Tor Browser provides online anonymity by encrypting your traffic and transferring it through a network of volunteer-run computers known as nodes or relays. Unfortunately, your ISP will be able to see when you connect to a Tor node and may block or throttle the Tor traffic because of its association with the Dark Web.
Moreover, Tor's encryption is limited to the browser, so any other traffic will be exposed to data logging and eavesdropping. Luckily, using a VPN for Tor solves each of these issues. A VPN will encrypt all of your traffic and hide that you’re using Tor from your ISP, as well as give you the ability to safely unblock content outside the Tor network.
In this article, we’ll share the best 5 VPNs for Tor. We’ll also explain how to use Tor with a VPN, why you need a VPN, whether you can use a free VPN with Tor, and more.
Best VPNs for Tor Browser – Our Shortlist
- ExpressVPN – Our #1-Rated VPN for Tor
- NordVPN – Tor Browser VPN with Robust Security Features
- CyberGhost VPN – VPN with Self-Operated NoSpy Servers
- Private Internet Access – Most Extensive Tor VPN Server Fleet
- Surfshark – Best VPN for Tor Browser with Impressive Speeds
How to Use Tor with a VPN
To use Tor with a VPN, you must choose a reliable VPN provider and get a subscription. Here’s what you need to do:
- Subscribe to a VPN that works with Tor (we recommend ExpressVPN).
- Download and install the VPN app on the device(s) you’ll use to access Tor.
- Launch the VPN app and enter your login credentials.
- Choose a VPN server from the provider’s list.
- Once you’re connected, launch the Tor Browser, and enjoy!
It’s important to use Tor over VPN, which means connecting to a VPN server first and then launching the Tor browser. This ensures your ISP can't see that you've connected to a Tor entry node. Opening Tor before enabling your VPN (known as VPN over Tor) will expose your activity.
The Best VPNs for Tor in 2023
To find the best VPN for Tor, you need to look for a provider that offers robust security features like a no-logs policy, strong encryption, data leak protection, and secure protocols. It should also include a kill switch to avoid leaking data and split tunneling so you can choose which traffic you route through the VPN. Moreover, obfuscated servers are a must to hide that you’re using a VPN, and a wide server network is necessary, too.
Furthermore, the Tor browser is relatively slow, so the best Tor VPN must offer fantastic speeds and performance so your connection isn’t compromised further. Lastly, money-back guarantees, customer support, and anonymous payment options are also crucial.
Based on the criteria above, here are the best 5 VPNs for Tor:
1. ExpressVPN – Our #1-Rated VPN for Tor
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ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Tor because it offers a plethora of strong security features. It provides an audited no-logs policy, AES-256 encryption, split tunneling, DNS leak protection, IP leak protection (including IPv4 and IPv6), and a kill switch feature that takes over in the event of disconnection. In addition, this VPN supports OpenVPN and has its own Lightway protocol that adds another security layer to your Internet connection, making it ideal for using Tor.
Unfortunately, not all ExpressVPN servers are obfuscated, but they are all RAM-only, meaning they wipe their data upon rebooting. Regarding speed and performance, ExpressVPN is the fastest on the market due to its vast server network (3,000+ servers in 94 countries). It has servers in many US locations and more than 40 European countries, such as Russia, Germany, and Turkey, which are some of the places where people use Tor the most. Also, we tested its connection stability and didn’t encounter any interruptions.
Last but not least, ExpressVPN comes with 24/7 customer support and anonymous payment options that don’t require your personal information, making it even more secure. If this VPN doesn’t meet your expectations, you can get a full refund due to its 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Fast servers in 90+ countries
- Automatic obfuscation
- 24/7 live chat support
- Not all servers are obfuscated
2. NordVPN – Tor Browser VPN with Robust Security Features
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NordVPN offers some fantastic security features that provide top-notch safety and protection. It comes with split tunneling, AES-256 encryption, a no-logs policy, a kill switch, DNS and IP leak protection, a password manager, antivirus software, and its proprietary NordLynx protocol. The provider also supports the secure OpenVPN protocol.
Moreover, NordVPN has obfuscated servers and a double VPN feature that routes your data through two VPN servers before it gets to the final destination.
