Need some help to understand how TOR browser works

I just launched the TOR browser and went to It showed two IP addresses and 83 (!?) DNS servers, almost all of them located in USA and operated by Google. Please help me to understand what this is all about (see the screenshots):


You’re using Tor to access the web.

Tor Browser has a default bookmark titled “Learn more about Tor”:

There’s also an FAQ over here:

If there’s something specific then post back.

Remember that this doesn’t make you anonymous if you use it for normal web browsing (e.g. logging in to sites, posting comments, etc.), and please don’t use it for streaming media (unless you have no other choice).




Thanks for the links! I’ll read through them.

If you could, would you just tell me if it is normal that my connection via TOR to access the web goes through all those severs (83 of them) and almost all operated by Google.

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That’s DNS servers only. Your traffic goes through the two servers at the top.


Great! Thanks!

Now back to reading up on TOR!


There are a million guides and explanations on the web, just search:

There are written articles explaining it, videos, infographics… You name it.


How about theatrical performances?
Not sure if i’ll be able to grasp the concept without some great acting…


I just needed a “quick and dirty” answer! So sorry for the bother!

Modern dance would do it for me!


I only found this, not sure how relevant: Under The Sea w Tor - YouTube


This clarifies it all, with a bit of imagination:



I read in the following

that adding extra addons to Tor browser is not recommended. How detrimental is it to the functionality of tor, say, replacing NoScript that comes preinstalled, by uMatrix for example? I find the latter more manageable than the former.

As soon as you start installing extensions and making changes then you make your browser fingerprint unique. The defaults were chosen to provide a reasonable level of security while allowing many people to share the same fingerprint, thereby improving browser anonymity.

Obviously you can start changing its settings, but then why would you use Tor Browser and make things work more like a standard browser?


Sure. That makes perfect sense. I shall start looking a bit more at NoScript.
Thanks for further explanation!

True, only if javascript is enabled. No javascript, no fingerprint.

Even the Tor browser with javascript enabled leaks enough underlying system details to make a fingerprint pretty much unique.

The only way to browse with reasonable privacy and javscript enabled is within a VM, for those who value privacy and could be bothered.

Multiple rotating VMs for multiple use cases.


If that’s the case then the entire premise of the default settings is broken, and would be a pretty major issue in their design. :thinking:

I seem to think that disabled JavaScript has its own fingerprint, too.

Need to read a bit more to refresh my memory (and check for updates etc.).

Not totally, but enough.

TOR is forked and tweaked Firefox ESR.

There is only so much TOR can do to obfuscate and mitigate fingerprinting without breaking the browser. Sophisticated fingerprinting scripts still manage to get more than enough detail to identify and track. Less unique does not imply not unique.

Yes, a lack of discoverable system details would lead to a level of uniqueness too, I guess. Better of two evils though, IMHO.


Good way to run the TOR browser is within a TAILS VM.

Download the ISO and boot into a live environment with a VM.


Can I conclude that there is always some degree of “uniqueness” no matter what you do to obfuscate it. It makes it hard to decide then to what degree replacing an add-on with another one could make the browser more or less unique.

If your fingerprint is unique and rarely changes then you will be identified and tracked wherever you web surf. This is just the nature of the world nowadays, sadly.

Google & Facebook et al go to extraordinary lengths to make this so.

I’ve been using VMs for a while, similar to how Rob Braxman uses them above, but only for particular use cases and particular sites.

@jonathon is right though, if you use the Tor browser you should not be using any additional addons with it.

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