The dark web is a highly controversial environment, as well as a difficult place to navigate. It’s not like you can go to Google and search for something in particular. Websites don’t even look like the ones you’re used to, but more like a mix of random letters and numbers, ending with the .onion extension.
Some websites gain more popularity than others too, mainly because of word of mouth. They've been around for a long time, so their links and tracks haven’t changed lately. They represent a first option for both new and experienced users.
With these ideas in mind, here are some of the top-rated websites on the dark web, as well as their direct links.
Search engines are not as accurate as the ones on the clean web, but you may still get some good results. Some of them will give you official sites, others will send you to forums or discussion boards based on the search terms you use.
Ahmia is available at http://juhanurmihxlp77nkq76byazcldy2hlmovfu2epvl5ankdibsot4csyd.onion/ and works like a listing site, offering access to various websites on the dark web that actually want to be found. It’s regularly updated and maintained by a security professional.
Haystack can be accessed at http://haystak5njsmn2hqkewecpaxetahtwhsbsa64jom2k22z5afxhnpxfid.onion/ and uses its own custom crawler to identify sites that allow indexing. A premium version is also available for a deeper search.
Other useful listing sites include:
Torch at http://xmh57jrknzkhv6y3ls3ubitzfqnkrwxhopf5aygthi7d6rplyvk3noyd.onion/
DuckDuckGo at https://duckduckgogg42xjoc72x3sjasowoarfbgcmvfimaftt6twagswzczad.onion/
The Hidden Wiki at http://zqktlwiuavvvqqt4ybvgvi7tyo4hjl5xgfuvpdf6otjiycgwqbym2qad.onion/wiki/
Tor Links at http://torlinksge6enmcyyuxjpjkoouw4oorgdgeo7ftnq3zodj7g2zxi3kyd.onion/
News and media
There are quite a few organizations operating exclusively on the dark web, as well as organizations running on both the dark and clean web.
ProPublica is accessible at http://p53lf57qovyuvwsc6xnrppyply3vtqm7l6pcobkmyqsiofyeznfu5uqd.onion/ and represents the first Pulitzer winning publication to get on the dark web too.
Archive Today at http://archiveiya74codqgiixo33q62qlrqtkgmcitqx5u2oeqnmn5bpcbiyd.onion/ tries to preserve the Internet and offers access to websites that don’t even exist anymore.
Here are a few other news and media websites available on the dark web:
The New York Times at https://www.nytimes3xbfgragh.onion/
BBC at https://www.bbcnewsd73hkzno2ini43t4gblxvycyac5aw4gnv7t2rccijh7745uqd.onion/
Facebook at https://www.facebookwkhpilnemxj7asaniu7vnjjbiltxjqhye3mhbshg7kx5tfyd.onion/
Wasabi Wallet at http://wasabiukrxmkdgve5kynjztuovbg43uxcbcxn6y2okcrsg7gb6jdmbad.onion/ is probably the top rated cryptocurrency digital wallet available on the dark web.
There are quite a few email services on the dark web, with similar versions on the clean web too.
ProtonMail at https://protonmailrmez3lotccipshtkleegetolb73fuirgj7r4o4vfu7ozyd.onion/ is not free, but it’s highly appreciated for its high encryption standards.
Riseup at http://vww6ybal4bd7szmgncyruucpgfkqahzddi37ktceo3ah7ngmcopnpyyd.onion/ is run by volunteers and has more than six million users all over the world.
Other useful sites on the dark web
OnionLinks at http://jaz45aabn5vkemy4jkg4mi4syheisqn2wn2n4fsuitpccdackjwxplad.onion is a catalog of websites available on the dark web, many of them kept on with legal purposes.
Dark.fail at http://darkfailenbsdla5mal2mxn2uz66od5vtzd5qozslagrfzachha3f3id.onion offers an interesting approach to discovering new links on the dark web. It allows you checking the uptime or online status of various links, meaning you can also see the latest checks and discover new addresses.
Tor Metrics is located at http://hctxrvjzfpvmzh2jllqhgvvkoepxb4kfzdjm6h7egcwlumggtktiftid.onion and provides an insight into how Tor works, as well as useful tutorials for those who are new to the dark web.
Impreza Hosting at https://imprezareshna326gqgmbdzwmnad2wnjmeowh45bs2buxarh5qummjad.onion/ gives you an .onion website and management and design tools.
How to access dark websites
To access dark websites, you'll need a specific browser. You can't use Chrome, Opera, or Firefox. Such browsers are only suitable for the clean web.
Tor, on the other hand, is the best choice to access .onion sites and it’s available for both computers and mobile devices.
Most experts recommend using a VPN too, but at the end of the day, it depends on why you’re on the dark web. If you’re planning to even look at marketplaces that may sell illegal products and services, a VPN could be a good idea due to the dangers you’ll be exposed to.
If you’re on the dark web for nothing but informative stuff, a VPN is not mandatory, but still recommended for your security.
Given the anonymous profile of the dark web, the crimeworld has practically invaded every side of it, meaning you could end up talking to a hacker even on a friendly legal discussion board.
As a short conclusion, the dark web is a vast environment. If you think the clean web is massive and has anything you can think of, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The dark web is much more comprehensive and offers access to even more data.
Using the dark web is a more challenging experience though. You can't always find websites through search engines, so chances are you'll need to dig yourself. Find a few reputable links, establish some connections, and go on from there, based on your interests.