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My understanding is that Tor is a more private/anonymous/secure way to browse the internet in comparison to using a VPN. If I understand correctly, this is because with a VPN, the VPN provider has access to both your IP and your destination's IP and can therefor link the two while this information is spread out over 3 nodes in Tor. I was comfortable with this idea until I read a Tor vs VPN article which suggests that a VPN is actually superior in terms of security.

The site claims the only real disadvantage of VPN is the cost and that "If you just want to surf the web anonymously, then Tor may be sufficient". This is quite contrary to my understanding of Tor.

Just to be clear, I am comparing Tor to VPN when using SSL/TLS. I am aware that using Tor to visit a plaintext site is insecure because your traffic is not encrypted out of the exit node.

My question is simply if my understanding prior to reading this article was correct and if so, why does the article conclude a VPN to be superior to Tor?

Thanks for the help

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That random site who will make money in selling you a VPN service is being "liberal with the truth".

Lets do a point by point:

Their "Tor disadvantages"

  1. "It is very slow"

    • Not always, you can reasonably stream video over Tor. Tor has latency, but the throughput can be good enough to stream video, which is what's important (suggests a fundamental lack of understanding of networking on their part). But I don't think the bandwidth cost just so you can watch pirated TV shows on the internet is considered a good use of Tor by the Tor Project.
  2. "Some ISPs actively search out and block Tor relays"

    • Tor's pluggable transports and bridges make it harder to block than a VPN which does nothing to even try to disguise its true nature. If some ISP thought "HotspotShield" was actually worth the effort, it'd be blocked.
  3. "Since the traffic at the exit node is unencrypted, anyone (the police, the government, or a hacker) that is running the exit node can see your internet traffic."

    • This is true for their VPN too...except only they or whoever is coercing them or has hacked them can see your traffic, and they know whos traffic it is...which the exit does not. This is a pretty silly claim that is oft repeated. So you're worse off on a VPN.

Their "VPN advantages"

  1. "Connection speed is a lot faster compared to Tor"

    • Maybe, maybe not. Theres no guarantee that it is "faster".
  2. "VPN provides better privacy and security than Tor."

    • Outright lie, it is worse on both counts.
  3. "Some VPN providers include malware protection in the client software."

    • "malware protection" means they watch what youre doing with the VPN and "malware protection" doesn't work against even a half-way competent adversary. Not helpful, probably harmful.

Conclusion

Surprisingly (!!!) it turns out the sketchy company with a product to sell are actively misleading you.

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