NordVPN is a popular choice for those who want to protect their privacy while using public Wi-Fi or connecting to unprotected hotspots. The VPN service focuses on security and privacy, and offers several features that help users stay safe online.
One of the most useful features provided by NordVPN is onion integration. With onion integration, a user’s traffic is routed through several encrypted layers, protecting their data from being intercepted. The end result is a better internet experience. A bonus of using onion is that it doesn’t affect your ISP’s speed.
The Pros And Cons Of Using Onion Vs. A VPN Without It
While the convenience of using onion is undeniable, it’s important to consider the security and privacy implications before jumping in. Let’s examine the pros and cons of using onion vs. a VPN without it.
Onion Is Faster
Onion is often described as a “fast lane” to the internet because it routes your traffic through multiple encrypted hops, which prevent your data from being intercepted. Using the VPN protocol, all your traffic would go through a single encrypted hop to your destination. Because of this, you would experience slower speeds than normal. When comparing these two methods of internet privacy, use the following test to see which one is faster:
- Launch a VPN client.
- Connect to a server in the UK.
- Enjoy fast speeds!
- Launch a web browser and go to an HTTPS site.
- There will be no discernible difference in terms of speed. You are protected even when using this protocol!
Protects Against Breaches
Even when your data is encrypted, it’s still at risk of being intercepted. This is why most cryptographic protocols have a built-in feature named “data security” or “military–grade encryption”. These terms may mean that your data is protected against surveillance, hacking, and accidental loss. When comparing this to a regular VPN, where your data is only protected against eavesdropping and ISP snooping, you can see that the security provided by the VPN is much better.
One of the main benefits of using the VPN protocol is that it enforces privacy on an individual level. When you connect to a VPN server, you are given a unique IP address that is assigned to your device. This makes it difficult for third parties to identify you. Plus, since your data is encrypted, your ISP, or anyone who might want to see your browsing history, can’t.*
On the other hand, when using the onion protocol, your ISP can track your activity, as it is routed through multiple hops. Even if you use a VPN, your device will still identify itself by its physical address, which can be tied to your personal identity. So while using a VPN is still better than not using one, at least you know that your personal data will be safer.
Uses Regular Wi-Fi
As mentioned before, with the VPN protocol, all your traffic is encrypted and sent to a VPN server through a single encrypted hop. This prevents your data from being snooped on by third parties, including your ISP. However, when you use the onion protocol, your device interacts with several Wi-Fi access points, before reaching the destination. Each of these points is also encrypted, so the access points themselves, as well as your device, can’t reveal your activity.
This is why most people prefer to use the VPN protocol when connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, or when they are on a hotel’s network. The cons of using the onion protocol are that it’s slower than the VPN, and since your device interacts with several Wi-Fi access points, it’s more susceptible to wireless eavesdropping.
No Impact On ISP Performance
One of the main advantages of using the VPN protocol is that it doesn’t affect your ISP’s performance. When you use the VPN, your traffic is encrypted and sent to the closest VPN server, which is typically based in the UK. This prevents your ISP from seeing your activity. As a result, you won’t bog down the service provider’s servers, and your internet session will remain fast.
On the other hand, when you use the onion protocol, all your traffic is sent to several Wi-Fi access points, before being routed to its final destination. This means that your device has to perform more work, and send more data to the server than usual. However, since all your data is already protected, this extra work doesn’t affect the performance of the device.
*In some cases, your ISP may be able to see your browsing history when using the VPN. However, they can’t see your actual login data, such as your username and password. This is why it’s important to use a strong password, and ensure that it’s not shared with anyone else. As a general rule, if you’re worried about your privacy on the internet, you’re better off using a VPN.
In some instances, your ISP might actually be able to see your activity, even when you use the VPN. If this happens, it would be a good idea to change your VPN provider. As already stated, the advantage of using a VPN is that it keeps your personal data private. However, if you need additional security, you can use 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) or a Digi-ID to create an additional layer of security. Both of these add-ons are included in all NORDVPN plans.
In conclusion, while it’s great to have more options when it comes to protecting your privacy online, nothing is more convenient than having a VPN client available whenever you need one. This way, you can connect to a VPN server, in a matter of seconds, and enjoy all the benefits that this protocol has to offer.