You’ve no doubt heard of the Dark Web and of its bad reputation, but maybe you want to take a look for yourself. Unfortunately, its not as easy as this. Firstly, you need to find out how to access the dark web and download a dark web browser, then you need to find some dark websites to look at. Then finally, there seems to be something about onions? If all this seems like a total minefield then check out the below guide, plus some great dark websites to get you started.
What is the Deep Web?
The deep web is basically anything on the internet that can’t be found using a search engine. This could be things like your DMs or private images on social networks, or your personal emails from within your Gmail account.
What is the Dark Web?
The Dark Web, is a sub-section of the deep web and is largely responsible for the deep web’s bad reputation. This is where you may find black markets, identities for sale or unpleasant/dark images.
Although, if you know where to find them and sort through all the clutter, you’ll also find some great dark web websites.
Please just be careful when browsing the dark web. The dark web can be a very interesting place with some great websites to explore. But whilst it’s interesting it can also be pretty dangerous and you need to be careful whilst browsing it.
How to Access the Dark Web
Before you get started, to access the dark web you’ll need to download and use a dark web browser, the most popular and safest option is Tor Browser
Tor Browser in a technology that bounces internet users’ traffic through relays, run by thousands of volunteers around the world. This makes it extremely hard for anyone to be able to identify the source of the information or the location of the user.
Tor with a VPN
Now in relation to whether you should use a VPN or not causes a lot of controversy. Some state that using a VPN in addition to Tor will not make you more anonymous and could harm your anonymity. Some others claim that onion over Tor (ie connecting to a VPN first is fine). However, if you check on the Tor Project they state that;
“Generally speaking, we don’t recommend using a VPN with Tor unless you’re an advanced user who knows how to configure both in a way that doesn’t compromise your privacy.”
Best Dark Web Websites To Get Started
The dark web has many great websites for you to explore. I’ve only mentioned a few in my list of best dark websites but if there’s any you’d like to recommend please put them in the comments!
Please just be careful when browsing the dark web and use these links at your own risk.
The Hidden Wiki
One of the most well-known places that people want to visit is the Hidden Wiki. However, the Hidden Wiki is a generic name used by a number of directory of sites. And not all directory is the same, nor safe.
Due to the some of these sites being temperamental I’d recommend checking out Reddit as here is a good place to get started.
Hidden Answers is like the dark web version of Reddit. It is where users can ask questions and advice, post stories and discuss a whole host of topics. Hidden Answers is an anonymous way to post your questions on any subject. And other users browsing can then answer these also anonymously.
Although Reddit is still very popular, a lot of people have started moving away. This is due to ongoing censorships accusations and the fact its moving away from its free speech roots.
Hidden Answers – http://answerszuvs3gg2l64e6hmnryudl5zgrmwm3vh65hzszdghblddvfiqd.onion/
Although many will believe that visiting Facebook over Tor is a contradiction. Connecting to Facebook through Tor can offer a way to access the site even if it’s censored in your country. This can all be achieved by using a Tor Bridge.
Facebook – https://www.facebookcorewwwi.onion/
If you don’t want use the dark web version of Facebook, or if you don’t trust it. There are a whole host of dark-web based social networks. such as or Galaxy3.
Now, it’s quite unlikely that you’ll find friends and family members on there to chat with. But you may find experts in coding, people looking for adult meets and other “interesting” characters too!
If you fancy checking out another dark-web based social network or forums with news and discussions too, Dread is a great alternative.
Dread was made by a reddit user known as ‘HugBunter’, and was inspired by the recent ban of the ‘darknetmarkets’ subreddit. The goal of Dread is to offer a censorship free forum, like Reddit but with more services. The are offers services such as market penetration testing and market development/hosting assistance.
If your searching for content and don’t want to give up on your privacy, DuckDuckGo is a great alternative to Google, who collects a lot of your information.
DuckDuckGo is a private internet search engine which is available on the open web and available as a Google Chrome extension. One of its privacy features is the fact that it doesn’t track your browsing history, location, or any other data. The results from your search are always neutral too unlike Google which is sometimes known for being biased.
