VPN vs Tor: The Differences, Which One is Better?

Ruheni Mathenge  - Streaming Expert
Last updated: October 28, 2023
Read time: 22 minutes

VPNs and Tor are complementary privacy tools that every privacy enthusiast must know. Each has its strengths, and this VPN vs. Tor comparison tells you all about them in detail.

VPN and Tor network are two different technologies that protect the users’ online presence. Apparently, both services perform similar tasks. For example, both VPN and Tor redirect the online traffic through servers that hide the users’ physical IPs and locations. Furthermore, they both are capable of encrypting your data. However, there are some key features that actually create major differences between these two services. In short, VPNs are much more general and versatile than Tor, so they should do a better job of keeping you safe if used properly. Tor is safe, free, and gets you darknet access, but it’s exceedingly slow and can get you in trouble.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and the Tor network are very different technologies created to fulfil the same purpose: keeping a user’s online privacy safe. However, their characteristics make VPN vs Tor use cases different, even if they supposedly perform the same essential task.

Of course, VPNs and Tor also have a few things in common. For example, both redirect internet traffic through proxies. This masks a user’s IP address (and hence, their location) from any third parties, thus preventing external tracking. Likewise, encryption is also a common feature. It scrambles every piece of data coming in and out of a user’s device so that any external observer sees nothing but white noise and cannot figure out what the user is doing online.

These two features (IP hiding and encryption) are the most basic functions that every VPN must perform. While any other feature is a plus, you can’t call it a VPN if it fails at these two. Yet, Tor performs these two functionalities equally well.

So what is the difference? Which one should you use? This guide answers this question by comparing VPN vs Tor in detail.

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