5 Years On: What is the Status of Tor

A few years ago, everyone was talking about the Tor browser as something that was going to revolutionize the internet. Over the last five years, the enthusiasm has slightly diminished, but this doesn’t mean Tor is gone. On the contrary, it’s still very much in use today!

Basically, Tor is free software that enables anonymous communication between users. Although achieving a total online anonymity is almost impossible, Tor is the best tool for the job. Or is it? Some experts, such as Cybersecurity Advocacy Group TurnOnVPN, believe that there’s room for improvement. According to them, the solution is to use Tor together with Virtual Private Networks.

Difference between VPN and Tor

The VPN or Virtual Private Network is a method that ensures the privacy of the user. Basically, what a VPN does is that it replaces the user’s IP address with one that can be located anywhere in the world. Therefore, the VPN is used as an IP-masking tool, which allows the users to visit the sites that are not available in their country.

For example, some YouTubers might decide to limit the availability of their content to only those users who live in the United States. This obstacle can be overcome through the use of a US-based Virtual Private Network.

Unfortunately, this means that the VPN provider knows the real IP address of the user. That’s not the case with Tor. This software masks the user’s IP so that no one can see it. Tor is actually a web browser that completely encrypts the user’s network data. The data is then moved across the Tor network, from one service to another. This way, the data becomes almost impossible to trace.

The bad news is that this process requires quite a lot of time. Because of that, browsing the internet via Tor is usually a very slow process. Surely, those who put their privacy and anonymity first think that it’s definitely worth the hassle.

So, which method is better – Tor or VPN? It’s almost impossible to answer this question. However, the experience has shown that the best results are achieved when these two tools are used together!

How to Use Tor & VPN Together?

It might seem counterintuitive, but turning Tor on before connecting to a VPN is not the proper way. In that case, the browsing speed will be too slow. This is because, in order to work properly, the VPN needs to adjust its flow to the speed of the browser. Instead, the users are advised to turn on the VPN before launching the Tor browser.

This method ensures a higher browsing speed, while not taking a toll on the user’s privacy and anonymity. Of course, this is only true if log-less VPN is used. Otherwise, the user’s IP address will end up in the records of the VPN provider. In turn, this will cancel out all the whole work done by Tor. That is why it is extremely important to choose a Virtual Private Network that keeps no logs of user IPs.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.