8 Best VPNs for Tor Browser in 2023
- A VPN is crucial for ensuring maximum privacy when using the Tor browser.
- You can combine Tor and a VPN in two different configurations. Your privacy is affected by how you choose.
- NordVPN is the best all-around VPN for Tor.
Tor and VPN services are similar in a way that they have protection features that make it hard for anyone to snoop on your online activities. And, while they have some likenesses, they have one fundamental difference. VPNs are used to obtain online privacy. Tor’s main purpose is to guarantee browsing anonymity.
While these two aspects might sound the same at first, there’s a big distinction between online privacy and online anonymity, especially when discussing two tools like Tor and VPNs. So, with all of this in mind, should you use a VPN for Tor?
Yes, using a VPN with Tor is entirely safe and is a great way to add an extra layer of privacy and security to your network when using Tor. A VPN for Tor lets you hide your Tor usage from anyone spying on you, even your ISP. But, to make this true, it’s key to pick a trusted VPN that can work with Tor without issues.
- NordVPN – Best VPN for Tor browser.
- Surfshark – Fast with unlimited connections.
- Atlas VPN – Great all-around Tor browser VPN.
- PrivateVPN – Solid service excellent for casual users.
- ExpressVPN – Robust and superb for Tor.
Top 8 VPNs for Tor
Topping our list of the best Tor VPNs is NordVPN. This Virtual Private Network allows you to choose from over 5,400 servers in 60 countries all around the world, each with private DNS.
All its VPN servers support the service’s NordLynx protocol, arguably the best protocol in the industry. NordLynx is up to two times faster than any other protocol available currently, so it’s an excellent option to pair with the relatively slow Tor browser.
As the best VPN for Tor you can currently get, NordVPN possesses all the security features you would look for in such a service. This includes malware and virus protection, split tunneling, VPN obfuscation, and a kill switch.
Looking into some of its more unique and specific features, NordVPN has an Onion Over VPN feature built into its apps. Onion over VPN allows you to combine Tor and NordVPN with just one click or tap on the screen.
There’s also a Double VPN tool. NordVPN’s Double VPN routes your traffic through two VPN servers. The Double VPN feature is great for privacy-conscious users, who want to add an extra layer of security to their network traffic.
NordVPN also supports all P2P traffic and can hide torrenting from ISP.
This VPN provider is based in Panama and has an air-tight zero-logs policy. It has proved its reputation through several independent audits over the years, all of which have found NordVPN to be impeccably secure and very capable of safeguarding the privacy of its users. It allows you to stay completely anonymous when purchasing its encryption, as it supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP payments.
- Thousands of lightning-fast and well-optimized servers
- Unblocks all the major streaming sites
- Fully supports Torrenting and P2P
- Strict no-logs policy and RAM-disk servers
- Ad blocker and malware protection features
- Robust security features and military-grade encryption to protect you from DDoS attacks and other online threats
- 24/7 live chat support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Only 6 simultaneous connections
- No free trial
Surfshark offers over 3,200 servers in 100 countries globally. All of these servers have at least 1 Gbps port, while many servers even support 10 Gbps ports. You can also use the WireGuard protocol on every Surfshark server.
Considering all of these aspects, this VPN service can provide you with super-fast connections no matter where you are in the world. This makes it an excellent VPN provider to counteract the slightly slower speeds you’ll experience while using the Tor network. Additionally, each server is also protected by private DNS.
It’s a very private Virtual Private Network with a zero-logs policy and a kill switch. Surfshark also has a handful of advanced features. For instance, there’s a CleanWeb tool that keeps you safe from malicious ads, malware, and trackers, which is great to have by your side when using Tor. There are also privacy-oriented features like Camouflage Mode and NoBorders Mode.
The service allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices per single subscription. This makes it a great pick if you want a VPN that you can share with your friends and family members for many other online activities besides browsing using Tor.
