What Is Onion Over VPN and How Do You Use It?

The internet is not entirely safe, which is why many of us turn to special tools that can provide privacy and security. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and the Tor network are services that do excellent jobs of ensuring our online activities are private and safe.

Although VPNs and the Tor network have their benefits and shortcomings, using both of them at once enhances your privacy. The Onion over VPN feature is essential if you want to explore the internet without leaving traces of your identity.

In this article, we’ll look at what Onion over VPN really is, its advantages and disadvantages, how you can use the feature, and we’ll show you some of the best VPN providers that offer the feature.

What Is Onion Over VPN?

Onion over VPN simply refers to the process of using Tor (The Onion Router) and a VPN simultaneously. Tor is a networking system that functions on an open network that anyone can connect to. This system routes and encrypts connections through other users’ computers.

In the Tor network, these computers that act as re-routing points are called relays or nodes, and they receive and send data. Typically, with Tor, there are about three relays between your device and the final connection. These mask your IP address several times over and encrypt your data.

With Onion over VPN, the encryption of the VPN is added to the mix of Tor network.  It also adds more Tor nodes between the VPN server and the final network connection. This increases the number of intermediaries between the server you’re trying to connect with and your device.

When you connect to a VPN server, it cloaks your actual IP address and encrypts your connection. With Tor, your request passes through at least three nodes before it gets to its destination. Onion over VPN makes it impossible for someone to track your activities online, especially if your VPN maintains a solid no-log policy.

How To Use Onion Over VPN

It is pretty easy to use Onion over VPN. You just need a VPN and the Tor Browser. If you don’t have either of them, you can get started in these short steps:

  1. Sign up for a VPN service. There are so many VPN providers out there these days, but you should stay clear of free services. Also, ensure that the company has a strict no-log policy.
  2. Download and install the VPN client on your device. You can visit your VPN provider’s website for a download link, or you can check your app store. Once you’ve installed it and signed in, connect to the server, you prefer.
  3. Download and install the Tor Browser. After installing the browser, launch the app and connect to the Tor network.

With both your VPN and Tor Browser running, your browsing activities are now encrypted on two levels. However, you can choose to route all your web traffic through Tor with Tortilla. Tortilla allows you to send your entire traffic through Tor nodes. However, seeing how your traffic will pass through several nodes, you’ll experience slower browsing speeds.

Advantages of Onion Over VPN

There are many benefits to using Onion over VPN connection to protect your browsing activities. Although there’s a long list of advantages, here are a couple:

1. Onion Over VPN provides multiple layers of encryption because your traffic is routed through other users’ devices that act as relays or nodes.

2. If your Tor Browser gets compromised while you’re browsing, your real IP address will remain protected because your VPN connection had already masked your IP before you connected to the Tor Network.

3. With Onion over VPN, you can still take advantage of several other VPN features such as a kill switch and DNS/Wifi leak protection.

4. Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) block Tor networks. But Onion over VPN only lets them see that you’re using a VPN. This makes sure you do not get blocked while on the service.

5. Your online activities are hidden from your VPN and ISP.

Disadvantages of Onion Over VPN

Although Onion oVPN is a great tool to have at your disposal, it also has some disadvantages. Some of which include:

1. Websites and other online services can see that your data is coming from a Tor exit node. If they’re against Tor networks, you might be blocked, or the website won’t function.

2. Onion over VPN involves a long chain of intermediary servers. This translates to slower speeds. So the more relays your network passes through, the slower your connection gets.

3. Tor exit nodes can be blocked unexpectedly, cutting off your connection. This can be very inconvenient if you’re carrying out business or an activity that requires a reliable connection.

4. Although you’re connected to a VPN, your data could still be exposed if there is a compromised Tor exit node.

5. In the chain of intermediaries, there’s a fixed point (the VPN service). Because of this, you might be at risk of end-to-end attacks.

Recommended VPNs With Built-In Support for Onion Over VPN

There are so many VPN services available these days. However, not all of them support Onion over VPN connections. Instead of searching the internet and ending up with overwhelming results, here are some of the best VPNs for Onion over VPN that we recommend:

ExpressVPN

Overall best in our tests

ExpressVPN devices
  • Super-fast servers
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Supports private protocol, Lightway
  • Money-back guarantee

ExpressVPN is the best VPN on the market that supports the Tor Browser. It is one of the most famous names in the industry and has been operating for more than a decade so far, building a reputation for high-standard security and privacy.

