Many Internet users have repeatedly encountered regional blocking of web resources by various providers or regulatory organizations. Often, to circumvent such blockages is sufficient to substitute your real IP-address, redirecting your traffic through SOCKS-proxy, or using a software tool such as Tor.
What is Tor
Tor is free and open source software that allows users to establish anonymous and secure connections through a virtual tunnel with multiple hosts. Tor is an effective tool for bypassing regional blocked access to web resources (e.g., certain web pages or torrents), as well as hiding your real IP address from cybercriminals.
Setting up Tor is simple and does not require any special skills from the user. Users simply download and install the Tor package, which includes a specially configured browser. Tor automatically launches and organizes a secure channel when the user starts the browser. The user does not need to configure anything, he just uses this browser to surf without worrying about compromising his personal data and his IP-address.
We won’t describe Tor in detail – all the necessary and detailed information can be found on the official site of the project. Let’s mention only the pros and cons of this software.
Pros of the Tor browser:
- Tor is free and has open source code, which is a kind of indirect guarantee that there are no loopholes or backdoors;
- Tor allows a high level of anonymity through the use of random nodes that change about every 10 minutes;
- Tor is very easy to install and configure.
Minuses of the Tor Browser:
- Relatively low speed;
- You cannot hide your Tor use with ordinary software settings, so many nodes may recognize that you are using Tor and deny you access;
- There is a possibility that Tor nodes are bugged by interested organizations. In particular, Tor was originally developed by the US Navy, which in itself raises some suspicions. Although the source code is open source and there are no backdoors, no one can guarantee the integrity of Tor’s output nodes;
- Tor does not support UDP, meaning it does not allow VoIP and torrents without the risk of leaks.
Thus, Tor alone is not enough to provide truly anonymous and end-user-secure access. In this case, it is better to use SOCKS5-proxy (preferably combined with VPN), which does not have the above disadvantages.
Is it possible to use a combination of Tor + Socks-proxy to increase anonymity?
Such a possibility exists, but it does not, in fact, provide users with any particular advantages. Tor allows users to set up traffic forwarding through SOCKS-proxy, but such forwarding is performed before the traffic enters the Tor network, that is, in such a way the user can only hide the fact of Tor use from his provider, which has no practical value. It’s much more effective to use a VPN+Socks-proxy combination as you’ll be sure of the reliability of the output node of such a combination unlike the output node of Tor.
Unfortunately, current versions of Tor for Windows do not allow users to use SOCKS-proxy at Tor network output, that’s why users cannot use Tor+Socks-proxy bond to hide fact of Tor use for final node.
Tor itself provides a sufficiently high level of reliability and anonymity, but there are some doubts about the reliability of the output node. Using a bunch of Tor+Socks-proxy is not of great practical value for users, so the use of such a bunch is inexpedient. The sufficient level of anonymity can be achieved when using Socks5-proxy + VPN, because the user can be confident in the reliability of the VPN server used. In addition, this implementation, unlike Tor, does not cut the channel bandwidth. Detailed instructions on configuring Socks-proxy+VPN can be found in the corresponding section of our website.