If you are curious enough to read how Tor browser works, then you might be somewhat aware of what TOR browser is. However, if you are someone whose curiosity is just piqued after watching an episode of House of cards, then this article has everything you need to satiate your thirst.
The TOR Browser aspects we have covered here are as follows:
- What is TOR?
- How to use TOR?
- Are TOR privacy claims legit?
To start, let’s cover the very basics:
What is TOR?
The Onion Router commonly referred to as TOR is a free open source software developed by the US Navy to obtain anonymity and security over the internet. It protects its multiple layering methods.
This means that very much like an onion, the information through the browser is concealed in many layers. This way, it remains hidden from prying eyes.
Moreover, with the Tor browser, the traffic of its users is directed randomly through a network of servers before heading to its final destination.
It also changes the IP address of its users while directing the traffic through a network of multiple servers. This way, it allows its users to remain so anonymous online that even the location along with the identity of the user remains hidden.
How To Use The TOR Browser?
Now that you are aware of what Tor browser is, the next step is to figure out how to use it. Now despite its seemingly complex work and function, its use is somewhat easy, which is as follows:
Install The Tor Browser Easily
- To start, you will have to download and install the Tor browser from the official Tor website. The download option is available on the home page of the website. Once Tor is downloaded, open the “exe” files and extract files to your desired location.
- After the extraction, select “run Tor browser” and click on “connect.” You might have to wait a few minutes for the pop up of the browser that indicates tour connection to Tor Browser. Once connected, there are a diverse number of things you can do on the browser.
- Moreover, with Tor, you might experience slightly slacked speeds as the connection is formed through several relays. The program also warns you of the initial delay of several minutes you will experience at the start of the program.
Once it’s launched, it is, however, relatively easy to use. This is because it is based on the same code as Firefox; thus if you are someone who has used Firefox before you won’t have any issues in getting a grasp of how Tor browser works.
Tor Browsing experience
With Tor, you will have to bid goodbye to use Google and Bin. Instead, the Tor browser recommends its user to switch to the usage of Disconnet.me. This site is ideal for privacy as it prevents search engines from tracking the user data present online.
However, rest assured as you can use Disconnect.me in conjunction with Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo. Also, while using Tor browser, you will have to let go of using installation browser extensions, otherwise using Tor browser would be a moot point!
Get to Know Tor Circuits
By now, you are fully aware of how Tor directs traffic through multiple circuits to provide security. This means that unlike a standard browser, Tor doesn’t connect you to your destination website. Instead, it bounces the connection through various nodes making up the Tor network.
This “bouncing” provides anonymity to its users, as now websites can’t trace the activity back to the host. Unfortunately, with Tor, you have to sacrifice on the speed as this bouncing makes the connection reasonably slow.
However, if you are experiencing unusually slow traffic, then you can start a new Tor circuit through the Hamburger icon. This icon displays a New Tor Circuit for this Site option which forces Tor towards a new route to the site.
How To Use Tor Browser Safely
Tor browser offers a whole new secure web browsing experience to its users. However, before you get too mesmerized, it is essential to understand that using Tor is very much like a tight rope walk between privacy or security and normal web usage.
Although by default, even with its standard security level, it is relatively secure as compared to the standard web browsers you use. However, if you want your privacy setting increased a notch, then click on the little green onion present at the top left of the address bar.
This green onion symbol provides access to security settings. Here there is a Security Level slider which you can slide to adjust as per your desired level of protection. However, while setting the security level, it is crucial to take notice of the warnings that appear regarding the features that evidently won’t work on some of the sites you visit.
1 – Go Undercover
Tor allows you to change your IP address and thus get a new online identity. This option is available through the green Onion on the top left corner of the address bar.
You can click on this icon to change the IP address as many times as you want. However, a “new identity” can also be obtained through the Hamburger icon where the option is available. Once you choose this option, Tor browser restarts and with that provides you with a new IP address.
2 – Get Armed with HTTPS
Using HTTPS protocol instead of mere HTTP version of websites is another step towards achieving online privacy. With Tor, you are reigned free of the hassle of remembering to add HTTPS every time you access a website manually.
This is because Tor browser is by default equipped with the HTTPS Everywhere extension. With this directed in place, Tor also automatically directs you to the available safer version of the websites you visit.
