Best VPN for Tor Browser in 2020 – Fast and Secure

best vpn for tor browser; free

Tor Network is an internet browser, much like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. Tor browser allows users to surf the web anonymously and tor was made specifically for private communication. This browser even gives you access to the dark web.

Tor opens up a whole new world of opportunities that you never thought possible. Nonetheless, this type of freedom comes with great risks. You should never access the dark web without knowing exactly what you are getting yourself into.

One sure-fire way to get into trouble is not having a secured connection while accessing the dark web. The best way for you to stay safe is to pair your Tor browser with a good and reliable VPN. Not only does the VPN ensure your data is better encrypted, it effectively hides your IP address. The combination of Tor browser and VPN will create an impenetrable network solution to keep you completely anonymous and safe.

The Ways to Pair Tor Browser and VPN

Tor Over VPN: Connecting to VPN first

In this configuration, you’ll first connect to the VPN server and then only use Tor browser. Usually, the government will get suspicious of your network activity when you access Tor and may even ask your ISP for data. The VPN encryption will hide all your online activity including your Tor usage.

VPN providers cannot see your browsing activity and Tor network cannot see your real IP. So even if Tor is compromised, nobody will be able to track you down.

VPN Over Tor Browser – Connecting to Tor First

By doing this, your traffic will first enter Tor and then leave via an exit node before passing into a VPN server before you can connect to the websites you want to visit. This is not generally preferred as it is rather complex and can get difficult to set up as it requires you to conduct some modifications to the virtual machine.

In this article, we will be sharing the information you’ll need to make an informed decision on which VPN will best suit you as a privacy-protecting partner for Tor Browser.

Factors for Selecting the top VPNs for Tor browser

We’ve evaluated the VPN services online based on the following factors:

  • Features designed specifically for Tor users
  • No logs policy
  • Strong encryption
  • Anonymous payment method
  • Fast speeds

Best VPNs to Pair with Tor Browser

Tor Network VPN ExpressVPN

1. ExpressVPN

Best all-round VPN, fast connection with no logs

ExpressVPN has over 3,000 VPN servers strategically located in 160 different locations to open up access to plenty of content. Based in the British Virgin Island (BVI), it is located in one of the safest countries for users’ online privacy. BVI does not have any kind of data retention laws, meaning the company is legally permitted to hide your online activity from the government.

With an AES 256-bit military-grade encryption to protect your connection, privacy will never be your concern anymore as it keeps all your online activity across all your devices undercover and undetected. The VPN providers do not collect or log of your activities and even accepts Bitcoin as subscription payment to ensure all your information is completely incognito.

ExpressVPN’s logging policy clearly outlines that they will never log:

  • IP addresses
  • Browsing history
  • Any website you visit/Torrent you download
  • DNS queries

The VPN service provider features a kill switch which they call “Network Lock” to help users secure their data in the unlikely event of when their VPN gets disconnected suddenly without any reason. This service will protect all your internet traffic as long as your online security is not restored.

The company manages all your DNS requests through their own private servers that do not log queries when you access any site. Their Zero-Knowledge DNS feature will make sure that none of your online activities can be linked back to you.

ExpressVPN even offers a .onion version of its website to allow users the option to create a completely anonymous account with the VPN provider by using a throw-away email address. None of your internet activity will ever be traced back to you. That is how safe and reliable ExpressVPN promises to be.

The price plans for this provider may not be the cheapest on the block, but all its added benefits may be worth every penny. If you’re undecided, you can even test it out yourself with their 30-day full-service free trial with a money-back guarantee if you end up deciding it isn’t for you.

Device compatibility: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox

Pros:

  1. Super-fast connection speeds
  2. Well-encrypted, kill switch-protected connections
  3. Accepts Bitcoin as payment
  4. Offers .onion site
  5. Keeps no user logs

Cons:

  1. More expensive
  2. No kill switch protection on mobile devices

Tor Network VPN NordVPN

2. NordVPN

Most secure

With over 5,600 different servers spread out across 59 different countries, NordVPN has one of the largest server networks to let you hide behind the IP of your choice. The VPN provider is headquartered in the data retention-free jurisdiction of Panama on top of employing a strict no-logs policy.