Surfshark’s one-year and two-year plans are very budget-friendly and are among the best VPN deals you can get in terms of overall value for money. Not only that, but this VPN allows you to choose from a wide selection of payment methods. This includes no less than three cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.
- A very affordable VPN provider
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Ad-blocking feature
- Unblocks streaming platforms
- A fast and light WireGuard protocol
- Allows split-tunneling and has a multi-hop VPN feature
- No-log policy and robust security features
- GPS spoofing on Android devices
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- No free version
- Does not allow P2P seeding
3. Atlas VPN
AtlasVPN has 750 servers in 45 locations across the globe. Every VPN server is protected with private DNS and supports the WireGuard protocol. What’s more, Atlas VPN servers also come with two unique features, SafeSwap and MultiHop+.
SafeSwap allows you to access the Internet from several IP addresses simultaneously. MultiHop+ enables you to have multiple rotating VPN locations, so your Internet traffic is protected by several encryption layers.
Atlas VPN’s security shield blocks websites and ads that are potentially hosting malware, phishing, or viruses. Worthy of the other best VPNs for Tor in terms of security, Atlas VPN has superior web traffic encryption and a strict no-logs data policy.
It comes with added features like split tunneling and a kill switch that make it very advantageous for dark web browsing through the Tor browser. Overall, it’s a very well-rounded VPN suitable for Tor and all other online activities, notably streaming and P2P file sharing.
Atlas VPN offers three affordable subscription plans, each with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Not only that but Atlas VPN has a free subscription plan with some limited features that you can use indefinitely. It supports a number of convenient payment solutions, including crypto payments. If you’d like to find out more about this VPN, please check out our AtlasVPN Review.
- Very affordable plans and it has a free version
- Fast Speeds
- Helpful against an ISP throttling your connection
- Unlimited device support
- WireGuard protocol, DNS leak protection, and strong security features
- Unblocks streaming services
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Limited Linux app
- Based in the US
- Not so many servers
What makes PrivateVPN one of the best VPNs for Tor is that it is an equally great VPN for both beginners and experienced users, as it enables you to use it as it best suits your needs. This is because PrivateVPN’s apps support a simple view and an advanced view.
If you stay in the simple view, you can connect and use the service without setting any additional options. In contrast, if you opt for the advanced view, you can adjust your connection type, preferred encryption levels, and much more.
PrivateVPN also features a Connection Guard section. You can use it to set your control settings for features like DNS and IP leak protection, kill switch, and application guard properties.
Additionally, this Virtual Private Network has a Stealth VPN feature that masks your VPN traffic as regular. This allows you to bypass bans and use Tor in heavily censored countries like China and Russia.
The service offers a smaller server network than other providers on our list. It includes around 200 servers in 63 countries. Still, these servers support above-average connection speeds and boast an uptime of 99.98%, making PrivateVPN one of the most reliable Tor VPN services you can get.
- Supports P2P traffic and allows port forwarding
- Unlimited bandwidth and great speeds
- Unblocks most streaming platforms
- Zero-logging policy
- Free Static IP servers
- 10 simultaneous connections
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Not as many servers as other VPN providers
- No split-tunneling
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for the Tor network, as it excellently complements Tor’s anonymity features with its strong privacy and security features. It has an automatic kill switch that prevents accidental leaks and uses 256-bit encryption.
ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology ensures that every VPN server is always up to date. Moreover, it only has RAM-based servers, meaning that all data on the servers is automatically wiped on every server reboot. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands and offers a strict no-logs policy.
This VPN service provider covers 160 server locations in 94 countries with its server network. All servers support ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol. This light and secure protocol is a great choice for exploring the dark web through the Tor browser.
ExpressVPN employs private DNS on every server. With all of these protection features, you can rest assured that your information is protected on both Tor exit nodes and entry nodes. It is one of only a few Tor VPNs that have their own .onion sites.
