5 Best VPNs for Tor (Onion Over VPN) in 2024 — Fast & Safe
- Best VPNs for Tor — Full Analysis (Updated 2024)
- ExpressVPN — Overall Best Tor VPN With Strong Security and Fast Speeds
- CyberGhost — NoSpy Servers Protect Your Privacy on Tor
- Private Internet Access — PIA MACE Feature Blocks Ads and Malware on Tor
- NordVPN — Browse Tor Sites on a Regular Browser With Onion Over VPN Servers
- Surfshark — MultiHop Servers for Extra Privacy While Visiting Onion Sites
- Quick Comparison Table: Tor VPN Features
- Tips on Choosing the Best VPN for Tor
- Warning: These VPNs Aren't Safe to Use With Tor
- Do I REALLY Need a VPN for Tor?
- Quick Guide: How to Browse Tor Safely in 3 Easy Steps
- Tor Over VPN (Onion Over VPN) vs. VPN Over Tor: Which is Best?
- FAQs on VPNs for Tor
- Get the Best VPN for Tor
Although Tor provides a degree of privacy, it can still expose you to cyber threats if you use it without a VPN. ISPs can detect the use of Tor, which can cause suspicion — even if you’re doing nothing wrong. Plus, Tor is run by volunteers so you never know who might be peaking in on your browsing activities.
Finding the right Tor VPN can be challenging. Some keep logs and leak information, while others slow you down so much you can barely even use Tor. My team and I regularly use the Tor Browser for research, so we know which VPNs are best for Tor. I've only shortlisted those with the strongest security and fastest speeds to minimize Tor’s slowdowns. Plus, each VPN has a standout feature that’s great for dark web browsing.
My top pick for Tor is ExpressVPN — it offers best-in-class security features, fast speeds, and a ‘.onion’ dark web mirror site for safe and private installation. Plus, it accepts bitcoin payments and has a strict no-logs policy. It’s even backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try ExpressVPN risk-free. If you’re not satisfied, you can easily get a refund.
Short on Time? Here Are the Best VPNs for Tor in 2024
- Editor's ChoiceExpressVPN
Top VPN for Tor with fast speeds, strong security, and obfuscation on all servers.70% of our readers choose ExpressVPN
NoSpy servers for secure Tor browsing, free from third-party interference.
- Private Internet Access
Efficiently block malware on the Onion Network with PIA MACE blocker.
Access onion content in regular browsers with Onion Over VPN, bypassing Tor slowdowns.
MultiHop servers for enhanced dark web security, routing data through two locations.
Best VPNs for Tor — Full Analysis (Updated 2024)
Tested February 2024 Try Risk-Free for 30 Days
|Proprietary Lightway protocol offers top speeds for fast Tor browsing
|Specialty Tor Servers?
|No, but every server supports browsing on Tor
|Dark Web Mirror Site?
|Leak protection, Network Lock kill switch, Threat Manager blocker
Of all the VPNs I tested, ExpressVPN is the best to use with Tor. Its proprietary protocol, Lightway, is fast and secure, giving you great Tor browsing speeds without compromising your online privacy. Independent auditors have examined Lightway two times, and ExpressVPN quickly fixed any identified vulnerabilities after each report. This was confirmed in the most recent audit, so you can use ExpressVPN with Tor knowing that your data is secure.
ExpressVPN’s speed is crucial since Tor already slows your speeds compared to regular browsers. Lightway protocol offers some of the best speeds of any other VPN protocol; ExpressVPN’s lightweight code keeps everything running smoothly. In my tests, my speeds were only 15% slower than using Tor without a VPN.
On top of this, it uses RAM-only servers that wipe all your activity, including Tor data, each time they're rebooted. Combine this with ExpressVPN’s strict no-logs policy (independently verified by PricewaterhouseCoopers) and its headquarters in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands, and you’ve got a VPN that offers fantastic security, speeds – and peace of mind as you browse the dark web.
ExpressVPN offers preconfigured settings to help you set up Tor over VPN connections. This is the safest and easiest way to use a VPN with Tor, as you only have to connect to a VPN server and access Tor as usual. You don’t have to worry about data leaks or additional configuration (unlike with VPN over Tor).
You can try ExpressVPN with Tor risk-free thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee. I tested this for myself to make sure it’s legit. I contacted 24/7 live chat to request my refund. The agent responded immediately and agreed without asking further questions, and I got my money back 5 days later.
- Split-tunneling. Allows selected apps to bypass your VPN connection. I used this to secure my Tor traffic while using my regular internet connection for other apps and browsers (Mac users, be aware this is only available for macOS 10 and under).
