The Top 11 Dark Web Links to Visit in 2023 & How to Access Them Safely

To average netizens, the dark web is shrouded in mystery and few venture down its ill-lit alleyways. While it’s famous for being a haven of criminality, it also has legitimate uses. Political activists and journalists use it to stay anonymous when speaking out against oppression. It also helps whistleblowers expose corruption while masking their true location

The anonymity the dark web provides can be helpful in many more situations. Of course, you’re probably aware people also do a lot of shady stuff on this side of the internet. Because of this, before you visit the dark web, it’s worth taking a bit of time to understand it, as there are plenty of risks you should be aware of.

The dark web is the digital equivalent of the Wild West. However, the darkest parts of it are more akin to a snake-infested jungle. This doesn’t mean the dark web doesn’t have cool parts worth visiting — but you do so at your own risk.

This guide covers dark web basics including what it is, its history, and the risks of visiting the dark web. I’ll also discuss how to access the dark web safely with a VPN and give you some dark web links to visit. 

A Stern Warning From Ghostie

  1. Get a top-notch VPN. Use CyberGhost VPN to shield you from the dangers of the dark web.
  2. Set up a Tor-Over-VPN Connection. Access the dark web with enhanced privacy through one of CyberGhost VPN’s secure servers before opening Tor. This ensures your network provider or landlord can’t see what you’re up to on the dark web. 
  3. Use a VPN you can trust. CyberGhost VPN operates on a strict No Logs policy which was independently audited by Deloitte. In line with our policy, we don’t store any data about you and can’t see what you’re doing online. 

What Is the Dark Web?

The dark web is an encrypted part of the internet you can only access with a special web browser (Tor Browser). Websites on the dark web aren’t indexed like they are on the regular surface web.

The dark web provides anonymity for website owners and visitors. People use this privacy for both legitimate purposes and for criminal activity

What Are Onion Sites?

Onion sites are dark web pages that use the .onion domain (instead of .com, .net, .org, etc.). They use The Onion Router (Tor) to encrypt traffic. This gives anonymity to .onion website owners and visitors. 

Onion sites aren’t indexed in central registries like regular websites. You can’t access them through regular browsers like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. While some dark web links lead to genuinely useful websites, others lead to highly illegal or malware-ridden sites.

Deep Web vs Dark Web

The best way to understand the internet is to imagine it as an iceberg. Above the ocean’s surface, you see the tip of the iceberg. In internet terms, this would be the surface web — the regular internet everyone uses.

The vast majority of the iceberg’s mass is unseen, it’s beneath the surface of the ocean. That’s the deep web, a small part of which is the dark web. The deep web is all the internet’s hidden content search engines can’t index. Most of it’s boring, everyday background data. 

This includes paywalled pages, internet banking, private emailing, password-protected websites, and intranets for educational institutions, companies, or governments. 

Image showing analogy of the internet
The internet is a lot like Sigmund Freud’s Iceberg theory of the unconscious mind.

The deep web is necessary for the surface web to work — the unseen stuff in the background is like the cogs in a machine. It keeps the surface web functioning while we all enjoy it. According to Kaspersky, the deep web makes up about 90% of the entire internet.

The dark web is just a part of the deep web and it’s much smaller than the surface web. Webpages on the dark web have no connection to the surface web, so you can’t stumble upon them through your regular web browser. The layered and encrypted nature of the dark web makes it a privacy paradise.

Of course, anonymity comes with a dark side. While some just want to browse the dark web for fun, others use it for activities they would never do publically. This could be for legitimate political purposes or something much darker.

The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.

John Wooden, American Basketball Coach & Player

Is the Dark Web Illegal?

The dark web isn’t illegal in most countries. It has many legitimate uses because sometimes people need anonymity to stay safe. For example, victims of abuse might need to hide their location while communicating. Journalists working in unsafe conditions also use the dark web for security reasons. 

Yet, the dark web is not all peaches and cream. A lot of deplorable activities take place there, and that includes illegal dark web porn, illegal drug trade, human trafficking, and worse. 

I don’t recommend going on the dark web if you’re sensitive. You might see something that sticks with you. If you do decide to check it out, exercise extreme caution and don’t click on random links. 

