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Onion sites, so named because they end with “.onion”, are hosted as Tor hidden services How to Create a Hidden Service Tor Site to Set Up an Anonymous Website or Server How to Create a Hidden Service Tor Site to Set Up an Anonymous Website or Server Tor is an anonymous, secure network that allows anyone to access websites with anonymity. People normally use Tor to access normal websites, but they don’t have to. If you want to set up your own... Read More  – a completely anonymous way to host websites. They’re part of the deep Web 10 Search Engines to Explore the Invisible Web 10 Search Engines to Explore the Invisible Web Read More – an invisible part of the Web that’s not visible to search engines and normal users. It’s full of websites for users obsessed with privacy and anonymity online.

Some of the seedy underbelly of the Web is located here, too, although many of the websites are probably scams, hoaxes, or just traps designed to catch people buying illegal services. There are good uses for .onion sites, though– for example, a political activist in a repressive country How To Quickly Check If Your Site Is Visible Behind The Great Firewall Of China How To Quickly Check If Your Site Is Visible Behind The Great Firewall Of China The Great Firewall of China, officially known as the Golden Shield project, uses a variety of methods to block foreign websites that the Chinese government doesn’t like. The Chinese government doesn’t publish a list of... Read More or a whistleblower could use a .onion site to upload and share sensitive data or communicate anonymously.

Disclaimer about Active Online Sites

While browsing the deep Web, be careful what you click. While much of the content is no doubt entirely made-up, there’s some horrifying imagery you could see if you’re not careful – but then, there’s horrifying stuff on the normal Web, too.

There are those who would criticize websites for writing about such things – and Tor for enabling them. Tor’s Abuse FAQ provides a good defense, noting that:

Criminals can already do bad things. Since they’re willing to break laws, they already have lots of options available that provide better privacy than Tor provides.

Law enforcement already knows these areas of the Web exist – if not on Tor, they’d exist elsewhere. As the FAQ also notes, “Traditional police techniques can still be very effective against Tor.”

Accessing Onion Sites

.onion sites can only be accessed through Tor Anonymous Internet Surfing with Tor Anonymous Internet Surfing with Tor Read More . To get started, you’ll need Tor installed on your computer. The easiest way to use Tor is by downloading and installing the Tor browser bundle, which we’ve mentioned in the past 2 Anonymous Web Browsers That Are Completely Private 2 Anonymous Web Browsers That Are Completely Private A good way to protect our information on the web is to surf the web anonymously, like using Google Chrome’s Incognito mode. To go incognito full-time though, you may want to take a look at... Read More . It includes a modified version of Firefox with Tor and other settings preconfigured.

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After downloading the Tor browser bundle, run the .exe file to extract it and double-click the “Start Tor Browser.exe” file in the extracted folder.

active onion sites

Tor will connect and launch its included browser.

onion sites

Core.onion

Tor doesn’t introduce you to .onion sites when you start using it – it just provides an encrypted way to access the normal Web. To get started with .onion sites, you’ll have to be aware they exist and know their locations. One easy entry point is Core.onion, located at eqt5g4fuenphqinx.onion – remember, you’ll need a Tor-enabled browser to access these links.

onion sites

The Tor Directory link will take you to a directory of .onion sites, which you can browse by category or search. There’s also a link to talk.Masked, an anonymous post board for anonymous discussions.

onion sites

The Hidden Wiki

The Hidden Wiki is theoretically located at this address, although it’s down at the moment. If it’s still down for you, you can access a mirror of the hidden wiki instead.

hidden onion sites

The wiki is a sorted index of active .onion sites by category, but don’t believe everything you read on it. It’s likely full of scams, hoaxes, and other fiction. That said, you could access some very disturbing imagery from here, so be careful what you click.