- Works with streaming
- Supports torrenting
- No-logs policy
- TrustedServer technology with RAM-only servers
- Premium security features
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Expensive subscription plans
- Only 5 simultaneous connections
6. Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access constantly and diligently replaces its servers and adds new options, so there are always around 30,000 or more servers available in its network. All of its servers support the WireGuard protocol. PIA is an open-source VPN service, meaning that anyone can check its code and trust that it’s completely transparent.
PIA offers one of the most impressive app clients in the industry. It’s great for advanced VPN users, as it enables you to tailor many different aspects of your service. You can configure custom DNS settings, port forwarding, remote ports, proxies, and much more. You can also find standard features like split tunneling, kill switch, and ad and malware blocking.
Private Internet Access is based in the US. This can be viewed both as a pro and a con. The US is a part of every major international surveillance organization. On the other hand, the country doesn’t have a mandatory data retention policy. This, combined with the fact that PIA records no user data logs, means that you can rest assured that none of your personal information will get into the hands of any third party.
- Thousands of servers
- Great for torrenting and P2P
- Strong security and encryption
- Block ads, trackers, and malware
- 10 simultaneous device connections
- Anonymous payment methods
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Based in the US
- Not all streaming services can be unblocked
CyberGhost offers over 7,800 servers in 90+ countries worldwide. No matter if you’re looking for a nearby or remote server, you’ll always find more than enough connectivity options. It also presents you with the option of purchasing Dedicated IP, static, and anonymous IP addresses that will only be available to you.
Although it has both physical and virtual servers, CyberGhost clearly lists which are which, so you can effortlessly connect only to the ones you prefer. CyberGhost also offers access to its NoSpy servers. These are specialized servers pre-configured to provide added benefits like faster speeds, dedicated uplinks, and stronger encryption.
Not only do all CyberGhost servers have 256-bit encryption, but there’s also an automatic kill switch and DNS and IP leak protection. To further solidify this, CyberGhost is based in the privacy-friendly country of Romania and has a 100% zero-logs policy.
CyberGhost is one of the most affordable VPN services for Tor if you opt for their one-year, two-year, or three-year subscription plan. These extended subscription plans also come with an excellent 45-day money-back guarantee.
- Good for streaming and torrenting
- WireGuard protocol available
- No Logs
- Offers Dedicated IP option
- Free browser extension
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- No third-party audits
- Messy app’s interface
HMA offers more than 1,000 servers, covering an impressive selection of 200+ countries. More than just these servers alone, the HMA server network is optimized to offer connection speeds at 20 Gbps.
Besides being super-fast, HMA also delivers strong features in terms of security. Its Windows and Android apps have military-grade encryption, and you can count on a smart kill switch, and IP and DNS leak protection.
Additionally, there’s a split tunneling feature. It comes very handy if you just want to route just the Tor network through the VPN tunnel while keeping the rest of your connection on your real IP address.
HMA has been in the industry for over 15 years, so it’s a very trustworthy and proven VPN service. The service is based in the UK, which is a part of the Five Eyes Alliance. That said, it’s a no-logs VPN, so you don’t have to worry about them giving out any information to the local government. HMA has also been audited by an independent firm.
Lastly, HMA offers you a 7-day free trial, allowing you to test it entirely for free. Moreover, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee. This makes HMA a very user-friendly and convenient Tor browser VPN service in this regard.
Why Should You Use a VPN for Tor Browser?
There are several reasons to help you decide whether using a VPN for Tor is the best thing for you. Here are the two biggest arguments why you should use VPNs for Tor browser:
Improve Your Online Security and Privacy
The biggest reason why you should consider using a VPN for the Tor browser is that it will encrypt your connection and prevent anyone from seeing your actual IP address when using the Tor browser. Someone with enough time and resources can identify Tor users. But, adding a VPN for Tor will make this task nearly impossible.
Whether you use Tor over VPN or vice versa, the VPN makes your connection. Of course, using Tor over VPN is the better option. That way, neither the entry node nor the exit node can see your real IP address. So, you can enjoy secure browsing without worrying about anyone snooping on your Internet connection.