If you’re planning to visit the dark web, make sure you use a trustworthy and reliable VPN. You can use a VPN to add a much-needed boost to your privacy on The Onion Browser (Tor). Get CyberGhost VPN to encrypt your connection and browse the dark web safely.

The History of the Dark Web

According to Tulane University, the dark web started in 2000 as the “Freenet.” Ian Clarke, an Edinburgh University student developed it for his thesis project. His goal was to create a decentralized system for information sharing and storage.

Clarke’s software laid the foundation for The Onion Router or the Tor Project, which the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory funded. Initially, Tor gave intelligence agencies a private way to communicate, which is especially useful in hostile environments. In 2002, the Tor browser came out for public use. Since then, it’s played a role in both saving and destroying lives.

Dark Web Statistics

The dark web is a black box and while it can be hard to get accurate statistics about the often secretive activity on it, we do know some things. For example, in 2022, between two and three million people visited the dark web. Here are a few more interesting dark web facts: 

Threats On the Dark Web

The regular internet is already pretty dangerous. If you’re not careful, you can get scammed, infected with malware, and even robbed of everything you have. You can imagine how much worse it is on the dark web. People have zero accountability and full anonymity to be as evil as they please. 

Dark Web Scams

You’ve probably come across plenty of scams while online. But scams take on a whole new form on the dark web. If you buy something on the dark web, you’re taking a leap of faith. If the vendor doesn’t follow through, you don’t have any recourse. 

A good rule of thumb is to never buy anything on the dark web. If you really must buy something, research how to do it safely using cryptocurrency. 

Is There Malware on the Dark Web?

Cybercriminals often use the dark web to access and learn about malware. It’s also a cesspit of malicious links designed to ensnare naive, unsuspecting visitors. Never click on dark web links unless you know exactly what they are. Sadly, malware isn’t your only worry on the dark web. Skilled cybercriminals can tap into Tor nodes, track you, and get your personal information. 

CyberGhost VPN’s automatic Kill Switch keeps you safe even when your VPN connection drops temporarily. If you lose connection, our Kill Switch stops incoming and outgoing traffic until you reconnect. This prevents information being temporarily exposed if your VPN connection drops.  

Government Surveillance on the Dark Web

If you’re hiding from your government, they’ll perceive the dark web as a threat. Activists in countries with problematic governments use the dark web to communicate. That said, if you stumble on an illegal dark web domain, you can get in trouble just for visiting.  

Are you on the dark web to avoid surveillance? CyberGhost VPN offers an important layer of privacy and we don’t log any of your activity. Get CyberGhost VPN to be safer on Tor and avoid surveillance.

Malicious Content 

You might already know the dark web hosts some truly unspeakable things. Dark web hacking forums are bad, but it gets so much worse than what you’ve heard. If you’re sensitive (or just a normal person, really), you might want to completely avoid the dark web. 

If you discover something horrifying by accident — you can’t unsee it. Take my word for it, dark web content can mess you up.

How to Access the Dark Web Safely

Hopefully, you’ve already read my disclaimers. I’m not saying you’re going to be 100% safe by using this method to get on the dark web. You still risk phishing attacks, malware infection, and psychological trauma. Here’s the most common and safe way to access the dark web — a Tor-Over-VPN connection.

  1. Install the Tor Browser

You can download, install, and use Tor like any regular browser. Here’s a screenshot so you can see the domain address and know you’re on the right page. 

Screenshot of Tor's download page
Tor is the ultimate private browser, but it’s really slow
  1. Set Up a Tor-Over-VPN Connection

The Tor-Over-VPN method means you connect to a VPN before you fire up Tor. Your internet provider usually sees your online activity, but when you connect to a VPN first, they won’t know you’re using Tor.

It’s important to use a VPN you can trust. Some companies, especially free VPNs, log your activity. If you’re going on the dark web, you obviously don’t want anyone recording everything you do. 

