If you spend a lot of time online (who doesn’t these days, really?), you must have encountered the term dark web. There’s a lot of mystery that surrounds it, which creates curiosity among folks. Perhaps, the chances are that you’re in that category.
But do you know actually what the dark web is? Besides, are there any websites on it?
Several questions can be asked when it comes to the dark web debate. For instance, you might want to know precisely what makes the dark web different from the traditional internet.
What’s the Difference between Dark Web and Deep Web?
The deep web is simply anything online that you can’t access using a search engine. For instance, your mail in your inbox, your private Facebook images, and direct messages on social media are some of the best examples.
On the other hand, the dark web is a subdivision of the deep web, whereby most of the illegal activities are deemed to take place on the internet.
Historically, the dark web was developed by the US to enable spies to share information behind the mask. Later, it was available to the general public, and it has now been at the center of illegal activities for decades. Unlike the deep web, the dark web has encrypted content that’s not indexed by search engines.
Ideally, the dark web is entirely isolated from the internet, meaning it’s invisible to search engines.
So, does the dark web have cool websites?
Interestingly, it’s on the dark web that you’ll find some of the coolest websites. They’re all hidden, and they operate via the Tor Network. All the sites here have a “.onion” URL.
Unfortunately, if it’s your first time on the Tor Network, then it won’t be easy to find the .onion sites; in fact, it could be even dangerous. The reason being, the dark web is completely unregulated.
Unregulated, hidden, and dangerous – it sounds like the worst place to explore, right?
Apparently, the dark web is a valuable place for civil rights advocates, journalists, and activists.
There’s no denying that there are a plethora of reasons for you to stay clear of the dark web, but at the same time, the dark web is one place worth visiting. There are great sites there, too!
Warning! Tighten Security First
Now that you want to explore the dark and its content, there’s something that you must do first – security should be your priority. At the back of your mind, something tells you that the dark web is a dangerous place to be (talk about human trafficking, weapons dealing, drug trade, pornography, and data theft), and therefore, you don’t want to make it easy for bad things to happen to you.
Therefore, ensure that you install an updated antivirus that should be running along with the best VPN. If you need a quick recommendation for the best VPN, then consider ExpressVPN.
With a VPN, it will help you to encrypt all your data and provide you with a fake IP address so that you won’t be back-traced.
Top-Rated Dark Web Sites to Browse in 2021
First, you need to be aware that all these sites don’t show up on Google. Therefore, you’ll have to install Tor Browser for you to open the links to .onion sites and then gain access to the dark web.
So, how do you access the Dark Web?
First, you need to download the Tor Browser. After installing Tor, enter your URL of the dark web link in the search section and click enter to get to the site that you’re looking for. It’s quite simple, right?
Here are the best dark web websites you need to browse;
- The Hidden Wiki
The Hidden Wiki is ideally the dark web version of Wikipedia. It’s a dictionary that indexes all the links of .onion sites so that you can have an easy time navigating through the Tor Network.
Therefore, if you want to look for something particular in the dark web, then you might consider visiting the hidden wiki. However, you should be aware that the Hidden wiki is uncensored, meaning it indexes illegal and legal websites, and not each link listed could be functional or even safe. Therefore, that’s why you need a VPN when connecting to the hidden wiki.
This is a search engine that does not track you. Therefore, if you’re looking to search for something privately, then it’s your go-to site.
All your search activity is not stored, and you’ll always get excellent answers for almost all the questions. Interestingly, it works also on the surface web, meaning it’s an excellent alternative to Google.
As much ironic as it might seem, Facebook is one of the best dark web websites that you might use. Although it does know too much about you, it does not share that data with others easily.
Facebook has a .onion URL, and as much as it does not do much when it comes to maintaining an anonymous account, it at least gives you the opportunity to access it from restricted countries.
- Wasabi Wallet
Bitcoin is the widely used crypto in the dark web for transactions. Wasabi Wallet is arguably the best platform to manage your cryptocurrency anonymously. Therefore, if you trade Bitcoin, it will help you to hide data in Tor Network and hence enhance anonymity.
