Let's say, if I use both NordVPN's own software (random VPN location) and its Google Chrome VPN extension (random VPN location), does this add an extra layer of protection/encryption - means hiding internet activity from ISP and/or from your network plus an encryption- ?

Or connecting to the VPN server via NordVPN software plus Epic browser's VPN, what kind of protection is that?

Is it double layer or just connecting to different ports?

  • Why do you want an extra layer if protection? – Vipul Nair Jan 24 at 20:32
  • What? Extra layer would put another protection.. – kadel12576 Jan 24 at 20:36
  • Protection from what? – Vipul Nair Jan 24 at 20:39
  • Protection from ISP or from school/work network in order to do not show which websites/urls we visit.. – kadel12576 Jan 24 at 20:41
  • Truth about VPNs is: Can you trust it? What do you mean by protection/encryption? Do you mean privacy? Protection from """"lawful interception"""" ??? I really don't mean to attack your question, but it doesn't really make sense – Soutzikevich Jan 24 at 20:41

great question!

First, lets break down what browser and standard VPN can do:

Standard VPN will tunnel ALL your traffic through VPN server.

Browser VPN will tunnel ONLY the traffic sent to websites.

Tunneling - meaning that the data sent from your requests (or OS requests) will be encrypted, and will be sent to VPN server. The VPN server will decrypt it, read it, encrypt (where possible) and forward your request to original sender. After receiving response he will do the same steps in reverse order.

Now, regarding your question about ADDITIONAL layer of security, it all depends on several things:

Is VPN service transparent? - Meaning will it show the original IP of the sender or not?

Does VPN have are under agreement block the traffic to restricted sites? (i.e. Kaspersky VPN in Russia is obliged to block the traffic to blacklisted sites, meaning it have to INSPECT the traffic being sent through it)

In general, additional layer of security that you gain depends on against what exactly you are trying to protect your data.

One of the examples is - Browser VPN does not support anonymity, but standard VPN does not, so you want to implement both in order to maximize anonymity.

  • A VPN will just say it provides anonymity. The truth is, we can't know it. A user can choose to either trust a VPN provider or not. – Soutzikevich Jan 24 at 20:47
  • Hi! There are too many variables to your statements. I.e. the reputation of the service provider, country where the service provider is located (fear of GDPR repercussions) and so on. – Rashad Novruzov Jan 24 at 20:50
  • By too many variables, do you mean that there are stuff I did not consider before saying that all VPN providers can't be trusted? If yes, then do you have actual proof, or is there some way to obtain proof that VPN providers will always respect their users' privacy? Here is a quick 10 minutes read, which is I believe is worth your time! gist.github.com/joepie91/5a9909939e6ce7d09e29 – Soutzikevich Jan 24 at 20:53
  • @RashadNovruzov what do you mean by transparent? The VPNs hides your ip and shows different ip to websites. – kadel12576 Jan 24 at 20:55
  • Kadel, I am sorry, my answer was a bit misleading. I meant that some VPN providers do not have privacy of the end user protected by contractual obligations, so they can disclose it at the first request. That is rare though now. – Rashad Novruzov Jan 24 at 20:58

No, using two VPNs (desktop + browser) does not increase your privacy.

Your best option is to use Tor + VPN, ideally on a VM, such as Tails.

To give you a better understanding about the privacy implications about VPN providers, I have copied this great post from this GitHub repository, which is published under the WTFPL.

Don't use VPN services.

No, seriously, don't. You're probably reading this because you've asked what VPN service to use, and this is the answer.

*Note: The content in this post does not apply to using VPN for their intended purpose; that is, as a virtual private (internal) network. It only applies to using it as a glorified proxy, which is what every third-party "VPN provider" does.*

A Russian translation of this article can be found here, contributed by Timur Demin. There's also this article about VPN services, which is honestly better written (and has more cat pictures!) than my article.

Why not?

Because a VPN in this sense is just a glorified proxy. The VPN provider can see all your traffic, and do with it what they want - including logging.

But my provider doesn't log!

There is no way for you to verify that, and of course this is what a malicious VPN provider would claim as well. In short: the only safe assumption is that every VPN provider logs.

And remember that it is in a VPN provider's best interest to log their users - it lets them deflect blame to the customer, if they ever were to get into legal trouble. The $10/month that you're paying for your VPN service doesn't even pay for the lawyer's coffee, so expect them to hand you over.

But a provider would lose business if they did that!

I'll believe that when HideMyAss goes out of business. They gave up their users years ago, and this was widely publicized. The reality is that most of their customers will either not care or not even be aware of it.