NordVPN has an extensive server fleet (5,600+ servers in 60+ countries) with over 1,970 servers in the US and 2,500+ in European countries like Russia, Germany, and Turkey. The best part is that it comes with specialized Onion over VPN servers that allow you to access the Tor network from anywhere while remaining perfectly safe.
In terms of speed, NordVPN is slower than ExpressVPN. However, it still has some amazing and consistent speeds. Moreover, its protocols make it one of the most stable and reliable providers.
Of course, NordVPN provides top-notch customer support and a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied with its Tor browser compatibility. Lastly, if you want to make an anonymous purchase, NordVPN allows you to use its CoinPayments.
- Onion over VPN servers
- Independently audited no-logs policy
- Double VPN tunneling
- Not the fastest VPN
3. CyberGhost VPN – VPN with Self-Operated NoSpy Servers
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CyberGhost is an excellent option for maintaining your privacy while using Tor. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with obfuscated servers but has impressively safe VPN protocols (OpenVPN and WireGuard). It also enforces a no-logs policy, AES-256 encryption, an always-on kill switch feature, DNS leak protection, IP leak protection (which includes both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses), and split tunneling for increased privacy.
Additionally, CyberGhost offers a malicious domain filter and an ad-blocker. When you combine all these robust security features with Tor browser, which has a built-in tracker-busting feature, CyberGhost is indeed worth considering.
CyberGhost has an extensive server network (9,000+ servers in 91 countries), allowing you to use Tor from everywhere safely. You can choose from 1,300+ US servers and more than 5,900 servers in Europe in countries like Russia, Germany, and Turkey. The extensive server fleet also has NoSpy servers, which are faster than the regular ones.
Compared to ExpressVPN and NordVPN, CyberGhost comes with relatively slower speeds. That said, you can ensure that your Tor connections will be stable and consistent with this VPN, as we found it to be pretty reliable.
If you want, you can test CyberGhost’s services via its 45-day money-back guarantee (on longer-term plans) and 14-day money-back guarantee (on monthly plans). Contacting its 24/7 customer support is easy if things don’t work out and you need a refund. Lastly, CyberGhost allows anonymous payments, but only with Bitcoin via BitPay.
- Always-on kill switch feature
- Strict no-logs policy
- Self-owned NoSpy servers
- Limited anonymous payment methods
- No obfuscation
4. Private Internet Access – Most Extensive Tor VPN Server Fleet
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Private Internet Access (PIA) is another fantastic Tor VPN option. It utilizes VPN protocols like Wireguard and OpenVPN on all of its servers. This VPN provider also offers top-notch security features, such as a no-logs policy, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, split tunneling, military-grade encryption, and a kill switch feature.
With PIA, you’ll get an extra layer of security through obfuscation. Additionally, this Tor VPN provides a specialized PIA MACE feature that blocks ads, trackers, and malicious domains, complementing the Tor browser’s capabilities.
PIA comes with an extensive server network with thousands of servers in 84 countries. It has around 50 servers in the US and covers 48 European locations like Russia, Germany, and Turkey, meaning you can access Tor from everywhere. Due to this, PIA provides impressive speeds that will boost your Tor browsing experience, and its performance is quite consistent.
Like the rest of the VPNs on our list, you can enjoy the Tor network and get a refund if you aren’t satisfied, thanks to a 30-day money-back guarantee. PIA also offers 24/7 customer support that will guide you through any issues you may encounter. Last but not least, you can even make an anonymous purchase by using cryptocurrencies or third-party gift cards.
- Huge server network
- Court-proven no-logs policy
- PIA MACE feature
- Obfuscated servers
- Higher slow-down rate
5. Surfshark – Best VPN for Tor Browser with Impressive Speeds
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Surfshark offers excellent security features that will protect you from ISP monitoring and throttling while using Tor. These include highly secure VPN protocols (WireGuard and OpenVPN), AES-256 encryption, a reliable kill switch, and a strict no-logs policy. Moreover, you’ll get an additional layer of protection with the provider’s obfuscation technology (Camouflage Mode), IPv6 and DNS leak protection, and split tunneling.