CircleServices

The Circle site provides links to a variety of .onion-site based services. You can upload and share files, images, or text, create a new bulletin board or join an existing one.

hidden onion sites

There’s also a link to TorPM, a popular email-like private messaging system The 3 Most Secure & Encrypted Email Providers Online The 3 Most Secure & Encrypted Email Providers Online We use email to send close personal secrets, negotiate business transactions and do everything else in between. But most email is sent in plain text and stored in an easily readable format. Encrypted email providers... Read More for Tor users.

hidden onion sites

Deep Search

Deep Search is a search engine for .onion sites. TORCH, a more popular search engine, appears to be down 3 Ways To Figure Out If Your Favorite Website Is Down 3 Ways To Figure Out If Your Favorite Website Is Down There are a few websites out there that are devoted simply to answering the basic question that you'll eventually ask: "Is this website down?" Here, we have three of these websites, and they are all... Read More , so DeepSearch might be your best bet.

active onion sites

Many of the .onion sites you’ll encounter on the Tor deep Web are obsessed with BitCoin BitCoin – Buy, Sell & Trade Using Anonymous Peer-To-Peer Currency BitCoin – Buy, Sell & Trade Using Anonymous Peer-To-Peer Currency Earlier this month two prominent US politicians wrote to US Attorney General Eric Holder to express concerns about the rise of a new online currency – BitCoin. The anonymous, peer-to-peer currency has become very popular... Read More . For more information about BitCoin, check out our free, full guide to BitCoin.

Have you explored the hidden Web on Tor before? Or do you know of any interesting .onion sites worth visiting? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Image Credit: Laptop User (Blurred) via Shutterstock

  1. Onionsearch
    June 13, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    An easy way to start and find new and update onion site is to use that service:
    easyonionsantyma.onion

    easyonionsantyma is also a faucet where you get some satoshis (bitcoin) to use the search engine if you open an acount.

    • Pesiro
      June 27, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      This is by far the best link directory. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 23r243
    May 14, 2016 at 5:48 am

    TorPM for those nights when you simply need a healthy DEEP sleep...

  3. ali
    March 10, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    How do I access tor browser safely on my android device? (Note 5)

    • DingDong
      May 20, 2016 at 10:16 pm

      With the apps Orfox (a Browser) and Orbot (wich connects you to the Tor Network), download both and start Orbot first, second Orfox. First page you'll see is a check if you're connected to Tor services.

  4. Vargis
    December 1, 2015 at 10:53 am

    There are so many sites selling something, but how could I know they are not scammers?

    • anon
      June 18, 2016 at 3:40 am

      You don't

  5. help man
    April 8, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    my tor browser cant assess onions websites, please help...

  6. gnygnr
    March 23, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    gcirdquvlyh4terx.onion legit or swam?

    • sasa
      August 17, 2015 at 6:53 am

      here's a hidden url (onion urls) directory site.

      http://torlinks.info/

      i think most of them there are legit, as they were submitted by users..

  7. Pissy
    October 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Why is it so difficult to get these morons to realize you can't have freedom and control the sex minions at the same time, Screw CP concerns and image concerns and all the do good crap that backs oppression such as the black market causing the exploit of minors and BS, Their your kids, if they get whacked or stolen it's your fuckin fault , stop asking the effiet FOP Government to take your responsibilities. I would rather live next door to Charles Manson in a FREE society then live next door to Billy Graham in China.
    Freedom is NOT a cafeteria plan, you either have it all or don't have any at all.

    Let the Pedos fall where they may, I am not willing to forgo my freedom to discuss the "Secrets of Tesla" in order to abolish Kiddy Porn.
    Why do people jion these free oriented non sensored web sites for no more reason to Whine Piss Moan and Groan about freedom? Get the fuck out of here and Go the the Ozzy And Harriot web dot com g rated bullshit network and leave the free thinkers alone.

    • You are
      March 9, 2015 at 5:31 am

      Got to love Ozzie and Harriet! Guess you didn't know their eldest son David married a playboy centerfold! Their lives not as G as you though huh.

    • BobbyBrown
      December 28, 2015 at 8:46 am

      You leave Ozzy and Harriot out of this.

  8. Robert Tate
    September 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    "I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
    Evelyn Beatrice Hall

    I think you have to be careful when you say you want to shut down any form of free speech. where do draw the line? Now if something is illegal then arrest the perpetrator but to shut down the part of the web..... Really?

