5 Best VPNs for Tor Browser in 2022

Tor Browser allows for a high degree of anonymity online by encrypting your traffic and routing it through a series of volunteer-run computers called "nodes." It also lets you access .onion links and surf the so-called "Dark Web." While Tor is excellent at keeping you anonymous online, there are still a few situations where using a Tor VPN in tandem is the best choice.

For one, Tor's encryption is limited to the browser itself, leaving all other traffic on your device exposed to eavesdroppers and ISP data logging. Fortunately, VPNs encrypt all traffic to and from your device. Moreover, a VPN lets you hide that you're using Tor from your ISP. Pretty helpful in case your provider throttles or blocks Tor traffic for whatever reason (usually due to the stigma surrounding Tor and the dangers of the Dark Web).

Otherwise, a VPN changes your virtual location to whichever country on your provider's server list. While Tor also switches your online-facing location, the nodes you connect to are always randomized to boost privacy. As such, you have no actual control over what online content you can unblock.

Privacy-wise, connecting to a VPN and then using the Tor browser will hide your IP address (and thus your physical location) from the entry node on the Tor network. You'll often see this approach referred to as Tor over VPN. More details are in our FAQ section at the bottom.

Until then, here's how you can use Tor and VPN together for a more secure experience.

How to Use Tor Browser Safely with a VPN

For the purpose of this guide, we'll be using the more reliable Tor over VPN method. Here's what you need to do:

  1. First, sign up with a reliable Tor VPN provider, such as ExpressVPN.
  2. Download and install the VPN application on all your Tor-compatible devices.
  3. Launch the VPN and log in with your account information.
  4. Select a VPN server from the provider's extensive list.
  5. Once you initialize your VPN session, launch the Tor browser. That's it!

Remember that using a VPN and Tor in tandem will dramatically decrease your network speeds. As such, we recommend connecting to a VPN server as close as possible to your physical location for the best possible performance.

Best VPN for Tor Browser

Due to how Tor operates, the best VPN for Tor must have servers located worldwide and blazing fast speeds to mitigate the inevitable decrease in network speeds. The provider should also have a proven no logs policy to protect your data. Next, a kill switch so that your Tor traffic doesn't leak to your ISP or online services during disconnects, as well as split tunneling if you want to route app traffic through the VPN selectively (e.g., for better speeds).

Based on the criteria explained above and our in-depth testing, we believe these are the 5 best VPNs for Tor right now:

  1. ExpressVPN - Our #1-Rated VPN for Tor
  2. NordVPN - Tor VPN with Enhanced Security Features
  3. CyberGhost VPN - Self-Operated NoSpy Servers
  4. Surfshark - Secure Your Tor Sessions on Unlimited Devices
  5. Private Internet Access - Best VPN for Tor Users in the US

1. ExpressVPN - Our #1-Rated VPN for Tor

Editor's Pick
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ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Tor Browser for a couple of reasons. One, you gain access to a network of over 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries. And two, ExpressVPN has some of the fastest hardware in the industry, making it a perfect match when used with Tor Browser. Obfuscation is enabled on all servers, so you can unblock Tor no matter where you are in the world while also masking your VPN activity against ISPs and government surveillance.

All ExpressVPN apps include a useful kill switch to prevent data leaks during disconnects and split tunneling if you want to speed things up by routing traffic from specific apps through the VPN tunnel. Also, their no logs policy has been independently audited, along with their TrustedServer feature, which regularly wipes any data passing through their network. In plain English, that means you don't need to worry about your data being compromised in any way.

If you enjoy Tor browser's tracker-blocking capabilities, you'll be happy to know that ExpressVPN's Threat Manager works in a similar fashion. Threat Manager blocks intrusive ads and trackers if you use any other browsers, so shady ad companies can't profile you online.

Make sure to check our ExpressVPN review for anything else we haven't covered here.

PROS

  • Beginner-friendly interface.
  • Super fast servers in 90+ countries.
  • Automatic obfuscation.
  • Threat Manager for ads and trackers.
  • 24/7 live chat support.

