26 Top Onion Sites From Dark Web [Updated August 2023]
It’s been a long time since the term dark web was first introduced to the common man, and we can’t stop talking about it. Many questions wander through our minds when we hear the word Dark Web, and we can’t stop but think, what happens on the dark web or onion sites? There’s no way to find out unless you try it yourself.
If you’re trying to explore the dark web freely, you must be aware of the two terms discussed in the latter part of this article, Tor and Onion websites, as both are interlinked and crucially important if you’re trying to dig into the dark web.
In simpler terms, Onion sites are the sites present on the dark web having complex domain names completely different from the ones available on regular browsers. On the other hand, the Tor browser is a browser that helps you access unindexed and Onion sites freely, allowing you to access the dark web. However, not everyone would tell you, but there’s another term you need to be aware of while trying to dig into the dark web – A VPN.
Updated 21 Aug 2023: This blog has been updated to reflect the addition of new information. It now also educates readers about best practices for accessing Onion sites. It also guides readers about the importance of VPNs and how it helps while accessing Onion sites.
Whether you’re trying to access the dark web for curiosity or looking for hidden gems, mentioned in this blog are some of the top dark web links on the dark web.
What are Onion Sites?
Onion is the term used for websites whose URL end with the .onion suffix, unlike the normal sites we visit every day on our regular browsers like Firefox, Edge, Chrome, etc., that end on .com, .org, .edu, .net, or .us. They also don’t have simplified domain names like Wikipedia.org or Facebook.com; they have complex and weird domain names like facebookcorewwwi.onion. That’s the official .onion link of Facebook.
Onion websites are part of the publicly accessed Internet known as the Clearnet. While regular websites register their domain names with the domain name registry, the central database of all website domain names, and the personal information of domain owners, onion websites are not registered in any central registry, making them impossible to access with your regular browser.
To access these Onion sites, you will need a specialized anonymizing browser like Tor Browser to access it. We’ll discuss it more in the article below.
What is Tor?
Tor, The Onion Router, is a free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication. This browser helps you surf the Internet anonymously by erasing your browsing history automatically with every session and encrypting all your network traffic.
Tor helps you access the hidden and unindexed websites on the Internet at the dark web. Since Tor allows you to freely access the world wide web, it is blocked in some countries worldwide.
The United States Navy originally created the Tor network to allow military groups to communicate anonymously online. The military abandoned the project in 2006, and it has since been managed by a non-profit.
The Tor Project now primarily concentrates on its browser and developing a few additional privacy technologies, which we’ll discuss later.
Best Onion Sites by Category 2023
While the Dark Web is famous for hosting all sorts of illegal and illicit activities like operating digital marketplaces for weapons and drugs, sharing pornography, hosting pirated movies, books, and music, and selling people’s confidential information, there are plenty of dark web links that you need to look out for that are knowledgeable and completely legitimate.
Here are some of the best dark web links available on the dark web grouped by category:
Dark Web Search Engines
The Internet’s favorite Google substitute earned a reputation for not monitoring your search activity yet offering adequate results. Because of its emphasis on secrecy, it is the Tor Browser’s default search engine.
DuckDuckGo, unlike Ahmia and Haystak, does not search .onion sites. Use it to search the regular Internet while being anonymous with your Tor Browser.
Dark web search engines are a bit of a paradox because dark web sites are not, by definition, indexed by standard search engines.
Ahmia, on the other hand, is not your typical search engine. Ahmia, founded by security expert Juha Nurmi, is essentially a list of “hidden” sites that desire to be discovered. 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 sites containing abusive content. Site owners can also submit their own.onion domains for indexing.
Haystak, like Ahmia, employs a specialized dark web crawler to filter out potentially harmful information.
Haystak also has a subscription edition that includes sophisticated search, historical content access, and email notifications. Thus, making it one of the most reliable browsers to access an Onion domain.
Torch is one of the dark web’s oldest and most prominent search engines, serving over 80,000 queries every day. Torch is mostly supported by advertising (bought in BTC, of course), which is why the top page is littered with old-school banner adverts of dubious sources.
One of the most common strategies to avoid the dark web is to avoid using any search engine. The dark web has several indexes of sites, such as The Hidden Wiki, like in the early days of the Internet.
This community-edited.onion Wikipedia offers several connections to a wide range of dark web services and sites. Many of the connections are no longer active, and many more lead to fraud or potentially illegal activity.
