The internet we all use for shopping, streaming, and scrolling is just the surface of a vast and mysterious ocean. Beneath the surface lies the cybercrime underground, in the deep and the dark web. It’s full of hidden websites, sometimes called the ‘onion sites’, that you can’t access through your typical browsers. Only the most sophisticated cybercriminals and savvy internet users can access this part of the internet… right?
Believe it or not, making it to the depths of the internet isn’t as hard as you’d imagine. It’s also not exclusively for criminal activity. Turn on CyberGhost VPN and brace your inner Curious George, because we’re going to delve into the internet’s murkiest parts where the most intriguing onion sites reside.
It’s also important to stick to the URLs we’ve mentioned here and navigate your way cautiously, because the onion world is full of scams and disturbing, triggering content. A single wrong click can land you somewhere you’d rather not be.
Keeping that in mind, let’s unravel the onion’s many mysterious layers!
Caution: Before you dive any deeper, make sure you’re connected to a premium VPN. If you don’t have a reliable one already, download CyberGhost VPN now. Our servers use top-grade security protocols — we’ll hide your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic, so outsiders like your network operator and government authorities can’t see your activity.
What are Onion Sites?
The websites that you visit every day through your regular browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Edge, etc. – usually have a URL or web address that ends in .com, .org, .net, and .us. In comparison, onion websites have URLs that end with the .onion suffix. They also don’t have your typical domain names like ‘facebook.com’ or ‘wikipedia.org’. They have weird and complex domain names, like facebookcorewwwi.onion. That’s Facebook’s official .onion link.
Onion sites, a.k.a onion services or Tor hidden services, aren’t part of the publicly accessible internet, also called the clearnet. Regular websites register their domain names with the domain name registry. That’s a central database of all website domain names and their owners’ personal information.
Conversely, onion websites aren’t in any central registry. That’s why you can’t access them with your regular browser. You’ll need a specialized anonymizing network and browser to access them.
Wonder why Facebook has an onion link?
That’s because onion site owners and visitors are more or less anonymous. This confidentiality comes in handy in countries with oppressive regimes and widespread censorship. In countries that block Facebook, activists and dissidents can still use its onion service to get in touch with the rest of the world.
On the downside, the added privacy and security have made onion sites a hotbed of illegal and criminal activity.
Surface Web vs. Deep Web vs. Dark Web: Where to Find Onion Sites?
The surface web is the internet we all know pretty well. It’s open and accessible to anyone. When you browse this surface web, you’re easily traceable (unless you’re using CyberGhost VPN, of course!). The websites on the surface web have known IP addresses, and any search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing, can discover and list them.
Then comes the deep web. It’s the part of the internet where your regular search engines won’t take you. Google results don’t display web pages behind a paywall or your password-protected, personal social media pages. That’s because they’re on the deep web… If you thought the deep web is inaccessible, think again! You can access it, and you probably are already.
Beyond that exists the creepy and insidious dark web. It’s in the darkest parts of the deep web. That’s where criminal syndicates often lurk. That’s also where you’d find the hidden and exclusive onion sites. Your typical search engines won’t list the onion sites, and you can’t even access them through regular browsers if you have a link.
Tor, Onion, Dark Web – Connecting the Dots
You need to harness the power of Tor to access .onion sites on the dark web.
Well, what’s Tor? Tor is a free and open-source software that enables more or less anonymous internet communication. To do that, it routes your traffic through its global network that has 7000 relay servers. Sounds complicated? Let me explain!
When you visit a website through a regular browser, your access request goes directly to the website’s servers. The website can see your IP address and other third parties like your government, advertisers, and malicious actors can track you.
When you use the Tor browser, it adds several encryption layers to your request, just like an onion’s many layers. Then, it sequentially sends your request through three random relay servers.
Each Tor node replaces your IP address with its own and removes exactly one layer of encryption. The final server (or the exit node) fully deciphers your request and sends it off to the website you’re trying to reach. That way, outsiders can’t see your original IP address or trace your online activities back to you.