This company has its headquarters in the British Virgin Islands, which doesn’t have laws that negatively affect users’ privacy. ExpressVPN also has an onion website available if you want to access their services safely in countries with less-friendly internet laws.

ExpressVPN has more than 3000 servers in over 90 countries. You can easily unblock content from streaming platforms with these servers on the Tor browser and enjoy unlimited bandwidth. ExpressVPN also offers high-speed connections, which is very important for Onion over VPN because routing traffic through relays causes slow connection speeds.

Furthermore, ExpressVPN offers you military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, a 4096-bit RSA key, and SHA-512 HMAC authentication. Furthermore, the service protects you from IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS leaks.

ExpressVPN provides privacy by maintaining a no-log policy. Combined with the relays your traffic is routed through, it would be impossible for anyone to keep up with what you’re up to on the Tor network or trace anything back to you.

This VPN is a great way to protect your devices like Windows, macOS, Android, and VPN. A single subscription allows you to connect up to 5 devices simultaneously. Although ExpressVPN is a bit expensive, you get attractive discounts, and there’s a 30-day money-back policy.

Best offer: $6.67/month (Save 49% + 3 months free)

NordVPN

Definitely the fastest in our tests

NordVPN devices
  • Incredibly fast servers
  • Great security features
  • Verified no-logs policy
  • Unblocks streaming platforms

NordVPN is another top-rated provider that offers Onion over VPN alongside other features. It is not as expensive as ExpressVPN, and it’s just as effective.

The Panama-based VPN provider has 5300+ servers in 55+ countries. These include obfuscated servers as well. The servers are among the fastest available, so you can visit any website on the Tor browser without experiencing slow speed. These servers will help you unblock services and get past geo-restrictions without any hassle.

NordVPN offers several state-of-the-art features such as Onion over VPN, AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, split tunneling, dedicated IP, DoubleVPN, and CyberSec. It implements OpenVPN, SSTP, IPSec/IKEv2, and WireGuard to protect your traffic from malicious characters. The company also maintains a strict no-logs policy, so you don’t have to worry that it keeps tabs on your Tor Browser activities.

With NordVPN, you can have Onion over VPN on macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux devices. If you want to use NordVPN, you’ll have to purchase a subscription plan. A single plan allows you to connect up to six devices at the same time. So if you need Onion over VPN on your other devices, it saves you the cost of purchasing multiple subscription plans. NordVPN guarantees that all their subscriptions have a 30-day refund window.

Best offer: $2.93/month (Save 68% + 3 months for free)

Surfshark

Best for connecting multiple devices

Surfshark devices
  • Allows unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Integrates Stealth mode
  • Multihop feature available
  • 3000+ servers

Surfshark is one of the most affordable VPN providers that works perfectly with the Tor browser. One major selling point of this VPN provider is that it provides premium services at low costs. So if you need to protect your privacy on a budget, this will work just fine.

Similar to ExpressVPN, Surfshark’s headquarters is in the British Virgin Islands. It operates over 3200 servers located in more than 60 countries. These servers will grant you access to services and content restricted to a particular country or region.

Your Tor browser traffic and other data from your device are not stored anywhere because the company has a no-log policy in place. It uses AES 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, WireGuard, and Shadowsocks protocols to provide more security and privacy. It also provides a kill switch, camouflage mode, NoBorders mode, MultiHop, CleanWeb, and DNS leak protection.

Surfshark has client apps for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux. They also provide a 24/7 customer support team via live chat. Whichever of their VPN plan you choose, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Best offer: $2.21/month (Save 81% + 3 months free)

Conclusion

The Onion over VPN feature is essential if you’re interested in protecting your online activities to the best extent you can. It protects you from government surveillance, hackers, and other third parties interested in your personal activities. Using a VPN for your Tor browser is legal and safe. We’ve mentioned a few VPNs with built-in support for Onion over VPN, so you just have to choose one that meets your needs and browse safely.