Tor vs VPN – Which is the Best for Privacy? Today’s world has become the world of free-flowing data. Every other person can access any information in just a few clicks. The technology has shrunk the world, people living far away can connect to their loved ones in no time. With the passage of time. As the internet technology has expanded rapidly. It has also brought some serious concerns to be worried about. The online privacy has become a significant challenge for all of us. Cyber criminals and hackers are working day and night to break through the network security. In addition to this, the act of snooping by the government and some private organisations has made the matter worse. Drastic times call for drastic measures.
Thus, in such an uncertain and insecure era, the innovation of software to provide privacy and security were nothing but the order of the day. Some tools are designed to provide privacy and a secure network to the users globally (read our ultimate privacy guide). The one is TOR, and the other is VPN. In today’s article, my primary objective is to compare both of them and tell you which is the best for online privacy. So stick to my article till the end to know all about TOR vs VPN.
What is Tor?
Tor is a software which is designed to provide you anonymity by concealing your online activity. This system is based on the distributed network. Tor is powered by the US government, and it is a free software. It stands for The Onion Router as it uses the techniques of onion routing. In this system, the data moves across many servers, and these servers are known as hops. Your data traffic passes through some computers connected to the Tor network, providing you complete encryption with anonymity. This means your protection level will increase with the increase in some computers in the Tor network.
How Tor Works?
First of all, you must get to know how the internet works to understand better how Tor works. The internet can be referred to as the series of connections that connect computers across the world. Some of these computers house the data stored on the internet, and these computers are known as servers. The devices (PC or smartphones) that access this information our clients. These clients are connected to the server via different mediums; it can be fibre optical cables or a wireless connection. The internet data that is exchanged is in the form of data packets that contain the information about the sender and to where it has been sent. This information can be snooped by the government in the name of mass surveillance.
Tor is developed by the programmers voluntarily, using their devices as ‘nodes’. These nodes create a tunnel on which the internet data packets travel until they reach to the server safely. These packets are layered by the successive packets to prevent the original packet from being traced. This all result in a totally secure connection that is less likely to be intercepted. We have written this article of Tor vs VPN to let you compare both the security and privacy tools and decide which one is better and why to choose one.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network VPN or is a network that is designed to provide a secure Internet connection that protects the data traffic with the help of an encrypted tunnel through which all the internet packets transmit to its destination securely(know more about VPNs in detail by reading our VPN guide). The VPN technology was initially created to work remotely that means if a company needs to be connected to a far-flung employee they can make use of VPN service and that employee can stay connected to his work remotely. This innovation was created to cater to the corporate sector, but now the use of VPN for personal network security is increasing remarkably.
How VPN Works?
If you wish to use the internet, you are required first to connect to a server provided by your Internet service provider (ISP). This will enable you to access any website that you wish to visit. All your internet data traffic passes through the server, and your ISP can see it. But when you connect to a VPN server, your all data traffic will pass through a VPN tunnel, a fully encrypted connection. This network will let you browse securely without worrying about being snooped, and your internet service provider will be unable to see it. The VPN is designed to mask your original IP address with the IP address of the VPN server, which can be changed if you want to do it.
For instance, If you want to see the blocked content of US, you need to select the IP address of the US and you will appear online with the IP address of the US(know how to unblock geo-restricted sites). This will let you watch all the content of the US which is blocked in your home country. And if anyone tries to snoop you, all they will see is the VPN server IP address, and your IP address will remain concealed. This means that nobody will get to know which websites will be accessed and cannot watch your online activity.
Differences Between Tor and VPN – TOR vs VPN
Hence the above text shows that both the Tor and the VPN are used to have a secure connection, and they both allow the user to bypass the geo-restriction and access any blocked content. To compare both of them, you can go through the following advantages and disadvantages of VPN and Tor.
Advantages of using Tor
- It is almost impossible to trace which website you visit.
- This distributed network is less likely to be shut down by the government or any other authoritative organisation.
Disadvantages of using Tor
- Tor is quite slow due to the various layers of successive packets, and the data has to pass through some relays, making the browsing slow. Thus, I will not recommend it for watching videos and online streaming.
- In Tor network, the end node remains unencrypted where your data is likely to be exposed and vulnerable to the sprayers.
- Some ISPs have found the way to block Tor.
Advantages of using VPN
- The speed of VPN is much faster than the speed of Tor because there is only one middleman between you and your requested website and that is the VPN server.
- According to many types of research, VPN is more reliable and recommended when it comes to providing better security and privacy whereas Tor comes on the second number.
- Some VPN services offer malware protection in their client software (read more about best encrypted VPN).
Disadvantages of using VPN
- A good VPN service may cost you more, but it is not much expensive (see the best cheap VPN services). You can go for free VPN services as well, but in that case, you will have to bear the annoying ads (read more about the best free VPN services).
Using VPN along with Tor
You can use VPN and Tor together to add extra security level to your network connection. However, it can be complex to set up and sometimes even dangerous if not done promptly. You can set up this network in two ways. Either you connect VPN first then route Tor or vice versa. But we recommend you to go for this option only if you trust your VPN provider more than your ISP because this will expose your IP address to your VPN provider.
Which is Best for Privacy?
Both VPN and Tor provides anonymity and enables you to bypass the censorship. When it comes to using Tor, you get all its fruits at the cost of very slow speed while VPN is faster than Tor and provides you better security and privacy system than Tor. A VPN offers malware protection that is nowhere to be found in Tor. In the case of Tor, its end nodes remain unencrypted that is a loophole in the system because here your internet data packet can be intercepted, so you need to ask yourself is using Tor safe for privacy?
Conclusion- Tor vs VPN
After the comparison of VPN or Tor. What we conclude is that VPN or Virtual Private Network and Tor are designed to provide the same services. However, VPN is considered to be a better option than Tor One of the reasons behind this is the deadly slow speed of Tor because of so many relays. Whereas VPN is speedier than Tor because of the more sophisticated and smooth encryption channel. Moreover, if you wish to watch video content and share a file. Then it is recommended to use Tor. As it is quite slow you will not be able to watch any video streaming smoothly.
Hence, VPN is the best option for watching blocked video streaming websites and file sharing with the best of privacy and almost complete anonymity(know more about best VPN for streaming services). A VPN is a great tool to bypass censorship and more versatile than Tor. I have tried both and found VPN way better than Tor. The only disadvantage of VPN is that it costs money while Tor is free of cost. But good things often cost money. However, if you shop smartly, you will be able to find a VPN that good as well as less pricey. In the above article, there is everything you need to know about Tor vs VPN. By going through this nifty article. You will be able to know about both the tools and make a better choice for yourself. Good Luck!