What does that have to do with the dark web or the onion sites?
Tor also uses a similar relay system to let website owners host their websites anonymously. The website URLs end with a .onion domain name extension. They’re encrypted, and users can only access them via the complex and hidden Tor routes. This is the infamous ‘dark web’ where people can publish websites without revealing their identities.
Here’s the catch though: Tor anonymity isn’t foolproof.
Beware! Tor Won’t Keep you Safe on Onion Sites
Tor’s technology has its fair share of loopholes. Authorities have used these flaws to trace criminal activities on onion sites. Let’s take a look at a few obvious ones:
1. Unknown volunteers own and control Tor’s server nodes. If your traffic ends up on a bad exit node, a malicious owner or other entities monitoring the node can see all your traffic and the pages you’re visiting.
2. Tor replaces your IP address at its first relay node. That means your ISP and other outsiders snooping on your connection can see your original IP address before your traffic reaches the first node. Your ISP knows you’re connected to Tor.
3. Tor’s ecosystem is a dark place full of cybercriminals and creeps. They’ll go to any lengths to exploit security flaws and de-anonymize you. Law enforcement agencies also spy on onion websites to identify criminal activities. You can’t control what others do on the dark web, and your seemingly innocent quest could instantly land you in trouble.
Pro Tip: If you’re only using Tor for anonymity on the open internet, try CyberGhost VPN with our 45-day money-back guarantee instead. We’ll hide your IP address before it leaves your device and encrypt your traffic without Tor’s painfully slow speeds.
How to Access Onion Sites–The Ultimate Guide
First and foremost, you should know that surfing the dark web and accessing onion sites is totally legal as long as you avoid illegal activities. That said, it’s a good idea to grab your gear and amp up your protection before taking the deep dive. Here’s how:
1. Download Tor Browser
Tor Browser is the only way you can access any .onion site. While proxies like Tor2Web let you visit them without running Tor, you must avoid them completely. The proxy provider can know who you are and what websites you visit, which entirely defeats the purpose. Tor browser is the safest way to explore Tor’s ecosystem. That’s why you better stick to it (with additional safety measures).
2. Install/Update Anti-Malware
When you’re hopping between .onion sites, you can land on malware-laden pages before you know it. While we advise you to stick to the links we recommend, you should also protect yourself from accidental clicks. Make sure you use a powerful, up-to-date anti-malware shield.
Simply add the CyberGhost Security Suite to your CyberGhost VPN subscription, if you have one. You’ll get best-in-class anti-malware and anti-virus protection against advanced, underground cyber threats in minutes.
3. Get a VPN
This one’s a must-have for surface web surfers and dark web divers alike. Don’t open the Tor browser without connecting to your VPN first. Don’t have one? Try out CyberGhost VPN risk-free with our 45-day money-back guarantee.
It’ll take you a couple of minutes, but we’ll hide your IP address right off the bat and encrypt your connection end-to-end. Using a VPN to access onion sites is called Onion over VPN. It gives you all the security you need to explore the dark web safely.
Warning: Free VPNs won’t cut it here. They may be dangerous and compromise your safety on the dark web. They keep tabs on your online activities and may sell them for profit. Free VPNs are also inconvenient, as they often connect you to outdated servers. That’ll give you slow speeds on top of Tor’s relay-based delays. Don’t mess around the dark web with unreliable VPNs.
Choose a VPN that has these features:
- An extensive, state-of-the-art server infrastructure
- Military-grade encryption standards
- Automatic kill switch
- DNS leak protection
- Stringent No-Logs Policy
CyberGhost VPN meets all these requirements. We have a massive server fleet of 7100+ servers spread across 91 countries, and extra-secure NoSpy servers. We constantly update our servers to give you optimal speeds and foolproof protection. We use crack-proof AES-256 encryption, so you can even be safe from Tor’s bad nodes.
We’ve also added features like an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection, so you’ll never face accidental information leaks. We stand by our unwavering No-Logs Policy and delete all traces of your online activities as soon as you end your VPN session.
