As more and more people become aware of the privacy risks of using the open web and the fact that most browsers and websites track internet users’ data and collect their personally identifiable information to sell to third parties to use for targeted advertising, users are looking for browsers that offer them anonymity and secures the privacy of their data without them being tracked. Two of the most popular browser and software that offer these features are Tor and VPN. In order to delve into the question of whether Tor is as safe as browsing over a VPN, it is important to understand what these browsers are and the functions they perform.
TOR is a free, open-source browser software that enables its users to browse the web anonymously. TOR stands for “The Onion Router. The Tor browser mimics the idea of onion with layers upon layers of coverings. The TOR browser network is built of layers upon layers of encrypted independent nodes run by TOR users. The Tor network was originally designed by the US Navy with the aim of disguising users’ true location on the network while the user is browsing so that servers do not know where the person is or their identity and to make it difficult for anyone to join the dots through tracing a users request back to their computer.
A VPN on the other hand helps to protect the online privacy of users by creating a secure connection to any server or network over the internet. VPN which stands for Virtual Private Network is used to disallow censorships, and geolocation restrictions, ensure interactions with sites users visit, and prevent traffic sniffing. A VPN encrypts all users’ network traffic and relays it to a server in scrambled form run by the VPN provider where it is then unscrambled and relayed onto the internet. All network communication is disguised as if it originated from the VPN server. It may appear that the VPN and TOR do exactly the same thing but they perform similar but different functions.
A VPN disguises a user’s true location on the network but does not actually make it impossible for anyone to join the dots that is the goal of TOR. While a VPN makes it difficult for most persons to join the dots, it does not prevent everyone from doing so. This is mainly because the VPN provider knows where a user’s request is coming from, where they are heading, and what data is being sent and received. The VPN connects to a central server to provide a secure VPN tunnel and there are multiple VPN service providers, while TOR relies on a decentralized layer of independent nodes to transfer data securely. While the VPN is centralized, TOR is decentralized.
From the foregoing, both are relatively safe to use but the choice of which one to use
depends on what the user wants to do. If a user’s online activity is connected to the transmission of sensitive data that might get the user into trouble in jurisdictions or countries where there are strict censorship laws, TOR is the user’s best bet. This is because VPN service providers have to be registered, pay taxes to comply with legislation that makes them known, and could be forced to provide access to their servers but that is practically impossible with Tor, with its decentralized system. But if a user simply wants to ensure anonymity while using the internet with secure access for their web activities, the VPN is better suited.
TOR allows users the following benefits:
- Wide online activities
- Anti-spy protection
- Anonymous identity
- Encryption and free access.
On the other hand, the VPN offers users benefits such as:
- Anonymous web surfing
- Removes regional restrictions
- Keeps high-speed connection and
- Secures connection over public Wi-Fi.
The major advantage of Tor over VPN is that it has a decentralized system making it impossible to track, while the VPN is faster to browse with. Users may have to use both to enjoy the advantages of both, such as accessing the Tor network through a VPN. However, it requires some skill to do so successfully. Instead of battling the challenges of using both, an internet user can enjoy those benefits and even more by just getting Hoody. A privacy app such as Hoody will help you protect your privacy and security. When using your browser with Hoody, each one of your tab and website gets a new IP, a new location, and a unique set of Fingerprints, making tracking impossible. Hoody Phantom Browsing™ future-proof technology beats the most advanced and invasive tracking techniques.
In conclusion, browsing the internet with the Tor network offers users anonymity, and protection from detection and spies. It ensures users can browse the internet without fear of being identified and arrested in countries with censorship laws. Browsing through the Tor network is as safe as using the VPN, however, Tor is much slower than VPN.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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