Today, we are thinking more about our online safety and privacy than ever before. A growing general awareness surrounding these things has grown alongside the Internet—we’re living in a world that is increasingly reliant on data, data such as your own personal information (which is sold to the highest bidder).
With consumers more tuned into safety and privacy concerns, people are going to additional lengths in protecting themselves online and the use of VPNs such as NordVPN and TOR is growing bigger year-on-year.
You may be unfamiliar with these cybersecurity concepts and want to jump right in. We highly recommend that you read this article in full before you jump into using Onion Over VPN.
What is NordVPN in Brief
NordVPN is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that protects your identity and traffic when using the internet. NordVPN protects you by routing your internet traffic from your computer through a secure and encrypted ‘tunnel’ to one of its servers before passing it onto its final destination.
By doing this, NordVPN hides the true source of your internet traffic—your IP address—by masking it with their own servers’ IPs instead. Additionally, any data passing through the encryption tunnel cannot be intercepted or spied on my third-parties such as government entities, hackers, or your ISP.
This eliminates problems such as monitoring, throttling, and identity theft, particularly when using insecure public networks.
Good VPN networks often have thousands of individual servers dotted around the world—NordVPN has over 5,300 spread across all continents—so users have plenty of choices when choosing where they want their traffic to look like it’s coming from.
What is The Onion Router in Brief
TOR (The Onion Router) and the Tor Browser are very similar to the regular internet and the regular browsers you use to navigate it such as Google Chrome. The primary difference is that when you use Tor Browser, your internet traffic is routed through the Tor network for encryption and anonymity.
Using Tor, you can visit regular ‘surface web’ websites as well as websites that can only be found on the ‘dark web’ at .onionURLs.
Tor protects your data, information, and traffic by routing it through several network layers (relays) rather than sending it directly to its final destination.
Why You Need to Be Using Them
To truly provide full and complete protection that cannot be compromised, we recommend using Tor alongside a VPN—NordVPN being the best option to use with Tor.
While using Tor alone does provide some anonymity and protection, when Tor data packets exit the network through the exit node, you can be compromised and traced if the exit node is being monitored.
In contrast, while a good VPN service provider will never keep any logs—NordVPN, for example, has a zero-logs policy that has been proven by an external audit by PwC—they can still see the websites that you are visiting while using the service.
If you are truly dedicated to protecting your privacy online, you should be using both a VPN and Tor. A VPN will encrypt and spoof your internet traffic while using the internet via Tor will prevent anyone, your VPN service provider included, from seeing the websites that you are visiting.
Options for Using a VPN and TOR Together
You have two great options to choose from. The two methods of using NordVPN and Tor sound similar but work differently. Let’s break it down below:
1. Onion Over VPN—Connecting to NordVPN First
Onion Over VPN is the most popular way to do it. You will connect to NordVPN first and then launch and use the Tor browser.
By doing this, you not only prevent NordVPN from seeing your browsing activity, but you also prevent your ISP (and, consequently, government or law enforcement agencies) from knowing that you are using Tor.
While using Tor is 100% legal, there are negative connotations associated with its use due to how it facilitates illegal activities. This means that if your ISP et al knows you are using Tor, you may be monitored. By connecting to a VPN before launching Tor, they have no way of finding out.
To do this, simply:
- Launch NordVPN and connect to a server first
- Launch Tor browser second
2. VPN Over Tor—Connecting to Tor First
This method isn’t used very much because it is tricky to set up and is not as secure as Tor over VPN. Furthermore, many VPN services don’t support it.
With VPN over Tor, your traffic first enters the Tor network and then leaves through an exit node before being passed to a VPN server.
How NordVPN and Tor Work Together
NordVPN offers what they call “Onion Over VPN” (OOVPN) servers to their customers. These OOVPN servers have been designed to create a seamless, secure, and reliable connection between a pre-select group of NordVPN servers (what you connect to) and the Tor network (where your traffic goes) to provide an additional layer of security.
By doing this, NordVPN hides your IP address from Tor’s entry node and the owner of this node will see the IP address of NordVPN’s server instead of your own. When connected, your traffic first passes from you to NordVPN to the Tor network to its destination.
Want to Try Onion Over VPN?
Thanks to NordVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try out NordVPN risk-free. This money-back guarantee applies to all plans—monthly and annual—and gives you plenty of time to try out NordVPN and decide whether it’s right for you.
If it is, great—keep your subscription! If not, just email customer support and ask for a refund to be processed.
If you want to use NordVPN and Tor, you probably care about your privacy a lot more than others. The good news is, you can also pay with crypto (BTC, ETH, XRP) for an additional layer of anonymity.