This write up introduces you to Tor, the dark web, and how you can surf it safely with the best VPN for Tor.
Table of Contents
What is Tor?
The Tor Client (Tor network or just Tor) is an internet browser that you can use to access the dark web. It encrypts all the traffic coming to and from your device and makes you virtually anonymous on the internet.
However, while the government agencies and your ISP cannot see what you are browsing on Tor, they can still know that you are using Tor. This can be problematic because Tor, unfortunately, has a bad reputation and is often associated with unlawful activity. Using Tor can therefore raise red flags. Some ISPs in other countries have even blocked Tor entirely because of this bad reputation.
WARNING FIRESTICK USERS
YOUR INFORMATION IS EXPOSED
Your location is: Ashburn VA
Your current IP address is: 2001:4455:2f7:b700:f880:7bad:b46b:1768
You can stream and download anonymously through your PC, Mac, Android, and iPhone through IPVanish VPN.
HIDE ME NOW
Surf the Dark Web Safely
So what’s the solution then if you want to surf the dark web safely and without being noticed by anyone? Simple! Use Tor along with a Virtual Private Network (or VPN). A VPN for Tor adds another layer of encryption and routes your traffic through a secondary server making it harder for anyone to track the traffic.
This server can be in any location, and you can change the server location whenever you want. This way, only your VPN provider will see that you are using Tor, but nobody else will.
What is the Dark Web?
The dark web is like a secret internet beneath the internet that most people see. It is a part of the internet not accessible to conventional search engines. As with any tech, it can be used for both good and bad. You can use it to communicate with others without any fear of government looking over your shoulder. This especially useful in countries such as Iran, North Korea, and China, but it happens in absolutely every country, so don’t get complacent just because you live in a country that claims to respect privacy and freedom of speech.
Unfortunately, people also use the dark web for shady businesses involving drugs, sex exploitation, arms, smuggling, etc. Of course, we absolutely do not condone this kind of activity, but we think it’s important to warn you. The technology itself is neutral and people use it for both good and bad reasons. A VPN for Tor can keep you from being unfairly associated with this kind of activity.
The beauty of the dark net lies in its anonymity. As long as you are taking the necessary precautions, no one knows who other users are in the real world. User identities are safe from the prying eyes of big corporations and government regulations. Tor and the Dark web are often utilized by whistleblowers to exchange sensitive information. For example, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange used the dark web for their leaks. Similarly, the famous extra-marital dating site Ashley Madison’s data was dumped on a website only available to Tor users.
Are Tor and the Dark Web Legal?
Short Answer: Yes. Using both Tor and the dark web is legal. However, depending on your local laws, the way you use Tor and the dark web can be legal or illegal. It’s just like a Knife. You can own a knife, but the way you use it will determine whether it’s lawful. As such, we emphasize on following the laws of the country you live in, and using a VPN for Tor to keep unwanted eyes away from your activity.
Is Using Tor and the Dark Web Suspicious?
Surfing the dark web itself may not be illegal. However, it can make you look suspicious in the eyes of law enforcement agencies. This is because a lot of the stuff sold there is banned in many countries. The dark web is, thus, the one of only ways to trade black market or gray market contraband. Therefore, governments like to keep tabs on individuals who frequently visit this part of the internet. All the more reason to use a VPN for Tor
Accessing the Dark Web
Accessing the dark web can be dangerous without the right precautions. The safest possible way is using a VPN for Tor along with the Tor Browser. While there are some similarities between Tor and VPN, the main difference is that a VPN is for privacy protection while Tor is for anonymity. So when you use the two in tandem, it bolsters both your privacy as well as anonymity. This guide helps you navigate the uncharted territories of dark web. Remember that these steps will only keep you relatively safe, but in no way entirely anonymous – unless you use the best VPN for Tor.
- Make sure the antivirus and anti-malware software on your device is up to date.
- Install a trusted VPN like IPVanish (details in the following section) on your device and turn it on
- Download and install the Tor browser from the official website
- Start Tor
- Ensure that the “Run scripts” feature is disabled in Tor
- You can also change the security settings in the Tor Browser.
- Search Google for dark web addresses, usually ending with a .onion extension
- Now you’re successfully using VPN for Tor!
