You’ve heard of it before: the mysterious dark web. You’re probably equally curious and apprehensive about the whole thing.
But what is the dark web? And more importantly, what cool dark web sites are out there?
Here’s our list of the best dark web websites to visit. Make sure you leave your suggestions in the comments at the end.
Dark Web vs. Deep Web
Well, the deep web refers to anything on the internet that can’t be found using a search engine. That includes emails in your Gmail account, direct messages on social networks, and even your Facebook photos that you marked as private.
The dark web is a sub-section of the deep web. It is responsible for the deep web’s bad reputation. There are black markets selling drugs and other substances, grisly images, and even new identities for sale. Indeed, there are lots of reasons to avoid the dark web entirely.
Yet, at the same time, the dark web is well worth exploring. Amidst the chaos, you’ll find some great websites.
(Note: We’ve explained what is the dark web in more detail if you want to learn more.)
Use a VPN to Access the Dark Web
We strongly recommend shielding yourself with a VPN before you access the dark web. The notion that the Tor browser provides failsafe anonymity is false; you need to protect yourself.
Don’t know which VPN is best for you? There are plenty of options out there, both free and paid, but our 1# ranked VPN is ExpressVPN, which comes with Tor support and three free months.
1. The Hidden Wiki
Onion URL: http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
To visit a .onion site, you’ll have to both know it exists and know its URL. There are a few ways to find active .onion sites. One of them is using a directory of sites, like The Hidden Wiki.
Some of the sites are perfectly legit—such as domain services and email providers. Some—like whistleblowing—may face government censorship in your country. Others cross the divide into illegality. Make sure you’re smart about which dark web links you click on.
Onion URL: https://www.facebookcorewwwi.onion/
You can access Facebook via the dark web by using the official Facebook .onion mirror.
Doing so has two primary benefits. Firstly, you can create and use an account anonymously. You can use Facebook’s services without exposing yourself to the company’s privacy-eroding tentacles.
Secondly, if Facebook is blocked in your location, you can use the dark web Facebook mirror to circumvent the censorship.
Onion URL: http://7rmath4ro2of2a42.onion/
It doesn’t matter where you sit on the political spectrum; almost everyone can agree that the mainstream media is barely fit for purpose.
One solution is to use an open source, community-driven news aggregator such as SoylentNews. Users can submit stories from around the world, and there’s also public discussion forums and an automatic comment moderation system.
Onion URL: https://www.propub3r6espa33w.onion/
ProPublica was one of the first major news outlets to launch a dark web version of its site back in 2016.
ProPublica is a non-profit news organization that aims to “expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business, and other institutions, using the moral force of investigative journalism.”
One of its journalists, Hannah Dreier, won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for her coverage of gangs in Los Angeles. It was ProPublica’s fifth Pulitzer Prize.
Onion URL: https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/
DuckDuckGo is one of the leading private internet search engines on the open web. It doesn’t track your browsing history, location, or any other data.
There’s also a dark web version of the search engine. It’s a great dark web search engine which it affords users an extra layer of protection and anonymity.
Onion URL: http://galaxy3m2mn5iqtn.onion/
If you don’t want to trust the dark web version of Facebook, you could try an entirely dark web-based social network.
One that’s worth checking out is Galaxy3. Obviously, you’re not going to find many of your real-life buddies on there, but you will find experts in computer code, people looking for adult meets, and plenty of other “interesting” characters.
7. Hidden Answers
Onion URL: http://answerszuvs3gg2l64e6hmnryudl5zgrmwm3vh65hzszdghblddvfiqd.onion/
Reddit has dominated the “forum-meets-news” space for more than a decade, but a string of controversies, an influx of new users, and ongoing censorship accusations have seen the site lose of charm in recent years.
Hidden Answers is akin to a dark web version of Reddit; we think it’s one of the best dark web sites. Users seek advice, post stories, and discuss a wide range of topics. Unlike Reddit, Hidden Answers offers users complete anonymity.
Onion URL: http://mail2tor2zyjdctd.onion/
Email is one of the least secure communication systems; the email providers have access to the contents of your inbox. For evidence, look no further the way Google automatically adds travel information, meetings, and other diary entries onto your calendar.
Mail2Tor is an alternative email provider. It lets anyone send and receive email anonymously via webmail or with an email client.
All messages are encrypted, and the company does not log your IP address.
Onion URL: http://onionname3jpufot.onion/
If you want to host your own .onion website, you will need a domain name. You can get a non-sensical domain for free, but if you want a vanity URL, you will need to pay.
Because of the way the network operates, you cannot purchase an onion domain from a regular registrar like GoDaddy. Instead, you will have to use a specialist service. OnionDomain is one such service.
Onion URL: http://torlinksd6pdnihy.onion/
TorLinks is an alternative site to The Hidden Wiki. It provides a list of dark web sites across endless categories.
Although there is some crossover, the list of sites on TorLinks is broadly different from those on The Hidden Wiki. Given the regularity with which .onions sites go offline and disappear, the more directory sites that you know about, the better.
Learn More About the Dark Web
The 10 dark web websites we’ve listed in this article will not be much use to you unless you know how to access and use the dark web.