How does the TOR Browser Work?

This article explains the working of TOR Browser in simple words.


Rohan Kiratsata

2 years ago | 2 min read

Now-a-days people are moving to privacy browsers like TOR Browsers and Brave Browsers. But ever wondered, how TOR browser protects you against tracking, surveillance and censorship.

What is TOR?

TOR stands for The Onion Router is a network that enables a user to stay anonymous on the internet. The TOR network can be accessed using TOR Browser. Today millions of people use TOR for multiple purposes, everything from innocent daily browsing to illicit activities. It is also used to access the so-called "Dark Web".

What is Dark Web? Deep Web? and Surface Web?

  • Surface Web is a portion of web which can be searched or found on internet publicly. For example, visiting Facebook, Anything you search on Google, etc. 
  • Deep Web is a opposite of *surface web*, the part of web which is not indexed or found publicly. For example, your GMail inbox, an unlisted YouTube video, online banking, or anything which is password or paywall protected can be considered as deep web. It's nothing like the dark web as most of use the deep web all the time. 
  • Dark Web is web content that exist on darknets/overlay networks and can only be accessed using specific software or authorization access.

Example Image:

Working of TOR Network

TOR uses the concept of the "Onion Routing" method in which user data is first encrypted and then transferred through different TOR layers.
The TOR network has three layers/relays.

  • Entry Relay
  • Middle Relay
  • Exit Relay

The Entry Relay is the entry point to TOR Network. Each user will first connect to the Entry relay and will encrypt the data.

Middle Relay is getting data in the encrypted format and will pass the data to another middle relay. No middle node knows what data is passed except its predecessor and descendant. Even if the user employs the TOR network to do something illegal, the IP address of a middle relay will not show up as source traffic.

Exit Relay is the final relay that TOR traffic passes through before it reaches its destination. If a malicious user employs the Tor network to do something that might be objectionable or illegal, the exit relay may take the blame.
Example Image:

Is it illegal to use TOR?

The Tor browser has gained a bad reputation due to the increase in illegal activity on the dark web. However, using the TOR browser and TOR network is LEGAL unless you are doing illegal things on the dark web.


Created by

Rohan Kiratsata

I'm a freelance graphic designer and coding enthusiast. Currently working on Android and Unity3D and looking forward to Open-Source Contribution. Apart from coding, I like music & games.







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