The deep web is the part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines. A part ofDeep Web is the dark web, which exists on multi-layered proxy networks - known as Darknets. Of these darknets, Tor (short for “The Onion Router”) is by far the largest.
What are onion locations?
Tor and the Onion Browser
Best Onion Locations by Category
-Dark web search engines
-News, media and other information organizations
-Other privacy tools and services
What is the dark web?
What are onion locations?
Onion sites are websites that can only be accessed on the dark web. You cannot view them with a normal browser. Their URLs have .onion as the domain instead of the usual surface web domains like .com or .net. Onion sites are considered hidden on the Deep Web and use Tor to encrypt connections to them, keeping visitors and the site's creators anonymous.
How do onion locations work?
When you try to connect to a .onion website, your trafficPassed through the internet and bounced off to random servers three times before reaching your target website. Each server adds a layer of encryption, and these layers result in the name The Onion Router.
There are at least three hops your data goes through.
- The entry node that inevitably knows yoursIP Address
- The middle (or relay) node which prevents the exit node from finding out which entry node you used and makes it very difficult to correlate that information
- The exit node that knows which site you are connecting to, but doesn't know who you are
The three nodes separate your IP address from your destination, allowing two people to communicate without either party or intermediary knowing who the other is.
Tor and the Onion Browser
Within the Tor network, websites cannot use regular domain names. Instead, they use pseudo-domain names ending in .onion. These domain names arenot registered with a central authoritybut are instead derived from cryptographic keys.
You cannot access these .onion sites through your normal web browser - the one you are likely to be using to view this page. Before you click on any of the links below you must do thisGet Tor Browser(also called onion browser).
Get step-by-step guides on how to access the dark web and use the Tor browser.
(Note that connections within the Tor network are end-to-end encrypted by default, which means it doesn't require a separate layer of encryption like regular websites do. That's why most onion sites don't have an S in HTTPS. Fear not; the Gate browser will show an onion instead of the familiar lock icon if your connection is secure.)
Best Onion Locations by Category
Although the dark web is notorious for hosting all manner of illegal content - dark web marketplaces for buying illegal drugs, gore sites, and worse - there are plenty of legitimate sites and services out there if you know where to look.
Here are some of the best .onion sites on the dark web, grouped by category:
Dark Web Search Engines
Search engines on the dark web are a bit of a contradiction, as dark websites, by definition, are not indexed by traditional search engines.
However, Ahmia is not a traditional search engine. Founded by security researcher Juha Nurmi, Ahmia is essentially a list of “hidden” websites thatagainwant to be found. Onion sites are "crawled" and added to the list if their robots.txt file allows it and if they are not on their blacklist of abusive sites. Site operators can also submit their own .onion sites for indexing.
Similar to Ahmia, Haystak also uses a custom dark web crawler and filters out dangerous content.
Haystak also offers a premium version that allows for advanced search, access to historical content, and email alerts.
Torch is one of the oldest and most popular search engines on the dark web, serving over 80,000 queries daily. Torch is primarily funded by advertising—bought in BTC, of course—so you'll find its front page littered with old-school banner ads of dubious origin.
The web's most popular alternative to Google has made a name for itself by not logging your search activity while still providing decent results. This focus on privacy makes it the Tor browser's default search engine.
However, unlike Ahmia and Haystak, DuckDuckGo does not search .onion sites. Use it to browse the regular internet from the privacy of your Tor browser.
That's what Wiki said
One of the most popular ways to navigate the dark web is to not use a search engine at all. Just like in the old days of the Internet, the Dark Web maintains numerous indexes of websites, such as The Hidden Wiki.
This community edited .onion wikipedia contains a number of links to a variety of services and sources running on the dark web. Many of these links are no longer active, and even more of them point to scams or potentially illegal activities. Click at your own risk!
News, media and other information organizations
The first online publication to win a Pulitzer Prize is now also the first major publication with a .onion address.
ProPublica does many things differently. Its funding source is the Deep Wallet of the Sandler Foundation and various other similar organizations.
Browsing ProPublica's work through its .onion site works well, and the very existence of the site is a huge privacy winand freedom of speech.
Archive.today (formerly known as Archive.is) is a platform that aims to preserve the cultural and scientific heritage of the Internet.
Founded in 2012, it stores snapshots of websites, making it possible to “go back in time” and see how websites used to look and what information they contained.
Archive.today is considered an important tool for tracking changes on government and corporate websites, preserving cultural heritage and keeping knowledge out of the reach of autocrats. You can archive any website you want or retrieve historical records wherever they are available.
Die New York Times
To make its journalism more accessible to readers around the world, The New York Times launched its onion service in 2017. You won't find any "hidden" stories here - it's the same content as the regular web edition - but users in countries with government censorship will appreciate having secure access.