But I pay anonymously, using Bitcoin/PaysafeCard/Cash/drugs!

Doesn't matter. You're still connecting to their service from your own IP, and they can log that.

But I want more security!

VPNs don't provide security. They are just a glorified proxy.

But I want more privacy!

VPNs don't provide privacy, with a few exceptions (detailed below). They are just a proxy. If somebody wants to tap your connection, they can still do so - they just have to do so at a different point (ie. when your traffic leaves the VPN server).

But I want more encryption!

Use SSL/TLS and HTTPS (for centralized services), or end-to-end encryption (for social or P2P applications). VPNs can't magically encrypt your traffic - it's simply not technically possible. If the endpoint expects plaintext, there is nothing you can do about that.

When using a VPN, the only encrypted part of the connection is from you to the VPN provider. From the VPN provider onwards, it is the same as it would have been without a VPN. And remember, the VPN provider can see and mess with all your traffic.

But I want to confuse trackers by sharing an IP address!

Your IP address is a largely irrelevant metric in modern tracking systems. Marketers have gotten wise to these kind of tactics, and combined with increased adoption of CGNAT and an ever-increasing amount of devices per household, it just isn't a reliable data point anymore.

Marketers will almost always use some kind of other metric to identify and distinguish you. That can be anything from a useragent to a fingerprinting profile. A VPN cannot prevent this.

So when should I use a VPN?

There are roughly two usecases where you might want to use a VPN:

  1. You are on a known-hostile network (eg. a public airport WiFi access point, or an ISP that is known to use MITM), and you want to work around that.
  2. You want to hide your IP from a very specific set of non-government-sanctioned adversaries - for example, circumventing a ban in a chatroom or preventing anti-piracy scareletters.

In the second case, you'd probably just want a regular proxy specifically for that traffic - sending all of your traffic over a VPN provider (like is the default with almost every VPN client) will still result in the provider being able to snoop on and mess with your traffic.

However, in practice, just don't use a VPN provider at all, even for these cases.

So, then... what?

If you absolutely need a VPN, and you understand what its limitations are, purchase a VPS and set up your own (either using something like Streisand or manually - I recommend using Wireguard). I will not recommend any specific providers (diversity is good!), but there are plenty of cheap ones to be found on LowEndTalk.

But how is that any better than a VPN service?

A VPN provider specifically seeks out those who are looking for privacy, and who may thus have interesting traffic. Statistically speaking, it is more likely that a VPN provider will be malicious or a honeypot, than that an arbitrary generic VPS provider will be.

So why do VPN services exist? Surely they must serve some purpose?

Because it's easy money. You just set up OpenVPN on a few servers, and essentially start reselling bandwidth with a markup. You can make every promise in the world, because nobody can verify them. You don't even have to know what you're doing, because again, nobody can verify what you say. It is 100% snake-oil.

So yes, VPN services do serve a purpose - it's just one that benefits the provider, not you.

This post is licensed under the WTFPL or CC0, at your choice. You may distribute, use, modify, translate, and license it in any way.

  • But this still doesnt answer my question, i am asking using both desktop vpn and browser based vpn extension together in an oppressive regime (country). – kadel12576 Jan 24 at 21:11
  • @kadel12576 The answer is no, it doesn't. Exactly for the reasons I explain in my answer. Also, the first sentence of my answer gives you a way to protect your privacy in any country: Your best option is to use Tor + VPN, ideally on a VM, such as Tails. However, there are other techniques for deanonymizing Tor – Soutzikevich Jan 24 at 21:13
  • First "Tor + VPN" is tricky to use correctly. Establishing Tor first then setting up a VPN through Tor is self defeating as you've self identified all your Tor traffic by routing it through the single point VPN. Doing the reverse of Tor after a VPN works but the only good reason to do that is to hide the fact you're using Tor from your local connection, there's no added value otherwise, only additional connection risks. Second a personal VPS is a 1-to-1 correlation to you! Third all your other concerns about fingerprinting and tracking, while true, are also common across all. – user10216038 Jan 26 at 17:15
  • From your comment, my understanding is that you either don't understand how Tor works, or you didn't bother to read the whole answer, or read it hastily. Down-voting this answer is your right, but IMHO, your comment makes absolutely no sense to the context of the question/answer given here. To clarify, the OP asked if using 2 VPNs gives them an extra layer of security. I replied, Tor+VPN will give you that extra layer of security. Here is a relevant post you can use to educate yourself: protonvpn.com/blog/tor-vpn There are more resources online, just use Google. – Soutzikevich Jan 26 at 23:11

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