VPN vs TOR – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons)

VPN vs TOR – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons). In this article, we discuss the differences between VPN and TOR, including their respective advantages and disadvantages. With this article, you should have a better idea of which of these tools is best for your needs, including accessing geographically restricted content or protecting your privacy.

Well, with the growth of the internet and the increasing risk of privacy breaches, more and more people are looking for ways to secure their online activities. Two popular methods to ensure security and privacy are VPN (Virtual Private Network) and TOR (The Onion Router).

So if you are curious let’s start the article VPN vs TOR – What’s the Difference ? 

What is VPN?

Firstly, a virtual private network or VPN is an encrypted connection over the Internet from your device to a network. Encrypted connections help ensure secure transmission of sensitive data. Benefit of VPN is to prevent third parties from listening to your traffic and allow users to work remotely. VPN technology is widely used in corporate environments.

Well, so the first implementations of VPN technology emerged in the 1990s. When there was a need to provide a secure connection for remote workers and businesses. With the growth of the internet and the increase in hacking attacks. Moreover, VPN connections have become increasingly popular and are now used by many businesses and private users.

Pros of VPN

  • Data encryption that leads to more security when using the Internet. Also, this prevents third parties from intercepting data such as passwords, credit card numbers or personal data.
  • Users access content blocked in their country or region. Additionally, to access content that is only available in certain geo locations.
  • Hides your IP address and provides anonymity, so you maintain your privacy while using the Internet.
  • A VPN allows users to safely use public WiFi networks that are vulnerable to hacker attacks.
  • Another plus of VPN is to allows remote access to the company network and resources. In turn, allowing employees to work from anywhere in the world.
  • Ultimately, VPN speeds up your internet connection. Especially when connecting from abroad, which is significant advantage.

Cons of VPN

  • Using a VPN can slow down the speed of your internet connection due to the additional encryption and decryption processes.
  • To use a VPN, special software is required, which can be difficult for some users.
  • Although a VPN provides anonymity and hides your IP address, it does not guarantee complete privacy as ISPs and VPN operators can still monitor your network traffic.
  • There is a risk of using unsafe or fake VPN services that may collect and use your private data.
  • Some VPN services are chargeable. Which can be an additional cost for users.
  • Somewhat, certain services and content may be restricted in certain locations. And it is illegal or immoral to use a VPN to circumvent these restrictions.

Features of VPN

1.Split Tunnelling.

2.No Logs Policy.

3.Kill Switch.

4.Data and Bandwidth Caps.

5.Leak Protection.

6.IP Shuffle.

What is TOR?

TOR (The Onion Router) is an anonymous network that allows users to maintain privacy and anonymity when using the internet. Additionally, TOR works by routing network traffic through TOR servers, making it difficult to track users’ traffic.

Whilst TOR was developed by the United States Naval Research Laboratory in the 1990s it was first a research project to provide anonymity for internet users. Released to the public in 2002 and has since evolved with contributions from volunteers and organisations.

Pros of TOR

  • Using TOR provides a high level of anonymity when browsing the Internet. Routing the network traffic through the various TOR servers makes it impossible for ISPs. 
  • Increases the security of users. As the network prevents man in the middle attacks and some other hacking techniques.
  • Using TOR, journalists and political activists safely view and publish delicate information. Even, when their governments or opponents try to track or block them.
  • Often used by darknet users, such as drug traffickers.  Why? As it provides anonymity and security when making transactions.
  • Provides access to websites and content that are blocked or censored in some countries. Also allowing users to use the internet and obtain information freely.

Cons of TOR

  • Due to the routing of network traffic through multiple nodes, browsing the internet using TOR is sometimes much slower than usual. That leads to frustration for users, at times.
  • Some websites block access for users using TOR networks, as these are often used by hackers and cyber criminals.
  • When using TOR, users are still vulnerable to hacking attacks such as phishing. In addition keylogging or malware dangers, especially if they download files from unknown sources.
  • The TOR network is often used for illegal activities such as drug trafficking, sex crimes, hacking attacks or terrorism. This may prompt government authorities to take action to block access to the TOR network.
  • TOR network is used by many people all over the world. It means users are not able to tell exactly who is sending data or where the network traffic is coming from. This makes it difficult to investigate illegal activities that are carried out using the TOR network.