Daniel is a wonderful resource for learning about various dark websites and the Tor browser. Daniel’s website has about 7,000 onion sites classified for ease of use. It also has a built-in status check that tells whether a certain website is up and running.s
This eliminates a lot of “footwork” because you won’t have to verify every site personally. This may not seem like much, but the Tor browser may take a long time to load a page. As a result, you’ll save significant time in the long term.
7- Beneath VT Tunnels
These websites chronicle the “adventures” of urban explorers that delve into underground tunnel systems at major American colleges. It is both unsafe and unlawful to enter these tunnels. That is likely why the explorers hosted their blogs on the dark web rather than on the public web.
News & Media
ProPublica is an investigative news outlet with a surface online presence and a dark web link. Visitors to the website can thus stay anonymous if they like.
This might be useful for persons living under harsh governments, for example. After all, ProPublica isn’t afraid to tackle contentious issues like child labor and crooked politicians. News pieces are published in both English and Spanish by ProPublica.
9- Archive Today
Archive.today (previously known as Archive.is) is a platform dedicated to preserving the cultural and scientific history of the Internet.
It was founded in 2012 and preserves website snapshots, allowing users to “travel back in time” and view what websites used to look like and what information they contained.
Today, the Archive is seen as a vital tool for tracking changes across government and business websites, preserving a cultural legacy, and keeping information out of the grasp of autocrats. You may archive any website or access historical documents wherever they are available.
10- Secret Story Archive
You may discover a variety of tales here, primarily sex stories. It’s an adult website that has hundreds of fantasy sex stories. There is a top 100 photos category where you may list various animated fantasy images. Unlike many other dark web websites, The Secret Story Archive constantly updates its website.
11- Dig Deeper
The website’s name says it all. It focuses on security issues such as the best browsers and email services.
Several articles on various topics (mainly tech-related) with plenty of supporting evidence. Dig Deeper will pique your attention if you have a curious mind.
12- The New York Times
The New York Times introduced its onion service in 2017 to make its journalism more accessible to readers worldwide. There are no “hidden” articles here—it contains the same information as the regular online edition—but viewers in countries where government restrictions exist may appreciate having a safe means to access it.
The BBC introduced a dark web “mirror” of its worldwide edition in 2019, following the footsteps of the New York Times. Some aspects of the regular website, such as BBC iPlayer, are unavailable on the .onion version.
14- The Intercept
The Intercept is your source for unvarnished journalism. The Intercept has always depended on the Tor network to receive anonymous information and investigate powerful individuals and organizations. It later debuted its onion service, allowing users to explore its newsroom anonymously and circumvent government-imposed news filtering.
The CIA may seem a strange inclusion in a list for privacy advocates, but Tor has an unusual history with the US government: it was initially created by the US Navy to assist spies stationed in other countries in discreetly relaying information. Similarly, the CIA developed an Onion site to allow individuals worldwide to access its resources safely.
Why would one of the world’s largest businesses, renowned for its intrusive privacy policies and contentious clear-name policy, have a.onion address?
While Facebook collects everything you say and do on its site, it isn’t interested in sharing this information with others. Facebook is also well aware of efforts by various countries to restrict access to a platform that allows strangers from all over the world to communicate and interact freely.
The .onion address on Facebook does not make it any simpler to have an anonymous account, but it does make Facebook more accessible in regions where it is restricted.
Miscellaneous Dark Web Links or Onion Sites
17- Comic Book Library
Are you a fan of comic books? You may download thousands of comic books from the Comic Book Library, ranging from major titles to specialized comics. Just be cautious of copyright violations when using the Comic Book Library to obtain comics (or any other onion site).
18- Deep Web Radio
Looking for some music to listen to as you explore the dark web links in this article? You’re lucky: the dark web has its digital radio station. Deep Web Radio’s Onion domain allows you to listen to various music streams over Tor. When we checked, we could select eleven stations that played various music genres.
19- Wasabi Wallet
Wasabi Wallet is yet another Onion site that functions as a Bitcoin wallet. It hides all of your data in the Tor Network and allows you to ‘join’ transactions with others to increase your anonymity. This makes it exceedingly difficult to determine who you are paying. The procedure is not free, but unlike other ‘tumbler’ or ‘mixing’ services, there is no chance of Wasabi or any of its members stealing your cash.
ProtonMail is a Swiss encrypted email service that ranks among the top email clients. End-to-end encryption is used, and no logs are kept. Furthermore, you do not need to give any personal information to establish an account. It should be noted that ProtonMail also offers a surface web version.
According to ProtonMail, utilizing Tor to access (the dark web version of) ProtonMail has both security and freedom benefits. After all, utilizing Tor — the most popular and secure method of accessing an Onion domain — makes it far more difficult for third parties to see the websites or (mail) services you’re visiting. Furthermore, if ProtonMail is prohibited in your country of residence, Tor can certainly assist you in circumventing this barrier.