However, you still have to be vigilant and keep a sharp eye on the address bar for the Green padlock that indicates a connection to a secure site. If you don’t see the green padlock while connecting to a website, you can get to the root of this matter by clicking “I” and getting more information.
3 – Don’t Login Google ID
Do not ever login any search engine ID while browsing around. search engine like Google records everything, your location, ID, browsing history, location logs, and other things. you can find your own activity history here.
3 – Surf Onion Sites
With Tor, there is a whole new world of internet with the onion sites. These sites are generally hidden and are inaccessible through a regular search engine. Therefore you can only visit them through the Tor browser. Furthermore, these sites also ensure an ultimately safe way to use Tor.
As these sites are Tor secrets, there are seemingly unknown to ordinary people and are therefore compiles in Onion directories. However, while surfing onion sites be aware that you don’t come across websites with illegal content which sells or promote illegal activities.
How To Secure Tor Browser
Although Tor is known to be secure, however, just recently people have started placing question marks over its security. This is primarily because of FBI which managed to crack down one of TOR network sites by injecting a malware.
Apart from that, there are also many vulnerabilities of the Tor network, which has led to its security being questioned. Amongst them, the most significant weakness is the layered concealing it provides to its users. This means that with Tor, the information is not encrypted.
With this, while the last layer concealing the information is stripped at the last node, the data goes on forward exposed with anyone to spy on. However, in spite of this, the Tor browser is still far more safe as compared to Chrome or Mozilla.
Pair Tor + VPN For Essential Protection
Now that Tor browsers privacy is suspicious, the critical question is how to use Tor safely. Confidentiality is essential even though you are not doing anything illegal. But still being spied on is disturbing and no one likes it. So, the ultimate solution here is to use a VPN service.
As VPN is a virtual network that is developed to provide privacy and security to its users, using it with Tor ensures that you are perfectly safe and anonymous. This is because, with a VPN, no one can get to know your real IP address.
This means that even your ISP is unaware of your location and IP address. Moreover, unlike, Tor VPNs carry user data in an encrypted tunnel to the destination. At the same time, Tor conceals the data through layers from node to node. Thus Tor and VPN combine is the ultimate security solution.
Best VPN for Tor Browser
However, choosing an excellent VPN service to use along with Tor is a tough job! To ease you off your difficulties, we have tried and tested the following VPN services to use with Tor:
The people at NordVPN have done a fantastic job of ensuring the privacy and security of their users. With abiding by strict no-logging policy, they have made their services highly compatible with anyone who wants to use it with Tor.
One such example is their Onion over VPN feature. This feature is designed to direct traffic first through Tor with the VPN service intact. This way, tracking your data is just next to impossible! Also, this feature allows the users to access onion sites while you are connected to the VPN network.
Apart from its thoughtful approach to Tor use, Nord is not light on providing privacy and security to its users. They are available in the market with the super impressive AES-256 bit encryption that is military-grade.
Also, they have ensured that your pseudo-IP address game stays strong and thus have over 4300 servers in 61 countries. This way, you have plenty of options to choose from. To compile it all Nord VPN is indeed an excellent service.
BEST BUDGET VPN: NordVPN is our most affordable premium VPN. You get a 70% discount on the 3-year plan for just $3.49 per month with a 30-day money-back guarantee to try it worry-free.
ExpressVPN is indeed another fairly impressive VPN service that also follows a strict, no-logging policy. To facilitate its users with an easy Tor usage, they also provide the Tor over Onion feature. Also, this VPN service is the first to launch its own Tor Browser.
In terms of privacy, it provides the 256 Bit AES encryption. Apart from that, it has an impressive amount of 3,000 servers in 94 countries; thus, it ensures privacy and security. In short, this is a remarkable VPN service to opt for.
BEST FOR TOR: ExpressVPN is the editor’s choice for usage with Tor. Get three months FREE with the annual plan and a 49% discount. 30-day money-back guarantee included.
Now that you are aware of how to use Tor, it is better to put it to use as being private is all that matters most on the internet. However, as privacy matters so much, it is better always to have it increased at the top-notch. So pairing Tor with VPN is the best duo for security.