In addition to their military-grade encryption, this Panama-based VPN service provider does not fall under the 5, 9, or 14 eyes intelligence sharing nations for a very secured privacy. Your connection through NordVPN gets routed through two separate VPN servers to grant you double data encryption along with other major security protocols to ensure your online activity always stays protected.

NordVPN uses 256-bit encryption – the strongest cipher in the industry – that has around 1.1×1077 possible combinations. It is nearly impossible to decrypt any of your sensitive data unless the person is using a supercomputer.

With standard VPN encryption, your internet traffic travels through a single VPN server. However, with the Double VPN feature, NordVPN routes your traffic through two hops to grant you an extra layer of protection. While it does make your data much more secure, your internet speed could take a hit and suffer a bit.

On top of that, NordVPN offers two different kinds of Kill Switch, one for desktops and another for mobile devices. You can choose to activate either the app kill switch or the internet kill switch to disable your entire internet connection when anything goes wrong.

Tor over VPN is generally a foolproof strategy to ensure anonymity while on the web. NordVPN goes one step further by offering Onion over VPN feature that not only restricts Tor browser from knowing your real IP, but it also deceives your ISP at the same time.

NordVPN offers 4 plans, all of which are very reasonably priced, especially for so many amazing features packed with it. Aside from the 7-day trial, the VPN service provider even has a hassle-free full 30-day refund policy in case you decide that it’s not the right fit for you.

Device compatibility: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox

Pros:

  1. Offers Onion Over VPN server
  2. Double-VPN servers
  3. Fast connection speeds
  4. No-log policy
  5. Accepts Bitcoin

Cons:

  1. Speeds are sometimes volatile
  2. Unable to specify individual servers you want to connect to

Tor Network VPN IPVanish

3. IPVanish

Best performance

IPVanish has a fast and reliable connection that works flawlessly. It has 1,300 servers in over 75 locations to allow this VPN to deliver an impressive global coverage. IPVanish’s performs up to five times faster for short hop connections, while long-distance shows an average increase of 15% in download speeds.

This popular VPN service is based in the US that is part of the 5-eyes country and is required to hand over your data to the US authorities. However, since the provider does not keep any usage logs plus, they feature some pretty good security systems like OpenVPN, IKEv2 Kill Switch, Private Check, and Password Generator, you can still count on IPVanish to secure your privacy.

This VPN service provider goes one step further by offering you a level of control over their OpenVPN setup. You have the ability to choose your OpenVPN port (1194 or 443) you want to connect to, or you can go for the “Scramble OpenVPN Traffic” option which significantly reduces the chances of your VPN tunnel being detected or blocked.

Their strict zero-logging policy will ensure your identity is always under wraps. They do not record any connection, traffic, or activity data accessed through their server in order to preserve your civil right to privacy.

IPVanish is even compatible with TOR that encrypts your traffic across different servers. Many use TOR along with their VPN to attain an additional layer of protection to improve their anonymity. With this, you can easily hide your original identity from online snoopers and ISPs.

IPVanish features efficient customer support with three different ways for contact:

  • 24/7 live chat support
  • 24/7 email support (support@ipvanish.com)
  • Help section on the website for tickets

Regardless of your method of contact, you will receive a helpful response in a timely manner. Similarly, you may get some assistance on setting up the app, FAQs, troubleshooting and billing questions through their help section.

IPVanish offers a pricing plan that is a bit on the higher side. It has 3 different pricing plans that are rather expensive despite having good discount offers. Additionally, it also does not offer a free trial, but their plans do come with a 7-day money-back guarantee.

Device compatibility: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome OS, and Router

Pros:

  1. Good security
  2. No logs
  3. Reliable connection
  4. Fast connection speeds

Cons:

  1. No free trial
  2. Does not accept Bitcoin

Tor Network VPN CyberGhost

4. CyberGhost VPN

Most user-friendly

CyberGhost is a Romania based VPN provider with more than 5,000 servers globally spread among 90 different countries. Romania is based far away from the reach from the fourteen Eyes and does not share its users’ information to any other country.

