The dark web is that mysterious part of the web that most people only get to with the Tor browser. Websites with the suffix ‘.onion’ host hidden services that aren’t accessible through regular browsers (unless you do a lot of tweaking). The Tor browser, however, enables you to visit these services while also giving you a layer of anonymity. When the dark web is in the news, it is often in association with illegal practices. There are countless stories of “dark markets” where you can buy anything illegal such as drugs, weapons or fake passports. There is an element of truth to this, but quite often, these stories are overhyped, untrue, and exaggerated.
Usually, the more positive and sometimes surprisingly wholesome things you can find on the dark web are never mentioned. This article is dedicated to showing that there is another side to the dark web. We even provide the most up-to-date links so you can find out for yourself.
We comprised a list of websites you can visit if you are curious about the dark web, but want to visit it in a secure manner. Some websites on the list are quite serious, while others are just very silly. Happy exploring! Don’t know how to get on the dark web? Check our guide on how to access the dark web!
Caution: Safety first when accessing the dark web
If you venture further on the dark web, it is wise to take some safety measures. Since the dark web is unregulated, there is an increased risk of malware infections and cyber criminals going after your data. Make sure you have antivirus software installed and that you use a VPN. A VPN encrypts and secures all your internet traffic. It safeguards your privacy online and protects you against certain forms of cybercrime.
To get started, you could try out Surfshark. For less than $2.50 per month, Surfshark protects all your internet data with heavy encryption, so it becomes far more difficult to intercept your data. Plus, you become anonymous when using Surfshark, since your IP address will be hidden. This prevents governments, internet service providers and hackers from tracing your online steps. Surfshark offers a 30 days money-back-guarantee, so you can try it without risk. It’s an important step if you want to explore the dark web in a safe manner.
- Very user-friendly and works with Netflix and torrents
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Section 1: Dark Web Search Engines
Although the dark web does not host any search engines like Google, it is still possible to navigate the landscape of the dark web through search engines and directories, if you know where to look. A number of the following sites might help you along your way.
1. Hidden Wiki
The Hidden Wiki is a dark web Wikipedia where you can find links to different websites on the dark web. As you may notice in this article, the URLs of dark web pages are often nonsensical. This makes it difficult to find the website you’re looking for. On the Hidden Wiki they do a lot of the searching for you. Moreover, they provide informative pages on a range of topics that can be an interesting read.
Watch out that you do not click on a link to something you do not want to see, because the Hidden Wiki doesn’t just index legal websites. In fact, there are many different “Hidden Wiki” sites out there. The Hidden Wiki used to be known for hosting, or at least, indexing a bunch of pedophile websites and has therefore been the subject of cyberattacks by the FBI and Anonymous. Many copycats and spin-offs of the Hidden Wiki have also been created. Don’t be surprised if you come across “The Official Hidden Wiki” or “The Uncensored Hidden Wiki”. It is best to stay away from these spin-off sites, however. Most Hidden Wiki sites to this day provide links to some parts of the dark web you would not want to visit. The best way to deal with this is to just stick to the categories that are relatively risk-free.
Link to the Hidden Wiki: http://zqktlwiuavvvqqt4ybvgvi7tyo4hjl5xgfuvpdf6otjiycgwqbym2qad.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that is also available on the surface web. As opposed to other search engines, DuckDuckGo does not collect or share any of your personal information. The search engine is ideal if you want to be completely anonymous on the web. On the dark web it is used because it also shows .onion websites. Most regular surface search engines do not index .onion websites. Thus, a regular search engine won’t bring you anywhere on the dark web, but DuckDuckGo will.
Link to DuckDuckGo: https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/
This aptly named site is there to help you see your way through the dark web, figuratively speaking. Candle is a search engine for just the dark web and functions basically just like Google, except that it is nowhere near as useful. The dark web simply isn’t designed to be neatly organized and indexed. The whole purpose of the majority of services on the dark web is to remain hidden, except for a select group of people who are “in the know”. This is why Candle should be seen as a minor tool, a small candle in a long dark hallway. The search engine will allow you to see just a tiny bit clearer in the dark, but not much. Also be wary of clicking any links that the Candle search-engine offers up, as they are not filtered for malicious or illegal content. As always when browsing the dark web, exercise common sense and remain vigilant.