CyberGhost VPN has a strict No Logs policy. We can’t see what websites you visit and we don’t log your IP address. We don’t store or share any of your information. Use CyberGhost VPN to protect yourself when you browse the dark web.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to stay safe on the dark web:

  1. Connect to a premium VPN: Hide your IP address with a secure VPN like CyberGhost VPN. Your ISP won’t be able to see your activity on the dark web. If you use this method, they won’t even know you’re using Tor.
  2. Open the Tor browser: After you install Tor Browser, open it on your computer. 
  3. Access onion links with Tor: You can now access .onion links with Tor. The Onion Router encrypts your traffic by routing it through a series of nodes between you and the .onion domain. The messages encrypt and decrypt layer by layer for maximum privacy. 

Since .onion links aren’t listed and the browser doesn’t have a search engine, you’ll need to know the domain URL you want to visit in advance. This doesn’t mean you should click on random .onion links. You don’t know what might lie behind them or whether they carry malicious payloads. Only click on dark web links if you know what they are

Pro tip: Use an old or cheap laptop you’ve formatted so it has none of your personal information on it to browse the dark web with much less risk. The worst thing that would happen is your old laptop says its final goodbye.

Is Tor Illegal?

No, the Tor browser is legal in most countries. However, certain countries outlaw anonymous browsing in general. Countries like Russia, China, and Venezuela actively try to block private browsing. 

If you live in a country where Tor is legal, it doesn’t mean everything you do on Tor is legal. If you’re there to access illegal dark web porn or trade illicit drugs — it’s obviously not legal.

Extra Safety Tips for the Dark Web

          • Use common sense. Don’t trust people on the dark web. Don’t reveal your real identity or give out any personal information. 
          • Don’t click on random links. You don’t know where they’ll take you, so just don’t do it.
          • Don’t download from untrusted sources. Malware infections are common on the dark web. If you download from unknown sources, it can lead to serious trouble.
          • Use a fake identity. If the whole point is anonymity, make sure you’re not using your real name.
          • Use a new email account. If you’re going to use an email address on the dark web, create one for that specific purpose. Don’t use your regular email addresses.

A VPN is a must-have when you browse the dark web. You don’t want to take your chances without one. A good service protects your identity by encrypting your data. Try CyberGhost risk-free with our 45-day money-back guarantee.

The Top 11 Dark Web Links to Explore

  1. Dread
Screenshot of Dread logo and slogan
Dread is a good place to go if you’re curious what goes on in uncensored minds

Dread considers itself “the front page of the dark net” and many liken it to a dark web version of Reddit. You can go there to get answers to any questions you might have and stay completely anonymous. You can also just go to explore what’s going on in the anonymous crowd. 

Dread went offline for several months due to DDoS attacks in 2022 but it’s back up and running now.

          • Onion link: http://dreadytofatroptsdj6io7l3xptbet6onoyno2yv7jicoxknyazubrad.onion 
  1. Daniel 

People often recommend The Hidden Wiki as the best place to find dark web links. But the truth is the majority of links on The Hidden Wiki are criminal sites, crypto scams, or carry malware. 

Daniel lists more than 7,000 dark web links and automatically tests them. It shows the last time the link was tested. That way, you get a fair idea of whether it’s safe to visit. 

          • Onion link: http://danielas3rtn54uwmofdo3x2bsdifr47huasnmbgqzfrec5ubupvtpid.onion/
  1. Haystak
Screenshot of haystak webpage
If you don’t know where to go on the dark web, try searching something on haystak!

If you’re looking for quantity and variety, Haystack indexes more than 1.5 billion pages. The search engine doesn’t track you or collect data for profit but you might see some advertisements. If you upgrade to its premium version, you can avoid seeing ads and have more access. 

Pro tip: Just because Haystak indexes a lot of dark web links, it doesn’t mean they’re all safe or legal. It’s a comprehensive search engine, so some sites are bound to be dangerous or broken.

          • Onion link: http://haystak5njsmn2hqkewecpaxetahtwhsbsa64jom2k22z5afxhnpxfid.onion/
  1. Hidden Wallet

Cryptocurrency transactions may be more anonymous than purchasing with your card, but they don’t guarantee anonymity. Transactions are recorded in the blockchain, so anyone who knows your Bitcoin address can find a history of your transaction. When you use Hidden Wallet, you bypass this problem and can purchase with complete anonymity. 

