If you use the internet, you have probably come across the word dark web. Usually, the media associate it with illegal activities like selling drugs, weapons, fake passports, etc. However, this is a bit exaggerated, and it may not be as dark after all as it contains some legitimate resources.
In fact, the deep web is a part of the internet that you cannot find with regular search engines like Google. It forms a bigger percentage than Clearnet (the normal internet).
Now, the dark web or dark net is a section of the deep web that you can only access with The Onion Router (TOR). It has black markets that sell all manner of illegal things.
Nonetheless, amidst the chaos, there are great and legal dark web websites worth checking out. Read on to find out.
Tors and VPNs: Resources you need to access and navigate the dark web
The Tor browser is intended to give you anonymity so that no one can know who you are. However, it doesn’t fully protect you, and your actual IP address can be exposed. That is why you need to combine it with a virtual private network (VPN) to stay 100% safe and hidden.
The VPN will conceal your IP address and encrypt your traffic when you connect to the dark web. This will prevent malicious actors on the Tor network from finding out your real IP address or accessing your data.
Some proxy services claim to protect you on the dark web. However, you shouldn’t use them because they don’t have the security a VPN offers.
Here are tips to stay safe on the dark web:
- Avoid clicking links you aren’t sure about
- Don’t use your personal email address to register for anything. Instead, use a dark web email service to create a new account.
- Ensure the URL is correct to avoid connecting to a malicious onion site.
- Use strong passwords and don’t recycle them. Also, enable two-factor authentication.
- Keep away from proxy services. While some of them may enable you to access the dark web, they aren’t secure and may compromise your security.
- Cover your computer’s webcam and microphone to prevent anyone from snooping on you.
- Be cautious when downloading anything because hackers can trick you into installing malware.
- Finally, be careful when buying anything to avoid falling into the hands of scammers.
Best dark web websites
Here is the list of .onion sites you should check out
The Hidden Wiki
Usually, URLs on the dark web are a random mixture of numbers and letters, making it difficult to find the website you want. However, the Hidden Wiki is an excellent place to start on the dark web as it contains links to the most popular websites.
The links are updated frequently, and you will find resourceful dark web sites. However, you should be careful with the links as some of them can be illegal or scams.
This is a news outlet that has won the coveted Pulitzer Prize award. It publishes stories in English and Spanish, covering many topics like health, politics, finance, environment, etc. In addition, the site offers in-depth investigative, impactful, and thought-provoking pieces on multiple subjects.
It is a non-profit organization funded by the deep-pocketed Sandler Foundation and other similar organizations. The outlet exposes betrayals and abuses of power by businesses, governments, and other institutions.
This is the best dark web site if you are an ardent reader. It has one of the most extensive virtual libraries and continues to expand with magazines, academic articles, non-fiction books, fiction, etc. In addition, the site has an active forum that enables you to interact with other users.
Block Chain Wallet
If you want to store your cryptocurrencies on the dark web, you should consider the Block Chain Wallet. It has a long-standing reputation for protecting cryptocurrencies.
Besides being a crypto wallet, the site will also help you to keep track of the Bitcoin market. For example, you can see the latest blockchain transactions, recently mined blocks, and Bitcoin prices in real-time.
The TorShops is the best site to set up your shop on the dark web, regardless of what you want to sell. It does not need to be illegal, as you can sell DIY jewelry on the dark web and make money. Thankfully, your website will be configured with Bitcoin to make payments easy.
Most web browsers will monitor your online activities to send you targeted ads. If you are tired of this, you can try out DuckDuckGo, available both on the clear web and the dark web.
Although it cannot match up to Google resources, it will give you tons of relevant search results. The best part is that DuckDuckGo has great privacy. It blocks web trackers and doesn’t log your search history or personal information.
The Black Cloud is an excellent way to store files securely on the dark web. This is similar to regular cloud services like Google Drive on the standard internet. However, these companies are unsecure and extract data from your files.
Daniel is a great way to explore various links on the dark web. It has over 7000 onion sites grouped in multiple categories for easier navigation. Also, a built-in status check shows if a particular website is online.
Dark.fail allows you to check the uptime of .onion sites to help you know which ones are active at any given moment. Currently, the platform monitors around 50 websites. Thankfully, it doesn’t have direct links to protect you from DNS leaks that can expose your identity.
This is the dark web version of Quora or Reddit, where you can ask any question without being censored. The other users in the community will answer your questions. However, since the site is unfiltered, you might stumble across conversations you may not want to see.
The dark web has been maligned for aiding illegal activities, but it offers many valuable resources. But visiting the dark web comes with many risks like getting hacked or getting infected with malware. So, you need a reliable VPN to secure your traffic and keep you anonymous.
Dark web sites frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Can a free VPN access the dark web?
Yes, but you shouldn’t use it. Most free VPNs have mediocre speeds and less powerful security features, which puts you at the risk of hackers and malicious links. In addition, some will compromise your privacy by collecting and selling your data to third parties. Instead, you should subscribe to a reliable and trustworthy VPN.
2. Is it illegal to access the dark web?
This will depend on where you live. Some countries permit access to the dark web as long as it is not for illegal activities. Although there are legitimate dark websites, you can also come across sites with copyrighted content, malware, or illicit material. So, please check your local regulations to ensure you aren’t contravening any laws.
3. Are onion sites dangerous?
Not all of them. However, you should use a high-quality VPN with watertight security features like encryption and DNS leak protection. Besides phishing sites and malicious links, hackers are always hunting for easier targets. Also, even reputable websites can host malware that can expose you to hackers or infect your device.
4. Can I use my mobile device to access the dark web?
Yes, but you should proceed with caution. While the Tor browser is available on Android, you will need to install a third-party application on ios.