What Is The Tor Network and How Does It Work?

By PRODAFT Team on May 13, 2024
What Is The Tor Network and How Does It Work?

A network known as the Onion Router, or Tor, allows users to remain anonymous online and eliminates the possibility of user identification, location tracking, and spying. You can use a customized version of Mozilla Firefox ESR to establish a connection to the Tor network.

Using a VPN is one method to access websites governments are still blocking. While it's nice that many paid VPNs adhere to a no-logging policy, free VPNs track users and sell their data while claiming to do so. On the other hand, Tor is anonymous.

What Is the Tor?


Tor hides your identity so you may browse the web anonymously. It shields the user against network eavesdropping and traffic analysis and is arguably the safest and most widely used solution for anonymous internet access.

Is the Tor Browser Secure?

Many people have questioned Tor's security and anonymity. The most well-known was the Bad Apple Attack, in which researchers asserted they had discovered over 10,000 IP addresses of BitTorrent users who were actively using Tor to connect.

This massive April 2014 hack, which brought down the network for several days, was also caused by the Heartbleed issue.

The fingerprinting process involves examining answers, packets, and patterns in a specific direction to examine online traffic. The attacker's machine can function as the guard and compromise the network.

The network's exit points were identified as the most vulnerable, indicating a noticeable lack of protection compared to other locations.

Who uses Tor, and why?

Many people use Tor to access the Internet for various legitimate reasons, even though its most well-known uses are unlawful.

Let's examine more closely who uses Tor and why:

  • Government organizations: Tor can safely exchange and safeguard private government data.
  • For-profit businesses: Organizations that use Tor stand to gain from improved data security and privacy.
  • Illicit organizations: Criminal groups may use Tor to hide their online malicious activities.
  • Individuals: The Tor browser benefits anyone hoping to improve cybersecurity and increase online privacy. People who want to discuss topics subjected to censorship, activists, or investigative journalists might resort towards Tor for online communication.

How Does Tor Work?

Tor employs the "Onion Routing" technique by encrypting user data and passing it through several network relays. Consequently, a difficult-to-follow path and multi-layered encryption (think of layers like an onion) were made to protect the user's identity. Therefore, no one can associate your identity with a specific location.

Every time a new Tor relay hits, one encryption layer breaks, and the remaining data goes to any random relay until it gets to the intended server. The last exit relay or onion router node appears as the data's source to the destination server. As a result, it is difficult for any surveillance system serving as a middleman to identify the user or the server.

In addition to allowing you to work independently, it also gives anonymity to servers and websites using Hidden Services. Furthermore, torrent file downloads via the Tor network are possible with P2P programs like BitTorrent.

Pros and Cons of Tor

Tor provides several privacy and anonymity safeguards compared to visiting a website directly. However, it does bring some pitfalls as well:


  • When you use Tor correctly, the websites you visit cannot determine your IP address.
  • You can get around several forms of censorship; 
  • You can visit websites without your internet supplier knowing about your browsing history.


  • Tor is extremely slow compared to VPNs and standard online browsing, making it impossible to download big files.
  • A small error can deanonymize your web browsing activity.
  • Certain network operators and governments can stop Tor from operating.
  • Even if utilizing Tor is lawful, it could give the impression that your activities are suspicious.
  • Some websites may stop working when using Tor, usually to stop misuse and anonymous spam.


Is Tor a VPN?

Like a VPN service, Tor directs your traffic through a different server, concealing your IP address from websites. It differs slightly from a traditional VPN arrangement due to a few critical variances in the procedure's operation.

For example, Tor passes your data across at least three servers, whereas VPNs usually employ just one. VPNs provide end-to-end protection with a single layer of encryption. Contrarily, Tor uses several layers, which are separated when you move between servers.

Furthermore, logging onto a server is a requirement of VPNs. Every page you visit is visible to the server, which may result in your data logging. It is harder to record your activity since Tor isolates the information about who you are (your inbound IP address) from the website you are reading.

Is It Against the Law to Use Tor?

No. The Tor and the dark web are not inherently unlawful. However, engaging in illicit activity on the dark web through Tor is illegal and will undoubtedly lead to problems. As always, we advise you to improve your privacy and utilize it lawfully.

Is Tor Worth Using?

Tor has shown to be a great free tool for users to have a private, safe, and anonymous online presence. The platform's creators had no intention of turning it into a hub for illicit activity, but nefarious individuals have taken advantage of it by selling illegal goods on hidden websites. The study has produced a positive outlook on internet control and privacy.

It can hide your identity online or access websites restricted to your region. Just remember that nothing is infallible. Therefore, don't do anything beyond the law. Refrain from using the network to access your social media accounts, as this could reveal your identity.


The Bottom Line

Tor is a widely used tool for online privacy and anonymity protection. It provides access to hidden onion services, which might help evade less ethical activities and oppressive regimes. However, users must consider several security and privacy issues to utilize Tor efficiently.

Though they differ in their ability to thwart monitoring, VPN services, like Tor, offer faster speeds. Although Tor is a robust tool that can assist in preventing digital persecution, misuse of it can give the wrong impression that you are safe.


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