- Create Tor shortcuts. Get one-click access to Tor and your favorite onion sites right from the app’s home screen.
- Up to 5 simultaneous device connections. You can protect your Tor activity while others in your household use the VPN to stream, game, torrent, and study.
- Automatic obfuscation. Every server has automatic obfuscation that kicks in when they detect Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). Some countries and organizations use DPI to detect Tor use, which helps keep you safe from snoops as you browse.
|NoSpy servers protect your Tor data from third parties
|Specialty Tor Servers?
|No, but there are streaming-optimized servers for watching media on Tor sites
|Dark Web Mirror Site?
|AES 256-bit encryption, leak protection, and a built-in kill switch
CyberGhost is a great choice for Tor, thanks to its special NoSpy servers. Many VPNs rent server space in shared facilities, posing the threat of third-party interference. In comparison, CyberGhost owns and manages NoSpy servers in its highly secure headquarters, so you can use The Onion Router without worrying your data could leak.
CyberGhost assigns you an anonymous ID when you sign up, which prevents anyone from tracing your Tor activity back to you. The email address you provide while opening your account is stored as an encrypted hashtag, so it can’t be used to connect you to your CyberGhost account.
Like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost only allows the safer Tor over VPN setup, which makes this VPN super easy to use with The Onion Router. One click connected me to the fastest server based on my location. This set me up with a server in London, UK, giving me great speeds with Tor.
You can try out CyberGhost with Tor without risk using its money-back guarantee. Long-term plans offer 45 days — longer than the industry-standard 30 days. But be aware that the monthly plan only offers 14 days. Either way, if you’re unhappy, getting a full refund is easy.
- Auto-Protect. Lets you customize how the VPN reacts when you connect to a new network. Enabling "Always Connect" automatically protects you whenever you join a WiFi network, which I highly recommend to protect your Tor browsing.
- Auto app launch. You can select an app to launch when you hit “Connect” on CyberGhost. I tried this with Tor and had no issues.
- Block content. This protects you from malicious sites and files that can lurk on onion sites, giving you greater peace of mind as you browse.
- No-logs policy. CyberGhost has a strict no-logs policy, and its base is in Romania (outside the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance). That means it’s not obligated to share any information with government agencies upon request.
|Protect your devices from malware that’s rife on the dark web
|Specialty Tor Servers?
|No, but there are tons of other settings to optimize your Tor browsing
|Dark Web Mirror Site?
|ChaCha20 data encryption, Poly1305 authentication, leak protection
There are many worthy uses for the dark web, but it can also be dangerous, with malware, harmful links, and viruses seemingly around every corner. Further, Tor advises against installing browser extensions (including ad blockers) that could offer some protection against malware posing as ads. PIA MACE is a powerful malicious content blocker that works at the DNS level, so harmful content won’t reach your device.
PIA has a loyal customer base thanks to its dedication to user privacy. Its no-logs claims have been verified in court on several occasions when governmental agencies requested specific users’ data. However, PIA couldn’t provide anything since it only collects the minimal, essential data required to run a VPN service.
In addition, its MultiHop obfuscation feature adds an extra layer of security to your Tor browsing. This routes your traffic through two or more servers instead of just one, hiding your use of a VPN. It slowed my speeds considerably in my tests, but it’s worth it in countries with strict internet censorship. To help overcome slow speeds, you can always switch from OpenVPN to WireGuard and see if that helps, too.
Every plan has a trustworthy 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try PIA risk-free. If you’re unhappy, getting your money back is easy.
- Customizable kill switch. The Advanced Kill Switch works even when you quit PIA, which ensures you can’t browse on Tor without connecting to VPN first.
- Massive server network. PIA offers 29,650 servers for speedy connections in 91 countries. I recorded a drop of only 21% from my base speed with Tor during my tests.
- Split-tunneling. This lets you configure which traffic you encrypt and which can use your regular, unencrypted connection.
|Browse onion sites on your favorite browser with specialty servers
|Specialty Tor Servers?
|Dark Web Mirror Site?
|Auto-connect, WiFi automation, Kill Switch (Advanced)
NordVPN’s Onion Over VPN servers let you browse the dark web on a regular browser. That means you can browse the dark web without Tor’s notorious slowdowns (and end-node vulnerabilities). I connected to an Onion server in Switzerland and accessed the Hidden Wiki, which loaded quicker than on Tor. This was easy on PC, but I couldn’t get it working on macOS.