Following the NYT, the BBC launched a dark web “mirror” of its international edition in 2019. Note that some features of the regular website are not available in the .onion version, including BBC iPlayer.
Why should one of the largest organizations be known for theirinvasive attitude to privacyand controversial real name policy have a .onion address?
While Facebook may collect everything you say and do on its platform, it's not happy sharing that information with others. Facebook is also aware of attempts by many governments to restrict access to a tool that allows strangers online to speak and collaborate freely.
Facebook's .onion address doesn't make it much easier to keep an anonymous account, but it does make Facebook more accessible in places where it's censored.
The CIA might seem an odd inclusion on a privacy-enthusiast list, but Tor actually has an unlikely history with the US government: it was first developed by the US Navy to help whistleblowers dispatched to foreign countries, to transmit information securely. With that in mind, the CIA launched an onion site to help people around the world securely access their resources.
Wasabi Wallet is a bitcoin wallet that not only hides all your data on the Tor network, but also allows you to "connect" your transactions with others to increase your anonymity. This makes it incredibly difficult to find out who you are paying.
The process costs a fee, but unlike other "tumbler" or "mixing" services, there's no risk that Wasabi or any of its users could cheat you out of your coins.
Based in Switzerland, ProtonMail is an encrypted email service that is very popular with cryptocurrency enthusiasts. It's not free, but it's extremely secure.
Riseup is a volunteer-run email provider for activists around the world.
It was founded by activists in Seattle around 1999 and has since grown to over six million users worldwide. It publishes a newsletter in multiple languages and not only operates onion services for its website but all of its email and chat services.
Other privacy tools and services
Keybase is an exciting identity service that aims to make it easy for you to cryptographically tie the presence of your online identities together. You canUpload your PGP key, or have the website create one for you and use it to cryptographically link your Twitter profile, Github account, or Bitcoin address together.
Keybase also offers extremely easy-to-use, secure chatting and file-sharing services through its app.
Pastebins are text sharing services useful for sending and sharing large snippets of code or text. ZeroBin offers an extra secure version of this service by only encrypting and decrypting text in the browser, meaning their servers have no knowledge of what is going through it.
A favorite of journalists and their anonymous sources, SecureDrop makes it easy to share sensitive information without revealing your identity. Many news publications, like those listed above, have a SecureDrop on their .onion sites.
MegaTor is a super simple anonymous file sharing service not available on the regular internet. Best of all, it's free and decently fast.
The tools listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. If you're interested in privacy and the dark web, delve deep into PrivacyTools, a comprehensive directory of anti-surveillance tools, services, and training materials.
Impreza Hosting is a website that helps you host your website on the Tor network. It provides a .onion URL and an interface that allows you to easily manage your website. It also boasts that no personal information is required to use the service and payment can be made using cryptocurrency.
While not technically an onion site, we'll add Sci-Hub as an interesting example of a site you can access through Tor. Sci-Hub provides access to millions of scientific papers, mostly behind paywalls. However, due to copyright violations, Sci-Hub is considered illegal and banned in many countries. As with any other website, visit at your own risk.
What is the dark web?
The dark web contains content that is only accessible through networks like Tor. Websites on the Dark Web have .onion as a domain in their URLs.Tor browsers create encrypted entry points and paths for the user, so Dark Web activity remains anonymous. Encryption technology routes users' data through a variety of intermediate servers, which protects users' identities and guarantees anonymity.
Due to its anonymity, the dark web is filled with illicit services and used by numerous criminal groups, including ransomware gangs. It is also used by whistleblowers, journalists and others who are not involved in illegal activities but need to protect their communications and identity. The dark web allows users to access information and news even in places with high levels of censorship.
Difference between dark web and deep web
The dark web and deep web are often used interchangeably, but they are two different concepts. In short, the main difference between them is that the deep web contains internet content that you cannot find through search engines, while the dark web is a hidden network that requires a special browser to access.
The deep web is the part of the internet that you cannot access through search engines like Google and Bing. Also referred to as "unindexed" content, it is content that is hidden behind some form of access control, such as a login or codeword. Have you ever wondered how big the deep web is? It contains 7,500 terabytes of information, compared to just 19 terabytes of information on the "surface" web. Put another way, it makes up between 90% and 95% of the internet.
The Dark Web or Darknet is a small subset of the Deep Web. It is a hidden collection of websites that you can only access using a dedicated browser. Since all activity on the Dark Web is anonymous by default, it is definitely where the most opaque transactions on the web take place. Ato learnby researchers from King's College London, who examined the content of over 2,700 dark web sites, found that around 60% of them hosted illegal content. That being said, there are legitimate websites out there on the Dark Web as well.