Link to Candle: http://gjobqjj7wyczbqie.onion/
4. Not Evil
This is another search engine on the dark web. This site is interesting as it appears to directly contradict its own mission statement, which is to be a “contribution to what one hopes is a growing shield against the tyranny of an intolerant majority.” They do not accept donations and they strictly forbid illegal content such as child pornography, weapons, narcotics or any other illegal content.
This does not prevent the site to host links to illegal hidden services, though. If you look up “cocaine”, for example, the Not Evil search engine will find some links to online markets, guides, or referral sites associated with the illegal substance. Not Evil also hosts a chat service where any member can create a new topic. These topics range from disturbed to the depraved. Most of the content is, however, spam.
It is reasonable to assume that hackers, scammers, and even law enforcement officials can be found on such chat services. Law Enforcement officials sometimes venture onto the dark web in an attempt to catch wrongdoers and might even attempt to trick you into illegal activities as part of a “honey-pot operation”.
Link to Not Evil: http://hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion/
Searx is yet another search engine you can use on both the regular and dark web. The advantage of SearX is that you can make your search queries incredibly detailed. You can look for files, images, maps, music, news, science, social media posts, videos, and much more. So, if you are looking for something incredibly detailed, SearX is the search engine to use.
Link to SearX: http://ulrn6sryqaifefld.onion/
Section 2: Dwelling the Dark Web
The dark web is full of surprising sites. One of them is Facebook. Although we do not recommend you logging into Facebook for any kind of online protection, it is striking this social media site has such enormous presence on the dark web.
This is a mirror website of the real Facebook. By creating a Facebook account through the dark web you can attempt to do so completely anonymous. However, this takes a lot of work, because, as we know, Facebook likes collecting all the data they can.
More importantly, this mirror version of the social network is a way around government censorship. Some regimes censor social media or make them completely inaccessible for their people. They do this to eliminate any form of opposition. By using the dark web version of Facebook people can attempt to stay anonymous.
Link to the Facebook mirror: https://www.facebookcorewwwi.onion/
7. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
Although Bitcoins are only just now becoming popular with the general public, it has been the currency of the dark web for years. It will come as no surprise that there are many cryptocurrency websites on the dark web. On sites like Onion Wallet, GreenAddress and Smartmixer you can manage your cryptocurrencies, as well as buy and sell them.
Moreover, you can check how your stocks are doing to see if it is the right time to buy or sell. Since Bitcoins are used to buy products on the dark web, it is no wonder there also is a virtual wallet.
Link to Onion Wallet: http://ow24et3tetp6tvmk.onion/
Link to GreenAddress: http://s7a4rvc6425y72d2.onion/en/
Link to Smartmixer.io: http://smrtmxdxognxhv64.onion/en/start-mixing
8. BBC Tor Mirror
Some countries and governments exert strict online censorship and block access to foreign news sites. The BBC website is a prime example of a news source which is not accessible in certain oppressive countries. At least not on the surface web. That is where Tor comes in.
The BBC has made a special Tor mirror of its news website, which is available on the dark web. The goal is to offer people a way to anonymously access the BBC website without restrictions, regardless of where someone lives. The dark web copy of the BBC News website is an international edition. This means it does not primarily focus on the United Kingdom, but covers news from all over the world.
Link to the official BBC mirror on the dark web: http://bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion/
9. Tor Metric
On the Tor Metric you can find more information about the Tor Project. If you are interested in privacy and how the Tor project works, this website can give you some insight. Moreover, if you’re researching Tor and the dark web for a school project this website can help you with statistics. Among other things, you can see how many people use the Tor browser and how many .onion websites there are. The statistics of Tor users can also give you a good indication of how much activity there is on the dark web, how many hidden services exist, and where most users on the dark web are from.
Some fun facts:
- Only about 6% of Tor users use the browser to access the dark web.
- Some of the most prolific Tor users are from countries with relatively small populations, such as Germany or the Netherlands.
- The Tor browser has been downloaded around half a million times in 2019 alone.
Link to Tor Metric: http://rougmnvswfsmd4dq.onion/
10. Hidden Answers
Hidden Answers can be described as a dark web version of Reddit or Quora. You can ask any question you like, without any censorship. Others in the community will try to answer your queries. It can also be fun just to look around. Do remember, that this an unfiltered part of the internet and you might encounter conversations that you do not want to see.
