The internet, one of the greatest inventions of our generation. We depend upon it for a wide range of daily tasks. Whether you use the internet to work, study, stream Netflix, login to your social media, search on Google, etc., we’re constantly interacting with the world wide web. But there’s much more to the internet than Google, Bing, Facebook, and YouTube. These sites represent the first, very visible layer of the internet known as the clear net. 

1. Web types

The clear net accounts for about 4% of the web. So, what does the rest of the internet comprise? There are three layers of the internet. After the clear web, there’s the deep web and the dark web. Deep web refers to segments of the internet that are not indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing. As the name implies, the deep web is just below the surface and not completely anonymous. The dark web, on the other hand, is a different story.

2. The Onion Router

Intentionally hidden from the rest of the internet, the dark web is a subdivision of the deep web. This part of the internet works with a high level of anonymity and requires a special browser known as Tor to access. The Onion Router, or Tor, anonymizes your presence on the dark web by routing your requests through a series of proxy servers across the world. The Tor network renders your IP address and internet traffic untraceable and unidentifiable.

Due to the high level of anonymity, the Tor network is a haven for hackers and all types of criminals. But the Tor network also hosts a lot of harmless content through its onion sites. The problem is that many onion sites are hosted by scammers and can disappear at any time as these criminals keep moving around to avoid the wrath of their victims. No need to worry, though. There are many ways to explore the dark web safely. Here are some of the best .onion sites for privacy on the Tor network.

Color photo of a laptop closing; used to present the presence of the dark web.
Dark web works with a high level of anonymity and requires a special browser known as Tor to access. | Photo credit: Pixabay
– DuckDuckGo

Link: https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/

DuckDuckGo is a safe search engine on the dark web. The name probably sounds familiar because DuckDuckGo is also available on the clear web, perhaps you might have even used it. DuckDuckGo will show you onion websites and unlike Google, does not collect your personal information. DuckDuckGo will take you to the dark web while most conventional search engines won’t. This is the ideal search engine for those who seek to remain completely anonymous and safe on the dark web.

– Hidden Wiki

Link: http://zqktlwiuavvvqqt4ybvgvi7tyo4hjl5xgfuvpdf6otjiycgwqbym2qad.onion

If you are new to the dark web, you probably won’t even know where to begin your search of whatever it is that you are looking for. You might have noticed that most of the URLs on the dark web are scrambled and appear ridiculous. That’s where the Hidden Wiki comes in. It’s like the Wikipedia of the dark web. Here, you will find links to different websites on this part of the internet. The Hidden Wiki provides informative pages on a variety of topics that you may be interested in, which makes it easy to find the content you are looking for.

– SecureDrop

Link: http://secrdrop5wyphb5x.onion/

A whistle-blower may want to share incriminating information about a government or a company with a journalist. If they do that on the clear net, there’s a good chance that they might be tracked and punished by these entities. The dark web offers whistle-blowers an opportunity to leak damaging information to journalists safely. SecureDrop is an onion website where journalists and whistle-blowers can meet without being traced. A lot of prominent news agencies and publishers including Reuters, Forbes, and The New York Times have set up SecureDrop URLs to protect the privacy of journalists and their sources.

Color photo of a man browsing on the dark web.
Keep in mind that safe surfing on the dark web is not easy.
– Hidden Answers

Link: http://answerstedhctbek.onion/

Are you familiar with sites such as Reddit, Quora, and Yahoo Answers? Hidden Answers is more or less the dark web version of these websites. Here, you can ask any questions you have and the community of users will attempt to provide the best possible answer to your query. The questions touch on a wide range of topics. You don’t even have to ask any question; you can just have a look around. Remember that this is the dark web – you are probably going to come across some shady questions on this platform.

– Tor Metric

Link: http://rougmnvswfsmd4dq.onion/

Tor Metric is one of the most useful resources on the Tor network, especially for a new user. If you need some insights on how the Tor project works or want to learn more about privacy on the dark web, check out Tor Metric. This site provides information about the Tor project. Here, you can find some useful statistics about the dark web, the Tor browser, etc. to get some indication of how people are using the network. You can find important information about the usage of the Tor browser, the number of services on the dark web, and plenty of other important metrics and statistics.

– Riseup

Link: http://nzh3fv6jc6jskki3.onion

Founded around 1999, Riseup is a volunteer-run email provider for activists around the world. It provides email and chat services without keeping any records of your activity. Up to now, it has more than six million users across the globe. Riseup provides a high degree of anonymity, something that activists around the world need. Rise is more than an email platform, it’s also a great source of information on how to improve privacy and data security in your daily life. The email feature is unavailable to most people as you need an invitation to create an account but you can still browse the security section.

3. Conclusion

These are some of the best onion sites on the dark web, but there are many great other sites you can check out once you have acclimated to the dark web. Keep in mind that safe surfing on the dark web is not easy. From scammers to hackers and other cybercriminals, there are a lot of malicious actors in this part of the internet hence unsafe. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when accessing the dark web, just to be safe. A VPN will hide your IP address and encrypt your internet activity, adding an extra layer of privacy and security for your data.

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The Ultimate Guide on How to Stay Safe on the Dark Web

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