    • Chris Hoffman
      September 30, 2012 at 3:44 am

      Yup. Did you know that Tor was originally developed by the US Navy to make government communications private? (see: https://www.torproject.org/about/torusers.html.en ) It's a double-edged sword.

    • Kevin Medeiros
      June 6, 2015 at 6:01 am

      That was a Voltaire quote, by the way.

  9. Kurt Decker
    September 20, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Very good advice! Thank you!!!

  10. Zentrix
    September 12, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I wish to know how can I download videos from YouTube or any other web of videos by using Tor. I'm already aware, of course, that I can get these vids with any other normal browser, but I've been using Tor for a while, and despite of the time of wait, I got used to watch anything on it. The reason of why I'm asking this is because I clicked the download links to get the videos to my PC, but then a pop-up came saying that if I wanted to make some download, first I would have to get some plug-in or proxy in order to make Tor's connection more safe and anonymous.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Peterman
      September 25, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      I come to you.. 4 years later... with a solution!! For youtube at least.
      Simply delete the 3 letters before ".com" from the link of any video you want to download, so it looks like this : "www.yout.com/watch"... etc, and press enter! It will open it in a new window where you'll see how you can download videos, or if it's a song, just the mp3 file! Also, watching any videos that way disables all annoying ads :)

  11. AlphaZed
    September 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Hi, I know this is an old article but I cant load any working .onion sites. It always says Firefox can't establish a connection to the server at "bla-bla".onion
    Is there a possibility that all or most of .onion sites are down?
    Im using tor bundle.
    Thanks.

    great article by the way.

    • Chris Hoffman
      September 30, 2012 at 3:43 am

      It's possible; I'm not sure -- try looking for some other .onion URLs

  12. diaaly
    August 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    hi
    I installed the software and viewed a couple of sites, well this seem to be illegal,but
    is it real, I mean you can hire a murder from these sites and you can order a drug or something ,is it something that governments do not know about it ?
    and if they don't how this should be illegal and harmful if I can access them so easly ?!

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 17, 2012 at 4:37 am

      It's definitely the seedy underbelly of the web.

      Is it actually real, though? Maybe it's some scam artist trying to bilk bad people out of money. Maybe it's the government themselves participating in a sting operation. Maybe it's just completely fake. We don't know.

      As far as drugs though, Silk Road has been written about a lot -- that does seem to be a real marketplace. http://www.npr.org/2011/06/12/137138008/silk-road-not-your-fathers-amazon-com
      (Not an endorsement.)

  13. jutjut
    July 30, 2012 at 10:19 am

    why will my computer not connect to any of them search engine links on tor, people keep saying theres bad stuff and that on hidden wiki and im not getting anything up, what do you type in to use it ?

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 10:36 am

      You have to access them using the Tor browser bundle.

      • Michael
        March 14, 2016 at 11:47 am

        cant get to them on tor too

  14. Go-Ger
    July 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Well, I am using the Tor Browser that comes in the Tor bundle, also I am using Privoxy. When I use the Tor browser I can load any "normal" site, but I have not been able to load .onion sites, I always get the same error message from Privoxy:
    No such domain
    Your request for X could not be fulfilled, because the domain name X could not be resolved.
    any suggestions?

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 10:37 am

      I'm not sure, it's possible the links in the article have gone down and have been replaced. Privoxy could be interfering -- maybe try using the bundle without Privoxy?

  15. anonboy
    July 21, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    well, hidden wiki is working at kpvz7ki2v5agwt35.onion

    • somegirl
      May 2, 2015 at 8:32 am

      <3

  16. Jose Luis Lira Turriza
    June 30, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I like Tor 'cause I love Pedo !!! I Like to fuck 8 years girls !!!

    • Rick
      April 24, 2015 at 1:34 am

      Now that sounds like my cup of tea! :>)

    • Michael
      March 14, 2016 at 10:55 am

      How do you get the underage porn on tor

  17. Jason
    June 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    hey, none of these links appear to be working... could there be something wrong with my tor browser or are they all dead links? really interested in checking out .onions and would be thankful for any info! thanks.

