Based on our most recent tests, the three VPNs in this list are the best services for Tor overall. If you want to try a VPN before committing to a subscription, skip to our section on free VPNs for Tor instead.
1. NordVPN: The Best VPN for Tor Overall
NordVPN is the fastest VPN, it has a verified no-logs policy, zero leaks, and it’s based in Panama.
- Tor over VPN servers
- The fastest VPN we’ve tested
- Based in Panama (privacy-haven)
- Verified no-logs policy & no IP, DNS, or IPv6 leaks
- AES-256 encryption, RAM-only servers, double VPN & reliable kill switch
- Accepts bitcoin payments
- Renews at a much higher monthly price
- Minor server breach in 2018
- Doesn’t accept anonymous cash payments
The best VPN for Tor is NordVPN because it’s the fastest VPN, so Tor won’t slow down your internet connection too much. It has specialized Onion over VPN servers, industry standard AES-256 encryption so your online activity won’t be seen by your ISP.
NordVPN also has a zero-logs policy verified in a real-world case, a network of RAM-servers, and helpful 24/7 live chat support.
Using NordVPN and the Tor browser, we accessed Torch, the oldest search engine on the Tor network.
Moreover, NordVPN has additional security features, which are excellent for privacy-sensitive activities, such as double-VPN, split tunneling, and a reliable kill switch.
Stable connections with minimal speed loss
NordVPN is the fastest VPN we’ve tested. This is important because Tor routes your internet traffic through three separate, random nodes in various parts of the world, which can cause significant speed loss.
When connected to a local server, we only recorded a 2% decrease in our download speeds and 5% in uploads. Beyond Tor, this also makes NordVPN a great VPN for browsing content online, streaming, and torrenting.
NordVPN’s preconfigured Tor servers aren’t the safest option
You may see other websites suggest using NordVPN’s pre-configured Tor/onion servers (or Onion Over VPN servers). A benefit of this is that you can access .onion sites on your favorite browser, including Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.
However, accessing the dark web without the protections of the Tor browser can be dangerous. You can open yourself up to potential attacks and information leaks.
Other browsers are nowhere near as secure as the Tor browser. For maximum security, we recommend connecting to NordVPN first and then using the Tor browser to access the dark web.
Who is NordVPN best for?
You should use NordVPN if:
- You want a fast VPN for Tor. NordVPN is the fastest VPN out of 55 VPNs, with short distance speed losses as low as 1%.
- You want a VPN with Tor over VPN servers or double VPN. NordVPN is highly customizable and comes with extra security features other VPNs don’t have.
- You want an easy-to-use VPN for Tor. NordVPN is the most user-friendly VPN service that we recommend for Tor. But you should be wary of even exploring the dark web if you’re new to VPNs.
You should not use NordVPN if:
- You’re an Android user. NordVPN’s Android app is good, but the kill switch can be complicated for beginners to configure.
- You don’t want to pay a higher price after the initial subscription. NordVPN’s subscription renews at a higher price after the initial period is up.
2. Proton: Secure Alternative that Accepts Cash Payments
A secure VPN with a Swiss jurisdiction, strong no-logs policy, IPv6 leak-block capabilities & accepts anonymous cash payments.
- Tor over VPN servers
- No-logs policy proven in 2019 legal case & externally audited in 2022
- Safe Swiss jurisdiction
- IPv6 leak blocking capabilities & open-source apps
- AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN, WireGuard & Secure Core servers
- Accepts cash & bitcoin payments
- You can try out Proton Free before purchasing a subscription
- Premium plans are expensive
- Doesn’t have RAM servers
- Live chat not available 24/7
Proton VPN is a reliable and trustworthy VPN for accessing the dark web via Tor. It’s also the best VPN for security overall.
It’s one of the best options for Onion over VPN because it’s based in the best country for digital privacy (Switzerland), has powerful AES-256 encryption, a proven no-logs policy, and accepts completely anonymous cash payments.
In our tests, we enabled Proton’s secure core servers, kill switch, and then accessed ProPublica.onion on the Tor browser.
Furthermore, our tests show that Proton VPN has an effective kill switch and doesn’t leak your IP address, DNS requests, or IPv6 requests.
Switzerland-based & accepts anonymous payment methods
Proton VPN is headquartered in Switzerland, which is known for its political neutrality. To protect the privacy of its citizens and companies, it isn’t part of any intelligence-sharing alliances. This makes it a great place for a VPN company to be based in.
It also accepts anonymous cash payments (whereas NordVPN and PIA do not). This means you can pay for your subscription without giving up your payment details.
It can be argued that Bitcoin is a better anonymous payment solution. However, Bitcoin is a riskier currency because its price is more volatile, and it can be stolen by hackers if kept in a virtual wallet.
