Beneath the surface web which you’re reading right now, there are many .onion websites that remain invisible to Google and other search engines. Whether you categorize them as “deep” or “dark” web, these sites significantly enhance your browsing capabilities.
But you won’t be able to directly access these onion URLs on a regular browser. What follows is a list of useful, legitimate dark websites which are easily accessible from Tor browser.
1. The Hidden Wiki
The starting point for many peoples’ journeys into the darker corners of the internet, the Hidden Wiki is a vast repository of many of the more popular dark websites on Tor. Tor can be a bit of a Wild West, but if that’s the case, then The Hidden Wiki is like a frontier town where there’s at least some semblance of order.
From here, you’ll find links to many of the sites we go on to cover in this list, as well as dark search engines, whistleblowing links (should you wish to be the next Edward Snowden), file sharing sites and so on. The real deal will require the Tor browser.
They even have a scam list to help you stay away from the sites out to fool you.
As you can imagine, the dark web has some forums filled with the types of characters who are best avoided. However, one of the less obscene discussion sites is Raddle – named and styled somewhat in the style of Reddit, but dedicated largely to political discussion.
Of course, some discussions get quite heated – especially with world events being as divisive and complex as they are – but it’s an interesting place to get some insight into more radical viewpoints (whether you agree with them or not).
3. DuckDuckGo Onion Search
To search for the onion URLs, you need access to a deep web search engine. If you’re new to the deep/dark web, DuckDuckGo’s onion link should be your first port of call. This parent site gives access to all other dark websites through a simple search. DuckDuckGo is a native search engine for Tor. It further enjoys an excellent reputation for search privacy. Some countries and ISPs may try to prevent access to DuckDuckGo’s direct link. Hence, it’s quite useful to be able to connect to its onion link.
How to access: because of potential blocking or censorship, the DuckDuckGo onion URL keeps changing. The best way to find the latest link is to search for “DuckDuckGo onion” in Tor browser’s home search engine, which also happens to be DuckDuckGo.
4. ProtonMail Onion
Switzerland-based ProtonMail is one of the most secure email services and has a reputation for not logging IP addresses. It further provides access over the Tor network through its customized onion address. Whether you’re unable to access ProtonMail through a direct link or don’t want to leave any trace of its presence on your computer, it’s very useful to have access to the ProtonMail onion.
How to access: apart from a DuckDuckGo/Hidden Wiki search, ProtonMail’s version-based onion address can always be found at this official link.
Sending an anonymous email never truly feels private. The email header reveals a lot more about you than you’d want. Mail2Tor is a Tor-based hidden email service which doesn’t keep any emails or logs on its servers. Even the Tor relays don’t know the IP addresses of Mail2Tor’s SMTP/IMAP/POP3. Creating a username and password takes just a few seconds of registration. The service is immune to packet sniffers for a truly private email exchange.
How to access: apart from a deep web search on the Tor browser, you can find Mail2Tor’s updated hidden onion at its official link.
Among many open-source whistleblower sites, SecureDrop is currently a leading platform. Many prominent media sources maintain a presence on this website location to securely accept documents from anonymous senders. These include big names, such as Al Jazeera, CBC, Forbes, Huffington Post, New York Times, and many more. To contribute a tip, you only need to join the community, which can be done anonymously through an approved onion link. The site is strongly resistant to hackers and encrypts your data in transit as well as the rest.
How to access: first visit the direct link on a normal web browser. Copy-paste it to a Tor window and enable “onion available” in the address bar. Search for any of the more than 2600 news outlets for their individual SecureDrop onion links.
ProPublica is one of the leading aggregate sources of investigative journalism reports. These are verified media stories which you will not find in the surface web because of censorship, bans, and other restrictions. The website has received 6 Pulitzer Prizes for its grassroots-based journalism. Accessing it through an onion link is much more convenient if you’re unable to directly view it on your screen.
How to access: first visit the official site link and enable the “onion available” for anonymous access.
Want to share files of any size without restrictions anonymously? OnionShare is a powerful software for these private data transfers and supported equally well on Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can also chat anonymously with the file recipients.
How to access: take note of the direct link which can be opened on a normal browser window. Copy-paste it into a Tor window and enable “onion available.”
9. Just Paste
It’s well-known that copy-pasting online is never truly anonymous. Your browser is aware of your history, which can be a privacy risk for exchanging sensitive information. Just Paste is a truly anonymous dark web copy-pasting service which does not save any text data. It can be saved using plain text, HTML5, CSS, Ruby, MySQL, Apache, Nginx, and many other coding formats. You can download the paste, and other people with the link can anonymously reply to your pasted text.
How to access: search the Hidden Wiki directories using DuckDuckGo Onion search. Look for an application called “paste .onion & Stikked.”
10. Mullvad VPN
Mullvad, based in Sweden, is one of our top-recommended VPN providers. It also maintains a presence in the dark web through an onion link which cannot be searched easily. Once you make the payments using cryptocurrency, no one will ever know about your VPN usage. Further, if you find any VPN service disabled due to censorship, it’s a better idea to connect with its onion link.
How to access: open the official Mullvad VPN site on a Tor window. Enable “onion available” in the address bar.
11. Qubes OS
Qubes is a leading Linux-based operating system, well known for privacy. The award-winning software supports Windows, Debian, and Fedora. You have much better control over software customization. Apart from Tails OS, Qubes allows the highest secure connectivity for virtual machine systems.
How to access: visit the official site of Qubes and open the download page in a Tor window. Enable “onion available” for total anonymity.
12. Comic Book Library
Rounding up the list of the top dark websites is the Comic Book library, which is a rare corner of the dark web featuring every kind of comic book you need. Whether it’s Aquaman or Frank Miller graphic novels, there is something in it for you. The collection is supermassive and highly recommended for comic book lovers.
How to access: search for comic books in a hidden wiki link.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I open the onion links?
Opening the onion links is very easy from the Tor browser. If you’re having trouble opening a specific onion link, or the overall Tor speed is slow, we have shared detailed tips on how to make Tor faster for smooth access to the contents.
2. Is it legal to browse the dark web?
As long as you are not looking for anything illegal in the real world, it’s perfectly legitimate to use the dark web to find whatever you need. Nevertheless, the dark web is truly home to some of the most disturbing and illegal contents you’ll never find on the surface web. Since Tor doesn’t log your IP address, you are safe if you accidentally come across such illegal contents. But you should not venture to take an unforeseen risk. All the onion sites mentioned in this list of the best dark websites are legal to use.
3. Is it safe to browse the dark web?
Yes, it’s safe to browse on the dark web. But you should be careful of the many dark websites claiming to multiply your Bitcoins and double the amount of money in your PayPal balance. Of course, there are a few genuine dark websites that are safe to use for financial transactions, but the number of fraudulent sites is substantially greater. If anything sounds too good to be true, it’s better to stay away from it.
Now that you’ve learned how to use the best dark websites to find useful and interesting information, perhaps you’d like to learn more about onion links. Did you know that apart from onion routing that you can easily access the Internet anonymously through garlic routing as well? Read our link to find out more.
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