Posted by: Chris </span> July 21, 2014
All networks and especially public ones are vulnerable to having their traffic monitored and examined. If you want to retain some level of anonymity then this is something that is important to protect against. You don’t even need to be doing anything illegal – it is just as important to safeguard your personal information and your browsing habits in a world where that data is very valuable. If you aren’t using Tor it is still a very good idea to use a VPN. This guide however is going to be on why you should use both of them together.
First, find a VPN that has at least 128-bit encryption. Anything more than that is unnecessary right now but if it makes you feel safer then feel free to go ahead and use it. You can get up to 2048-bit encryption at the time of writing this article. Ideally you also want a VPN that does not keep any logs. This can be hard to find and there have been cases of companies saying they don’t keep logs and then providing them when court ordered to (HideMyAss as an example). Just try and remember that you shouldn’t be revealing any sensitive information without using encryption such as OpenPGP anyways. Assume the worst case scenario that they are keeping logs and prepare for that. It doesn’t matter whether you start up the VPN or Tor first – it will work the same way no matter what.
The downsides of doing this are that you will not be able to connect to the deep web because the final point of communication with the internet is from the VPN. Your ISP will also know about your usage of Tor, although that isn’t really a problem because there are plenty of legitimate uses for the browser. But, if you can get past these problems, there are some good reasons to use the two together. Some websites block Tor users from connecting and by using a VPN you can hide the fact that you are using Tor exit nodes and use their services. If your VPN connection does drop then only the Tor IP address will be revealed and not your real one. This provides another level of protection for the security conscious. On the other hand, if it is Tor that fails by passing through a compromised exit node then the encryption of the VPN will then serve as the backup protection.
If you want to connect to the deep web with Tor but also use a VPN there are ways but it can be complicated. If you are a Windows user then check out this tutorial.
If the reason why you want to use a VPN and still connect to the deep web with Tor is so that you have an IP address that isn’t associated with Tor or one from a specific country then what you are looking for are SOCKS5 proxies. You will want to find someone who can provide you with reliable SOCKS and then read a guide on how to use them with Tor.