If Tor browser anonymizes our IP address, why go to extra lengths to not use Tor from home?

What added benefit does going to a public wi-fi hotspot even provide a Tor user?

Does it simply defend against the fact that our ISP at home could have logs showing that we are running Tor browser from home (but not the .onion sites we're on)? Or is there more to this step? How and why would Tor fail to randomize our IP? that would make it a faulty product

  • It depends on your threat model. If you are concerned with governments or large ISPs correlating you, don't use Tor for those purposes from home. But if you are concerned about routine surveillance capitalism, it's probably fine. Using Tor more also normalizes it and makes it better for those who use it because they are vulnerable.
    – pseudon
    Feb 2, 2021 at 15:32
  • hard to imagine how nefarious uses of Tor would send offenders all the way out into the public every day? since there is no such thing as public hotspots where no one can view what's on your screen, i don't get how they actually made this work in practice. a life of crime spent entirely outside of home?
    – user610620
    Feb 2, 2021 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


This post on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/TOR/comments/8x7dwj/why_public_wifi/ is a good source to answer this question. As one Reddit use stated, if your Internet Service Provider can see you are using Tor (assuming you directly connecting to the guard node) and is also the Internet Service Provider of the connection endpoint like the website (which is more likely if the website servers are in your country), it can connect the timing of hopping on Tor and can technically make it possible to pinpoint you. Even if the two corporations aren't the same, governments can request the data. Basically, by using a free wifi, it's not your internet connection and thus you won't be susceptible to correlation attacks.

TL;DR: Using a public wifi can help prevent correlation attacks where your connection might be identifiable. That's why generally it is better to use a public wifi.

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