The five-time Pulitzer Prize winner ProPublica aims at exposing abuses of power as well as betrayals of public trust by businesses, government, and other institutions. It has a .onion domain that helps readers to access the articles anonymously as well as bypassing censorship.
Sci-Hub eliminates all the barriers that could get in your way when you want to acquire scientific knowledge. The site plays host to over 50 million research papers that are freely available to folks as well as scientific institutions.
Gaining such information on the surface web is clearly difficult and could be expensive. Therefore, Sci-hub on the dark web could be the place that you need to visit as a researcher and get your content without barriers.
Truth be told – email isn’t the most secure means of communicating! The reason being, the contents in your mail are accessible to the email providers. For instance, Gmail could scan your email so that it can show relevant search results as well as advertisements.
Therefore, Mail2Tor makes it the best alternative since it allows you to receive/send messages anonymously via webmail or email client. Moreover, all the mail is encrypted, and your ISP does not store your IP address.
SecureDrop is merely a software platform that most NGOs, as well as media organizations, install to accept the leaked information from the whistleblowers safely. Furthermore, it features functionality that allows journalists to communicate with the one providing information (source) in a private manner.
- The CIA
The history of Tor is an unlikely story. Its primary purpose was to help informants in other countries safely communicate over the internet. Therefore, the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), in that spirit, created their official .onion site to help individuals across the world to browse resources securely as well as anonymously.
An excellent alternative to the Hidden Wiki is TorLinks. It offers a list of the .onion websites across different categories. It’s true that the two can overlap, but you’ll find the list of the sites on TorLinks a little different.
Besides, given how often dark websites appear and disappear, it’s a wise decision to have an alternative.
Nevertheless, the list of dark web sites does not stop there as there are plenty of sites like Piratebay .onion, Hidden Answers, Tor Metrics, Dream Market, and The Hidden Wallet, among others.
Things to Consider When Browsing the Dark Web Links
- It’s recommended that you use the Tor program
- You must use a reliable VPN to ensure that your activity is secure and all the data is encrypted
- You should NEVER send personal data (debit/credit card details) over TOR
- Whenever you’re on the dark web links, try as much as possible not to use the direct downloads. If you do, you’ll be defenseless as it exposes your IP address.
Dark Web Links for Android and iPhone
If you’re using android, you don’t have to worry as there are links too that you can use. For instance;
- Hidden Wiki
- Not Evil
Can You Access The Dark Web from Your iPhone?
Tor Browser is the real deal, but for iOS gadgets, the nearest substitute is Onion Browser, which you can easily access on the iTunes store. Furthermore, the “Dark Browser” app for iOS can work as a browser for both I2P and Tor networks.
Best Browsers to Access Dark Web
There are several browsers that you can use to access the dark web, such as;
- The Tor Browser
- Invisible internet project (ISP)
- Subgraph OS
The Best Dark Web Search Engines
- Torch – the most used search engine
- Not Evil
How Safe is the Dark Web?
One thing should be clear by now; the dark websites, as they are, are not safe. For instance, it’s the place where many illegal businesses take place – it’s home to plenty of sorts of criminals. There’s no denying that it’s one of the most resourceful platforms, but if you surf down there without much care, you’re always a click away from trouble.
For that reason, amateurs are discouraged from visiting the dark web as it poses more risks. The last thing you would want is to get into criminal activity or even possibly being linked to them.
The Bottom Line
Undeniably, there are a plethora of valuable resources on the Dark Web; however, visiting down there comes with significant risks. From government investigation to hackers, all you need is the best VPN with top-of-bar security as well as privacy features to help you explore the dark web anonymously.
Otherwise, all the best as you plan to explore the dark web sites.
Chris Mcdonald has been the lead news writer at complete connection. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. Chris is also an author of tech blog Area19delegate. He likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts and plucking fat bass guitar strings.