What is Onion Over VPN? [A Beginner-Friendly Guide]

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Jul 19, 2022

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Privacy online is a growing concern. Many companies continue to find ways to collect and monetize your data. Cybercriminals are outright trying to steal your data and digital funds. And while traditional VPN services are part of the privacy fight, some VPNs are taking even more steps to provide better security. 

What Is Onion Over VPN?

Onion Over VPN is a privacy solution that includes an extra layer of anonymity. Your internet traffic goes through a virtual private network (VPN) server and then through the Onion network, often known by its acronym Tor. This secure and encrypted protocol allows users to browse the internet anonymously. With the feature often included by regular VPN service providers, you can often automatically receive both benefits.

Benefits

There are several clear benefits to the two-sided solution of Onion VPN with Tor.

Ease of Use

There is the easy way… and then, the even easier way to obtain the security and anonymity provided by Onion over VPN

The first way requires users to connect to a reliable VPN server and only then connect to a Tor browser of choice. The more straightforward approach is to select one of the many VPN services that already have built-in dark web browsing capabilities. NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two popular options for such. Most users will find either solution simple and effective.   

Better Security and Privacy

Because only exit and entry nodes can observe your encrypted data, you can expect excellent security when you use Tor and a VPN. While some nodes are known to be bad actors attempting to gain insight into your activity; most are reliable enough to consider your data secure. 

For sure data security is of the utmost importance, but keeping your identification private can also be a serious concern. This is especially true in restrictive internet jurisdictions. Onion VPN solutions provide anonymity and can assist in bypassing government censorship and encryption.  

Disadvantages

While there are many advantages to Tor over VPN, you should nonetheless be aware of a few detractors.

Bad VPN Choices

The most meaningful benefits achieved with Tor over VPN are quickly forgotten if the selected VPN service provider is less than ideal. For example, not all VPNs have a “no-log” policy. This means that your browsing activity is not truly safe and anonymous. If a government can request and obtain your data stored on a provider’s server, the whole point of the VPN suddenly becomes meaningless.

This can be avoided by only using a Tor browser VPN that doesn’t log timestamps and browser history. As such, look for a VPN with a no-log policy and servers located outside of restrictive jurisdictions.

Tor Server Safety

As mentioned before, not all Tor nodes are safe. Anonymity and privacy are benefits of the Onion network. However, that also means that a rogue node can be set up by anyone in an attempt to hack your data. 

Speed

Tor browsing can be expected to be slower.  Add a VPN to the mix and it only gets slower. This is not a solution for gaming, but rather for transferring and receiving sensitive information.  

Wrap Up

An Onion Over VPN solution is effective because it protects your privacy with the help of two separate entities. If your VPN fails for whatever reason, Tor encryption will usually still protect your privacy. In other words, it removes the possibility of a single point of failure compromising your privacy. The two also complement each other, with VPNs encrypting some of the data that Tor browsing does not.

While not perfect, this solution is becoming more popular for its added security in a world with ever less.

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Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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