Use Tor From Anywhere Without Restrictions
You should use a VPN for the Tor browser if you live in one of the countries that don’t approve of using Tor. For example, countries like China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran all disapprove of their citizens using Tor.
In these countries, simply downloading the Tor browser will automatically add you to the list of suspicious online users and divert the government’s attention to your activities. To avoid this, it’s best to download and set up the VPN first, and then download and use Tor.
Moreover, even in countries where using Tor is permitted, you can come across Tor node blocks. Many Tor exit nodes are publicly available and can be blocked. By using a VPN to connect to an intermediary server, you can trick the firewall and bypass the block set by your Internet Service Provider.
How We Tested and Rated the Best VPNs for Tor
When choosing a VPN for The Onion Router, you have to pay close attention to certain privacy, security, and performance traits to make sure you’re as safe as you can be without sacrificing the user experience.
What’s more, there are several other essential aspects to consider. To help you out in choosing the best VPN for Tor based on your criteria, here are the key features we used when testing the top VPNs for Tor:
One of the main reasons some online users prefer using the Tor browser is the anonymity it provides them with. So, it’s important that the VPN you pair the Tor browser with also has high privacy standards. The VPN should be based in a privacy-friendly country and have a strict no-logs policy.
In addition to strong privacy features, a trustworthy VPN for Tor should offer you a set of security tools that will protect your network. Most notably, these include strong 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, DNS and IP address leak protection to prevent any of your real information from leaking out.
In the context of VPNs for Tor, the overall server selection isn’t the most important factor but certainly ranks close to the top. Some websites block connections and aren’t available through the Tor network.
Because of this, the more IP address options you have, the better. A good balance of servers, perhaps even dedicated IP address options, will ensure you always have enough connectivity options, no matter where you’re located.
Tor is considerably slower than other mainstream browsers. This is why it’s crucial to pick a VPN that won’t further restrict your network connection speeds. The VPNs we pick offer above-average speeds at the minimum, ensuring they don’t diminish your base connection speeds by any significant degree.
Supported Payment Options
VPNs that offer payment methods like cryptocurrencies rank very high on our list. This is because cryptocurrency payments allow you to purchase a VPN subscription completely anonymously and set up a VPN without sharing any identifiable personal information.
Additional Usability Factors
Besides the five most important criteria we’ve listed above, we also pay attention to other factors that can affect the VPN’s overall usability. This includes aspects like customer support, VPN connection limits, app support, and anything else that can impact your experience when using a Tor VPN.
Should You Use Tor Over VPN?
Using Tor over VPN is the easiest and most common way of combining Tor and a VPN, and there’s nothing wrong with setting up your connection this way. With Tor over VPN, your network is first routed through the VPN’s servers before connecting to the Tor network.
In other words, your entire network is protected, and it’s impossible for anyone to find out your real IP address. Plus, even if you’re not very tech-savvy, you can set it up in seconds. All you need to do is connect to the VPN server and then open Tor, and you’ll be automatically using Tor over VPN.
That said, to be fair and look at the other side of the coin, the main downside of Tor over VPN is the lack of protection against malicious exit nodes. As your Internet traffic is unencrypted by the time it reaches its destination, malicious users can spy on you by controlling exit nodes. While Tor encrypts data that goes through its network, the exit nodes can monitor traffic that goes through them.
The alternative to using Tor over VPN is to use VPN over Tor. This type of configuration requires a more complicated setup, as you will have to adjust some VPN-Tor settings. VPN over Tor also comes with its own advantages and drawbacks. The main benefit of using a VPN over Tor is that the VPN encrypts your connection from malicious exit nodes.
However, the big disadvantage of the VPN over Tor method is that your ISP and anyone spying on your network will be able to see that you’re using the Tor browser. While your Tor traffic will be encrypted, your ISP will be able to see that you’re establishing a Tor connection.
This is because the VPN won’t be encrypting your connection information before it gets to the Tor browser. The entry node will be able to see your real IP address. With this in mind, VPN over Tor is a less preferred option than Tor over VPN.
