Tor is free Open source software that allows for anonymity and privacy while browsing the web. Many websites collect website traffic statistics that include your IP address, location, areas of websites that you visit, the site you came from as well as the site you go to afterward.
Tor works by improving your security by making this information from the software on the website that tries to collect it. This is done by moving all communication through a network of volunteers around the world so that anyone keeping tabs on a particular internet connection will be unable to discover your real physical location. Tor is available for web browsers and instant messengers.
Tor is especially convenient for bloggers, human rights activists, soldiers and persons in countries with strict media restrictions or blocked websites. It also works for persons who are travelling and are trying to access content that may be blocked outside the United States. The network grows as more persons volunteer to run relays through which information can be bounced.
How to use Tor
- Download Tor
- Download tor by visiting torproject.org
- Download Firefox
- Download Firefox if it is not already installed on the computer (visit Mozilla.com)
- Start Firefox (or restart Firefox) and enable Tor (there will be an icon button located at the bottom right of the browser window)
- Browse the web anonymously with Tor.
Tips and warnings
- It is recommended that users download Firefox to use Tor
- The bandwidth necessary to use Tor is paid for by volunteers, it is therefore recommended that out of consideration, users do not spend time transferring large amounts of data. (Downloading movies, large files, streaming videos etc. all consume large amounts of bandwidth)
- Tor is currently available for the following operating systems:
- Windows Vista, XP, 2000, 2003 Server, Millenium, 98SE,
- Mac Universal Binary (OSX 10.4 & 10.5)
- PowerPC Only (OSX 10.3)
- Linux/Unix Redhat/ CentOS, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, SUSE
- Visiting websites that use Java or flash will expose your identity even if you are using Tor.
- Browsing may be slower when using Tor depending on how many persons are using the network at a time.
- Some websites will recognize that you are using Tor to mask your identity and may not allow you to browse their site until you have turned it off. There isn’t really any way around this, it is the choice of the website owners especially in instances where the content is protected/ copyrighted or restricted for use in certain countries etc.
- Free services that allow browser anonymity will usually go out of business after a while if funding isn’t coming in. They may also occasionally have downtime when there are upgrades etc. Other options that will hide your identity online / hide your IP address include: free VPN, UltraVPN, Alonweb, CyberGhost and Hotspot Shield.