Best VPNs for Tor Browser (& Onion Over VPN) in 2021
The Tor browser is popular among privacy enthusiasts. It is not like your everyday browser. It uses onion routing, a technique that ensures data moves through different servers before reaching its target. A VPN builds a secure path to a destination by encrypting data and using authentication ciphers to ensure it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. A VPN usually has several features, including using the Tor browser.
Tor over VPN is the most popular choice to use as it protects your privacy by preventing malicious actors from exploiting Tor exit nodes. A couple of its advantages include your ISP being unable to detect the Tor network and Tor servers being unable to see your IP address. This article will guide you in selecting the best VPN to use for the Tor browser and VPN combination.
Top Recommended VPNs for Tor Browser
In this section, we’ll dive into the best VPNs for Tor Browser and tell you the strengths of each provider:
Overall best in our tests
- Super-fast servers
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Supports private protocol, Lightway
- Money-back guarantee
With over 3000 servers in 94 countries, you have a large pool of servers to select from. All servers in 148 unique locations have different unblocking powers, and you can be sure of avoiding issues that come with geo-restrictions. Netflix, HBO Go, Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video are some of the popular streaming sites ExpressVPN can unblock.
The British Virgin Islands, home to ExpressVPNs headquarters, is a private haven for VPN service providers. Data retention laws have no place there, allowing VPNs the opportunity to keep users’ data safe without intrusive actions by the government. TrustedServer, which makes all servers operate with only volatile storage, removes any doubt that ExpressVPN isn’t a trustworthy provider.
It encrypts traffic with 256-bit encryption and other authentication ciphers. It has a number of security features that include VPN protocols, perfect forward secrecy, leak protection, a kill switch, split tunneling, and a No-Log Policy. ExpressVPN was the first VPN service provider to have a .onion site. This shows more than enough proof that ExpressVPN is committed to making Tor over VPN a seamless activity.
When it comes to speed, ExpressVPN shows why it’s at the top. Using a VPN in combination with Tor browser can significantly affect performance. ExpressVPN offers outstanding speed, so users don’t have to feel the drawback of using Tor over VPN.
ExpressVPN is on the high side of expenses. It costs $12.95 per month to use the VPN. Knowing that not everyone can afford this, ExpressVPN has discounts for its 6-month and 15-month plan. Several payment options, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and up to five simultaneous connections per subscriber are other features this VPN offers. It also encourages cross-platform compatibility by having support for different platforms.
Best offer: $6.67/month (Save 49% + 3 months free)
Definitely the fastest in our tests
- Incredibly fast servers
- Great security features
- Verified no-logs policy
- Unblocks streaming platforms
NordVPN is another long-standing service provider that has built a reputation for continuously improving the service it gives to users. Over 5500 servers support unblocking local content in 59 countries. It also has designed specific servers for Onion over VPN. You can either decide to use these servers or use regular servers with the Tor browser.
Panama is a country with regulations that encourage VPN use. It is not under the influence of any government surveillance treaty. Thus, it is no surprise that NordVPN has its headquarters there. This provider delivers its service under a strict No-Log Policy coupled with servers that have no persistent local storage.
AES-256 encryption has some history. Since its inception, no human or machine has the resources to break it. NordVPN uses this encryption along with security protocols, including OpenVPN and IKEv2. There are also Double VPN servers, a kill switch, leak prevention, and a CyberSec suite. Security layers keep your data unavailable to rogue elements.
When connected to any of NordVPN’s servers, your internet connection’s speed depends on that server’s distance. Using Tor or Onion over VPN, your rate is bound to take a hit. Despite the downgrade, you will still have fast connections because NordVPN delivers breakneck speed.
Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Android, Android TV, Routers, Chrome, and Firefox are devices and browsers NordVPN supports. You will have to pay $11.95 per month if the only option you want is a short plan. Heavy discounts make its 2-year and 1-year plan $3.71 and $4.92, respectively. All subscriptions have a 30-day money-back assurance, and there is a limit of six simultaneous device connections.
Best offer: $2.93/month (Save 68% + 3 months for free)
Best for connecting multiple devices
- Allows unlimited simultaneous connections
- Integrates Stealth mode
- Multihop feature available
- 3000+ servers
Surfshark has a significant server presence in 65 countries. You can count on its 3200+ servers to give you a memorable experience while you’re on the Tor browser. You’re in the right place if you’re looking to access libraries of popular streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
Just like ExpressVPN, Surfshark is located in the British Virgin Islands. Privacy remains paramount to the everyday VPN user, and this location gives Surfshark the freedom to operate without any fear of the invasion of users’ data. A warrant canary also ensures any secret sabotage of your privacy sees the light of the day. Its Camouflage and NoBorders Mode make bypassing severe restrictions look easy, and a No-Log Policy ensures servers don’t keep internet traffic information that can identify you.
There are no IP leaks with this VPN as it wants you to remain private. It uses AES-256 encryption in combination with protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec. DoubleVPN or MultiHop, kill switch, whitelister, and a proprietary adblocker known as CleanWeb are other security layer components.