Features of TOR

1.Block trackers, so they can’t follow you.

2. Cross Platform (Windows, Linux, Mac).

3. Easy set up with FTP server, using Tor using configuration as “socks4a” proxy on “localhost” port “9050”.

4.Bypass censorship.

We are now at the main part of this article VPN vs TOR – What’s the Difference ?

VPN vs TOR – What’s the Difference ?

Both, VPN and TOR are two different technologies that are used to increase privacy and security online. Below are some of the key differences between VPN and TOR:

Protocol it uses

A VPN uses cryptographic protocols such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS). All in all, it is to protect data exchanged between devices. These protocols provide strong end to end encryption, so your data is protected from being intercepted or read by third parties.

With Tor, it hides traffic sources using multiple levels of encryption. Each TOR node that your traffic passes through adds another layer of encryption to protect your data from being intercepted or read by third parties. Importantly,  TOR’s multi level encryption provides more security than the end to end encryption used by VPNs. Simply because it is more difficult for attackers to snoop on your network traffic.

Speed Comparison

When it comes to speed, VPN is generally faster than TOR. This is because VPN routes network traffic directly between the user’s device and the VPN server. It is without the additional overhead of routing through multiple nodes like in TOR.

On the other hand, TOR routes network traffic through multiple nodes to hide the origin of the traffic. This process of routing through multiple nodes, known as ‘onion routing’, can slow down the speed of network traffic. In addition, TOR may have limited throughput due to the number of nodes it must pass through.

Security Analysis

Here, VPN primarily uses encryption to secure data transmissions between the user’s device and the VPN server. This ensures that data cannot be intercepted or read by unauthorized parties. Additionally, VPNs protects against other types of cyber threats, such as malware or phishing attacks, by routing network traffic through a secure server and filtering out malicious traffic.

Oppositely , TOR uses a complex ‘onion routing’ system to anonymise network traffic and protect user privacy. This system involves routing network traffic through multiple nodes, each of which adds a layer of encryption. This makes it difficult for anyone monitoring the network to identify the origin of the traffic or track user activity on the network.


Purpose of VPN is primarily used for remote access to secure networks, such as corporate networks, government networks, or personal networks. They provide a secure and encrypted connection between the user’s device and the network, allowing the user to access resources on the network and transmit data securely.

TOR, on the other hand, is primarily designed for online anonymity and privacy. Used to protect users’ online activities from surveillance, censorship, and tracking. Above all, TOR routes network traffic through multiple nodes, making it difficult to trace the origin of the traffic or identify the user. It is often used by activists, journalists, and other individuals who need to protect their identity online.


A VPN is a centralized system where all network traffic is routed through a single VPN server. This centralization allows VPN providers to control and manage their networks so that all users are protected by the same security measures and provide a consistent level of service.

Contrarily, TOR is a decentralized system. The network is composed of a large number of volunteer run nodes, which work together to route network traffic through multiple hops. This decentralization makes it more difficult for any single party to control or monitor the network, and provides a higher degree of anonymity for users. However, it also means that the quality of service and level of security may vary depending on the nodes used, and there is a risk of malicious nodes or attacks targeting specific nodes in the network.

Traffic routing

Here, most VPN’s direct your web traffic through a single server before it reaches its intended destination. This is known as a single hop VPN.

But, TOR Browser routes web traffic through three random nodes. This complex process makes data difficult to track.

That is all! Thank you for reading VPN vs TOR – What’s the Difference ? We shall conclude the article now.

VPN vs TOR – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons) Conclusion

In summary, both VPNs and TOR are useful tools to increase privacy and security when browsing the internet. Since both tools have their advantages and disadvantages, choosing between them depends on the individual user’s needs and preferences.

Ultimately, if you care about speed and reliability, a VPN is a good choice. However, if you care more about anonymity and privacy, TOR is a better choice. It is worth remembering, however, that no tool fully guarantees privacy and security, but only helps to increase their level.

Do explore more of VPN content by navigating to our blog over here. 

Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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