Proven no-logs & has helpful online resources
Proton VPN Free is actually the best 100% zero-logs free VPN service. It’s no-logs policy has been third-party audited and proven in a legal case in 2019.
This means you can trust Proton VPN to delete any activity logs that could be used to identify your online activity.
Proton VPN openly shares that a normal browser (and its Tor over VPN server) is no match for the Tor browser in terms of anonymity.
Proton VPN also has a comprehensive bank of online resources — from its blog to its support center. We easily found Proton’s setup guide on Tor over VPN, which features screenshots and lots of answered questions below.
No RAM servers & more expensive
Compared to NordVPN and PIA, ProtonVPN is the most secure VPN but it doesn’t have RAM servers. These are the best way to ensure that your data won’t be accidentally saved or stolen by third parties.
This VPN service is also not the cheapest VPN service that’s good for Tor. If price is a priority, there’s PIA and Surfshark. Both services offer RAM-only servers, have no-logs policies, and are more affordable than Proton VPN.
Who is Proton VPN best for?
You should use Proton VPN if:
- You want a VPN for Tor with a safe jurisdiction. Out of the best VPNs for Tor, Proton VPN has the safest jurisdiction — Switzerland.
- You want an anonymous payment method. Proton VPN is the only VPN for Tor we recommend that offers both cash and bitcoin payment options.
You should not use Proton VPN if:
- You want the cheapest premium VPN for Tor. Proton VPN is not the most expensive VPN for Tor, but PIA is much cheaper overall.
- You’re a VPN beginner. In comparison, NordVPN has a much better app interface. Proton VPN has advanced features that might be confusing to a VPN beginner.
3. Private Internet Access: Cheapest VPN for Tor
PIA has the most reliable VPN kill switch, a RAM-server network, and it’s the best no-logs VPN.
- The cheapest premium VPN recommended for Tor
- The best VPN kill switch we’ve tested
- No-logs policy verified multiple times in real-word cases
- RAM-only server network, double VPN, split tunneling & ad blocker
- OpenVPN, WireGuard & AES-256 encryption
- Effective obfuscation against online firewalls
- Accepts bitcoin payments
- Based in the US (Five Eyes)
- No double VPN
- Bugs on macOS client
- Doesn’t accept anonymous cash payments
PIA is the third-best VPN for Tor. Its no-logs policy has been proven multiple times, and it has the best VPN kill switch, which will protect your IP address in case your internet connection drops.
We used PIA and the Tor browser to access Ahmia.onion.
A strong no-logs policy is one the most important criteria for a good VPN for Tor. This is because Tor over VPN hides your Tor use from your ISP, but exposes it to your VPN.
So, you need to trust your VPN will not leak your IP address, DNS requests, or other activity logs. In short, a VPN that commits to your privacy is necessary for browsing the dark web.
PIA has a RAM-only server network & military-grade encryption
Despite its more affordable price tag, PIA is a highly secure VPN that goes above and beyond to secure its customers’ online privacy.
PIA has reinforced its no-logs policy by implementing a RAM-only server network, which almost guarantees all data saved is deleted in a server seizure.
These RAM servers are also programmed to routinely reboot, meaning all data is permanently deleted on a regular basis.
In addition, PIA offers military-grade AES-256 encryption, which is almost impossible to decode. This in combination with WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols secure your online traffic against external attackers and snoopers.
US jurisdiction & no double VPN
One of PIA’s major drawbacks is that it is based in the US, which is widely considered one of the worst places for data privacy. This is because the US is a founding member of the Five Eyes data sharing alliance.
However, PIA has a verified no-logs policy that can offset the risks of an invasive government. This has proven multiple cases in court and in a server seizure.
PIA doesn’t offer double VPN, which could add an extra layer of protection to your VPN connection. But while other websites might suggest combining double VPN with the Tor browser, we tested this combination, and we experienced very slow speeds.
Since the Tor browser is already slower than other browsers, we wouldn’t recommend using this combination unless you only wanted to browse static web pages.
Who is PIA best for?
You should use PIA if:
- You want a VPN with a strong kill switch. PIA has the best VPN kill switch available so you can trust your data won’t be leaked if your internet connection drops.
- You’re a VPN beginner. PIA offers lots of advanced security features and customization options that might be intimidating to a beginner.
You should not use PIA if:
- You don’t want to use a VPN based in the US. PIA’s headquarters are in the US, which means it has to comply with Five Eyes intrusive data privacy laws.
- You want to use multihop. In addition to using Tor’s network, some might want to use double VPN to further obfuscate your original IP address. However, PIA doesn’t offer this feature.