There are 6 simple steps in this guide to Tor to ensuring that you use the Tor browser in a safe manner.
1. Set your security level
The Tor Browser comes with three layers of security. The settings are accessed by clicking the shield button next to the address bar and choosing Advanced Security Settings.
- Standard is no different from operating any other browser.
- Safest cranks that up to 11, and only very basic websites work unimpeded.
We recommend using Safer or Safest mode. But experiment and see what level of usability you are comfortable with.
2. Check the other security settings
The Tor Browser uses a permanent private browsing mode. This means that history and website cookies get deleted every time you close the Tor Browser. When you start it up, it’s like using a new browser. We do not recommend changing this setting.
3. Change your browsing habits
Google tracks you. Facebook tracks you. Even Linkedin tracks you. Pretty much all websites these days is performing some element of user tracking, so be careful. Tor can not protect you if you use search engines that track your activity between sites. Do not use Google or Bing at all. Afterall, there’s no sense in using the Tor Browser if you’re just going to give away your data again. You should use search engines that don’t track you. Good luck in finding one. DuckDuckGo used to the be goto choice for privacy but that has recently been proven to be tracking people.
4. Try new circuits and identities
Like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Tor hides your real IP and makes your location private. The collection of nodes the Tor Browser uses to connect you to your online destination is called “a circuit.” If the website is working slowly or you want a new IP, click the shadowed window next to the website address. Here, you can request a new circuit – this will also reload the website.
A more powerful version of this is “new identity.” This will close all windows and tabs and restart the Tor Browser itself. If you’re on private browsing, it will be like starting up a new browser with a fresh new IP.
5. Use Tor over a VPN
There are three reasons why you would want to use a VPN together with the Tor browser:
- VPN encryption hides what you’re doing online – including using the Tor Browser, as some ISPs and governments are suspicious of it.
- A VPN hides your IP in case the entry node is compromised.
- The Tor Project does not recommend using advertisement blocking extensions on the grounds of privacy but many of the reputable VPN service providers block ads at source.
You’re using the Tor Browser because you want to be private online – and using a VPN compensates for some of Tor’s weaknesses.
6. Make sure your security measures are up to date
If you’re going to use the Tor Browser to access deep web sites, you better make sure that you’re as protected as possible. This means always updating your device’s OS, having a working firewall, and a reliable antivirus system.