Tor is software that allows users to surf the web anonymously, it is a computer network run by volunteers worldwide. Each volunteer runs what is called a relay; the relay is just a computer that runs software allowing users to connect to the Internet via the Tor network. The Tor Browser before hitting the open Internet will connect to several other different relays, wiping its route each step of the way, in turn making it difficult to figure out where, and who, you really are on the internet. While Tor is gaining a horrendous reputation as a tool for purchasing unlawful goods online, the software has numerous authorized uses, from activists who mask their location from oppressive regimes to journalists communicating with anonymous sources and also law enforcement officers. Tor is a good tool to keep your browsing private from your internet service provider ISP, advertisers, or passive government data collection.
The most convenient and best way to use Tor is to download the tor browser from torproject.org. Once installer has finished downloading, the user is provided with two options: installing the software directly or checking the installation file’s GNU privacy Guard (GPG) signature first. It is better to check the installation file to make sure you have downloaded the proper version and not a version that has been fiddled with. After downloading from the torproject.org download page, the download comes with another file you can use to check the signature in the signing list on the website.
Whether or not you’ve checked the GPG signature, the next step is to install the Tor browser itself.
For Windows operating system, the Tor Browser comes as an EXE file, so it’s just like installing any other program. The key difference is that the browser doesn’t have the same default location as most programs, which are stored in the program files. Instead, it offers your desktop as the install location.
This is so because it is portable software and does not integrate into a Windows system in the orthodox way that other programs do. This means you can run the Tor browser from almost anywhere—the Desktop, your documents folder, or even a pen drive.
When you arrive at the Choose install location window Click Browse… and then choose where you’d like to install the browser. Once you’ve got your location selected, just click on Install and Tor browser takes care of the rest.
Once the browser is installed, you’ll have an old folder called Tor Browser. Open the folder you’ll see “Start Tor Browser.exe”. Click that file and a new window opens asking whether you’d like to connect directly to the Tor network or if you need to configure proxy settings first.
Most times, choosing the direct option is best except you are using a network with specific proxy settings, so choose Connect. A couple of seconds later a version of Firefox will launch and you are now connected to the Tor network and able to surf anonymously.
To ensure that you’re connected to Tor visit whatismyip.com, which will automatically detect your location based on your Internet Protocol address. If you browser shows an address that is not related to where you are currently surfing from it means you are completely anonymous.
To browse anonymously you need to always connect to all possible sites through SSL/TSL encryption (HTTPS). If you don’t then whatever you do online can be observed by the person running your exit nodes.
For the average Internet user who would like to be in stealth mode, the Tor Browser should be enough to stay private online.