Free VPNs for Tor Browser
Free VPNs are widely available online, but we advise you to be careful when using these services and do your research before signing up with a Tor free VPN. Generally, we think that using a free VPN for The Onion Router can potentially do you more harm than good. These Virtual Private Networks often offer slow speeds, lack servers, and aren’t very privacy-friendly.
That said, we do find the Atlas VPN free service trustworthy enough to recommend you give it a try. The Atlas VPN free subscription plan is the best free VPN option for casual users who don’t need an overabundance of features but want a trusted free VPN for Tor.
How To Access the Tor Network with a VPN
There are several ways to use The Onion Router with a VPN. Needless to say, using the Tor browser with a VPN is the most common one, which is why we’ll use it in this step-by-step example.
With that in mind, before you proceed with the steps below, the first thing you need to do is install the Tor browser on your device. Once you have your Tor browser installed, here’s how to use Tor with a VPN:
- Sign up with a trusted VPN service (Our top pick is NordVPN)
- Download the VPN app on your device
- Open the app and log in
- Choose a server and connect
- Wait a few seconds for the connection to establish, then open Tor
- Surf the web in maximum privacy and anonymity!
Tor VPN FAQs
Is it legal to use a VPN with Tor?
Yes, in most countries, it’s completely legal to use a Virtual Private Network with Tor, and Tor is safe to use. That said, the legality of this may vary depending on your location. So if you live in a country that tends to censor the Internet, we advise you to check the rules before using a Tor-VPN combination.
What is Onion Over VPN?
Onion over VPN is a special category of servers that NordVPN Tor users can take advantage of. Onion over VPN eliminates the need for a separate Tor browser and delivers additional privacy to users accessing the Onion network.
Onion over VPN operates on the same principles as Tor over VPN. In other words, with Onion over VPN, you connect to the VPN server first. You can automatically connect to the most optimal Onion over VPN server by clicking on this option in the NordVPN app. After that, you access the Tor network.
Does Tor have a built-in VPN?
No, Tor does not have a built-in VPN, nor is it a VPN service. Tor is a tool designed to offer you anonymity when browsing the dark web and enable access to some of the less-visited parts of the Internet. That said, it does not protect your online privacy as a whole, nor does it have any security features like a VPN.
Is it safe to use Tor without a VPN?
Tor is designed to work as a privacy tool on its own, so you can access the dark web using Tor without VPN and still enjoy privacy. That said, while no one can see what you’re doing through Tor, they will still see that you’re using this browser. So, using a VPN for Tor is best if you want maximum online privacy.
What’s the Best Tor VPN for Windows?
The NordVPN Windows app is the best Tor VPN for Windows. It comes loaded with privacy and security features and allows great customizability based on your requirements. The NordVPN Windows client is the best VPN for Windows overall, in our opinion, not just for the Tor browser.
Can I Use a VPN and Tor on my Android or iOS device?
If you’re an Android user, you can download the official Tor browser from the Google Play Store and combine it with any VPN that has an Android app. On the other hand, there isn’t a first-party Tor browser available for iOS users, but they can use the Onion Browser, available in the Apple Store.
Are Tor bridges better than a VPN server?
Tor bridges can be great for hiding your Tor connections. However, there are a few drawbacks to using Tor bridges to hide your network traffic. Mainly, as they aren’t public, they can be tough to find. Plus, they aren’t as easy to set up as VPNs. This is why we recommend using a secure VPN over bridges.
Hopefully, this detailed guide has helped you find out if you should use a VPN with Tor. Moreover, if the answer to this query is positive, this guide should have provided you with all of the necessary information to set you on the right track for using a VPN for Tor and maximizing your online privacy.
Each of the eight best VPNs we’ve shared with you above is capable of protecting your online privacy without affecting your dark web browsing experience. Even so, after testing the best VPN for Tor currently available online, we’ve found NordVPN to be the top VPN for Tor. It’s a fantastic all-around service with some special features tailored toward Tor users.