HD and UHD are top-quality resolutions that Surfshark supports. However, there will be a significant cutback on speed if you use the Tor browser along with any VPN. Due to its fascinating speed, you’re less likely to notice the difference.
Surfshark offers the same monthly price as ExpressVPN, but other subscription plans have huge discounts. Its 24-month plan is currently $2.49 per month, and the 6-month one is $6.49 per month. A 7-day free trial gives Android and iOS users a risk-free period to use. You can also use apps for other platforms like Linux, Windows, Chrome, macOS, Firefox, Routers, and Smart TVs. A 30-day money-back guarantee period works for all new subscribers, and you have access to an infinite amount of connections per account.
Best offer: $2.21/month (Save 81% + 3 months free)
Best VPN with a free version
- Free version available
- Strong security features
- Reliable no-logs policy
- Allows Perfect Forward Secrecy
With more than a thousand servers reaching 55 countries worldwide, privacy-focused ProtonVPN is an excellent bet to keep you safe while you surf the internet. Using this VPN in combination with the Tor Browser makes it extremely difficult for any bad attacker to reach you. ProtonVPN continues to invest in its infrastructure to give you access to your favorite streaming sites.
ProtonVPN being Switzerland-based means that the influence of surveillance-sharing governments cannot reach you as Switzerland takes privacy seriously. There is no law that requires a VPN company to store your data. Nevertheless, ProtonVPN clearly abides by its No-Log Policy as it does not store connection logs.
Aside from privacy, ProtonVPN has state-of-the-art security features. Its NetShield feature blocks ads, trackers, and malware-infected websites. It also uses 256-bit encryption and perfect forward secrecy to keep your data secure and prevent unwanted intrusions. ProtonVPN’s Secure Core servers act like Double VPN servers and make it difficult for ISPs to detect you are using a VPN. Its Tor over VPN feature allows you to use the Tor Browser seamlessly.
Verified by SEC Consult to be secure, ProtonVPN’s native applications are all open source. You can manually install it on other devices that don’t have native applications. With four subscription packages, including a free one, ProtonVPN is affordable for everyone.
Best offer: €8/month (Save 25%)
Broadest server reach in our tests
- Great unblocking ability
- Supports WireGuard protocol
- Decent streaming speed
- Affordable subscription offers
PIA started operations in 2010. It has an enormous amount of servers; seventy-seven countries host almost 24000 servers. This is mindblowing, as the server per country ratio is more than adequate to cater to subscribers’ needs. Streaming with Tor over VPN will not take away the unblocking prowess of this VPN.
PIA’s headquarters is in Denver, USA. This is not great news because the USA is a member of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliances that share intelligence and surveillance information. However, PIA keeps your fears away as it has proven that its No-Log Policy is not just mere paperwork. The government has previously tried and failed to get user data.
PIA has a MACE feature that blocks ads, malware, and trackers when you use it. DNS/IP leak prevention in combination with a kill switch protects your obscurity. You have the option of encryption and authentication ciphers, including 128/256-bit encryption, RSA-2048/4096, and SHA1/256. It also supports suitable secure VPN protocols like OpenVPN, PPTP, IPsec, and WireGuard.
Most VPNs offer cross-platform compatibility, and PIA is not left out. PIA supports popular operating systems and browsers. Its website also has guides or instructions for devices it can work on. PIA is the right destination if you’re looking for affordable subscription rates. All plans have a 30-day money-back policy, and it has a limit of seven parallel connections per account.
The performance of this VPN service provider is not consistent. Your experience will be different depending on the server you use. It is better to find the fastest server available if you want to enjoy using Tor over VPN.
Best offer: €1.94/month (Save 83%)
Best for Android
- Advanced configuration settings
- Unblocks restricted platforms
- Compatible with most device types
- Supports the OpenVPN, L2TP and IPSec protocols
PrivateVPN offers over a century of servers resident in 60 countries. While this may not be impressive as others on this list, it gracefully delivers good service to users. Netflix, Hulu, Sky Go, HBO GO, BBC iPlayer, and Showtime are examples of platforms it unblocks. Its compatibility with the Tor browser is evident in the useful instructional guide on its website to assist in setting up Tor over VPN.
PrivateVPN is Swedish-based, right under the eyes of the 14-Eyes Alliance. This is nothing to worry about, as a No-Log Policy ensures no alliances will have access to your data. PrivateVPN saves only necessary account information to allow you to have easy access to your account.
DNS/WebRTC/IPv6 leak protection and a kill switch prevent any leakage from allowing anyone to identify you. The military-level encryption, AES-256, secures internet traffic. Eavesdroppers, hackers, and all other bad actors cannot dream of breaking this encryption. You also have the choice to use VPN protocols like IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and PPTP.
Despite its smaller server network, PrivateVPN still delivers good speed. You will be happy to know its servers’ speed remains uniform over time. So, if you find a fast server, it is doubtful that’s going to change in the near future. Although using the Tor Browser comes with an undeniable speed reduction, you’re more likely to enjoy the experience with fast servers.