CyberGhost offers one of the most secure VPN services in the industry. The protocols that this VPN service provider supports are L2TP, IKEv2, and OpenVPN. And as far as encryption goes, CyberGhost delivers military-grade encryption to protect all your critical information.

The Kill Switch feature allows you to remain anonymous even when your VPN service suddenly stops working. If and when your VPN connection drops abruptly, your internet connection will stop as well. This is a win-win situation to ensure your privacy is safely secured.

Additionally, you can even run both TOR and CyberGhost in parallel to achieve your desired extent of anonymity. This is great for those of you who live in countries like China, Iran, and Russia.

One downside about CyberGhost worth mentioning is its ad-blocking feature. CyberGhost does not block advertisement pop-ups on HTTPS websites. However, the ad-blocking feature is workable on Windows, Mac, and iOS devices, which is more than sufficient for general users looking to stream content online.

Unfortunately, CyberGhost does not have a free trial and the monthly plan can be quite pricey. On the other hand, the VPN service provider does have a 45-day money-back guarantee and their longer-term plans are much most cost-friendly.

Device compatibility: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox

Pros:

  1. No logs
  2. Accepts Bitcoin payment
  3. Budget-priced provider with streaming speeds
  4. Permits up to 7 simultaneous connections
  5. Great for first-time VPN users

Cons:

  1. Ad-blocking features need some improvement

Tor Network VPN PrivateVPN

5. PrivateVPN

Up and Coming

PrivateVPN is a small VPN provider that is based in Sweden. However, some digging revealed that Sweden is actually part of the five eyes alliance. Being based in Sweden makes PrivateVPN a whole lot less insecure as the Swedish government can demand the VPN service provider to hand over the data.

But! PrivateVPN has actually found a loophole within Sweden’s legal system that allows the company to not collect any personal data. So, even if the government were to seize all the data from PrivateVPN, they would not have any useful information to work on.

At the moment, PrivateVPN only offers slightly over 150 VPN servers spread over 60 different countries. Although this amount is a little less than what other famous VPN service providers are offering, we still think the average home users will be perfectly happy with that PrivateVPN has to offer.

Just like other service providers, PrivateVPN encrypts all your data to keep your privacy secured from third parties through their AES-256 encryption feature. Their wide range of VPN protocols includes OpenVPN (with TCP/UDP), L2TP, IPsec, PPTP, and IKEv2.

In case you were to have any questions or doubts regarding your VPN service, you can always turn to PrivateVPN’s official website where you’ll find a dedicated support section. Below are a few support channels that you can use to get more information:

Live Chat Support – Unfortunately, this handy option is not enabled 24/7, more often you’ll be able to send a message and the company will respond to you via email.

Installation Guides – The company has a series of nicely written installation guides that are easy to understand. They even have videos to guide you through a step-by-step process.

Frequently Asked Questions – PrivateVPN has done a good job of coming up with commonly asked questions and providing additional support that is on-point and concise.

Support Tickets – You can send an email to the VPN’s tech support and you can expect a reply within a day.

PrivateVPN offers three subscription plans with some attractive prices. It is also worth noting that the provider frequently gives out discounts, especially during certain holidays or celebrations. At times you can even see its annual subscription to go as low as $2.00 per month. So, do check out their webpage for any latest promotion.

The company accepts credit card, PayPal, and even Bitcoin payment for that added layer of protection. All of its subscription plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you end up finding their services not up to par.

Device compatibility: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Kodi

Pros:

  1. Fast connection speeds
  2. Zero logs
  3. Strong encryption
  4. Supports Tor-over-VPN

Cons:

  1. Smaller server network
  2. Lack of global coverage

Tor Network VPN SurfShark

6. SurfShark

Cheapest VPN

SurfShark is headquartered and operates from British Virgin Island (BVI) that has no data retention laws and is not part of the 5, 9, or 14 eyes countries. SurfShark started from humble beginnings with 100 servers to now more than 1,000 servers across the globe in just over a year.

The company has a no-logging policy that states they do not collect data from your connection which includes incoming and outgoing IP addresses, browser history, bandwidth, session information, connection timestamps, network traffic. The only information SurfShark will keep is your email address and billing information.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most secure VPN available in the industry. This provider offers an unbreakable AES 256-bit encryption to keep you safe and secure. It features a CleanWeb function that ensures you can access the internet with no ads, trackers, nor malware.