Luckily, I could still access.onion sites on my Mac using Tor Browser with a regular server. The VPN offers 6,105 servers in 61 countries, so there are many options. During testing, I got the best speeds with the proprietary NordLynx protocol.
For additional security, you can use a Double VPN server. This sends your traffic through two servers, changing your IP address twice. Even though this typically takes a toll on your speed, I didn’t get considerable slowdowns.
All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can confidently try NordVPN. If it’s not your ideal Tor VPN, claiming a refund is simple.
- Dark Web Monitor. This scans the dark web for leaked email addresses. If your email leaks, NordVPN will contact you immediately so you can secure your account. Unfortunately, this isn’t available on Standard plans.
- Presets. Configure settings for Tor and onion sites for one-click access. This is currently only available on macOS, but a NordVPN agent assured me it’s in development for other OSs.
- Threat Protection. This standalone ad blocker helps you to avoid malicious content and works even when not using NordVPN. However, Threat Protection Lite (which is the only option for mobile devices and browsers) works only when you’re connected to NordVPN.
|Double VPN servers give you added protection on the dark web
|Specialty Tor Servers?
|Dark Web Mirror Site?
|Automatic IP rotation, leak protection, kill switch, and stealth for DPI protection all boost your privacy
Surfshark helps hide your actual location even better with its MultiHop feature. Your traffic gets sent through two server locations simultaneously, making your connection more secure. I easily found its MultiHop server list from the menu beside the regular server locations and static IPs. My tests also showed no IP or DNS leaks.
The entire framework of the VPN is fully diskless, implying that all data gets erased each time you sign out. Thus, even in the rare scenario of a security compromise, no third party could access any of your private information.
Unfortunately, Surfshark’s base is in the Netherlands, which is part of the 14 Eyes alliance. However, I have no concerns since it upholds a strict no-logs policy that Deloitte has recently verified. Your Tor browsing activity stays private as it's not collected or stored.
If you’re unsure, you can try Surfshark risk-free for 30 days using its money-back guarantee. I found its refund policy trustworthy when I tested it.
- 4 protocols. Protect your Tor data with a choice of protocols. WireGuard is the industry-leading protocol for speed, while IKEv2 is good at switching between data sources, so it’s great for browsing Tor on mobile devices.
- CleanWeb. Blocks ads and trackers on.onion and regular websites.
- Surfshark One. An exclusive antivirus program that detects and removes the malware that’s widespread on some.onion sites (additional fee applies).
Quick Comparison Table: Tor VPN Features
When you’re looking for a Tor VPN, there are some key features that are vital for your privacy. For instance, some VPNs offer an Onion mirror site for installing their app over Tor. VPNs with a base outside the 5/9/14 Eyes jurisdiction ensure that even government agencies can’t demand user data. What's more, you can hide your use of VPN with an obfuscation feature.
An additional factor to take into account is that using Tor can considerably reduce your connection speeds due to routing your traffic through multiple nodes. Opting for a VPN with high-speed servers will aid in lessening the slowdown experienced during browsing.
The table below compares the important features of my recommended onion VPNs. I used an ad block testing tool to gauge how well each VPN performed with blocking incoming scripts and domains known to host unwanted content.
Tips on Choosing the Best VPN for Tor
I used the following criteria to rank the VPNs in my list. You can use it as a checklist of features to look for when choosing the best onion VPN:
- Strong security. To ensure your traffic passes through Tor's nodes safely, your VPN should provide essential security features like 256-bit encryption, IP/DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch. I ensured the listed VPNs offered these features.
- No-logs policy. This is a promise that the VPN provider won't record or share your data with third parties. I thoroughly read each VPN’s logging policy to confirm it won’t monitor your browsing.
- Fast speeds. Since using Tor slows down your internet connection, selecting a VPN with fast speeds is crucial. Each listed onion VPN gave me at least 15 Mbps while using Tor, which is fast enough for smooth browsing and HD streaming.
- Extensive device compatibility. The Tor browser is available on all major platforms, including Windows, Android, macOS, and Linux. I’ve checked that all listed VPNs are compatible with the most popular operating systems.
- Responsive support. All of the listed VPNs offer reliable support via live chat, email, or contact form in case you run into technical issues when using your VPN on Tor. The 24/7 live chat is preferable because you can quickly get answers and solve any problems.
- Reliable money-back guarantee. This allows you to try the service with Tor risk-free. I tested the VPN’s money-back guarantees — getting a refund with any of our recommended services is easy..