This provider offers a vast server network (3,200+ servers in 100 countries), meaning you can access Tor from everywhere and choose the closest server to your location. Surfshark has 600+ servers in the US, and hundreds in Russia, Germany, and Turkey, allowing you to enjoy lightning-fast speeds while utilizing the Tor network.
Due to the numerous servers worldwide, Surfshark is one of the fastest VPN providers on the market. It also provides stable and consistent performance, ensuring a smooth browsing experience.
Besides all these fantastic features, Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 customer support. Lastly, another benefit is that you can use an anonymous payment method, which will enhance your privacy even more.
- Obfuscated servers available
- Anonymous payment methods
- Military-grade encryption
- 24/7 customer support
- Covers 100 countries worldwide
- Top-notch security and privacy
- Can be slow to connect
Why Do You Need a VPN for Tor?
You need a VPN for Tor because it boosts your privacy and protects you from potential cyberattacks. Other reasons why you need a VPN for Tor include the following:
- Bypass ISP Throttling – ISPs usually use Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to monitor your online activity and find information about the browser you’re using and the servers you’re communicating with. When ISPs see that you’re using large amounts of data at once, they’ll intentionally slow down your Internet connection. They might also block or throttle Tor traffic. A VPN can help you bypass these restrictions and hide that you’re even using the Tor network.
- Encrypt Your Traffic – Because the Tor network relies on nodes, attackers can potentially compromise them and gain access to your data. Also, some nodes themselves might not be trustworthy because volunteers could snoop on your activity. Therefore, a dedicated Tor VPN will encrypt all Internet traffic and make monitoring your activity challenging for hackers, ISPs, and nodes. Instead, they’ll run into encrypted files when they try to snoop around.
- Avoid Security Vulnerabilities – Security issues with the Tor browser itself have been found in the past. For example, a flaw was found and patched that had been leaking Mac and Linux users’ real IP addresses. It’s entirely possible that there are vulnerabilities that haven’t been uncovered yet, and a VPN will protect you from them.
Can You Use a Free VPN with Tor?
Yes, you can use a free VPN for Tor. However, we don’t recommend doing so. Free VPN providers usually collect and sell your data and have limited bandwidth caps.
Furthermore, they lack privacy and security features necessary for safe Tor over VPN browsing, such as obfuscation, a kill switch, data leak protection, and more. They typically don’t offer other essential features important for speed and performance, either.
Free VPNs often come with only a few servers, resulting in slow connection speeds and a lack of choices of where to connect through. Also, most of them only allow you to connect 1 device at a time.
Therefore, using a reputable, paid VPN provider is the best option. The best VPN services have robust security features and extensive server fleets, so they’ll provide much better performance.
Tor is an excellent browser that can provide true anonymity online, but it doesn’t secure all your Internet activities. A VPN is necessary to hide your Tor usage from your ISP, so they don’t block your Tor traffic or throttle your connection. A VPN even allows you to access Tor from anywhere in the world.
We recommend ExpressVPN as the top VPN for Tor because of its impressive speeds, strong security measures, and widespread server network in more than 90 countries. This ensures you’ll find a range of server options with the best features in your area, so you can use Tor without detection.
What Is the Best VPN to Use with Tor?
The best VPN to use with Tor is ExpressVPN. This provider offers robust security features like AES-256 encryption and obfuscation, as well as fantastic speeds and an extensive server network.
Can You Use a VPN with Tor?
Yes, you can use a VPN with Tor. You just need to find a reliable Tor VPN, subscribe to it, install it on your device, and connect to a server close to you before launching Tor.
Does NordVPN Work with Tor?
Yes, NordVPN works with Tor. It provides more than 5,600 servers in 60 countries that come with obfuscation, military-grade encryption, and exceptional Tor performance.
Does Tor Have a VPN?
No, Tor doesn’t have a VPN. However, Tor can easily be used with external VPNs, such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost, PIA, and Surfshark.
Is Tor Safe without a VPN?
Yes, Tor is essentially safe without a VPN. Tor enables anonymous browsing, but it can still endanger your privacy as the encryption is on the browser itself, not all of your device’s traffic. (You can learn more in our Tor vs. VPN guide.) Therefore, using Tor over VPN is the best option.
That’s all for our guide on how to select a VPN for Tor. If you have any questions or remarks, please share them via the comments section below. Thanks for reading!