What are the pros/cons/necessity/redundancy for utilizing a VPN on top of TOR if hosting a hidden service?

I'm aware of the obvious concerns regarding logging if using a commercial VPN service, but if you utilized a service that doesn't log IPs (or other data) would it be beneficial or is it redundant with regards to anonymity?


1 Answer 1


I'll make it short and easy:

  1. a VPN does nothing conducive to anonymity (it is neither beneficial nor redundant regarding to anonymity): https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq#IsTorLikeAVPN
    Easily explained for casual users: It just makes it seem you are entering "the network" from a different place/country... and depending on your setup (VPN -> Tor vs. Tor -> VPN) this is in the best case useless or in the worst case can actually harm your anonymity!
  2. a VPN somehow just replaces your ISP regarding trust... if you distrust your ISP, why should you trust your VPN provider? (E.g. logging)
  3. By using bridges instead, you don't need to trust anyone (except the Tor code, which you obviously do).

Note: All of this is also true, no matter if you are hosting a hidden service, providing a relay, just surfing or entering any other network.

Additional an interesting and deeper article about combining Tor:

  • """... a VPN just replaces your ISP regarding trust. if you distrust your ISP, why should you trust your VPN provider? (E.g. logging)""" This is an interesting argument. I can imagine situations where you might indeed trust your VPN provider more than your ISP, if for no other reason than the ISP must have a local presence while the VPN provider might be in a presumably "safer" jurisdiction.
    – newbery
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 22:29
  • @newbery: this can be the case if you are surfing the clearweb; but as soon as this is about Tor, using a bridge instead is still by far the best solution! Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 17:45
  • Sure. No disagreement regarding using a bridge as the better solution. My comment was solely on the weakness of your argument #2, which suggests there is no advantage to trusting a VPN over an ISP regarding logging in the general case. The argument would be stronger if it's qualified to just when using Tor.
    – newbery
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 18:15

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