VPNs and Tor are two of the most popular digital privacy tools available on the web, but an often-overlooked fact is that they can be used together. Read on to find out our top five VPNs for using with Tor, along with all the extra information you need to know before getting started.
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Given that Tor is web browser you’d be forgiven for thinking that any VPN would work with it, but that’s not the case.
We set a high bar for our recommendations, picking not just quality providers that work with Tor, but those that actively accommodate it within their apps.
All our recommendations work without you having to download and set up a dedicated Tor browser, and the very best even have Tor-optimized servers.
After that we also made sure to only recommend providers with the most stringent logging policies so that you can be sure your browsing habits are kept anonymous.
It’s a fair question, and one that most users of either service may well have not thought to ask.
A good VPN and the Tor browser both have the same basic objective: to keep you anonymous online. While using both at once (known as ‘Tor over VPN’) doesn’t necessarily make you twice as secure, it certainly isn’t a bad idea.
Ordinarily, the server upon which you enter the Tor network would be able to see your IP address – using a VPN prevents this. It also stops your ISP from seeing that you’re using Tor, something it could otherwise easily do.
It’s only something we’d recommend for real privacy fanatics, though, or for those who simply want to browse .onion sites on the Dark Web. The negative effect it has on speeds will likely not be worth it otherwise.
The very best VPNs for Tor will have clearly labelled servers that are dedicated to Tor traffic.
If they work properly, all you’ll have to do is connect to them and then start browsing .onion sites – all within your usual web browser.
It’s not the end of the world if a VPN doesn’t have dedicated Tor servers – there are plenty that can be made to work with just a little manual configuration.
After the one-time configuration you’re set from then onwards, although there’s a chance it may restrict you to using Mozilla Firefox as your browser.
After going to all those lengths to protect your privacy it would be a shame to go and hand all your information over to an untrustworthy provider.
When you connect to Tor via a VPN you’re entrusting that provider with your browsing information. The best ones will explicitly state that they aren’t watching or logging what you do.
Tor is a thoroughly anonymous service, but you’ll still want to use a VPN that’s super-secure in its own right.
A safe protocol, thorough encryption, and extras like a kill switch are all important features designed to keep you even safer.
Even the most expensive VPN plans can be made affordable by taking out a longer subscription.
Don’t bother with a one-month plan – 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing one with a long refund period.
We’d advise a 30-day no-questions-asked guarantee – they essentially act as a free trial period.
Make the right choice, though, and you hopefully won’t be thinking about a refund at all.