Setting up TOR with PIA

Tor is free software for enabling anonymous communication. The name is derived from an acronym for the original software project name "The Onion Router". Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user's location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis.

Using Tor makes it more difficult to trace Internet activity to the user: this includes "visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms". The intent for Tor's use is to protect the personal privacy of its users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored.

You can use VPN to TOR or TOR to VPN depending on your threat model, however using TOR to VPN will prevent you from viewing .onion sites

Better Security

  • Routing your Tor traffic through a VPN will make you virtually invisible. Even if someone manages to compromise you on Tor’s end, all they’ll get is a false IP from your VPN that won’t lead them anywhere. (Just be sure your provider isn’t keeping logs!)

Better Anonymity

  • Routing your VPN traffic through Tor effectively means that even your VPN provider has no idea who or where you are, even if they are keeping logs. This is an effective measure for folks who don’t trust their providers not to keep logs. However Private Internet Access has stated in legal documents that they do not log which was confirmed by the FBI. You can find out more information about our no logging policy here.


Please Note: Using TOR & a VPN at the same time will result in slow speeds due to encryption and routing overheads.


Better Security - VPN to TOR
(Computer > Encrypt w/ VPN > Tor Entry > Tor Exit > Decrypt w/ VPN > Destination):

1. Ensure that the Killswitch feature is enabled in the Advanced Settings.
For additional information, please check our guide here.

2. Launch the Private Internet Access service.

2. Wait to be connected (denoted by the Green Icon)

3. Connect to TOR via the TOR browser (which is available here)


You TOR connection will be encrypted from the Private Internet Access service and not even your ISP will know you're using a TOR connection.


Better Anonymity  - TOR to VPN
(Computer > Tor Entry > Encrypt w/ VPN > Decrypt w/ VPN > Tor Exit > Destination):

Due to the use of 3rd party unsupported hardware and/or operating systems, we cannot provide support for TOR to VPN setups. If you do decide to go this route, then the two easiest ways to get this setup is by using either PORTAL or Whonix.

PORTAL provides the best protection, as the traffic is sent through TOR transparently using isolated hardware while failing closed (the downside being that you need to purchase and assemble the hardware).

Whonix is far easier, but operates at the risk of VirtualBox/KVM being exploited.

If you're using PORTAL then just connect to the PORTAL router, and then connect to the VPN on your computer.

If you're using Whonix connect to your VPN inside the Workstation VM.

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