Data has become a precious commodity, and people will go to great lengths to obtain it. As one of the most popular tools for browsing the internet anonymously, Tor differs quite a lot from your day-to-day web browser. While it is usually associated with the deep or dark web, there is more to it than what meets the eye. With this in mind, we decided to bring you some fascinating Tor stats as well as answers to common questions and misconceptions regarding this browser.
Tor Stats (Editor’s Choice)
- Over two million people use Tor daily. (Daily Dot)
- The US government has played a big part in the development of the Tor Project. (Daily Dot)
- Half of all dark web domains are, in fact, legal. (IMF)
- Russia has the biggest share of daily Tor users. (Tor Project)
- There are over 65,000 unique URLs with the .onion extension on Tor. (IMF)
- The dark web accounts for only 3% of the entire Tor traffic. (The Register)
Eye-Opening Tor Statistics
1. Tor is both a browser and a network.
The Tor name is actually used to describe two different things. First, it refers to a network that hosts volunteer computers, running a server application. Second, it is used for the browser that enables people to use the network.
2. Tor has over two million daily users.
While Tor was initially built for military use, it has since become a tool that can be used by anybody. Tor users range from political activists and journalists to corporations and regular people who want to establish secure communications, avoid surveillance, and bypass censorship.
3. The Dark Web traffic accounts for only 3% of all Tor network traffic.
Though you may think that most people use Tor to access the internet's dark corners, Tor statistics indicate only a small percentage of individuals use it for illicit purposes. The vast majority of people turn to this browser to keep their online actions hidden from advertisers, ISPs, and websites.
4. One of Tor's creators and funders is the US government.
It may come as a surprise, but Tor was mostly developed with financing from the US government in the 1990s and early 2000s. The reason for doing so was to keep its operatives and informants safe as they exchanged information.
5. Russia has the largest share of mean daily users of Tor.
According to the most recent statistics on Tor users by country, Russia leads the pack with 12,194 daily users. The US is second on the list, with an average of 10,792 users daily (20.96%). And with 3,778 daily users (7.34%), Iran comes in third. Tor usage statistics show that Germany, the Netherlands, France, India, Ukraine, and the UK are also among the top 10.
6. About 6.7% of Tor network users connect to .onion/hidden services daily for malicious purposes.
About 6.7% of users visit illicit or dark web-hosted pages, which works out to roughly one in 20 users, or 135,000 of the two million number of Tor users. These users are not evenly spread geographically, with a higher percentage of hidden services traffic coming from politically "free" countries, Tor stats indicate.
7. Tor has over 65,000 unique URLs with the .onion ending.
All .onion domains are part of the dark web, however, this isn’t because the content on them is “dark.” It’s because all the sites’ servers are hidden (as well as the identities of those that run them). In fact, by analyzing 400 randomly selected .onion studies, Terbium Lab’s firm found that over half of all dark web domains are legal.
8. About 100,000 people download the Tor browser from the Tor website every day.
Tor’s popularity stems from the fact that it offers users anonymity at all times, free of charge. Tor stats show that 6,000 volunteer relays are used to achieve this. Every client creates a circuit with three relays and then uses the circuit to connect to the server. The relay's selection algorithms ensure that no relays with the same IP address are connected.
9. In 2019, bitcoin transactions on the dark web were expected to hit $1 billion.
Bitcoin transactions totaled $872 million in 2018, making it one of the most popular means of payment on browsers like Tor and dark web marketplaces. The most popular products are recreational and pharmaceutical drugs, followed by stolen and counterfeit documents like IDs, credit cards, and bank credentials.
10. Lithuania experienced 27 upturns and 23 downturns between July and October 2021, indicating censorship incidents.
Tor statistics unveil that Lithuania had the most censoring attempts throughout that period. Moldova is the runner-up on the list with 18 downturns and 20 upturns, followed by Barbados with 18 downturns and 15 upturns.
11. 26% of internet users in India access the dark web through Tor and other similar platforms.
Tor traffic analysis shows that India has the largest population of people who use Tor to access the dark web. Russia and Brazil are close behind, with 22% and 21%, respectively. Indonesia follows with 20%, while Turkey, South Africa, and Sweden are behind, with 16% each.
12. BitTorrent traffic accounts for a sizable portion of Tor traffic (more than 40%).
In addition, Tor stats show that 70% of BitTorrent users establish P2P connections outside of Tor, rendering the majority of BitTorrent TCP connections (and data) opaque to the Tor network. As a result, the number of BitTorrent users on Tor is likely to be underestimated, exposing more people to hacker attacks.
13. In 2014, Facebook engineers launched a Tor-friendly version of Facebook.
The Tor version of this social network is extremely useful for privacy-conscious people, especially those who live in countries where Facebook is prohibited, such as China and Iran. Alec Muffett, a Facebook software engineer, said in April 2016 that over one million people visited this social media via the gateway every month.
The Bottom Line
Tor is a true guardian of internet privacy, as evidenced by Tor stats. It gives users the flexibility to access whichever website they want while also providing online anonymity. However, unlike some of the best VPNs for Tor, this protection is confined to your browser and does not cover all online activities. Despite its flaws and limitations, this browser remains one of the most effective tools for protecting your online privacy.