Differences Between Tor Browser and VPN

Anyone with VPNs' experience (Virtual Private Networks) would assume that the Tor browser is the same as the VPN. This is because both of them perform similar but different roles.

A VPN is known to provide privacy and protection for your online connections, among others, while a Tor browser offers anonymity. People who want to encrypt confidential data and conceal their IP addresses also use VPNs.Meanwhile, the Tor browser can block trackers, protect its users against surveillance, and provide multi-layer encryption.

Read on if you want to know more about the variations between the Tor browser and the VPN.

Tor Browser is not a VPN

Tor Browser isn't a VPN. VPNs are server networks used to protect your privacy by hiding your IP addresses and encrypting your messages. Your VPN provider is responsible for managing their applications on your laptop and the servers used on your network. To install VPNs on your computers, you first need to check for a trustworthy VPN provider and then subscribe to one of their monthly or annual plans.

Is the Tor browser secure for you? Yes yes. In reality, the Tor browser is a 'server network' through which you interact anonymously. Unlike VPNs with your data on their servers, no entity manages both the servers used by the Tor browser and the server you connect to using your computer. Therefore, you can ensure that the use of the Tor browser is secure and can protect your data.

How do VPNs work?

VPNs have servers in some countries around the world. So when you use them, it's like you've got them as an intermediary between your computer and the internet. Information from your computer passes through your VPN server before you hit the internet.

Besides, information sent to your computer from an external network passes through your VPN server. This makes it possible to share data electronically without disclosing your location. Traffic will still be available from your VPN server.

How does the Tor browser work?

Below is a rundown of what happens when you share data with a Tor browser.

1.The Tor browser will randomly pick 3 Tor servers, after which it will create a route between those three servers.

  1. The process starts with the Exit Node, the server that links to the public Internet. The Tor browser on your PC encrypts the message so that it can be decrypted only by the 'Exit Node.
  2. The Tor browser repeats the second process for the second server, and the first server is named the Guard Node. This encrypts the message three times.
  3. The Tor browser sends an encrypted message to the first server (Guard Node). This eliminates the first layer of instruction, leaving the remaining two layers to the central server and the exit node. The message has the middle server address and knows where to go to remove the next encryption.
    5.After the second encryption is withdrawn from the central server, the address of the Exit Node will be exposed. When the message makes its way to the Exit Node, the last layer of encryption will be disabled, so your original message will be exposed.

After this procedure has been carried out, the Exit Node does not know who sent the message or where it came from since the initial message was relayed through 3 servers.

How Tor browser provides anonymity

1.The Guard Node does not know your PC's IP address. If you send a message, you still don't see the message's content because two encryption layers remain.

2.The central server knows that the message came from the Guard Node but did not see the message's content (because of the last layer of encryption), nor does it know who sent it to the Guard Node.

3.The Exit Node knows the contents of the message since it eliminates the last layer of encryption. However, it only knows that the news came from the central server but did not know the original sender.

Final thoughts

Both the Tor browser and the VPN provide significant benefits that you can take advantage of. If you have the budget to use both of them, you recommend installing them on your devices to improve your online data security further. If you don't have a high account yet, you should first try the Tor browser to see if you're going to be pleased with its features.


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