CONS

  • No in-depth customization.

2. NordVPN - Tor VPN with Enhanced Security Features

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NordVPN understands the benefit of using Tor Browser with a VPN and offers its own specialty "Onion over VPN" servers. When you connect to such a server, your data is routed through one of their servers, then goes through the TOR network before reaching its destination. Naturally, you're free to stick to the usual method and use Tor Browser while connected to one of their lightning-fast servers around the world.

If you're feeling confident about your Internet speeds, NordVPN has double VPN and obfuscated servers available as well. As the name implies, double VPN routes your data through yet another NordVPN server before sending it on its way. Unfortunately, obfuscation is buried in the settings and is limited to the OpenVPN TCP protocol, unlike ExpressVPN, which has it active by default.

In any case, NordVPN goes one step beyond the usual capabilities of VPNs with the aid of the Threat Protection feature. It blocks ads and trackers, filters malware and phishing domains, and scans your files for any dangerous malware. You can also keep it active while the VPN is not in use, which is a huge plus.

You can read more about this VPN's specs and features in our NordVPN review.

PROS

  • "Onion over VPN" servers.
  • Clean, user-friendly UI.
  • Independently audited no logs claims.
  • Double VPN and obfuscation.
  • Enhanced security options.

CONS

  • Not the best server coverage.

3. CyberGhost VPN - Self-Operated NoSpy Servers

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CyberGhost VPN has over 8,500+ servers in 90+ countries, putting it on par with ExpressVPN in terms of coverage - albeit their speeds don't match up. Either way, CyberGhost VPN is a solid choice for privacy, with a strict no logs policy reinforced with regular transparency reports, an always-on kill switch, and split tunneling if you need a little boost in performance.

And if that's not enough, you can always try out their NoSpy servers. For a meager fee, you gain access to the provider's self-operated servers in Romania, which provide faster speeds than their usual fleet. Since they're self-owned, you don't have to worry about handling your data by any third-party data centers.

They've also included an ad-blocker and malicious domain filter in all their apps, which is always a plus. Combine that with Tor browser's built-in tracker-busting capabilities, and you got yourself a tightly secure Web experience.

Don't forget to read our CyberGhost VPN review if you want to learn more about the provider.

PROS

  • Strict no logs policy.
  • Frequent transparency reports.
  • Always-on kill switch.
  • Self-owned NoSpy servers.
  • Built-in ad-blocker.

CONS

  • Requires fast Internet.
  • Advanced features priced extra.

4. Surfshark - Secure Your Tor Sessions on Unlimited Devices

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Amazon Fire TV
All game consoles
All smart TVs
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Tor Browser is available on Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android, so you might as well secure all your household gadgets while you're at it. In other words, get a VPN like Surfshark, which doesn't limit your simultaneous connections, and you're all set. Chip in with family or friends and unblock Tor and a myriad of popular websites and streaming services on the Internet.

Surfshark is also one of the only VPNs to include GPS spoofing on Android, so you can confidently use it to hide your location - whether for privacy reasons or to trick various apps on your phone. Meanwhile, Camouflage Mode lets you hide your VPN activity under restrictive regimes while using NoBorders mode allows you to experience the Internet without censorship.

Much like NordVPN, Surfshark includes a double VPN option and a security-enhancing feature called CleanWeb. It blocks many cyber threats and truly provides a cleaner web experience, as its name implies.

As always, our Surfshark review contains everything else you need to know about this VPN.

PROS

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections.
  • GPS spoofing on Android.
  • CleanWeb - safer browsing experience.
  • Double VPN available.
  • Camouflage Mode on OpenVPN.

CONS

  • Connection times need improvement.

5. Private Internet Access - Best VPN for Tor Users in the US

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Colorado-based PIA provides an excellent, open-source VPN alternative for advanced users, with WireGuard support, plenty of customization options for all its protocols, a court-proven no logs policy, and a generous 10 device limit per account. Their kill switch is also customizable, and all their apps come with the useful split tunneling feature.

