a ‘No logging’ policy and serve to encrypt your internet service. By using one, you will have all-around security, since Tor will ensure your anonymity, while a VPN will keep all of your activity private.
How to Combine Tor and a VPN
Okay, so we’ve established that the two can be set up together to provide you with an extra layer of security. But, how can they be combined? There are actually two possible ways that the two can work together. You can connect to Tor before setting your connection through a VPN, or you can connect to a VPN and then connect to a Tor network. We will talk about the pros and cons of both, starting with the less common option.
VPN through Tor
This involves setting your internet connection through Tor first, and then through a secure VPN server. It is the less common option, and not many VPN’s actually support it. This configuration allows you to maintain complete and true anonymity but also has a few drawbacks. If hackers manage to compromise your VPN service, they will also control the end node of the Tor chain. A setup like this could potentially lead to a big privacy leak and the loss of your private information.
Tor through VPN
Tor through VPN is the most common setup and one that most providers featured on our list offer. It is fairly easy to set up and allows access to hidden Tor services. Using such a configuration will prevent your ISP from tracking your activity and also hide your true IP address. The cons of using Tor through VPN are that some of your actions could be monitored through Tor, and you won’t have any protection from malicious Tor exit nodes.
Note that both of the options offer a great level of security and privacy, but can have a big impact on your internet speeds and connection latency.