Applications are compatible with Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS. There are also guides on other devices that are not exactly mainstream. Depending on the platform you use, features may differ. PrivateVPN offers economical plans, including a 12-month plan at $2.07 and a 3-month plan at $5.03. Its monthly plan is also the cheapest on this list at $8.10. You can use PrivateVPN risk-free for 30 days and request a refund within that period if the service you get does not appease you.
Best offer: €2.13/month (Save 77%)
Offers the best money-back guarantee
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- 7000+ reliable servers
- Strict no-log policy
- Tough security features
CyberGhost has about ten years of experience under its belt. Users like it, especially for its simplicity in delivering commendable service yearly. 6700 servers in 89 countries are there to provide prompt service. It unblocks the local content of the country you connect to. Using Tor over VPN, you can stream on any popular service with its servers optimized for specific platforms.
Countries with surveillance agreements can hit VPN service providers where it hurts. CyberGhost, giving no chance to nosy governments, operates from Romania. It also stays true to a No-Log Policy that sustains your anonymity. CyberGhost does not use persistent local storage on its servers and has special NoSpy servers that can work despite heavy restrictions.
Security is always a critical aspect of VPNs, and CyberGhost ensures users are in safe hands. 256-bit encryption cipher secures your network connection. Your data is practically incomprehensible to snoopers. VPN protocols you have the option of using include OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2. It also has DNS/IP leak protection, split tunneling, kill switch, Wi-Fi protection, and Onion over VPN to form a protective barricade.
CyberGhost may not be the best VPN to use if you’re looking for swiftness, but it gets the job done. It is advisable to connect to servers closer to you because server distance is influential in your speed. Plus, using a VPN with the Tor browser will affect your speed. So it is better to find the fastest server to use.
You can use CyberGhost on every significant platform, including routers. Subscribing to its monthly plan is even more expensive than ExpressVPN at $12.99. You get the best discount on its three-year plan. With your user account, you can connect to this VPN on seven devices at the same time. It also has a surprising 45-day guarantee on every plan except its monthly one.
Best offer: $1.9/month (Save 84%)
Why You Need a VPN for Tor Browser
The not-so-popular Tor browser is the go-to browser for people that want to stay anonymous. The Tor browser on its own does not encrypt data. It uses onion routing, which routes your data through different nodes or servers, making it challenging to identify your device. You will notice that your IP address and location frequently change if you have had the chance of using it.
While it protects your privacy, your data at some point will leave an exit node to reach its destination. These exit nodes are not entirely secure and can be exploited by malicious entities. The ultimate result can mean data exposure.
A VPN, on the other hand, protects your data with serious encryption ciphers. It builds a secure tunnel from your device to the destination IP address, completely masking your IP address in the process. Despite heavy protection, mistakes can happen, and nothing is entirely secure on its own.
Security professionals always advise having more than a single layer of protection. Since a VPN encrypts traffic, Tor browser gives an added layer of security and privacy. This is especially useful for people in countries with heavy censorship or journalists with sensitive information. There are a few implementations of this combination, including Tor over VPN and VPN over Tor. Using a VPN in combination with the Tor browser does not guarantee absolute protection, but it’s a step further from using either of them apart.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Best VPNs for Tor Browser
What is the difference between Tor and a VPN?
There are three or more nodes in the Tor network. These nodes route your data through the onion network before it reaches the site you’re attempting to access. With Tor, your IP address is visible at the entrance node, where it begins encrypting your data. By the time the data reaches the exit node, each node has decrypted a layer. However, the exit node and its operator can observe your data request.
Your ISP, hackers, and government surveillance agencies can’t see what you’re doing when using a VPN. It hides your IP address, preventing anyone from knowing where you are.
Should I use VPN over Tor or Tor over VPN?
Deciding on which one to use depends on what you want. With VPN over Tor, you first need to connect to the Tor Browser. Afterward, you need to run your VPN. When you use this method, your internet service provider thinks you are using only the Tor browser and not a VPN. However, only a few VPN providers can work with this method.
On the other hand, to use the Tor over VPN method, connect to the VPN server of your choice and run the Tor Browser. A couple of Tor hops would be required before the VPN traffic reached its final destination. In this case, your internet service provider can only see you’re using a VPN. A disadvantage of this method is that your Internet service provider may be able to see what you’re doing if your VPN abruptly disconnects.
Is it possible to track me if I’m using Tor?
The Tor network contains flaws and is not impenetrable to tracking attempts. In most of these attacks, there is a compromise of the final server relay in the chain.
However, these attacks are expensive, focused, and need a well-funded attacker to carry them. A huge majority of people will be perfectly safe and anonymous while using Tor.
Remember that users might also be a danger to their privacy if they’re not vigilant. If you log in to a website using your actual email address and password, for example, Tor cannot protect you from being tracked.
Using a VPN with the Tor browser provides additional security and privacy layers that are only necessary if you’re willing to accept the trade-off between privacy and speed. A significant limitation of using this combination is the increase in latency. Since data travels through several servers, latency will take a big hit. This is why this article guides you in selecting the best VPN service providers with excellent speeds.