The internet has become a necessity in the modern world. We use it for everything from keeping in touch with friends and family to ordering groceries and finding a new job. Keeping our information safe and secure is essential to our online lives.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who want to exploit our data for their gain. That’s where VPNs and Tor come in. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and Tor (The Onion Router) are tools that can be used to browse the internet anonymously. But how do they work, and what are their key differences?
How Does a VPN Work?
A VPN is a private network that encrypts your data and routes it through an intermediary server. This server can be located in any country of your choice, meaning your IP address will appear to be coming from that country. This is useful if you want to access geo-restricted content or bypass government censorship.
Your data is encrypted when it leaves your device, which makes it difficult for anyone to intercept and read your traffic. Even if someone were to intercept your data, they would only see gibberish, thanks to the encryption.
VPN providers are usually owned by private companies, meaning they have to follow the country laws where the company is registered. In other words, if the police or the government wants to access information about VPN users, the company will cooperate. However, using any anonymity tool doesn’t give you immunity from breaking the law!
How Does Tor Work?
Tor is an open-source browser that routes your traffic through a series of volunteer-run servers worldwide. Like a VPN, this encrypts your data and makes it difficult for anyone to snoop on your activities.
However, there is one key difference between a Tor browser and a VPN. With a VPN, traffic goes through one server before reaching its destination. With Tor, traffic is passed through multiple servers before reaching the destination. This makes it even more challenging to trace back to the original user.
Unlike most VPN providers, Tor is owned by a research-education nonprofit organization, The Tor Project, Inc. Any revenue the browser makes goes into educational and research purposes rather than into a pocket of a big corporation.
Differences Between VPN And Tor
There are a few critical differences between VPNs and Tor, so before jumping to conclusions, review our list and decide what fits better for your use case.
- Speed: Because your traffic is passed through multiple servers with Tor, this can slow down your connection speed. VPNs typically provide faster speeds since there is only one server involved.
- Security: Both VPNs and Tor offer good security features. However, Tor passes your traffic through multiple servers, providing an extra layer of protection.
- Anonymity: VPNs and Tor can provide anonymity when browsing the internet. Because of the way that Tor routes traffic, it is generally considered more effective for this purpose.
- Ease of use: VPNs are typically easier to set up and use than Tor since they don’t require any specific configuration.
- Price: Both VPNs and Tor are available for free. However, if you want access to all of the features offered by a premium VPN service, you may have to pay a subscription fee.
Both VPNs and Tor browser can be used for anonymous browsing. Tor offers strong anonymity and is free to use, but it can be slow and unsuitable for streaming or torrenting. On the other hand, VPNs are faster and can be used for streaming and torrenting, but they often come with a cost and may not provide the same level of anonymity as Tor.