VPN, which one to buy?

I often use Tor for browsing. However, it has its limitations in terms of speed and convenience (asked to solve CAPTCHAS often, sometimes Tor IPs are blocked by webpages).

I am considering paying a VPN subscription to complement my use of Tor. Do you guys have any recommendations? I would like at least the promise of not logging my activity, I do not want them to ask for documents and I would like to pay anonymously.

Hey @numan! Thanks for the question.

There is a great blog post summarizing the privacy implication of tor+vpn combination and I highly suggest you take a read.

When looking for a vpn provider, thatoneprivacysite.net can be one of the best independent resources out there. https://mullvad.net/ seems to be quite recommended for these use-cases although it can be a bit expensive.

Just keep in mind that if you use VPN after Tor, it does reduce your anonymity and you will probably wanna buy it anonymously too (otherwise there seems to be little purpose to use Tor before).

Hi! Thanks for the answer.

Something that maybe was not clear: I do not intend to use Tor + VPN. I guess my intention is to keep on using Tor for some things and simple VPN for others. I am aware that I am trading off anonymity for convenience here.


The CAPTCHA issue is a known problem that was reported to Tor Browser devs. You can find more info here:

Below I list some workarounds per anonymity order.
You should be using these workarounds only for the websites that you cannot access.

Firefox over Tor

If you would not like to lose the anonymity of Tor by using a VPN but increase your fingreprintability and be more vulnerable to possible leaks, I suggest you to use a Firefox browser via Tor, you will be able to solve all the CAPTCHAs at once and use most websites.

Drawback: You may be susceptible to fingeprinting and DNS leaks which will most probably happen while using a VPN.

Web proxy over Tor Browser

A trick that you still ensures some type of anonymity is using a web proxy via Tor Browser and access the websites that you cannot access otherwise.

Drawback: As web proxies operate in a MiM (Machine in the Middle) way, you should be cautious of what information you give out. For instance you should not log in to any of the websites or send any information that you wouldn’t like to share with the web proxies.


Now if you want to use a VPN in the most pseudo-anonymous form i.e not paying you may use the newly introduced OpenInternetAccess.

Drawback: As with every VPN service you need to trust the service that is not keeping any logs.

@vasilis, I think that if you are fingerprintable, then there is little point to using tor except for the location privacy (accessing through another IP address). Take a look at the Tor FAQ on that particular question.

And read more info about anti-fingerprinting techniques in tor browser

What you would have instead is pseudonymity where every action you do is attached to a pseudonym (in this case your browser fingerprint)

No one disagrees here that is always better to use Tor Brower but if you cannot access websites via the Tor Browser (the main question of this post) is still better IMHO to use Tor via Firefox or a web proxy instead of using a VPN or your ISP’s connection.

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Yup. I agree for Browser over tor being better than a VPN (in the case where connecting directly through Tor is not forbidden in such country/organization). I was just talking about the anonymity part you mentioned

I’m not so familiar with web proxies so I can’t say it’s better than a VPN for most cases

A web proxy is forwarding HTTP requests to the destination website. If you want to find out more about web proxies have a look at the Wikipedia page:

My point is that by using Tor to access a web proxy you still maintain some anonymity whereas by connecting to any VPN service you lose any anonymity as the VPN provider will be able to know at least:

  • Your identity (by your IP address)
  • All websites, services and your complete Internet/network activity

Additionally once you pay for a VPN service, the VPN provider will also know your banking/payment details.

I like a lot the slides published by Tim Sammut that explain the different between Tor, VPNs and Proxies:

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Thanks! I’m familiar with the term (sorry for the confusion), but I just don’t know how they handle HTTPS, but I’ll look it up.

Yeah, I had come across those slides a few years ago and they are really great. Thanks reminding me of them.

Machine in the Middle (MiM), find more info about TLS interception:

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Oh wow. This video by Tom Scott, just about sums it all up I recommend you all watch it!

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