VPN or Tor? A paid VPN account or free Tor access? – A highly debated topic. Here is a comparison that should help you decide which one suits your needs.
a VPN is hands down faster than Tor. Bandwidth is expensive. VPN providers usually charge for VPN accounts, while Tor is free. And you get what you pay for. Tor is one of the most abused networks in the world, so you will experience dial-up speeds, sharing the connection with thousands folks using Tor to download via bittorrent, send spam or scan networks for vulnerabilities.
If you want to watch some streaming videos from Hulu, Netflix – then Tor is a big no-no and a VPN is what you need. But Tor should be enough if you only want to leave some anonymous hate comments on someone’s blog.
Everyone loves free stuff. If speed and reability are not your main goals, then Tor is your right choice.
Since Tor is a free service and doesn’t require any registration, it’s safer if you want to be (almost fully) anonymous. Imagine that your current Tor exit node is used, at any given time, by some “bad” guys who are into some really nasty stuff. So even if that Tor node is wiretapped, authorities are most likely busy with those guys already.
So, it depends what’s your purpose of using Tor. Not even Tor will protect someone who’s into highly illegal stuff such as Child Pornography or terrorism.
Call me a paranoid, but I suspect that some Tor relay nodes are sponsored by government for the obvious reason of providing a monitored playground.
For security reasons, keep in mind that your connection is encrypted between you and your VPN server or Tor exit node. From the VPN server/Tor node to the destination it is not encrypted, except when you’re accessing sites via HTTPS (SSL) or various other SSL protocols such as POP3S, IMAPS etc.
That’s only one of many reasons why you should better think twice before sending your login details via plain-text HTTP/POP3/IMAP connections.
You can also connect through both VPN and Tor at same time, to get most of both worlds.
Personally, I prefer a VPN account. I’m not the next Bin Laden and I also don’t spread hate via mails or blog comments. Therefore, between security and anonymity, I chose security.
What do you prefer? VPN or Tor? and for what reasons?