When privacy is a must, the standard technique to shake off surveillance might not cut it. Using a VPN is a pretty secure technique to stay anonymous on the web. So is using the Tor network also directs your connection through various random nodes to make it impossible to trace the link back to you. However, these two methods or technologies can also be combined, which is known as Onion over VPN.
In this blog, TechNinjaPro is going to tell you what you should know about it.
- What is VPN?
- What is TOR?
- What is Onion over VPN?
- Pros and Cons of Onion over VPN
- How does TOR or Onion over VPN Works?
- How to Connect to Onion over VPN?
- Is Onion over VPN safe?
- Does Onion over VPN slowdown Internet?
- List of VPNs with integrated onion over VPN support
- Is VPN or TOR better?
What is VPN?
A VPN is a technology used to route your internet connection through a mediator server. The internet connection between your system and the server is encrypted, making your connection impossible to intercept from the outside. VPN also disguises your actual IP address with that of a VPN server. You can simply set up a VPN server or buy a subscription from a VPN service provider.
Paid VPN subscriptions allow you to connect to large server fleets with the possibility to pick almost any country in the world.
What is TOR?
TOR is an abbreviation of the Onion Router. It is another way to keep your online activities private. TOR is not run by a company or corporation but is a decentralized network run by volunteers. It works by routing and encryption connections through several other users’ computer systems. TOR uses more than three relays between your device and the final connection hiding your IP address behind several layers and encrypting the data.
What is Onion over VPN?
Onion over VPN is a technique used to describe a setup where you use a VPN and TOR simultaneously. It is an advanced technique VPN service providers offer to users who need maximum privacy and security.
Onion over VPN involves moving your data through a VPN server and then the onion network before reaching its final destination. The TOR browser is the only browser with access to the TOR network. However, VPN service providers do not compel you to use the TOR browser. You have to connect to optimized Onion over VPN servers, and encrypted user traffic can move through the TOR network for added security.
Pros and Cons of Onion over VPN
|Your internet provider can easily see that you are using a VPN but not that you are using TOR||Apps and websites can see that you are visiting through a TOR exit node. Some websites or apps might block you.|
|Your VPN cannot see what websites you visit or the contents of your connection||Your VPN can see your actual IP address and knows that you are using TOR|
|You can easily access both dark web Onion sites||You could expose data to comprised TOR exit nodes|
|You can anonymously surf the clear web||Using an Onion over VPN will significantly slow down your connection|
|The TOR entry layer cannot see your actual IP address|
|You will get the flexibility to use a VPN by itself with a regular browser for non-critical tasks|
How does TOR or Onion over VPN Works?
TOR or Onion over VPN combines the encryption of the VPN between your device and the server. It also adds several TOR nodes between the VPN server and the final network request. Onion over VPN extends the intermediaries in between the server you are contacting and your device.
- You connect to a VPN which encrypts your internet connection and hides your actual IP address.
- The application is then sent through a minimum of three nodes to reach the intended destination
Suppose someone needs to trace back the connection to the source; that would be almost impossible, especially if you are using a VPN service that you paid for anonymously.
How to Connect to Onion over VPN?
Many VPN service providers provide the ability to connect to Onion over VPN. Users can create a Tor over VPN connection using the Tor browser.
Via VPN Service
Using Onion over VPN is simple when your VPN provider offers the option within your subscription. Activating Tor over VPN is generally a button click or toggle switch away. The VPN service will perform everything in the background. The data packets making up your online traffic will route through the VPN’s private servers, the Tor network, and reach the destination.
Via Browser + Trusted VPN
- Connect to your VPN service provider
- Launch a particular web browser with built-in Tor functionality.
- The original Tor browser is recommended
- The Brave browser on the desktop includes a private window with Tor choice.
Is Onion over VPN safe?
Yes, Onion over VPN is safe. By routing a user’s internet traffic through a trusted VPN service, then through several random, anonymous servers, origination is hidden. As with TOR alone, the user must remember to remain anonymous, safely staying away from tasks that include personally identifiable information.
Does Onion over VPN slowdown Internet?
TOR does slow down the connection speed for devices connected through the network. Onion over VPN with the first hop through a trusted VPN further reduces performance and user trade speed for privacy.
List of VPNs with integrated onion over VPN support
There are a few VPNs that comes with integrated support for Onion over VPN. This means you do not need a TOR browser to get it set up. Just connect to an Onion over a VPN server, and you will be good to go.
Some VPNs that provide Onion over VPN servers include
- NordVPN (Highly Recommended)
However, this feature has its pros and cons. On the plus side, you can use any application with TOR, not just the TOR browser. Building up individual applications to use TOR can be difficult, so having it built into the VPN is convenient.
On the other side, the VPN provider could analyze your traffic before the TOR network encrypts it. Always be sure to select one with a no-logs policy.
Is VPN or TOR better?
TOR is better than VPN when more secrecy is needed. VPN is better than TOR when internet speed and protecting traffic from public wifi or internet providers is more important. Users should consider the expected risk and match it using the Onion router network, a VPN, or both.
With these two, Onion over VPN does not add a meaningful amount of security or privacy for the average user. You may find that Onion over VPN is overkill.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, the VPN and Onion network both provide privacy, but the Onion network uses different technology from a VPN. The Onion network is more focused on offering you ultimate privacy. Meanwhile, a VPN focuses on both your privacy and security.
VPN and Onion over VPN both are great choices if you want extra privacy and security. The variation comes down to the way they work. The VPN features route your data through separate servers, encrypting your data for maximum protection.
With Onion over VPN, you pass your data to the Onion network through a secure server, ensuring your safety even if the network is compromised. Always keep in mind that specific sites may block connections from the Onion network. VPN is also slightly faster, although both choices will slow down your connection due to the extra security measures.
When you simultaneously use a Virtual Private Network and a TOR browser, VPN encryption does not allow the TOR entry node to see your real IP address. Additionally, you can access different Onion sites from anywhere in the world anonymously.
TOR is excellent for privacy-conscious people who need to safeguard their online surfing activities from internet service providers, websites, and third-party marketing companies. Moreover, TOR helps you browse the internet, avoiding internet censorship imposed in various oppressive countries.
Onion over VPN is a technology only required when users need very high privacy and security levels. Regular VPN users who want to have a pleasant experience unblocking geo-restrictions or safely surf the web do not need to use it, except they are happy to accept its effect on connection speed.