The Onion Router (Tor) is an increasingly popular software for browsing the Internet anonymously.
If you value your online security, using the Tor browser is one of the best ways to shield your internet activity. But using a VPN, to double up on encryption, can help you stay extra safe next time you head online.
The primary downside associated with the Tor platform is that it slows down your internet speed - unfortunately, the levels of encryption used to avoid prying eyes results in lagging download and upload speeds.
For this reason, I prioritized two primary features when searching for the best Tor VPN - speed and security. After intensive research, my top four Tor VPNs are listed below:
- NordVPN (Affordable VPN that provides double encryption)
- ProtonVPN (Security-focused VPN provider founded by experts in data security)
- ExpressVPN (Premium VPN service with high-end security and performance)
- CyberGhost (Lesser known VPN provider with strong security and fast speed)
From $2.99 /month
NordVPN - a Panama based VPN provider - is consistently recognized as one of the world's most popular VPN providers. Not only does NordVPN offer some of the most extensive feature options on the market, but it also provides users with some of the most affordable price points in the industry.
NordVPN explicitly promotes the use of the Tor browser on its platform - the firm's website actually hosts an informational page about using Tor with its platform. The provider suggests combining its service with Tor for maximum security.
Awesome Security Features
NordVPN offers its users high-end security via its encryption standard - AES 256-bit. To get a better picture of the quality of this encryption standard, it's essential to understand that it’s the same encryption previously used by the NSA to protect sensitive information.
But NordVPN doesn't stop there - it goes above and beyond the call of duty to protect your data. While AES 256-bit encryption is a good start, NordVPN also offers its clients DoubleVPN. This is a program exclusive to NordVPN that encrypts your web traffic TWICE to ensure added privacy.
NordVPN doesn't keep any logs or records of your information. This is an added layer of security that protects your data from government requests for information on external hacks.
Maintain Your Speed on Tor with NordVPN
I tested the top NordVPN servers to see if it was capable of keeping your data moving swiftly on Tor. NordVPN reduced my typical internet speeds of 70 Mbps to 52.3 Mbps - this 70% speed retention rate will help ensure that Tor doesn't slow down your browsing speeds too much.
- Openly supports Tor usage
- Strong security protocols, with double encryption
- No-logging policy
- Strong speed retention rates
- Access to overseas media and large server list
- Affordable price points for paying customers
- You'll need to invest in a long-term subscription to get the best prices
From $4.00 /month (offers a limited free plan)
Next up comes a Switzerland-based VPN provider - ProtonVPN. You may have heard of ProtonVPN because of its well-known founders - the same developers that started ProtonMail around five years ago. ProtonMail is one of the most popular encrypted email platforms on the market.
ProtonVPN offers excellent Tor support on its VPN platform. If you head to its website, they provide extensive instructions on how to use its platform when connecting to Tor. If you're looking for a VPN provider that can help you safely connect to Tor, this is a reliable option.
A True Security Focused VPN Provider
ProtonVPN follows in the footsteps of ProtonMail by prioritizing robust safety features. You'll find AES 256-bit encryption in ProtonVPN. This is the gold standard of encryption in the VPN industry.
You'll also benefit from a true no-logging policy with ProtonVPN. None of your browsing history, internet data, or IP addresses will be stored when you connect to this VPN provider. If you're worried about government requests for data, this is an extra security buffer.
Performance Matter at ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN also provides excellent speed retention. You can rely on this VPN to keep your Tor browser speed running as quickly as possible. My normal internet download speed of 70 Mbps was reduced to just over 58.6 Mbps. With over 82% of download speeds retained, you'll get a little bit better performance than found in NordVPN.
Probably the Best Free VPN For Tor
It's rare that you find a premium VPN provider that offers a free option for its clients. ProtonVPN is one of the only VPN companies that offers a free service that isn't just a free trial. Although you'll only have access to three servers (and one device), it's still a solid option if you're looking to save money.
- Openly supports Tor use on its platform
- Offers world-class encryption standards
- True no-logging policy for users
- High-end speed retention
- Access to overseas media
- Free option for all users (limited features)
- Affordable price points for paid subscriptions
- Free option only offers three servers
- Still a relatively new service
From $8.32 /month
If you're looking for an offshore VPN provider, you'll be pleased to know that ExpressVPN is located in the British Virgin Islands. Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN is known as a premium service loaded with a variety of different features.
ExpressVPN is one of the only VPN providers that have an explicit Tor domain. Tor domains are only accessible through the Tor browser, and they're used to provide Tor users with exclusive access to a secure site. So if you live in a country with strict censorship or data control laws, accessing ExpressVPN's site through its Tor domain provides an extra level of security.
The Best Speed Retention on My List
ExpressVPN offers some of the best speed retentions in the industry. My typical download speed of around 70 Mbps was reduced to 61.1Mbps - this is over 87% speed retention. You can rely on ExpressVPN to help you maintain decent speeds when you're connected to the Tor browser.
Encryption That Keeps You Safe
AES 256-bit encryption is built into ExpressVPN to keep your online web activity as safe as possible. Not only does this keep you safe when you're connected to Tor, but it also provides an encrypted tunnel to shield your browsing habits from your ISP or unsecured networks.
You'll also benefit from a no-logging policy that prevents the retention of your connection information. It's the ideal policy for someone who doesn't want to risk repercussions from their online activity.
- Open support for usage of Tor
- Tor-specific domain for ExpressVPN site
- Strong encryption standards for clients
- No-logging policy that's true to its word
- Access to overseas media
- Fastest download speed on my list
- Strong customer support team
- The most expensive VPN option on my list
From $3.50 /month
Compared to the other VPNs on my list, CyberGhost is a lesser-known VPN provider - but this isn't to say its service is any less valuable. You can find the same top-notch security and performance features hidden in CyberGhost's VPN service.
Like the other top providers on my list, CyberGhost offers its clients open support for the use of Tor. You'll find useful instructions and guides for using Tor on its website.
Top Performance Features
CyberGhost is one of my top picks party due to its impressive speed retention rates. You'll find that you retain almost 70% of your download speeds when you connect to its top servers. My normal data speeds reduced from 70 Mbps to 51.1 Mbps. In terms of speed retention, it's definitely a good option that will not lose lots of your initial internet speed.
Solid Privacy Promises
While there are allegations that CyberGhost puts you at risk through the use of third-party resources, the company provide assurances that this isn't the case. Fortunately, AES 256-bit encryption is also available via this service. Overall, it seems as though your data is safe when connected to CyberGhost.
- Seriously breakneck speeds
- Open support and tutorials for Tor use
- Strong encryption standards for users
- Access to overseas media providers
- Relatively smaller service compared to the big guns on my list
- Slightly hazy information about third-party data transmission
Which Best VPN for Tor is Best for You?
As you can see, you have quite a few premium options if you plan on using a VPN and Tor at the same time. But each VPN provider on my list has different advantages and disadvantages - so choosing the right one for you will require you to understand exactly what you're looking for you in a VPN provider.
However, here are some recommendations!
- NordVPN is best for those who want an affordable VPN provider with double encryption and premium features
- ProtonVPN is best for those who want a VPN that prioritizes security and offers a free option for clients
- ExpressVPN is best for those willing to pay for a premium VPN service with a Tor specific site
- CyberGhost is best for those who want a VPN provider with fast speeds and a strong reputation
If you have used a different VPN to access the Tor browser, comment below with your experiences using a VPN with Tor!