Since the release of Tor Browser 6.0.6, you’ll also find that DuckDuckGo is the primary search engine. And there’s also a dark web version of the search engine, giving you an extra level of anonymity and protection.
DuckDuckGo – https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/
Darknet markets supply all manner of goods. Some legal, other less so. But all using cryptocurrency as a means of purchase and all are delivered to your door.
Previously, the most popular darknet market was the Silk Road. So to find a current list of the most popular markets (such as White House Market or Empire) you can go to either Darknetlive or Dark.fail.
Darknetlive – http://darkzzx4avcsuofgfez5zq75cqc4mprjvfqywo45dfcaxrwqg6qrlfid.onion
Dark.fail – https://dark.fail/
The Bitcoin Core website is now reachable through the dark web to provide a greater level of resistance against censorship.
The Bitcoin core website posts the latest updates to the open-source Bitcoin software. Which is programmed to decide which blockchains contain valid transactions. The users of Bitcoin Core only accept transactions for that blockchain. Making it the bitcoin blockchain that everyone else wants to use.
BitcoinCore – http://6hasakffvppilxgehrswmffqurlcjjjhd76jgvaqmsg6ul25s7t3rzyd.onion/
ProPublica is a journalism outlet that has its own dark web version of its site. In fact, they were one of the very first major news outlets to do so. ProPublica’s work is all legal, so the .onion website isn’t much different from what you would find on the internet. However, the main difference is that accessing it via a Tor browser gives you a layer of anonymity and security.
And just to give you a bit of information about ProPublica, they have also won 5 Pulitzer Prizes for their work. Most recently Hannah Dreier, (one of their journalists) won the 2019 Pulitzer Price for Feature Writing for her coverage of gangs in Los Angeles.
Other examples of news sites that have an equivalent .onion site are the likes of BBC News which launched their dark site in October 2019, making it visible to censored countries such as Vietnam, China, and Iran. The New York Times also has a .onion version of their site.
ProPublica – https://www.propub3r6espa33w.onion/
SecureDrop is an open-source whistleblower submission system that news organizations can install to safely (and anonymously) receive documents and tips from sources. It is a project of Freedom of the Press Foundation.
And it uses the anonymity of the Tor network to facilitate communication between whistleblowers, journalists, and news organizations such as The Guardian.
These sites are therefore only accessible as hidden services in the Tor network and it is advisable to be careful where you access it from. It works with the use of randomly generated codes and phrases which will be used to download and used as a means of communication through SecureDrop messaging.
SecureDrop – http://33y6fjyhs3phzfjj.onion
Mail2Tor is an alternative email provider. It lets anyone send and receive email anonymously, via webmail or with an email client. And all messages are encrypted, and the company does not log your IP address. Mail2Tor is only accessible via the Tor network but can both receive dark web and clear web emails, meaning you can use it across the different services.
As you’re probably aware, email is really bad in terms of privacy. This is because your email provider has access to your entire inbox. Not only that but they also have information in relation to your calendar invites, travel information and meetings. And some (such as Google) will automatically enter this information in straight from your inbox.
Mail2Tor – http://mail2tor2zyjdctd.onion/
OnionName is a specialist service which allows you to purchase a .onion domain so that you can host your own .onion website. Because of the way the network works, you cant purchase an onion domain from a normal registrar like GoDaddy.
To get started all you need to do is head over to OnionName choose your desired domain name prefix. Then you can order the .onion domain where pricing starts from 0.45mBTC for 8 letters.
OnionName – http://onionname3jpufot.onion/
This is a bit of a weird and wonderful one to add to the list. With Numbers Station, you are immediately directed to an audio player. This isn’t so weird initially. But when you start playing it, you’ll hear voices reproducing weird dialects, languages, and numbers as if it were code to be deciphered. This isn’t too far from the truth. As it actually plays secret and coed messages that the army has been sent by spies and the military.
No one knows when the messages were recorded or if maybe they’ve been sent in real-time, but it might be fun to try and figure it all out!
Numbers Station – http://tutdwuh7mlji5we3.onion