This is also a great place to ask questions about the dark web, if you are new to this part of the internet. It’s a safer to option to visit some dark web subreddits for specific questions on the dark web, however.
Link to Hidden Answers: http://answerstedhctbek.onion/
Secure Drop is a place where whistleblowers and journalists can meet. The dark web is the only way that whistleblowers have a chance to share their information without being certain that they will be tracked. Whistleblowers have damaging information about a company or government and try to share this with journalists. If they do so on the surface web, they will likely be traced and, in some cases, punished. Secure Drop is an .onion website that protects the privacy of whistleblowers and journalists all over the world. Many important publishers and news organizations have realized the power of anonymous whistleblowers on the dark web and set up their own SecureDrop URL. Some notable examples include:
- Forbes: http://t5pv5o4t6jyjilp6.onion/
- The Financial Times: http://xdm7flvwt3uvsrrd.onion/
- Reuters: http://smb7p276iht3i2fj.onion/
Link to Secure Drop: http://secrdrop5wyphb5x.onion/
Section 3: E-mail Services on the Dark Web
There are plenty of email providers out there besides Outlook and Gmail. Have a look around at some of the amazing services that are provided for free.
ProtonMail is a Swiss encrypted email service that is among the very best of the e-mail clients out there. They use end-to-end encryption and don’t keep any logs. Moreover, you do not need to provide them with personal information if you want to create an account.
Link to ProtonMail: https://protonirockerxow.onion/
SecMail has become one of the most used dark web email providers of the past few years. Although they only provide a measly 25 mb per user, this tends to be more than enough for PGP-encrypted messages. However, this would probably not be enough if you want to use it as your standard mail service.
Link to SecMail: http://secmailw453j7piv.onion/
Mailpile is another e-mail client that aims to keep your emails out of the hands of others. It encrypts your emails and you can store your own emails without having to share them in the cloud. Another big plus is that it’s free open source software.
Link to Mailpile: http://clgs64523yi2bkhz.onion/
Section 4: Miscellaneous Sites on the Dark Web
15. Comic Book Library
Are you a comic lover? On the Comic Book Library you can download thousands of comic books, ranging from very mainstream titles to very niche comics. Just be aware of any possible copyright infringement when you access comics through the Comic Book Library, even though you are largely anonymous while using Tor.
Link to the Comic Book Library: http://r6rfy5zlifbsiiym.onion/
16. Deep Web Radio
Looking for some accompanying music while you browse the dark web? You’re in luck, because the dark web has its own digital radio station. With Deep Web Radio you can choose between all kinds of music streams via Tor. When we checked, we could choose between 11 different channels, all with different music genres being played.
Link to Deep Web Radio: http://76qugh5bey5gum7l.onion/
Curiosity is a beautiful thing, but remember it also killed the cat! It can be interesting to take a look on the dark web, but it is also quite dangerous. Before you know it you could have clicked on a corrupted link and your computer might be infected with malware. For this reason, we advise you not to go there if you do not have a good reason to do so.
If you do want to have a look around, make sure you have some security measures in place to protect yourself against any online attacks.
Visiting the dark web is not without risks, which is why we recommend you take the following measures to protect you and your device.
First of all, you need good anti-malware software. To prevent your device from becoming infected with viruses or spyware you need to install good anti-malware. This type of software is essential, even when you’re only browsing the surface web.
Secondly, you need to find a good VPN. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is software that encrypts all of your internet traffic and hides your real IP address. Just to be safe, it’s best to use a VPN so nobody will be able to see that you’re visiting the dark web. Moreover, hackers on the dark web won’t be able to trace your actions back to your personal IP address. Some good VPN providers are Surfshark, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and IPVanish.
Finally, you should use your common sense. Do not click on any links you do not trust and do not fill in any personal information on the dark web.
The dark web sounds mysterious and maybe even scary, but some of the .onion websites are very mundane. For regular internet users there isn’t really a good reason to go there. But if you do, you might want to visit one of these 10 websites. Remember that there is a lot of seedy business going down on the dark web, so do not click on anything you do not trust.
Use your common sense and have fun exploring!