How Does Tor Work?
When you request a service or website through the Tor browser, your request is wrapped in multiple layers of encryption. It’s then bounced through three or more randomly selected nodes on the Tor network.
Each node decrypts and forwards the request to the next server in the chain. The last node – known as the exit node – performs the final decryption, reads the content of the transmission (for example, the URL you originally requested), and sends it to the destination server.
This system of bouncing and decrypting ensures that only the exit node is able to read the content of the transmission. But t cannot see the IP address that the request originally came from. The exit node only knows the IP of the server behind it in the chain. The same is true for all nodes involved in the transaction; they can only see their immediate neighbours. The sequence of servers is also randomized to ensure that the process can’t be traced back.
Tor also provides access to hidden services that aren’t available via any other browser or network. These services function like websites, and collectively, they’re often known as the ‘dark web’; the system uses .onion addresses instead of URLs. Many dark web resources are illegal, unpleasant, and downright dangerous, but you won’t find these unless you actively seek them out. So it is perfectly possible to use the Tor browser for normal web use; you won’t stray onto the dark web unless you actively seek it out.