As one of the most popular proxy softwares, Tor can be used on Windows, Mac, Linux/BSD/Unix, Android and Nokia Maemo/N900 systems, with multiple languages supported.
The following will show you how to use its basic and most popular 2 versions — Tor Browser Bundle and Vidalia Bundle on Windows and Mac.
1. Download Tor
On the Download page, you can choose to download the right version according to your computer systems.
For Tor Browser Bundle, you can and only can use its own browser (based on Firefox) to use its proxy service; and for Vidalia Bundle, you can use your Firefox, Chrome, Safari or some other browsers by setting their network proxies.
By the way, you can choose the Tor browser output language before downloading Tor Browser Bundle.
2. Run Tor
No matter which version you downloaded, you can extract or install the package and run the Tor service directly.
For Tor Browser Bundle, you can run the "Start Tor Browser" (for Windows) or "TorBrowser" (for Mac) file, and for Vidalia Bundle, you can run the "Vidalia" file.
If the onion icon turns green, then the Tor proxy is working.
3. Add bridges
If the onion icon doesn't turn green, then the current Tor network is blocked, and the easiest way to solve the problem is to open the Vidalia's "Network" settings page, to select "My ISP blocks connections to the Tor network", and to add some bridges.
So, how to get bridges for Tor? The following are 2 ways for your choice:
3.1 Via web
Visit the Bridges page, and enter the verification code, then you can get 2 bridges.
3.2 Via email
You can send an email with "get bridges" subject to "[email protected]" via your Gmail, soon you will get three newest bridges.
By the way, there used to be a "Find Bridges Now" button for to you get bridges directly, as mentioned before, but which is gone now.
4. Set browser network proxy
For Tor Browser Bundle, you can unblock the blocked site with its own browser directly, and for Vidalia Bundle, you need to change the SOCKS proxy to "127.0.0.1 : 9050".
Take Firefox for example, you can find the proxy settings page via the following path:
Preference –> Advanced –> Network –> Settings
And select "Manual proxy configuration" to enter "127.0.0.1" & "9050" on the SOCKS column. By the way, you'd better select SOCKS v4, since SOCKS v5 may be not workable.
Between Tor Browser Bundle and Vidalia Bundle, the first one is easier and more safe, but you can only use its own browser.