Yes, Tor works fine without a VPN. There are no drawbacks for using Tor on its own, but using a VPN alongside Tor can add significant additional layers of security and privacy.
To better grasp how Tor and a VPN perform on their own, it is crucial to learn the differences between them.
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Difference Between Tor and VPN
While both Tor and VPN provide security and privacy over the internet, the method each of them uses is unique. If your only concern is “How can I hide my ip?” then both work fine.
Tor is open-source software, and the name Tor is an acronym of “The Onion Router” To hide the location and activity of its users, it relies on an overlay network consisting of thousands of relays. These relays are run by volunteers worldwide. Data hops from one relay to the next, each time with source IP of previous relay and destination IP of the next relay, until data reaches its destination.
In addition to the overlay network, Tor also encrypts the data at the application layer and encrypts the source and destination IP addresses. It anonymizes data but does not prevent online services from determining that they are being accessed via the Tor network.
In short, instead of hiding online activity, it makes it very difficult for online service to trace that activity back to a user.
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It is safe to use Tor alone, but it is safer to use a VPN and Tor together.
VPN stands for a “Virtual Private Network”. To provide security and control over one’s data, a VPN acts as a secure tunnel between devices. It extends a private network across a public network that allows the source and destination to communicate as if they were connected to a private network.
In addition to the secure tunnel, a VPN also encrypts all the internet traffic. This encryption prevents any third party from getting access to user data, but since all the data goes through private VPN servers, users must be able to trust VPN providers with their data.
All-in-all, a VPN encrypts and hides all data from prying eyes and provides security via its private servers around the globe.
Using Tor Network and VPN Together
There are two methods of utilizing VPN and Tor simultaneously for added security:
- Tor Over VPN
- VPN Over Tor
If your concern is related to ip, then both methods perform equally well.
– Tor Over VPN
In this configuration a user first connects to a VPN and then uses Tor Network via Tor Browser. With this configuration the end node of a Tor relay network, which is a known weak point in Tor Network, is secured by the VPN encryption.
Even if the end node is compromised, the data hoping out of the node is encrypted and safe from intrusions.
Using a VPN does not hide data and internet traffic from the VPN itself. Tor gives a pathway to deal with this security obstacle. Connecting to a VPN first and then using Tor to access the world wide web hides your traffic even from the VPN.
With this configuration, in addition to your browser traffic, all communication from your device is encrypted. VPN secures every application in your device that sends and receives data with encryption and anonymity.
– VPN Over Tor
The opposite of “Tor Over VPN” in this configuration a user first connects to Tor Network and then uses a VPN service. This configuration is comparatively slower and doesn’t add much to security either. It is also tedious to implement.
With this configuration, VPN services are still able to see the data of their users. Moreover, any communication from other applications on your device also remains unprotected. With this configuration, a VPN instead of giving system-wide protection can only protect your browser traffic.
In the end, it all boils down to the question, “Can You Use Tor Without a VPN?” And the answer is once again as told at the beginning of this article, a definitive “Yes”.
Tor Without VPN
Tor is an amazing open-source software when it comes to online privacy. It currently has no noticeable rivals in the tech industry. It is one of the most secure and easy ways to gain online anonymity.
Tor without VPN is still secure, but introducing a VPN in the equation adds a few noticeable extra layers to security and protection to the onion router.