ExpressVPN launches Tor onion service: Expressobutiolem.onion

An onion outline.

This post was originally published on August 17, 2016.

ExpressVPN is proud to announce added security and privacy with the launch of a hidden service in the Tor network.

Hosting an onion service in the Tor network provides the following benefits to potential customers:

  1. Easier website access for people living and working in high-censorship countries.
  2. Greater privacy and anonymity for current Tor users.

New and curious? Check out the Beginner’s Guide to Tor.

How to access ExpressVPN’s .onion site

To access the onion service, follow these secure steps:

  1. Download the Tor Browser at the official website of the Tor Project. It’s available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android.
  2. Navigate to http://expressobutiolem.onion and browse the site! It’s easy, safe, and anonymous.

Note: At this time, customer logged-in features are not available on https://expressobutiolem.onion. Stay tuned for future versions!

The Tor Browser is based on Firefox and has a similar look and feel. Open http://expressobutiolem.onion and browse as you would any other site.

As always, feedback (even the bad stuff) is appreciated: Contact Support if you find any bugs or additional issues.

ExpressVPN's onion site homepage screenshot.
ExpressVPN’s onion service expressobutiolem.onion as seen through the Tor Browser

ExpressVPN joins other popular services…

Other major websites that have created onion sites:

July 2013: DuckDuckGo (https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/)

October 2014: Facebook (http://www.facebookcorewwwi.onion/)

December 2014: Blockchain (http://blockchainbdgpzk.onion/)

January 2016: ProPublica (http://www.propub3r6espa33w.onion/)

August, 2016: ExpressVPN (http://expressobutiolem.onion)

Why did ExpressVPN go to the trouble of creating a Tor site?

Not only does Tor provide its clients with strong anonymity, but it also hinders government censorship and network administrator controls. That way, users can reliably use the Tor network to access content from all around the world and communicate securely.

Although Tor users have always been able to reach our website and access content in countries where the domain is censored, they previously had to rely on exit nodes. Exit node bandwidth is the scarcest resource in the Tor ecosystem. Exit nodes can also see your traffic and may attempt to modify it.

By offering an onion service, the ExpressVPN site will prevent exit node tracking and load faster for Tor users.

ExpressVPN felt these benefits were worth the significant cost of development, as the right to privacy is one of the core principles upon which our service was founded.

Learn more: What is Tor?

The Tor network is a decentralized proxy service.

Instead of routing traffic through a single proxy server, web traffic is sent through a layer of at least three servers and encrypted along the way. Unlike a regular proxy, which sees what you’re browsing and where you are at the same time, the Tor network separates this knowledge.

Servers are offered by volunteers and are not able to ascertain where you are and what you browse at the same time. Learn even more about how the Tor network functions in ExpressVPN’s Beginner’s Guide to Tor.

ExpressVPN is curious to hear what you think—try the new onion service and comment anonymously below!

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Lexie is the blog's resident tech expert and gets excited about empowerment through technology, space travel, and pancakes with blueberries.