SurfShark even has a Multihop feature that allows you to establish a chain of VPNs and take IP masking to a whole new level. You have the option to connect to two servers in two different countries simultaneously and virtually appearing in both locations without experiencing a speed drop.

They even have a Whitelister which lets you exclude specific apps or websites from connecting via the VPN. That is great if you prefer to secure certain sensitive apps and websites while excluding others that you might use for high-speed streaming and general browsing.

Their user-friendly app sports a new versatile design that makes it extremely easy to navigate. Everything is snappy and the options are conveniently kept in easy-to-find locations for a user-friendly experience.

SurfShark offers one of the most affordable VPN plans out there. In fact, the service provider offers three different package plans at amazing discounts. With their extensive 30-day money-back guarantee offer, you will be able to get a complete refund if you do end up not satisfied with its service.

Device compatibility: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Apple TV, Chrome, Firefox, Xbox, Playstation, and Linux

Pros:

  1. Unlimited device connection
  2. Multihop Feature
  3. Whitelister Feature
  4. Unbreakable military-grade encryption service
  5. User-friendly app

Cons:

  1. Some issue with kill switch feature

Tor Network VPN IvacyVPN

7. Ivacy VPN

Interesting choice for newbies streamers

Ivacy is headquartered in Singapore, a country that has some pretty lenient privacy law; however, it is still an ally of one of the 5 eyes. On the other hand, Ivacy delivers stellar encryption and security features. Their OpenVPN protocol option is super-fast, reliable, and unbreakable. Not only that, OpenVPN supports AES 256-bit encryption that is even good enough for NSA to encrypt sensitive information.

The company follows a true no-logs policy that does not store any meta logs or activity logs for your peace of mind. The only information the company stores are uses’ names, email addresses, and payment methods.

Ivacy’s Kill Switch instantly disconnects your internet whenever you lose your VPN connection to prevent accidentally leaking your IP address. This won’t normally be an issue, but it could be risky for your privacy if you’re torrenting.

Ivacy has more than 1,000 servers across 100 different locations to offer the perfect mix of physical and virtual servers. Other than that, Ivacy fully supports torrenting and P2P file sharing that have optimized servers with blazingly fast speeds to ensure your downloads and uploads do not suffer.

This is also one of the very few VPNs that actually work in China. They have six servers spread over in Beijing and Shanghai. Although the Chinese government is infamous for its notoriety on catching and blocking VPN, Ivacy works efficiently there.

One thing I am not the biggest fan of is their cumbersome refund policy. Despite their 30-days refund advertisement, you can only claim the refund within a month if you’ve bought the yearly subscription and you must make sure that you consumed less than 500 MB of bandwidth or 30 sessions. For monthly package subscribers, you only have 7 days to claim a refund.

On top of that, you will also need to fulfill the requirements below in order to be valid for a refund.

  • Your account has not been suspended due to breach of service
  • You have not claimed for refund under this policy
  • You did not pay using Bitcoin, BitPay, or any other anonymous option

Device compatibility: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Apple TV, BlackBerry, Kodi, Raspberry Pi, Chrome, Firefox, Xbox, Playstation, and Linux

Pros:

  1. Affordable package plans
  2. Works efficiently in China
  3. True no-logs policy

Cons:

  1. Cumbersome refund policy

Final Verdict

ExpressVPN is hands down one of the highest standards when it comes to speed and security. With servers in over 90 countries, ExpressVPN delivers punchy performance along with numerous features like unblocking Netflix, reliable torrenting, tunneling protocols, more than 3,000 super-fast servers, 30 days refund, Bitcoin Payments, and an extremely powerful encryption system to keep all your online activities safe and secure.

Overall, this VPN service takes your online anonymity to a whole new level. It provides fast, well-protected access to the internet and works amazingly with Tor to provide anonymity and security. This is the reason why ExpressVPN is my #1 choice for using with Tor browser.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it illegal to use Tor Browser?