Read all the differences between deep web and dark web
FAQ: More about onion locations
What are onion sites used for?
Onion sites are used for a variety of purposes, but the common thread is privacy and anonymity, for both users and service providers. It is almost impossible to track activity on onion sites, including the identities of people using them.
Naturally, this makes the dark web a breeding ground for illegal activities. But onion sites can also serve nobler purposes, such as access to information and independent journalism in countries with state censorship.
activists,Whistleblower, and journalists are also using the dark web to securely communicate with sources and news organizations.
Is Visiting Onion Sites Illegal?
It is not illegal to visit any of the onion sites listed above. However, because the dark web contains illegal activity, we cannot guarantee that you will not encounter illegal material if you dig deeper, and no one can guarantee that your activity will remain completely undetectable. Because of this we say explore at your own risk!
What kind of content is there on the dark web?
As mentioned above, much of the content on the dark web is the same as on the regular internet (news, message boards, web services) but is made available on a more anonymous platform.
However, some content is only available on onion sites to avoid detection by law enforcement: namely, gore sites and other illegal media, as well as marketplaces selling illegal items such as drugs, guns, and forged documents.
Of course, we do not tolerate any content that is prohibited by law.
What can you buy on the dark web?
You can buy almost anything on the dark web with itBitcoinand other cryptocurrencies, from used furniture to illegal drugs, porn, exotic animals and all kinds of criminal services for rent.
But that doesn't mean you should! As mentioned above, we do not condone any activity - on the dark web or otherwise - that is prohibited by law.
Can you access the dark web with a VPN?
Yes, you can connectVPNServer before you start the Tor browser to hide your IP address from any node on the Tor network and to hide the fact that you are using Tor from your network operator.
This method is calledTor over VPN, and it's a great way to increase your privacy over using Tor alone.
Are Onion Sites Safe?
Because they have strong encryption, onion sites are secure in terms of privacy. However, since many onion sites have illegal activities, it is easy to imagine that they are more likely to contain malicious links, false information, scams and generally content that you may not want to see.
As with visiting regular websites, be aware of security risks on onion sites. Don't click on suspicious links, be skeptical of what you read, and avoid dark web marketplaces if you don't want to encounter illegal activity or content.
Why can't I access onion sites?
Onion sites are only accessible through the Tor browser or similar services. They are not accessible via your popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
If you're using the Tor browser but still can't access an onion site, it's possible the link has changed (the Tor project updated onion links to work in 2017-'18 much longer), or the site may or may not exist temporarily below. You can try visiting a big site like Facebook's onion site to check if your browser is working at all. This would verify if it is a browser issue or just a problem with the website.
How many onion locations are there?
A 2019 study found that there were about 55,000 different onion sites, but only about 8,400 of them were active.
Can you be tracked on Tor?
While no one can ever guarantee that any method will make your browsing completely untraceable, using Tor ensures that your traffic is much more difficult to track than using a regular browser. In fact, in most cases where people are caught doing something illegal with Tor, it's because they can be tracked down through other avenues.
Is the dark web 95% of the internet? ›
Greenberg notes that while the deep web is vast and accounts for 90-something percent of the Internet, the dark web likely only accounts for about . 01 percent.Is the dark web 90% of the internet? ›
Approximately 90% of all websites are on the deep web, and many are used by entities such as corporations, government agencies, and nonprofits. What's known as the dark web exists within the deep web; it's an area of the internet that is only accessible by users who have a Tor browser installed.Can you accidentally access the dark web? ›
Users cannot 'accidentally' access the dark web. Even if a cyberattack targets a user, it would be unlikely for the attack to have directly originated from the dark web.What can you buy on the dark web? ›
It's possible to buy and sell illegal drugs, malware, and prohibited content in darknet marketplaces. Some dark web commerce sites have dangerous chemicals and weapons for sale.Who owns the dark web? ›
When your Social Security number is available on the dark web, it gives cybercriminals the ability to open credit accounts in your name. In other words, someone other than you can take out personal loans, apply for credit cards, or open other financial accounts under your name.Can you access the dark web using DuckDuckGo? ›
DuckDuckGo. The darknet version of DuckDuckGo is not a search engine for the dark web, but a private browsing tool for the dark web. DuckDuckGo's regular site can take you to the dark web, as it brings up onion sites and dark web links when searched.Is deep web worse than dark? ›
Key Difference between Deep Web vs Dark Web
Deep web is usually used for legit purposes that require anonymity, but the dark web is sometimes used for illegal activities. To access Deep Web, you require a password, and encryption, whereas to access the dark web, you require Tor Project or a similar browser.