          • Onion link: http://d46a7ehxj6d6f2cf4hi3b424uzywno24c7qtnvdvwsah5qpogewoeqid.onion/
  1. SecureDrop
Screenshot of SecureDrop's page
Use this if you need to privately send documents

Cybercriminals plant data-collecting malware all over the dark web to target vulnerable visitors. SecureDrop is a secure information-sharing system. It encrypts any data people submit to it. This makes it ideal for whistleblowers who would suffer if their identity got out. 

Use Secure Drop if you need to privately share data with a publication.

          • Onion link: http://sdolvtfhatvsysc6l34d65ymdwxcujausv7k5jk4cy5ttzhjoi6fzvyd.onion/
  1. ProPublica
Screenshot of ProPublica webpage
Bastions of free press make the world a better place

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalism organization. You can access it on the surface web but it has a dark web version to help journalists in tricky situations. The anonymity you get on the Tor version lets you bypass country blocks. So, journalists reporting from countries with heavy censorship can feel safe. 

If you live in a country where certain news sites are restricted, you might also benefit from staying up-to-date with ProPublica. While Tor definitely adds a layer of privacy, you can also just use a VPN to access news from other countries

          • Onion link: http://p53lf57qovyuvwsc6xnrppyply3vtqm7l6pcobkmyqsiofyeznfu5uqd.onion/ 

By connecting to a server from another country, you can browse the internet as if you are there. With 116 server locations worldwide, you’ll never be stuck without a connection. Get CyberGhost VPN to avoid internet censorship.

  1. Comic Book Library

You can download thousands of free comic books from Comic Book Library and it’s a hotspot for Comic fans. You can find everything from mainstream Marvel to niche manga comics. Just be careful of copyright infringement and check before downloading. 

          • Onion link: http://nv3x2jozywh63fkohn5mwp2d73vasusjixn3im3ueof52fmbjsigw6ad.onion/ 
  1. ZeroBin
Screenshot of ZeroBin wepage
Use ZeroBin for ultra-private messaging

ZeroBin is an encrypted communication service. It lets you send messages anonymously without a third party knowing your identity. The platform owners won’t be able to see your data either. 

ZeroBon lets you post password-protected messages. You can also send them in self-destruct mode. That way, it’ll automatically destroy itself once read. The messaging system uses 256-bit AES encryption. If you need to privately share information, ZeroBin is one of the safest options.

          • Onion link:http://zerobinftagjpeeebbvyzjcqyjpmjvynj5qlexwyxe7l3vqejxnqv5qd.onion/
  1. Riseup

Riseup is a malware-protected email and chat service that doesn’t keep records of your activity. It supports the cause of “human liberation” and doesn’t cooperate with governments. You can’t say the same thing for Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. This makes it a great place for activists to convene and share ideas

The only thing is, you can’t just access Riseup, you need an invitation code to set up an account. This can be a bit tricky if you don’t know anyone with an existing account.

          • Onion link: http://vww6ybal4bd7szmgncyruucpgfkqahzddi37ktceo3ah7ngmcopnpyyd.onion/
  1. Imperial Library of Trantor

Imperial Library is a public database of scanned books. It currently has about 400,000 books available to the public. You can access it on the clear net or by using Tor. If you love reading and are searching for a new database for free books, you’ll love the Imperial Library. 

Bear in mind, there may be copyright issues on some books, so make sure to double check something before downloading. 

          • Onion link: http://kx5thpx2olielkihfyo4jgjqfb7zx7wxr3sd4xzt26ochei4m6f7tayd.onion/
  1. Tor Metrics

Tor Metrics is a dark web statistics website. It’s a good place to demystify dark web activity. 

You’ll get access to a bunch of stats helping you understand where dark web traffic comes from and why people use the dark net. If you’re doing research about the dark net, Tor Metrics can be a very helpful resource. 

          • Onion link: http://hctxrvjzfpvmzh2jllqhgvvkoepxb4kfzdjm6h7egcwlumggtktiftid.onion/

Stay Safe On the Dark Web With a VPN

The dark web is a hidden part of the internet you can only access with Tor software. It’s the digital Wild West and hosts everything from investigative journalism to illegal dark web porn. While it has many legitimate purposes, you can definitely find the “dark” side of the dark web if you’re crazy enough to look for it. 

