VPNs and the Onion Network are two tools that are used to get a private browsing experience. Even if they do share some similarities, they don’t all route the same kind of traffic nor do they bring the same level of protection.
To get the protection you want from both of them, you can use Onion over VPN, a method that will safeguard you twice.
Even if Tor will mean that no one can really know exactly what you’re doing online, your ISP can still know that you’re using the Tor network to get access to the Internet. This is an issue because many authoritarian countries have blocked the Tor network.
Even worse, the nodes in the Onion network can be run by anyone, so a government could use thousands of relays to monitor users’ online habits. Lastly, because the traffic is unencrypted at the exit, there is a chance for the request to be associated with your IP address.
By using Onion over VPN, you avoid all of that.
Onion Over VPN Explained
In a nutshell, Onion over VPN means that your traffic will be routed first through a VPN and server and then will be sent to the Onion network. This means that as soon as your traffic reaches the final destination, it will be practically impossible to trace.
There are a couple of ways to use Onion over VPN. Certain VPN providers provide the feature directly in through their application, which is usually the simplest and most efficient way to do it. Another option is to just use a VPN, and then use Tor, although this method is not as safe.
Onion Over VPN FAQs
While using Onion over VPN is very simple, there are still many doubts in relation to Tor, so we’re here to help clear them up.
What is an Onion Network?
The Onion Router (Tor) is a network of servers that randomly encrypt and send your traffic through various exit nodes in various locations. What this means is that your data will not go directly to your destination, but will instead enter the Onion network and take at least one additional hop before it goes through a random exit node and reaches its final destination.
The main advantage Onion over VPN has over normal Tor is that your IP address is also encrypted through a VPN server, so you get extra protection.
Is a Tor browser a VPN?
No. VPNs work by receiving your real IP address and then rerouting it through one of their servers. The Tor browser works by rerouting the signal through various nodes, where each node only knows the IP address of the node “behind” and “in front” of it. This means that discovering the whole path your traffic took is very difficult. This also means you don’t get all of the advantages a VPN brings, which is why people use Onion over VPN to get the advantages of both methods.
Why do people use Tor?
Journalists in dangerous countries, activists, and whistleblowers use Tor so that they can transmit their information anonymously, without fear of being monitored. This is particularly important in places where the government has control over the internet and could prosecute for the information they pass.
For most ordinary people, Tor is a way to protect their data. Many sites nowadays can get your IP address, so through Tor, you can protect your traffic. In general, it’s used to protect your privacy.
Is Tor Legal to Use?
Absolutely! At least in the U.S. and most developed nations. Certain authoritarian countries may have banned Tor, so be sure you know the specific laws of your area before using.