No, it is not illegal to use Tor. Nonetheless, its anonymity allows the browser does host illegal content. This anonymous browser is a breeding ground for criminals and even allows access to the dark web where many illegal activities are carried out. So, although it is not illegal to access Tor browser, it will put your ISP on high alert once they know that you’ve entered the browser.

Should I be using Tor?

If you are worried about your internet traffic being monitored, you can use Tor to hide the source and destination of your activity. Your identity should not be revealed when you visit a website through this anonymous browser.

Do I need to use a VPN with Tor?

No, you don’t necessarily need to pair a VPN with Tor browser. However, a VPN will add an extra layer of protection to your privacy. VPN encrypts all of your device’s traffic and routes it through a remote server in another location. This means that it assigns a whole new IP address to ensure nobody can pinpoint your exact location while accessing the web. This encryption effectively blocks any ISP from monitoring your online activity.

Can I only use Tor browser with VPN?

No, most VPN support and can be used on other internet browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. While most good VPN providers offer a no-log policy, there is no true way to really know what kind of information or data is recorded down by the service provider. Your activity may be private. But it is not necessarily anonymous.

This is where the Tor browser comes into play. Tor encrypts the user’s traffic and routes it through several nodes in its network. Every time a new website request is submitted, the route changes again. This makes it next to impossible for anyone to trace the user. Unlike a VPN service, there is no central authority that controls the online traffic.

Some users like to pair a good VPN service with Tor browser for extra protection and flexibility. Traffic can be encrypted by both and channeled through the Tor network and then over to the VPN (VPN over Tor) or vice versa (Tor over VPN). However, one thing you need to keep in mind is that while combining the two will significantly improve your anonymity and privacy, it will have a noticeable impact on your connection speed.

Should I choose Tor-over-VPN or VPN-over Tor?

Both of these methods have their advantages when it comes to security and usability. Below we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both methods.

Tor over VPN

Your device -> Encrypted by VPN and Tor -> VPN server -> Tor Network -> Internet

For this, you connect to a VPN first before using the Tow browser. This way your traffic is encrypted by both services before leaving your device.

Advantages:

  • ISP cannot detect that you are using Tor
  • Neither ISP nor VPN can see your traffic
  • Easy setup
  • Access to .onion websites
  • Flexibility to use VPN by itself with a normal browser for general internet surfing
  • Tor entry node cannot see the real IP address

Disadvantages:

  • Websites can block traffic from Tor exit nodes
  • VPN can see your real IP address
  • Exposes traffic to compromised Tor exit nodes

VPN over Tor

Your device -> Encrypted by VPN and Tor -> Tor network -> VPN server -> Internet

This is a more complicated setup as it requires configurations on the VPN server.

Advantages:

  • Neither ISP nor VPN can see your traffic
  • Access to websites and apps that normally block traffic from Tor exit nodes
  • VPN cannot see your real IP address
  • Not vulnerable to compromises in Tor exit nodes
  • All traffic routed through Tor browser without individual configuration
  • No packet discrimination by Tor exit nodes

Disadvantages:

  • ISPs can see that you are using Tor
  • Difficult to set up and may require VPN provider’s assistance
  • No access to .onion websites
  • Tor entry nodes see your real IP address
  • Not application-specific, so you cannot run P2P or other programs outside of Tor network without disconnection from the VPN

Both methods have their own unique pros and cons. As to choosing the best method, it really depends on each user’s individual preference and their usage.

Are there any VPN services that I should avoid to use with Tor Browser?

Yes, there are a few VPNs that you need to avoid when using Tor browser. While most people use a VPN to keep their online activities private. There are actually a few VPN providers that don’t care about your privacy.

Below are a few VPNs that you should not use with Tor.

Hide My Ass!

This UK-based VPN service provider is subjected to UK laws that require them to keep logs and turn over any data to the authorities when instructed. Hide My Ass! can still be used for general browsing, but if you’re hoping for privacy or anonymity, you’re out of luck,

PureVPN

Despite a no-log policy claimed by the VPN provider, authorities have had used PureVPN’s “non-existent logs” to track down and arrest a man that was accused of cyberstalking. This puts PureVPN’s integrity to question as it proves that the government has access to your online activities through this service provider.

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