VPN vs TOR, Pros and Cons

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There are some options for users of dark web who are in search of safe and anonymous web browsing. One of the proven methods for achieving the task is the use of Tor Networks or free to use Onion Router. Then the VPN package or Virtual Private Network is another competitor out there.

Both these services are almost compared on a mutual basis and equated while testing. However, the fact is they are not competitors, they add up and adds to the security. A user cannot differentiate them by judging TOR over VPN or vice versa. TOR is the best option for a user who is not comfortable with VPN services. This guide provides an in-depth review of what both of them are.



VPN and Tor allows users to search the web in incognito mode. They help to hide location and IP address. It makes it hard for even hackers to crack the security. Internet censorship along with geographical restrictions can also be bypassed by using the combination of TOR and VPN. This provides users with access to all webpages irrespective of restrictions imposed.

Working of TOR

TOR stands for the Onion Router. It provides anonymous web browsing with the help of installation of a web browser. What makes TOR distinct is that it works using relays. The traffic is hard to track because routing connects you to nodes that are volunteered all over the world. TOR is a free to use initiative.

Tor traffic is encrypted using complex algorithms every time it reaches and exits a node. The final node or the reception is termed the egress node. The process of encryption continues till the outlet node.

Here the final encrypted layer after decrypting reaches the user where data is forwarded to the end user with anonymity. TOR email providers services can also be learnt here.

The TOR website categorically specifies that it helps to remove any security related issues that is caused by traffic analysis with the assistance of nodes or relays all over the internet. There will be no specific link to an end user. A hard to trace route is the method that is used by TOR. By doing it this way, the data packets are made traceable. Network hackers may not be able to reach any user due to the inability to track packets. The network is randomly spread and the users are relayed.

Understanding TOR

A particular node in the network is able to view IP address and data package passed on by the former node. A connection to the complete relay is therefore impossible.

A path in TOR is effective for a period of 10 minutes after which random relays are formed.

So if the same user connects to the same link after 15 minutes, the channel will be a different one.

This shields the users from ISP tracking or other hacking attempts. Details like user’s site visit history and cookie information are not available for external parties. The real strength of TOR is its relaxing or volunteer relays. As the amount of helper relays in a path increases, the network will be slot but more reliable.

Functioning of a VPN

A VPN server masks user IP information and encrypts traffic from his computer. It is more like proxy server where you link to external computers with a duplicate IP address. Here, VPN server is the proxy. VPN servers provide IP address connected to the server and not the user who requested the webpage. This makes it hard to steal private information or sneak into web activities of the user.

An ISP has no data of importance with them with regards to the user. VPNs are widely used by corporate networks for employees. Therefore, it is impossible to ban or avoid VPN networks as a whole for ISPs.

Benefits of a TOR and VPN

As read above, VPNs and TOR help to bypass censorship in the internet. Hey also help to keep data private. Geographical barriers and ISP restrictions can also be bypassed using TOR. This is done with help of distant relay nodes that are located in far off areas.

The choice of VPN compared with TOR depends on the user. Both has their own advantages and disabilities.

The benefits of TOR

Tracking IP addresses to the sites they visit is almost impossible while using TOR.

TOR relays on a distributed system with volunteer nodes playing the role. This makes it hard for external agencies to shut down or limit its usage.

The shortcomings of TOR

TOR is slow. Yes, this is due to a reason. The request for a link is passed through several nodes before it reaches the requested webpage. This slows down TOR network badly. However, taking into consideration the reliability factor, the slowness can be done away with. TOR is a pain for viewing geographically restricted streams like videos.

ISP always search for Tor activity and ban TOR relays. This prevents users from using TOR networks. An example is the recent ban in China where tor relays are blocked widespread.

Tor communications are not secure. They provide anonymity between nodes. There is rarely any encryption factor added. If the external or exit node is a governmental or police organization, then the whole traffic will be exposed. This is evident for them since there is no added security. Installation of a TOR leaving node is easy for a user. This helps them to spy on users. HTTPS security can be used to send sensitive information.

The benefits of VPN:

VPN is quicker compared to TOR since it’s only the ISP server which routes the traffic.

A VPN has security aspect linked to it and it features privacy for users compared to TOR.

VPNs are best suited for use in areas where public Wi-Fi connectivity is relied upon by users. The chances of leakage of information is very high in dense hotspot networks.

The shortcomings of VPN

VPN services are costly while TOR is a free project. VPN costs about 45-70 $ approximately annually. Free VPN provides are better to avoid since they are prone to heavy advertising and comparatively slow.

VPN services log user activity and therefore users should search for a VPn that doesn’t trace network activity. A good example is RocketVPN. The services provided are excellent and it is highly recommended. The use of VPN for dark net and websites in the dark net should be researched before committing on one. You can also learn about the best VPN for darknet and dark web sites.


So, if anonymous deep web browsing is your requirement, then TOR usage might be sufficient. However, better privacy and secure browsing accompanied by relatively faster speeds require reliable VPN service. It also provides shield against hackers and phishers.

So, if anonymous dark web links browsing is your requirement, then TOR usage might be sufficient. However, better privacy and secure browsing accompanied by relatively faster speeds require reliable VPN service. It also provides shield against hackers and phishers.

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