If you visit the dark web, you open yourself up to many risks. Between malware, scams, and surveillance, the dark web has no shortage of ways to hurt you. This guide shows you how to get on the dark web and some safe sites to visit.

If your ISP is aware you’re using Tor, it could put you under increased surveillance. They might assume you’re using it for no good and keep a closer watch on you. Use a VPN to surf the dark web privately with a Tor-Over-VPN connection. If you connect to a VPN first, your ISP won’t know you’re on Tor. But it’s important to go with a VPN you can trust. 

CyberGhost VPN doesn’t record or log any of your activity. We can’t see your IP address or what you’re doing when you connect to our servers. Use CyberGhost VPN to stay protected on the dark web. 


Is it illegal just to look at the dark web?

Going on the dark web is legal in most countries. Whether it’s illegal or not depends on what sites you visit
If you’re looking at illegal dark web porn or purchasing illicit substances, it’s illegal. If you’re reading an independent news site or doing research, it’s probably fine. 
If you live in a country with heavy internet surveillance, the dark web might be illegal.

Can the dark web hurt you?

The dark web has plenty of things you should be careful of. With plenty of scams, malicious links, and phishing sites, it can be easy to find yourself in trouble. Use a VPN when you go on the dark web to improve your privacy and security, and never click on random dark web links.

Can you be tracked on the dark web?

It is possible for people to track you on the dark web. That’s why it’s important to make it as difficult as possible for them. It’s important to use a Tor-Over-VPN connection when you go on the dark web and make sure you’re using a VPN service you trust. Don’t use or give out any personal information on the dark web. Create a fake identity and email address for it.

Can I use a free VPN to access the dark web?

Free VPNs aren’t exactly known to be reliable. If the connection drops, you’ll be vulnerable to attack and your data could leak into the wrong hands. CyberGhost VPNs automatic Kill Switch keeps you protected even if your connection drops unexpectedly. 

Who runs the dark web?

Nobody runs the dark web. It’s just a tiny part of the overall internet and its links are not indexed in central registries. You need The Onion Router (Tor) to access dark web websites, also known as .onion sites. 
The Tor Project is a nonprofit organization, it started as a university research project.

What can you find on the dark web?

Aside from being a place for legitimate research and activities, the dark web is home to the world’s most nefarious black markets. If you can imagine it, you can probably find it on the dark web
Hopefully, one day we can snuff out the evils of the dark web while still preserving privacy and anonymity for people who need it to keep safe. 

Leave a comment

Greetings to all here! Wonderful overall highlights of the TOR, DarkWeb and some useful sites. Privacy is a right, there is never a need to explain why you are implementing a right. I wish everyone here to take privacy seriously and make TOR the default search engine they use on the day-to-day basis since so much information is gathered online ranging from browser fingerprinting, IP address, search history, etc. Best to all, Darren Chaker


Hi Darren,
Thanks for your comment! We’re glad to know you enjoyed the article.
Indeed, privacy is a right. One that’s often not respected by Big Tech.
A private browser as a default browser is a good idea. The only thing is you lose the convenience of Google.
Also, Tor might be too slow for regular everyday use. If they could find a way to make it faster while retaining Tor’s layered encryption, that would be perfect!
However, if you’re interested in finding a privacy-focused alternative to Google Chrome, you might find our article about private browsers useful!

Ηi there, just wanted to mention, I liked this post.
It was inspiring. Кeep on posting!


Thank you for the comment. Glad to hear you found the article useful. Stay safe on the Dark Web!

Thanks for the solid article. Much appreciated.
My question to you is if you wanted to gather data on someone or you wanted to find things that you would normally find on a Google search engine where would you look for that on the dark web? Is there a people search engine that just gets better results, then the above ground one?


Hi! Glad to hear you found the article useful. You can use DuckDuckGo on the dark web if you’re looking for a search engine that works like Google. However, if you want unfiltered and uncensored search results you can try Torch. Torch is the oldest dark web search engine and it has no restrictions when it comes to search engine results. It might get you better results, depending on what you’re searching for.

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