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October 24, 2019

Tor Vs VPN: The Pros and Cons of Each

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There are dozens of technologies available that aim to increase online privacy for internet users. Virtual private networks and Tor (short for The Onion Router) are two of the most popular examples. A virtual private network increases privacy by creating a secure “tunnel” between a user’s device and the websites they access. This tunnel prevents all outside eyes (including internet service providers) from viewing a person’s browsing activity. Meanwhile, The Onion Router funnels an online request through multiple layers of encryption and between many servers around the world, making connections next to impossible to trace. Both technologies serve close to the same purpose, so is one better than another? Let’s pit Tor vs VPN and take at look a the pros and cons of each:

  • The Onion Router pros
  • The Onion Router cons
  • Virtual private network pros
  • Virtual private network cons

The Onion Router Pros

  • The software is able to guarantee full anonymity for its users. Thanks to complex encryption protocols, it’s next to impossible to track the browsing sessions of users.
  • Tor users can access geo-blocked content when using the software.
  • The connections established by the software are spread out through volunteer-run servers around the world, which means the network is difficult to shut down or intercept.
  • The software is free and user-friendly.

Tor Vs VPN: The Cons of The Onion Router

  • The software is not available on all operating systems, which limits who can use it.
  • Although IP addresses can’t be traced, request or message content could be intercepted at the exit point of the request (called the exit node).
  • Because the software is volunteer run, there is poor transparency and accountability if a volunteer misuses the server they maintain.
  • The complex encryption methods employed by the service slow down connection speeds significantly.
  • Although Tor allows users to assume a different IP address, users seeking to use an IP address from a specific country cannot simply choose the originating address. They must either configure the connection or disconnect and reconnect until they get an address from the desired country.
  • The software isn’t suitable for peer-to-peer file sharing (such as torrenting).

Tor Vs VPN: The Pros of a Virtual Private Network

  • Most VPN services are incredibly user friendly.
  • Many VPNs are offered for a wide variety of platforms, including as mobile apps, desktop software, browser extensions, router protectors, and more.
  • Because it’s easy to tell who runs a virtual private network, the companies behind them are more accountable.
  • Online privacy comes through encryption and temporary IP addresses. Premium services often use military-grade encryption.
  • A virtual private network is usually faster than Tor.
  • Many VPNs come with added features, including servers that allow peer-to-peer file sharing, kill switches, and Smart DNS services.
  • If you want your connection to appear from a specific region, you can easily choose the location.

The Cons of a Virtual Private Network

  • Your browsing activity passes through fewer servers than it would on Tor, and all services are provided by a single entity, so the VPN you choose must be trustworthy.
  • Most VPNs require payment in order to use them.
  • Untrustworthy services collect user information and log your activities (so always choose a VPN with a no-logs policy).

While many users like to compare Tor Vs VPN features, both types of technology function similarly and can even be used together.

To protect yourself further, browse the web privately and safely with HotBot.com.

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