The provider's server network spans 80+ countries, with a good portion of their fleet focusing on the US, making it an excellent option for Tor users in the area. As mentioned, their no logs policy has been proven in court twice, so their "5-Eyes" jurisdiction shouldn't worry any privacy buffs.

Their PIA MACE feature acts like the previously mentioned threat blockers, getting rid of ads, trackers, malicious domains, etc. It doesn't seem as effective as other options, but it works well when combined with Tor browser's blocking capabilities.

Get the full details about the provider and its features in our Private Internet Access review.

PROS

  • Huge US-based server network.
  • Generous ten device limit.
  • Court-proven no logs policy.
  • Open-source VPN apps.
  • Highly customizable connection settings.

CONS

  • Not the fastest option out there.

Do You Need a VPN for Tor?

Surfing the Internet with the Tor browser is secure and gives you a fair degree of anonymity online. However, due to its bad rep, many public networks (work-related, hotels, airports, etc.) and Internet providers block or throttle Tor traffic.

A dedicated Tor VPN will allow you to bypass such restrictions and even mask the fact that you're using the Tor network in the first place. Not only that, but using a VPN lets you hide your IP address from Tor entry nodes for a small bump in your privacy levels.

We shouldn't forget to mention that VPNs can help you bypass geo-blocks more reliably than Tor. You can easily pick a server from the provider's list and unblock content from around the world (like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, or HBO Max, for example), rather than hoping that you land on a Tor relay node in your chosen country.

For more info, here's our guide that explains the differences between VPNs and Tor.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to staying anonymous online, Tor is pretty much as good as it gets. Of course, there are still a few specific cases where you'd need to use Tor with a VPN, such as bypassing a Tor block, hiding your IP from Tor entry nodes, as well as your activity from your ISP.

That said, Tor over VPN can lower your Internet speeds, which is why we recommend using ExpressVPN. Not only are you getting breakneck speeds, but their network is spread across 90+ countries around the world, leaving you with plenty of server options close by.

Want to explore more providers before getting a subscription? Check out our ultimate best VPNs list, where we discuss plenty more noteworthy VPNs that work well with Tor.

FAQ

Is Tor a VPN?

No, Tor is not a VPN. The latter encrypts all your data and routes your traffic through one or more servers that are operated by a central VPN provider.

What Is the Difference Between Tor and VPN?

The main difference is that Tor routes your traffic through a decentralized, volunteer-run node network, while VPNs use servers operated by a central VPN provider (and any data centers it partners with).

What Is Tor Over VPN?

"Tor over VPN" requires you to establish a connection to a VPN server first, and then start using the Tor browser.

Your traffic will be routed through the VPN before it reaches the Tor entry node. Not only does that hide your IP address from the entry node, but also makes it impossible for your ISP to see that you're using Tor.

What Is VPN Over Tor?

"VPN over Tor" involves launching the Tor browser first, so you establish a connection with the entry node. Connecting to a VPN afterward will give your exit (i.e. any online service you access) a location-specific VPN IP address instead of the usual Tor exit IP.

Should You Use a VPN With Tor?

For most privacy-related purposes, using Tor Browser is enough. However, if you want to hide your Tor activity from your ISP, or if Tor is blocked on your network, then using a VPN (such as ExpressVPN) is essential.

Which VPN Is Best for Tor Browser?

ExpressVPN is currently the best VPN for Tor Browser on the market, with over 3,000+ lightning-fast servers in 94 countries, user-friendly apps, impenetrable encryption, and automatic obfuscation on all servers.

Can I Use a Free VPN With Tor?

Free VPNs can expose you to many dangers, including data logging by the VPN provider, online data leaks, injecting ads into your browser, and even potential malware infections.

Also, most free VPNs impose monthly data caps and have a limited number of servers. All in all, we recommend sticking with a premium VPN provider for Tor. Luckily, you can try out ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days and see how it performs.

Looking for further tips on how to use Tor Browser with a VPN? Leave your comments below, and we'll update the article as needed. Thank you for reading!

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