If you need help installing a VPN for Tor, read our guide to help you install a VPN on any device.
Tor over VPN or VPN over Tor?
While you may not have noticed, the configuration we used above is called a VPN over Tor. It does make a difference when you connect with Tor while already connected to a VPN or connect the other way around when using VPN for Tor. We will tell you why and what are the advantages/disadvantages of each setup!
Google trackers are lurking on 75% of websites. Cover your tracks to protect yourself.
When you get on the Tor network after installing and running your VPN service, no third party will be able to know you are running Tor because you are already on a private, secured network. Nevertheless, your VPN service provider can still see that you are connecting to the Tor Browser. In the second configuration, when you route your traffic first through Tor and then VPN, your traffic is still encrypted. But the fact you are using a VPN is hidden from your ISP, government, or any other interested party.
In our experience, using a VPN over Tor is a more straightforward and better way to surf the dark web. This is because getting into the Tor network may arouse the curiosity of third parties. When you get a VPN first and then connect to Tor, only the VPN provider will know your activity. Good VPN services usually follow a strict no-logs policy. This further improves your privacy and security.
IPVanish: Best VPN for Tor
While there are several excellent VPN services out there, not all are the same, and they’re definitely not all suitable for Tor. We recommend IPVanish because of the following reasons:
1. Zero-logs policy
While every VPN claims to keep no record of your history, it isn’t so. Whether it’s through automatic diagnostics, connection logs, or any other service, VPNs keep user records for some time. IPVanish is different. It has a strict no-logs policy. It takes no auto diagnostics or maintains any user log file. Thus your privacy is always preserved.
2. Pay via BitCoin
Seriously, how many VPN service providers can you name that allow payment through cryptocurrencies? Not many! IPVanish accepts Bitcoin and other crypto payments, which would help with better anonymity. This way, you can separate your real-world finances from the virtual world when you use VPN for Tor.
Notice: Hackers create fake WiFi hotspots to steal your passwords when you log in to Starbucks WiFi. Secure your data.
3. Faster Connection
Tor slows down your browsing speed. When you combine it with a VPN for Tor that restricts browsing in any way, it’s a catastrophe. Thankfully, IPVanish offers unthrottled speed. It doesn’t meter the amount of data or throttle your internet connection in the middle of a browsing session.
4. Multiple Locations
IPVanish offers 40,000 + shared IPs. It has more than 1500 live servers in more than 75 locations all over the world. Thanks to this, you can switch and change your IP address periodically. This adds an additional layer of privacy for more protection. It also ensures the connection remains stable throughout your VPN for Tor session.
5. Traffic Obfuscation
IPVanish has a traffic obfuscation feature that makes your encrypted traffic appear unencrypted (it makes it look like regular traffic). This is helpful when you don’t want any third party website to know that you are connected to a VPN for Tor. In the mobile app version, you can enable the obfuscation feature with the “Scramble” toggle.
6. Kill Switch
The IPVanish app comes with a built-in Kill Switch feature. It halts internet traffic as soon as the VPN for Tor connection unexpectedly drops until the secure connection restores. In this way, your IP address doesn’t get accidentally exposed.
In addition, IPVanish uses the industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption for data security. It supports multiple VPN connection types (such as IKEv2, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec protocols) to make the services as adaptable as possible. And you can download the IPVanish app for Windows, macOS, and Android, iOS. All that is compounded by 24/7 customer support and a 30 days money back (yes, you can even get your cryptocurrency back). Overall, there’s a lot to like about IPvanish. However, its Tor specific features like no logs policy, crypto payments, and faster connection make it the best VPN for Tor.
Curiosity is a natural instinct for human beings. The dark web is a mysterious place, and mysteries attract us the most. Nevertheless, we recommend you take proper precautions before you access the dark web. Using a reliable VPN for Tor service is a great first step. It will make your connection anonymous and private. Meanwhile, don’t forget a solid updated anti-malware software.
Ultimately, you will be accessing this uncharted territory at your own risk. So stay curious while staying safe!
This article is written in good faith because privacy is a fundamental human right. Tor & the dark web are mere tools to exert freedom of speech and your right to privacy. Article 12 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948 confirms it. However, we do not condone using Tor or the Dark web for any illegal or harmful activity.