Elude is another email client that tries to keep your correspondence safe from prying eyes. Users can utilize webmail to send and receive anonymous emails. To establish an Elude account, no information is necessary. The service is free and is an excellent choice for those who want to send sensitive and secret information over email. Its simplicity of usage also makes it an excellent choice.
Riseup is a dark website that offers secure email and chats. In reality, the platform was developed to allow individuals and organizations engaged in liberatory social change to interact securely with one another. To that aim, Riseup ensures that no communication logs are stored and that the platform is safeguarded from hostile assaults and government meddling.
The sole disadvantage of this client is that an invitation code is required to create a Riseup account. In other words, you must know someone who already utilizes the site to gain access. However, even if you don’t have one, you may still visit Riseup’s security section, which has a wealth of advice on improving your information security.
Other Privacy Tools & Services
While not strictly an email service, Keybase is an excellent way to securely exchange information over the Tor network with family and friends. It’s a powerful messaging program that functions similarly to popular messaging applications like WhatsApp and Signal.
The wonderful thing about Keybase is that even its servers are unaware of anything you copy and paste. After all, your information is encrypted in your browser before it reaches Keybase’s server. You may also password-protect your message and specify how long it will be valid. As a result, this communication technology provides excellent security and anonymity.
SecureDrop is a meeting place for whistleblowers and journalists. The dark web is one of the only places where whistleblowers may post material without fear of being followed. Whistleblowers frequently have harmful knowledge about a corporation or government that they attempt to disclose to journalists. If they do so on the open web, they will be tracked down and punished in some circumstances.
Secure Drop is a.onion website that safeguards the privacy of whistleblowers and journalists worldwide. Many major publications and news organizations have recognized the power of anonymous whistleblowers on the dark web and established their SecureDrop URLs.
MegaTor is an extremely basic anonymous file-sharing service that is unavailable on the regular Internet. Best of all, it’s completely free and rather quick.
Dark.fail now monitors roughly 50 websites, including many of those mentioned above. This is not a spectacular number, but it covers the most prominent sites. You may also email the staff to suggest new postings. The site does not include direct connections to safeguard visitors from DNS breaches caused by inadvertent clicking.
VPN vs. Tor for Onion Sites
A VPN and the Tor network have many similarities yet serve different purposes.
The major difference between a VPN and Tor is the way they operate. While a VPN encrypts and directs your communication through a centralized network of servers, Tor is a decentralized network run by volunteers. It is less user-friendly and transparent and significantly slower and more sophisticated.
Both make use of proxies, which operate as relays for internet connections. This conceals the user’s true IP address and location from third parties, making it impossible to monitor the user.
They also use encryption, which scrambles the contents of data transferred to and from the Internet so that third parties that intercept data cannot interpret it.
So, what is the difference between Tor and a VPN, and which should you use?
In general, VPNs promote privacy, whereas Tor stresses anonymity. Whereas there is considerable overlap between these two notions, consider this: anonymity conceals who you are, while privacy conceals what you do.
A VPN encrypts your connection and passes it via an intermediate server in the user’s preferred region. The VPN provider manages this server.
Tor browser is used to encrypt your network connection and route it via a random series of remote servers.
You definitely need to use a VPN like Ivacy VPN before accessing the dark web to protect your data from third parties and governments.
Tips for Accessing Onion Sites Safely
Accessing onion sites (websites on the Tor network) can provide anonymity and privacy, but it is important to keep in mind that there can still be risks involved. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to access onion sites safely:
Download and Install Tor Browser
First and foremost, download the Tor Browser from the official website (https://www.torproject.org/). Make sure to get the software from the official source to avoid downloading compromised versions.
Verify the Download
Check the download’s integrity by verifying its digital signature. This ensures that the software being installed hasn’t been tampered with. The Tor Project provides instructions on how to verify the digital signature of the Tor Browser.
Use the Latest Version
One must always rely on the latest version of the Tor Browser to ensure benefiting from the latest security updates and features.
Connect to the Tor Network
Open the Tor Browser and wait for it to establish a connection to the Tor network. This might take a few minutes. During this time, the browser is setting up the necessary connections to ensure anonymity.
Access Onion Sites
Once the browser is connected to the Tor network, access onion sites by entering their .onion URL in the address bar. Always practice caution when clicking on URLs from unknown sources and avoid accessing illegal or harmful content.
