When it comes to online privacy and protection, Tor and VPN are the two most widely used privacy tools for browsing the net anonymously.
Although both perform the same function, they both work in different ways, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
VPN – Virtual Private Network
VPN works by routing your access to the internet through a server that hides your IP address and encrypts all communications done online. The VPN acts as ‘the-go-between’ your computer and the internet, allows you to bypass content restrictions and hides your geographic location.
Advantages of using the VPN over TOR
- It is faster than Tor because data does not have to pass through several TOR nodes before getting to its final destination
- Maintenance of VPN is done by using funds from paid membership, unlike TOR which is funded by volunteers.
- VPN protects your computer while you are connected to the internet, unlike TOR which is only accessed by using its web browser.
- VPN has a kill switch to protect you from data leakage in the case of damaged server software.
- VPN allows you access to restricted contents and websites in your country
- You can get a free VPN for use
Disadvantages of Using VPN
- Browsing history is logged on some VPN
- There is a monthly charge for users who use VPN with additional features and without the ads
TOR – The Onion Router
TOR works by routing data through multiple security layers before it gets to its final destination. TOR is designed to protect users from ‘traffic analysis’ by monitoring users’ data at various points between the users and the website.
Advantages of using TOR over VPN
- TOR cannot be easily shut down by any governments or organizations because it is a distributed network run by volunteers.
- Your IP address is not revealed to the websites you are visiting
- Information passing through TOR network is more secure compared with VPN as information passes through many nodes
- By using TOR, you can access restricted websites and contents.
- It is free to use without any charges.
Disadvantages of using TOR
- It is slow compared with VPN as the data has to be routed through multiple nodes. Therefore it is not a good choice for streaming HD videos and other graphics contents
- Exit nodes can be set up to spy on the users’ activities if users are not using HTTPS connection.
- Users can only enjoy TOR’s privacy and security protection by using TOR’s web browser which has built-in TOR access.
- Users are not held accountable because TOR is a freeware built and run by volunteers
- Accessing documents downloaded using TOR while online can compromise the users’ privacy.
In conclusion, TOR is recommended for users dealing with highly sensitive information, while VPN is good for users interested in streaming high-quality videos and other graphic materials online.
TOR vs. VPN, the choice is yours to make based on your intended purpose of use.