It is getting pretty common for Internet Service Providers and Governments to block access to and censor websites that they don’t want internet users to see, they would be very successful if it weren’t for some great app developers who really care, such as the guys who developed the Tor software.
So What exactly is the Tor Browser Bundle or TBB?
The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access websites which are blocked or censored.
If you are an average or higher internet user you should have experience in using Torrents? and so you might agree that the concept behind Tor’s distributed network relays are a little similar to Torrent’s distributed P2P architecture.
Basically there are some volunteers around the world allowing us to connect to their computers or relays so that we could bypass the restrictions and/or censorship forced on us. This also means that you could return the favor by opting in to make your computer part of the relay network, Thus helping others 🙂 If you want you can learn more about how Tor actually works.
TBB is 100% Free! No stings attached. Using TBB, you can bypass any sorts of bans and censorship on any websites ‐ and its a pretty quick and easy process too 🙂
TBB can run on almost all platforms including Windows, Max OS X and even Linux without needing to install any software’s. It can easily run off USB Flash Drive too, it also comes pre-configured with a default web browser; The bundled web browser is a portable version of Firefox, which has been optimized by Tor for best browsing experience.
I personally didn’t want to use the bundled browser (mainly because i don’t like the idea of having one more browser in my system, my personal choice though really), and so i went to the trouble of figuring out how to use TBB with the pre-installed browsers that were already installed on my computer before installing TBB. It was easy enough 🙂
The first thing you need, would be the software itself and you can get that by going over to the Tor Browser Bundle Download Page and download the software from there.
Once downloaded you will have a self-extracting zip archive, double click and choose the path/folder where you want to place all the files in; Remember, this could be anything you want..
If you (for example) chose C:\ – You can navigate to your C drive and see a new folder named Tor Browser. This folder contains all the files you’ll need and you’ll also be happy to know that this is all there is to installing TBB on your computer.
But we’re still not quite done yet so please be a little more patient 🙂
The first thing you will see after running the program is the Vidalia Control Panel, its a GUI control panel for the the Tor software. As soon as it appears on your screen it starts connecting to the Tor network, it does that to gather the information needed to setup a Relay for you.
As soon as the necessary information is fetched the Portable Firefox application will start-up on your screen and you should see a message something like in the below picture.
That’s it! – Tor Browser Bundle software is successfully installed on your computer and is ready to unblock all the websites you have been restricted from viewing.
Using Tor Browser Bundle with any other web browser
This is an optional step so follow the below instructions ONLY if you want to use your current choice of web browser instead of the Portable Firefox browser bundled with TBB. I highly recommend that you stick with the bundled web browser because it has been pre-configured and optimized by Tor for best privacy and security!
If you don’t want to use the bundled Firefox browser you can easily configure your choice of web browser to run with Tor. You’ll obviously have to configure your web browser but before that you also need to do something else.
- Look inside the Tor Browser folder. You will see a folder named FirefoxPortable, you can delete that folder if you don’t plan on using the bundled browser (but i recommend you just rename it in-case you change your mind or something).
- Next, you need to configure your choice of web browser to run using Tor. We will be using Firefox as an example, but the process is pretty much the same for all the other web browsers too.
- Basically all you have to is change the way Firefox connects to the web; This can be done by going to Options > Advanced > Network options panel from your browser.
- Inside this tab you will see at the to a button saying Settings, Click it and it will display another pop-up screen where you can configure your connection settings for Firefox.
- Use the below image to replicate my configuration.
Did it work?
It took me quite some time to post this so if this helped you or if you have any questions or comments then please use the comment form below. I also have other post pending that will show more ways to unblock all the websites, even if the above method worked for you – its never a bad idea to have backup methods, just in-case 🙂 So if you’re interested Subscribe by Email and/or follow us on facebook or twitter for instant updates.
This article was last updated on December 21, 2012