While the Tor network provides anonymity, it is not completely risk-free. Be aware that some onion sites might host illegal or harmful content. Avoid sharing personal information and be skeptical of any requests for sensitive data.
Regularly update the Tor Browser to stay protected against known vulnerabilities. The Tor Project frequently releases updates to address security issues and improve user experience.
Secure Your Device
The operating system, antivirus software, and the firewall of the user’s device must always be updated to their latest versions. This minimizes the risk of potential attacks that could compromise anonymity or security.
Whenever possible, access onion sites that support HTTPS (Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol). This helps ensure that communications are encrypted and secure.
Use Additional Security Measures
If someone is particularly concerned about security, they can consider using a VPN in conjunction with the Tor Browser. This adds an extra layer of encryption but should be used carefully and correctly to avoid potential pitfalls.
And Ivacy VPN happens to be the perfect solution to such a problem. With state-of-the-art VPN protocols, Ivacy VPN ensures an uninterrupted private browsing session.
Trust Your Instincts
If something seems suspicious or too good to be true, it probably is. Use your judgment and common sense when browsing onion sites.
Remember, even though the Tor network enhances anonymity, it is not a guarantee of absolute security. Following these steps can help you access onion sites more safely, but it’s essential to stay vigilant and cautious while using the internet.
All in All
Here is everything there is to know about the best Onion sites worth visiting in 2023. Not only that, but readers will also find help on how to access each Onion site safely from anywhere in the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are onion sites used for?
Onion sites provide a range of functions, but the unifying thread is privacy and anonymity for both users and service providers. It is almost hard to trace onion site activities, including the names of those who use them.
As a result, the dark web has become a breeding ground for unlawful behavior. However, onion sites can also serve higher purposes, such as enabling access to information and independent media in nations where government restrictions exist.
Activists, whistleblowers, and journalists use the dark web to interact with sources and news organizations safely.
- Is it illegal to visit Onion sites?
Visiting any of the Onion sites listed above is not illegal. However, because the dark web contains unlawful activities, we cannot promise that you will not come across illegal content as you go deeper into it, nor can anybody guarantee that your activity will be fully untraceable. This is why we recommend that you investigate, keeping in mind all the risks associated with it.
- What kind of content is on the dark web?
As previously stated, most of the material on the dark web is similar to that found on the regular Internet (news, discussion forums, online services), but it is available on a more anonymous platform.
On the other hand, some content is only available on Onion sites to avoid discovery by law enforcement: gore sites and other illicit media, as well as marketplaces selling illegal products such as narcotics, guns, and phony documents.
Needless to say, we do not support any illegal content.
- What can you buy on the dark web?
Using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, you can buy almost anything on the dark web, from secondhand furniture to illicit pharmaceuticals, porn, exotic animals, and numerous criminal services-for-hire.
This, however, does not suggest that you should! As previously stated, we do not support any unlawful activity on the dark web or anywhere.
- Can you access the dark web with a VPN?
In order to hide your IP address from every node in the Tor network and your network provider, you can connect to a VPN server before using the Tor Browser.
Tor over VPN is an excellent way to boost your privacy compared to using Tor alone.
- Why is it called an onion site?
Onion sites are dark web websites with the ‘.onion’ domain name extension. They use Tor’s hidden services to conceal their location and the names of their owners. Using a Tor browser is the only way to access Onion sites.
- Is the onion site safe?
Yes! But we still recommend using a VPN before accessing any Onion site to be on the safe side.
- How many onion sites are there?
There are almost 100,000 distinct onion service addresses on the Internet, and over two million individuals use Tor daily.
- Is DuckDuckGo dark web?
DuckDuckGo is a prominent privacy-focused search engine that does not monitor your online activity. DuckDuckGo’s dark web search engine crawls pages on the dark web, but you must use Tor Browser to access them. Not Evil, Torch, Haystack, and Ahmia are some more dark web search engines.
- Is Tor illegal?
It is not unlawful to use Tor to surf the Internet. The download is free, and concealing your IP address and browser history is not unlawful in and of itself. However, many people who use Tor intentionally remain anonymous while engaging in criminal activity.
- How do onion sites work?
The “.onion” addresses are web addresses for websites on the dark web. Because, as previously stated, the Tor network lacks a DNS, there is no query for IP addresses matching domain names.
The addresses that finish in the top-level domain “.onion” are alphanumeric, with 16 or 56 characters for Onion Services V2 and V3. They are based on a publicly available cryptographic key.
You must generate one using the public key to have a unique “.onion” address. Whatever version of the onion service you use, the generated address will be a random string of 16 or 56 characters with no input.