Tor Browser Download and Features[Complete guide]
Tor Browser is THE secure and anonymous web browser of the moment. In addition to the Tor network, it uses extensions and search engines that protect your IP address, geolocation, online activity, data, and browsing habits.
Launched in 2008, Tor Browser is an open-source web browser in French developed by the American organization The Tor Project. Very popular around the world, its goal is to protect the privacy and personal data of users by deploying anonymity technologies. It mainly relies on routing traffic via random servers in its network.
Based on the Mozilla Firefox browser, the software is available for download on Windows (32-bit or 64-bit), macOS (64-bit), Linux (32-bit or 64-bit), Android, and even in portable versions. An application called Onion Browser is available for iOS devices. The icing on the cake is that the Tor solution is free for users.
How does Tor Browser work?
Tor Browser allows you to browse the Tor network, a decentralized "parallel" computer network that makes it possible to anonymize connections and guarantee online communications' confidentiality.
Even if the protocol may seem complicated to learn, the whole thing is relatively easy to use. Indeed, it is enough to download and install the software, start Tor Browser and then choose the appropriate configuration. As a rule, the direct connection to the Tor network works without problems.
What are the features of Tor Browser?
At the first launch of Tor Browser, it is possible to connect directly to its network. A progress bar is displayed when relating to the service, but if it takes a long time, it is recommended to refer to the troubleshooting manual.
It is possible to adjust the Tor network settings for connections that are censored or that use a proxy server. Several options are offered in the configuration menu.
The user can thus choose to enable quick start (to connect with the same network settings as the previous time each time Tor Browser is used) and use a bridge (for censored connections). It is also possible to manage connections via proxy via the advanced functions.
To bypass any blockages imposed by an access provider or other, Tor integrates circumvention tools called "pluggable transports" (pluggable transports in English). Three are currently on offer: obfs4, meek, and Snowflake.
Obfs4 bridges, for example, make Tor traffic look random and prevent censors from finding bridges by scanning the internet. The latter is less likely to be blocked, unlike their predecessors (obfs3 bridges).
As indicated above, these bypass modes can be activated via the Tor Browser configuration menu, and it is possible to enter bridges manually if none of the 3 proposed works.
Tor Browser is designed to avoid collecting personal data during web browsing with a well-oiled system. The browser blocks access to information such as geographical location and IP address.
Its URL bar also makes it possible to scramble the tracking of websites (via a secure circuit composed of different nodes) and to browse several pages in other tabs and windows without loss of functionality.
In addition, Tor Browser allows you to choose the information to be disclosed to sites that require a connection (such as mailboxes or social networks). It thus offers options to configure a "new identity" and a "new Tor circuit" for specific sites.
The first option allows you to close all windows and tabs, erase confidential information (browsing history, etc.) and use new Tor circuits for connections. The second option will enable you to reload the active window or tab via a new Tor circuit (without deleting personal data, etc.).
Setting the security settings
Suppose Tor Browser provides encryption of browsing data by default. In that case, the browser allows you to upgrade by disabling certain web functions that can affect the security and privacy of Internet users.
From the Tor advanced security settings menu, easily accessible from its navigation bar, it is possible to choose from 3 security levels: "Standard," "Most secure," and "Most secure."
Access to onion services
Onion URLs are "hidden" services that can only be accessed via the Tor network. Consisting of 56 numbers and letters that end in .onion, these are used to disguise users' location and IP address and encrypt end-to-end traffic.
Onion sites are indicated by an onion icon in the search bar. An ordinary internet page with an onion version is also suggested in the Tor Browser URL bar. It should be noted that most onion addresses require an authentication key (i.e., the operator's access credentials).