Warning: These VPNs Aren't Safe to Use With Tor
During my tests, I found some VPNs that are unsafe for Tor, including:
Hola Free VPN. It’s not a real VPN, but actually, a P2P network that requires you to share your bandwidth with other users. This means that other Hola users can use your IP address. If another user does something illegal, the authorities could trace this back to you and hold you liable for something you didn’t do.
BetternetVPN. It doesn’t protect you from leaks, and in the past, users found its Android app contained tons of malware. On top of that, only the paid option offers a no-logs policy. The free version logs vast amounts of data, including your email, IP address, and connection timestamps.
TouchVPN. It stores user data and shares it with third parties, defeating the whole point of using a VPN.
SuperVPN. It asks permission to track your location and WiFi connection. In addition, it doesn’t specify which security protocol and encryption type it uses, so you don’t know how (or if) your traffic is protected.
Do I REALLY Need a VPN for Tor?
The Tor browser is a powerful tool for anonymous and private web browsing. However, Tor isn't perfect and has vulnerabilities. Volunteers run the network, making it vulnerable to attackers who can compromise end nodes. Also, some volunteers could be untrustworthy and snoop on user data.
Furthermore, your ISP can detect the use of Tor. This can arouse suspicion — even if you’re doing nothing illegal or immoral. So, many ISPs throttle (limit) users’ speeds if they detect the use of Tor. And Tor is slow enough as it is!
Your ISP can (and does) use a technique called Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to monitor your online activity. Because your traffic will always contain information about the browser you’re using and the servers you’re communicating with, your ISP can see you’re accessing the dark web.
The traffic you generate is encrypted by VPNs, preventing your Internet Service Provider (ISP) from detecting your use of the Tor browser to access the dark web. Therefore, if your ISP attempts to examine your traffic, all it would encounter is a file that has been encrypted.
Quick Guide: How to Browse Tor Safely in 3 Easy Steps
- Get a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN because it offers Tor-friendly speeds, an easy-to-use app, and automatic obfuscation on every server. You can try ExpressVPN completely risk-free.
- Connect to a server. Choose a server and click Connect. For the fastest speeds, it’s best to choose a server close to your actual location.
- Start browsing. Open Tor Browser and enjoy safe and secure browsing!
Tor Over VPN (Onion Over VPN) vs. VPN Over Tor: Which is Best?
Two methods exist for integrating the privacy features of a VPN with Tor. Below is a brief overview of each approach:
Tor Over VPN:
Also known as Onion Over VPN, this method involves first connecting to a VPN server and then opening the Tor browser to access The Onion Router. This provides an extra layer of encryption and anonymity, as your VPN first encrypts your traffic before routing it through the Tor network.
It can also help you avoid potential issues with exit nodes on Tor. The VPN first encrypts your internet traffic, so deciphering your data would be virtually impossible even if an attacker intercepts it. Additionally, if you live in a country where Tor is blocked, a VPN can help you bypass these restrictions and access the network.
VPN Over Tor:
Choosing the VPN Over Tor option routes your internet data through the Tor network prior to being encrypted by the VPN. This approach, however, could make you susceptible to potential vulnerabilities like exit node attacks.
Exit nodes are your data's final contact points before it reaches its destination. If an attacker compromises an exit node, they could intercept your data, compromising your privacy and security.
VPN over Tor is a much slower method, and it’s more complex to configure (plus, very few VPNs even support it). Additionally, your ISP can detect the use of Tor if you use this method, so it doesn’t prevent the risk of throttling.
FAQs on VPNs for Tor
Is it safe to use Tor without a VPN?
No, and for two main reasons. The first is that Tor itself isn’t free from security vulnerabilities. For example, researchers previously found a security flaw in Tor Browser called TorMoil. This was leaking users’ real IP addresses on Mac and Linux devices. Even though the Tor Project patched this in 2017, there may be other vulnerabilities that haven’t yet been discovered.
The second is that your ISP can see that you access Tor. If your ISP doesn’t block Tor outright, there’s a good chance that it will throttle your speeds if it discovers you’re browsing the dark web.
Because of these reasons, it’s best to use one of our recommended Tor VPNs to stay safe on the dark web. Make sure you pick a VPN with strong encryption, a verified no-logs policy, and leak protection for the best peace of mind.
What's the difference between Tor and a VPN?
Tor is a secure browser for accessing a hidden layer of the web and keeping your regular browsing more private. In contrast, a reliable VPN for Tor is a security-enhancing app. Like Tor, VPNs encrypt your traffic to prevent prying eyes from spying on your activities. However, VPNs offer additional security and privacy features Tor doesn't provide.
