Censorship is on the rise, with Internet Service Providers arbitrarily deciding which web sites you can and can't browse. Thankfully there's an easy and free solution.
The following method allows you to proxy your traffic to specific web sites through the Tor network, without needing to pay for or slow down your overall internet experience with a system-wide VPN.
Install the Tor service
The Tor service creates a simple local proxy you can use to route traffic through the Tor network.
On Windows, download the Tor Expert Bundle from the Tor web site here. The Expert Bundle only contains the Tor service which is all you need.
If you have a Mac you can use the instructions here.
On Linux you can usually install the Tor service using your operating system package manager. On Ubuntu you would run
sudo apt install tor or on other systems it might be
sudo yum install tor. You may need to manually start the service with
sudo service tor start.
Make sure it works
You can verify the Tor service and proxy are working by loading a command prompt or terminal and connecting to the local proxy port. The command is
telnet localhost 9050. If the connection is established it's working and you can close the telnet connection, usually with
Install and configure a proxy extension
Installing a proxy browser extension allows you to route some or all of your traffic through an server or service. In this example we'll install and configure Proxy SwitchyOmega to route specific blocked sites to the local Tor proxy we installed.
Install Proxy SwitchyOmega for Chrome or Firefox.
Click the extension icon that appears in the browser toolbar and choose
Options to open up the settings page.
In the left menu, click
New Profile. Enter "Tor" as the name and click
Create at the bottom.
Proxy Servers click
Advanced to expand the options.
https:// schemes set the
localhost and the
In the left menu click
In the left menu click the
Add condition button.
To enable browsing of special Tor-only sites, which we may as well do, under
Condition Details enter
*.onion, and under
Profile change it to
For each blocked site you want to access click
Add condition, enter the domain name with a wildcard subdomain, e.g.
*.example.com, and set the
When you're done, in the left menu click
You can now close the Options tab.
The final step is to click the proxy extension icon and choose
auto switch as your connection.
You should now be able to browse any blocked sites!
Getting a new route or external IP address
If you find your Tor connections running slowly or just want to get a new IP address, such as to access geo-blocked content, you can get a new random route as follows:
Windows: Click the Tor onion icon in the system toolbar and choose
Mac: Enter a terminal and restart the Tor service with
killall -HUP tor
Linux: Enter a terminal and restart the Tor service with
sudo service tor restart