NordVPN Onion over VPN is a special feature that combines the encryption offered by the VPN with the anonymity of the Onion network to ensure maximum security online.
When you connect to the Internet through a NordVPN Onion server, your traffic is automatically routed through the Onion network without downloading the TOR browser.
Let’s go through the details of Onion over VPN, how it works, why it is useful, who should use it, and who doesn’t need it.
What Is Onion Over VPN NordVPN
VPNs have become the most essential software for shielding your sensitive data, maintaining anonymity online, and dealing with Internet geo-restrictions and censorship. When you connect to the Internet through a VPN server, the VPN creates a tunnel that protects your data and makes it inaccessible to hackers or prying eyes.
Instead, the Onion network channels your traffic through a network of volunteer-operated servers, also known as nodes or relays. As your data travels through multiple nodes (at least three,) different layers of encryptions are added. Your data is decrypted only when it exits the last node to land on the web page you searched. To take advantage of this protection, you need to download the TOR browser and access the Internet through it.
Onion over VPN allows you to combine the two tools to guarantee the maximum level of security possible. Therefore, you can open the VPN on your device and connect to the Onion network.
When you do so, NordVPN hides your real IP address and encrypts your data before accessing the Onion network.
We will explain why this is important and the benefits in a while.
How to use Onion Over VPN NordVPN
Using Onion over VPN is very simple. You can activate the function with just one click. There are basically two ways to use this special feature.
On your NordVPN application, you can choose an Onion over VPN server. When you connect through one of these servers, all your traffic will be automatically routed through the Onion network. It is important to note that you don’t need to download the TOR browser using an Onion over VPN server. You can continue using your preferred browser, i.e., Firefox or Safari. NordVPN will make sure that your traffic is directed to the Onion network.
Alternatively, you can connect to any standard NordVPN server of your choice and then connect to the Onion network. If you choose this option, you need to download the TOR browser and surf the Internet through it.
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Why Should you Use Onion Over VPN
The Onion network offers an excellent level of protection, but it is not without risks.
For instance, your ISP will know that you connect to the Onion network. In the case of journalists, human rights and political activists, or bloggers and residents in countries with heavy censorship, this information leak can be risky.
Moreover, Onion nodes are volunteer-operated. Therefore hackers, authorities, and other ill-intended actors can set up even thousand of these servers to spy on the users’ activity. If they watch entry or exit nodes, they can detect your real IP jeopardizing your security.
NordVPN encrypts your traffic and hides your real IP address before entering the Onion network when you use Onion over VPN. Therefore, you will eliminate the risks mentioned above.
Disadvantages of Using NordVPN over VPN
Protecting your privacy online often comes with a price. In the case of Onion over VPN, the cost to pay is the Internet speed.
The TOR network is known to be relatively slow. The speed issues result from sending your data through several nodes or relays before reaching the final destination. Using a VPN has an impact on your connection speed as well as a result of the encryption process.
Therefore, you will experience a relatively slow connection when combining the two services. This side effect can be mitigated by a high-speed internet connection and the fact that NordVPN is a very fast tool. However, do not expect speeds even close to connecting through a standard browser.
Who Should Use Onion over VPN
This NordVPN feature must be used in all situations where security to the maximum level is a must. There are a few scenarios when Onion over VPN is the wisest choice to connect to the Internet.
Users Working with Sensitive Data
When working with sensitive data, a single leak may cause significant damage, harm people, or put them in danger. Onion over VPN prevents internet tracking and makes data transfer super secure. Therefore, anyone handling sensitive data should use this extra level of protection.
Users Leaving or Traveling to Countries with Heavy Restrictions or Autocratic Regimes
There are several countries where the Internet is heavily monitored. For instance, in regions like Russia, China, and Turkey, just to mention some, it might be challenging or impossible to connect to websites that have been censored. Or your safety might be at risk if you read or post information considered harmful by the local authorities. Onion over VPN grants you full and safe access to the Internet in this scenario.
Journalist, Human Rights Activists, and Politicians
Users in these categories are especially exposed because of the nature of the data they handle. When they transfer data, it is critical to protect it to avoid putting themselves to their sources in danger. A data leak might even mean putting lives at risk in some regions. Onion over VPN allows these users to continue working with an extra layer of security.
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Who Shouldn’t use Onion over VPN
The NordVPN encryption protocol is more than enough to guarantee your security.
Therefore, activating the VPN when you connect to the Internet for casual browsing is all you need to stay safe.
You shouldn’t use Onion over VPN even if you need maximum speed. For instance, this feature wouldn’t work to watch streaming content.
If you want to add an extra security layer and don’t want to deal with the Onion network, you may use NordVPN Double VPN as an alternative. This feature directs your traffic through two VPN servers instead of one, providing double security.
NordVPN continues affirming its position as one of the most secure VPNs in the market. Making a feature like Onion over VPN available to all his clients indicates that they really want to go the extra mile to guarantee total security to any kind of user.
Onion over VPN is a feature that those who need very high security and privacy level should use. You might never need it. However, knowing that it is available and included in your NordVPN subscription is an added reason to consider buying NordVPN.