For instance, reputable VPNs adhere to a strict no-logs policy while always encrypting your traffic. A no-logs policy ensures your chosen VPN won’t monitor or store your browsing, while the end-to-end encryption hides your data from all of Tor's nodes. Additionally, VPNs safeguard your entire device and not just your browser traffic — plus, they're much faster than The Onion Router.
Tor offers some privacy by using decentralized nodes to transfer data securely. Although it encrypts your data, browsing Tor without a VPN exposes your IP address to the entry nodes. In addition, the exit node, and its operator, can see your data request. To use Tor safely, check out this beginner’s guide with additional tips to improve security.
Can Tor be traced?
Yes, if you don’t use a reliable VPN for the deep web. Tor Browser is known for its ability to keep your online activities private and anonymous. However, one of the most common ways attackers can trace Tor browsing is through malicious exit nodes.
Exit nodes are your data's final points of contact before it reaches its destination. If an attacker compromises an exit node, they can monitor your browsing and compromise your privacy and anonymity. Using a VPN provides an extra layer of security by encrypting your internet traffic, making it much harder for attackers to snoop on your activity.
Another risk is through fingerprinting techniques. This is where an attacker can identify your device or browser based on unique characteristics, such as your screen resolution or plugins. While Tor Browser is designed to minimize fingerprinting risks, using a VPN can provide additional protection by masking your device's unique identifier.
Finally, it's worth noting that even if your Tor usage isn't traced, your ISP will be able to see that you’ve sent traffic to the Tor network. A VPN masks your internet usage from your ISP, providing additional privacy and security.
Can I use a Tor VPN for Android and Windows?
Yes, as long as your VPN is compatible with Android and Windows. I ensured the VPNs for Tor in this list have Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Linux apps. Additionally, each one allows for at least 5 simultaneous device connections, so you only need one subscription.
The native apps allow you to download these onion VPNs to your Android and Windows devices quickly and easily. You can also access their robust security features like military-grade encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch. That way, it protects your Android or Windows device and any personal data on it.
Is there a VPN for Tor Browser with a built-in ad blocker?
Yes, all the VPNs for the dark web have some kind of ad and/or malware blocker. There are hardly any ads on.onion sites (there’s little publicity you can get by advertising on a deliberately hidden site!). However, malware and malicious files are very prevalent. You can see how effective each VPN’s blocker is in the comparison table above.
Is it okay to use Tor bridges instead of a VPN?
Yes, but it doesn't offer the same level of security. For solid security and privacy, it's best to use a VPN instead. A VPN with 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection will keep your sensitive info from being exposed through Tor.
Tor bridges are just unpublished nodes; using them makes it harder for your ISP and streaming sites to detect and block them. So, if you just want to bypass Tor blocks by your ISP or access geo-restricted content, then Tor bridges are enough. But if you don’t want anyone spying on your data, you need a VPN.
Can I use a free VPN with Tor?
Yes – but I don’t recommend it. It’s better to use a secure and low-cost premium VPN with a trustworthy money-back guarantee. Paid VPNs offer features that free ones don't, like leak protection and a no-logs policy. This helps prevent your data from being leaked to prying eyes and cybercriminals when you use Tor.
Free VPNs often have slow speeds, too. Since Tor is inherently slow, using a free VPN can make it almost impossible to use the browser. Plus, free VPNs usually lack essential security features and can expose your actual IP address at exit nodes while alerting your ISP to your use of Tor. Even worse is if the VPN collects logs, making you vulnerable to third parties.
Get the Best VPN for Tor
The Tor Project created its eponymous browser for private browsing, and it’s a powerful tool that journalists, whistleblowers, researchers, and those living in oppressive regimes can use to protect their browsing. However, Tor has vulnerabilities, exposing your data to cybercriminals, the government, and your ISP.
A VPN can protect you against these vulnerabilities. But not all VPNs are suitable for Tor. Some are too slow, making your dark web browsing feel more like a crawl.. Others have security vulnerabilities and can’t keep your browsing private. After extensive testing, my team and I found a few you can rely on.
ExpressVPN is the no.1 VPN for Tor. It has the fastest speeds we’ve ever tested, automatic obfuscation on every server, and security and privacy features to keep your browsing private. You can even try ExpressVPN with Tor risk-free. It has a money-back guarantee, so you have 30 days to claim a full refund if it’s not for you.
To summarize, these are the best VPNs for Tor...
Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!
Your IP Address:
Your Internet Provider:
The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.
VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.