What is the Tor browser, and why should one use it today?

Abeerah Hashim Last updated: September 12, 2022 Disclosure

Tor helps enhance your privacy and gain more freedom online alongside letting you visit the dark web. But it is not the silver bullet many believe so. Here is how it works and everything about this free anonymizer there is to know.

Sneak peek at the Tor browser

TOR (The Onion Router) is one of the safest browsers that has employed a global network of servers that enable private communications and secure web browsing. It is the most secure and reliable browser that lets you access the dark web alongside regular browsing with the best possible anonymity. TOR routes the online traffic via multiple nodes, each providing military-grade encryption to the data. This way, it becomes impossible for anyone to track the user. This detailed guide covers everything you need to know about the TOR browser.

The Tor browser is a particular internet browser that enables users to surf the world wide web anonymously. It’s also a gateway into the dark web.

This browser works over a global network composed of servers maintained by volunteers designed for private communications and web browsing.

Tor browsing quick guide

So you’d like to get started with Tor browsing? You can begin by following the next few steps:

  1. Choose a good VPN service that can keep your traffic encrypted (no, a free VPN won’t do).
  2. Launch your browser and point it toward the Tor project website.
  3. Find the download link for the Tor browser version for your operating system or platform.
  4. Download and install the browser.
  5. Launch the Tor browser and connect to the Tor network.

There you go. Now you can browse every corner of the web and beyond using the Tor browser. And yes, you can also browse your regular everyday websites, but those servers won’t know it’s you. Have you not chosen a VPN yet? Well, try NordVPN.

It’s a top-notch VPN network, particularly well suited for Tor browsing. NordVPN is our preferred vendor for every VPN-related job we’ve ever needed.

Suppose digital safety, privacy, and anonymity are your cup of tea. In that case, the chances are that you are already aware of Tor. Tor is one of the leading proponents for privacy in the digital world today as protocols go. Moreover, many users consider Tor to be the cornerstone of internet freedom.

But what is Tor, precisely? How does Tor work? Why should you become a Tor browser user? How does the Tor browser differ from other privacy tools such as VPNs or proxy servers? If one or more of those questions are on your mind, we have great news for you: we will give you all the answers in this article and even more!

Precautions to take before you start using Tor

If you want an anonymous and free online browsing experience, Tor is your friend. As you download and install your brand-new toy, you’ll be excited to explore and experiment with all the new possibilities that come along with it.

That’s understandable. But all these possibilities come at a cost, and some of them even put you at significant risk. Take the dark web, for example. It’s a unique part of the internet for sure, and Tor will grant you access to it. However, you shouldn’t surf around the dark web just because you suddenly can.

If you don’t know precisely what you’ll get into by loading those dark web sites, then keep away. Remember that you can’t undo some deeds. We want you to keep your sanity about yourself and use Tor to enhance your digital life. That is why before sharing more information about Tor, we will tell you a few things to do beforehand.

First, you should always ensure to remain safe while browsing the web through the Tor protocol — which is particularly important in the case of visits to the dark web.

So, start by checking Tor’s security settings. Granted, encryption in Tor is exceedingly robust, safe, and reliable. However, when it comes to security issues, nothing is ever so good that you can’t improve it. And that’s what using Tor’s security settings to your advantage will do for you.

The next step should be obvious and go without saying, but we’ll write it anyway: never visit websites or click on hyperlinks that you don’t trust. Tor is excellent but not magic. So, you can still put yourself in danger using Tor if you try hard enough.

Last but not least, use a VPN. It has to be a good service with reliable and fast connection speeds, a no-logs policy, and known to be safe. That means that free VPNs are out of the question; you have to pay for your VPN if you want to stay safe.

Using a VPN along with Tor to stay safe online

A Virtual Private Network worth the name must perform at least two fundamental tasks for you. First, it must mask your actual IP address and show the world an IP address from its network as yours. Second, it must encrypt all your traffic, incoming and outgoing, making it appear digital gibberish to any third party or external observer.

Of course, many VPN vendors offer additional features. But VPNs with these two features make you safer and more anonymous on the internet. If you’d like to pick a VPN that’s particularly well-suited for Tor browsing, then NordVPN is the way to go.