VPN vs Tor: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated: June 21, 2022
This VPN vs Tor guide will show you the differences between them, along with the advantages and the disadvantages of both. Let’s dig into it.
VPN vs Tor: What’s the Difference?
EarthWeb is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

BEST VPN SERVICES

#1 Top Rated
NordVPN

SAFE & SECURE
the #1 VPN service of 2022

now
63% OFF!
GET STARTED NOW
#2 Top Rated
Surfsharktop budget VPN

GET STARTED
#1 Top Rated
NordVPN

SAFE & SECURE
the #1 VPN service of 2022

now
63% OFF!
GET STARTED NOW
#3 Top Rated
ExpressVPNbest free vpn

GET IT FREE

We live in the day and age of technology, and among the many issues that comes with this, more and more people are struggling to maintain their privacy and anonymity when they are online.

The good news is that there are tools out there that help users protect themselves successfully when they are online.

These include the Tor network, as well as VPNs. Even if you aren’t an expert in the world of technology, you have probably heard of terms like these, but you might not know the differences between the two.

The reality is that both are great options when it comes to your online privacy, and both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it could come down to personal preference.

This VPN vs Tor guide will show you the differences between them, along with the advantages and the disadvantages of both. Let’s dig into it.

VPN vs Tor: What is Tor?

Tor is short for The Onion Router, and it is maintained by a nonprofit organization. It is financially supported by corporations and NGOs, including Google.

Tor

This means that the network is completely free for you to use, and it lets you browse the web, and communite with people anonymously.

It’s going to encrypt your request multiple times and route it through three relay servers that they choose randomly that most of the time, are going to belong to volunteers.

With Tor, you are going to have access to roughly around 7000 servers.

With each server that you pass, the request or message is going to be decrypted and leave the exit node unencrypted, without exposing an IP address. Let’s look at Tor browser vs VPN.

Tor Advantages

  • It is useful for any online activity, and completely free to use.
  • It has a complied encryption method, that means that you are going to be able to experience complete online anonymity.
  • Because its network is made up of servers that are run by volunteers, this makes it really difficult to intercept, or shut down.

Tor Cons

  • One of Tor’s advantages is also its disadvantage. This is because when the message or request leaves the exit node unencrypted, it is vulnerable, which means that the government or an ISP can eavesdrop on the communication between the destination server and the exit note.
  • When you use multiple layers of encryption to secure a server, this compromises the speed of the connection.
  • There is poor transparency and accountability among volunteers that run the servers, which leaves the server exposed to being exploited.
  • It is difficult to get an exit node or an IP address from a specific country. You will need to reconnect multiple times or configure the connection.
  • If you are unsafely browsing on onion websites, this can be dangerous.

VPN vs Tor: What is a VPN?

VPN

When considering Tor browser vs VPN, a VPN is a connection that routes the traffic of the user through an encrypted tunnel, which makes your connection completely anonymous.

This means that no third party, including the government, or ISP, or a hacker, can see what kind of information is being processed through the tunnel.

Good quality VPN providers out there are going to offer their clients a no-logs policy, as well as independent audits that prove this, which means that they don’t store any of your personal information as well as what you are doing online.

Typically, high-quality VPN providers are going to offer thousands of servers to their clients in dozens of different countries.

There are also different kinds of protocols that a VPN can provide, and some VPN providers offer specialty servers, for an added layer of security.

This can include a double VPN, which means that it encrypts your data twice.

Typically, VPNs are preferred by regular users, that are either trying to protect their online identity, or trying to avoid harm when they use the public network.

VPN Advantages

  • VPN’s next generation protocols make sure that you can access really good speeds.
  • VPNs offer a higher level of accountability, because it is easy to tell who is running a specific service.
  • It is really easy for you to get your hands on an IP address from a specific country, because premium IP providers have thousands of servers and dozens of different countries around the world.
  • Top VPN providers are going to offer advanced encryption, which means that you can feel confident that no part of your data is going to be exposed to leak risks.

VPN Cons

  • As you probably can expect, VPN providers that offer the best features and speeds are also going to be more expensive.
  • Not all VPN providers have no-logs audits.
  • Because the entire system relies on a single VPN provider, it is important that you find a service that you can truly trust. This is why we never recommend that you use a free VPN.

VPN vs Tor: How Do They Compare and Which One Is Right for You?

As far as security, speed, and additional features, we believe that a VPN is going to be a better choice than Tor.

However, as we have mentioned already, the best VPN services out there are paid. Tor allows access to onion websites, which a VPN can’t do for you, and this might be an important factor that determines which one you go for.

VPNs allow for easier access to IP addresses from a specific country, and this means that it is possible for you to use them simultaneously.

However, this could have a negative impact on connection speeds, and some high-quality VPN providers offer their clients an Onion Over VPN service or they specifically offer a VPN for Tor service. which is going to route your traffic through the Tor network, which adds an extra layer of security.

VPN vs Tor: Top Recommended VPN Service

NordVPN

NordVPN

NordVPN has many different advantages as a trusted VPN provider, including its own Wireguard-based protocol so that you can enjoy the speeds that come with Wireguard, without having to trade things like privacy risks.

NordVPN has more than 5200 servers in 60 countries, which means that you’re always going to be able to have access to quick servers.

👉 Get NordVPN Here

  • NordVPN is the industry leader (by a long way)
  • 30-day risk-free trial
  • Superfast speeds
  • 5,442+ servers in 60+ countries
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Next-generation military-grade encryption
  • DoubleVPN, double privacy
  • 6 simultaneous device connections
  • Great for: Safety, security, anonymity & peace of mind
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, iPad & iOS, Linux, routers, Apple TV, FireFox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and more

👉 Get 63% OFF NordVPN!

When it comes to their website, they offer their clients in-depth explanations about servers, VPN protocols, how-tos on increasing your VPN speed, and other reading material that is really useful.

Talking about their app, it automatically is going to choose you the quickest server in the selected country.

If you have any questions about NordVPN’s services, there is a customer support team that is available 24/7.

They offer their clients a twice-audited no-logs service so that you can make sure that everything that you are doing online stays confidential, and you aren’t exposed to risks.

They continually update their service, which means that they roll out new updates every few months, which include really important security updates.

VPN vs Tor: Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, whether you use Tor or VPN to make your online experience a little more enjoyable, it’s completely up to you.

As you can see, both come with their advantages and disadvantages, which means at the end of the day, it all comes down to what you’re trying to achieve online, and how much you care about the security of your private data.

The good news is that there are plenty of options to choose from, so we suggest that you give both a try, including NordVPN, and see what’s going to work best for you.

Stay on top of the latest technology trends — delivered directly to your inbox, free!

Subscription Form Posts

Don't worry, we don't spam

Written by Jason Wise

Hi! I’m Jason. I tend to gravitate towards business and technology topics, with a deep interest in social media, privacy and crypto. I enjoy testing and reviewing products, so you’ll see a lot of that from me here on EarthWeb.
4.7/5