    • Peter
      June 18, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      Hey man, how long are you waiting?
      sometimes TOR takes ages to load. if you have a fast connection it is considerably slower so if your used to rapid speeds forget it with TOR, thats not what its about!

      • Chris Hoffman
        June 19, 2012 at 12:08 am

        Yup, that's another good point. Tor isn't about speed.

      • Jason
        June 19, 2012 at 3:44 am

        no, i have been waiting... it just seems like a lot of the links are down...it will say "connection timed out". and yes, i'm using tor browser. i have no issues waiting for websites.. i am in no hurry. just seems like a ghost town in the deep webs!

        • Chris Hoffman
          June 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm

          It is a ghost town, comparatively.

          It's also possible that some of the sites have gone down (temporarily or permanently).

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 19, 2012 at 12:08 am

      You have to be running a Tor browser to access them -- in other words, open the Tor browser and load this page.

      • 51UL
        June 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm

        Great post man!

  18. sissy
    April 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I'm impressed with your prude readership. C'mon, who's disillusioned with governments' attempt to disrupt the flow of information?- You people are hiding under your red white and blue smocks... Be a patriot and adopt freedom- in all its forms. If you're browsing this site certainly you realize the network will bring peace, because it brings information. Even if it's information that makes your tiny wieners shrivel.

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 17, 2012 at 2:55 am

      Thanks for your perspective. It's not so much about information as it is about people sharing.. let's say, images that most people would agree should stay illegal.

      • sissy
        April 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm

        Of course, 'those' images should be illegal. But what about this, and that, and all this stuff and... Anyways, I was really hoping you would progress the tiny wiener flame. Freedom isn't free, it just costs thousand of pointless deaths in a country far far away from me.

        • Sandra
          May 2, 2012 at 2:33 am

          'If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.' ~Noam Chomsky

          Now stop pretending pictures can harm people, voodoo isn't real.

        • Chris Hoffman
          May 4, 2012 at 12:00 am

          Well, that's a tough issue.

          Pictures can't harm people, but if there's demand and money encouraging people to produce the pictures, that leads to actual harm.

          Ultimately, we do have to accept that the freedom allows people to do this.

          We could solve a lot more crimes by installing surveillance cameras in everyone's houses, but we realize that's a bad idea -- even if it does let some people use the privacy for evil.

    • Mike D
      March 11, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      Sissy,

      You ever heard of TMI? Some things ought not be shared.

      And keep my tiny weener out of it. Too small to get into it anyway.

  19. Kaoz
    April 15, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Why i can't connect to onion core or deep web search?

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 16, 2012 at 1:17 am

      I'm not sure -- are you connecting through the Tor browser?

  20. Raj
    April 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks for explaining how onion sites work. It sure has many uses in repressive regimes around the world. However, the bad stuff that lurks around there is too disturbing (from what you can read on the media).

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 16, 2012 at 1:18 am

      Yes, it's sad but true -- the same protection that offers journalists and activists protection also offers criminals protection. But the criminals already know about it, whether we like it or not.

  21. leio
    April 13, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    one see great tor have
    if you connect tor and do not work with thir firefox
    in message log warn you
    like config their ip and port in chrome he warn you
    you have leak maybe

  22. Brent R Jones
    April 13, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Is there a real community within TOR? Is it ever possible to be anonymous on the Internet? If there were useful conversations and information there I would use it. But stealth is the opposite of sharing.

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 14, 2012 at 7:55 am

      Tor is generally used to access the external web, not .onion sites.

  23. Vox
    April 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    TOR is a great tool for keeping yourself anonymous. But from what I have found from a lot of the .onion sites its not something that should be played around with.

    The hidden wiki is something I think should remain shut down. There is no good information, just something that hurts our society.

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 14, 2012 at 7:55 am

      I think some of these services could have valid uses for people in certain countries to communicate entirely within Tor (say, journalists in oppressive countries).

      There's a lot of bad stuff on there, but a lot of it seems like hoaxes.

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