Online users are increasingly becoming concerned about their privacy while surfing the web. As a result, online users are seeking out ways to ensure their privacy is not compromised. Some of the solutions they are seeking include:
- Private networks
- Proxy sites
- Alternate browsers
Choosing the best solution is not a walk in the park. However, with a little help such as what you will find in this guide, you can find a great solution – for example, would be an IP address from Malaysia. This article looks at two popular solutions: Tor and VPN.
What is Tor?
Tor is an acronym for ‘Top Onion Router’. It is free and open-source software that supports anonymous communication. Any internet user can download the Tor browser for their mobile devices, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Using the Tor browser allows you to browse the internet anonymously. Your online activities are routed to their network keeping your activities hidden from prying eyes.
This browser is very useful for people who do not like to keep footprints on the internet. We have used and tested the Tor browser for several cryptocurrency transactions.
How Does Tor Work?
Tor camouflages your identity online by routing your traffic to different Tor servers. Your data is encrypted so that your online activities cannot be detected or tracked.
The software earned its onion moniker because it contains layers of privacy. The more you use their servers, the more your data is hard to detect. The security layers are built by:
- Middle relays
- End relays
These are routers created to control the data along the way and can be created by any user from home.
They are the final relay and the IP address that your traffic appears to be coming from. End relays attract lots of attention from the police and copyright holders should illegal activities be spotted.
These are not listed publicly. Also, they are concealed by IP blockers making encryption possible even in countries that restrict Tor relays that are listed publicly.
As your data goes through the relay, your IP original address disappears. The replay replaces your IP address effectively hiding your activities from any snoopers.
Pros of Tor
- It is accessible and easy to use
- Allows you to browse anonymously
- It is free: Anyone can download the browser and use it for free. Techno-savvy users can make alterations to the coding if they want to.
- Slow as traffic is transmitted via multiple relays which results in delays.
- Blocked web services
- Legal issues: Governments are pretty keen on Tor users because the browser is a favorite with cybercriminals. Using Tor could have you marked as a potential troublemaker.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN is software that changes your IP address and also encrypts your data. VPNs were mainly used by organizations to allow workers to access private and sensitive information privately. These days, individuals that want to browse the internet anonymously can use VPNs.
How Does a VPN Work?
It connects you to servers all over the globe. Once you make your internet request, it is transmitted via one of the VPN servers before it gets to its destination. Your IP address is then changed. Not only is your identity protected but it also looks like you are in a different location.
This way, you can easily access the resources of the local network.
Pros of a VPN
- Speed: You are connecting to only one server. Therefore, the speed of your internet does not change.
- You can access any content: Your geographical location does not matter since your IP address is hidden.
- It controls your IP address: This makes it difficult for any lurking individual to identify you.
- Encryption of data: This boosts security.
- Running costs: Some VPNs are free. However, the paid options are preferred because they offer better security features.
- Software failures: Leaks have been known to happen especially if the VPN is not installed properly.
- The provider has access to your activity: Some VPN providers may log your history while you use their services. If there is a statement that indicates this, you are better off opting for a different provider.
Which Service is Better Between Tor and VPNs?
Both offer protection when you are using the internet. Tor is free, but it does not allow access to all content, is slow, and may expose you to legal issues.
VPNs have both free and paid options. If used the right way, a VPN is the better option. It is fast, gives you access to all content, encrypts your traffic, and allows control of your location. Ensure that you have installed it properly and find out how your company of choice protects your data.
The possibility of landing into legal problems as well as speed, or the lack thereof, may be deterrents when it comes to Tor. However, it is free and that is attractive for many internet users.
On the other hand, VPNs offer speed, no legal issues, and access to any website you want to visit. Therefore, it may be the preferred option for many users.
Read Also: Best VPN Apps For Computers & Laptops 2020