Now that you’re behind our ironclad security shield, enter the .onion web address in Tor’s URL bar. Before you start browsing, you should take a few more security measures. You can never be too cautious on the dark web.
4. Take Extra Caution
Here’s our checklist of extra precautions that’ll keep you safe:
- ✔️ Don’t let curiosity get the best of you. Never click on unfamiliar .onion links.
- ✔️ Check you’ve entered the right address. Then check again.
- ✔️ Never give away your personal email on a .onion site.
- ✔️ Cover your webcam. Just do it!
- ✔️ Never download anything on the dark web.
- ✔️ Don’t run any other apps on the internet while you’re surfing the dark web.
- ✔️ Stay vigilant if you want to buy something off the dark web. Onion sites are full of scammers.
- ✔️ Use your better judgment. One wrong move can expose you to disturbing or triggering content.
Now you’re good to enter that .onion web address! Which one? We’ve compiled a list of 11 best onion sites and their URLs so you can explore and enjoy them. Use caution, and hit enter!
Top 11 Onion Sites to Visit in 2022
1. The Hidden Wiki
The Hidden Wiki is an uncensored link directory that enlists all the important .onion links. Users can edit it anonymously after registering, pretty much like the regular Wikipedia. It’s a great starting resource for exploring the dark web. Be careful though, the link directory is full of dead, scam, and illegal links.
Torch is the oldest and largest search engine on Tor. It lists over one billion .onion pages, so you’ll surely find what you’re looking for. What’s more, Torch won’t censor your search results or keep logs of your search history. It also doesn’t use web trackers or analytics code like Google does.
DuckDuckGo isn’t just your go-to search engine for privacy on the surface web. It can also help you access the dark web. It won’t log your information or track your dark web sessions. If you couldn’t locate a certain .onion link through Torch, try to find it on DuckDuckGo!
ProtonMail’s .onion version is hands-down the most popular and secure email service on the dark web. Your emails will be end-to-end encrypted, which means no one can intercept your communications. You don’t even need to give your personal details to create a ProtonMail account. It’s ideal for onion site registrations.
5. The Intercept
The Intercept is your unfiltered source of fearless journalism. The Intercept always relied on the Tor network to receive anonymous reports and investigate powerful people and organizations. It later launched its onion service so readers could browse their newsroom secretly and bypass government-imposed news censorship.
ProPublica, another independent, non-profit newsroom, has had an onion version of its website since 2016. ProPublica’s onion site will soon become your go-to news publication source if you’re in an oppressive country and need to hide your digital footprints. It’ll also be good for you if you’re interested in unfiltered, thought-provoking news reports.
SecureDrop is Tor’s onion service for whistleblowers., It allows them to share sensitive information with news outlets and independent journalists secretly and securely. Several news organizations, including The Intercept, ProPublica, The New York Times, and The Washington Post have set up their own SecureDrop links to receive documents and tips from people anonymously.
8. Hidden Answers
Tor’s Hidden Answers is an unfiltered, uncensored, and anonymous Reddit-style platform. Unlike clearweb forums, it’d never kick you out for asking a politically charged question. Be careful though. Conversations can become creepy or disturbing without any community guidelines, monitoring, or supervision.
Archive.today is an on-demand webpage capture and storage service. If you’d like to request a capture anonymously, use its .onion version. You could also request a retrieval to see how certain websites have evolved over the years. It’s just an interesting time pass… until you discover something controversial on past versions of government or corporate websites. Good luck exploring!
10. Deep Web Radio
Deep Web Radio is the dark web’s 24/7 onion radio link. It’s nice to have since we recommend not running any other application on the internet while you’re surfing the dark web. Tune into the deep web radio if it’s getting too quiet, and you’ll surely find something of interest. (Psst…it’s on the dark web even though the name suggests otherwise).
We don’t recommend buying off the dark web market, especially if you’re new to the internet’s underground. That said, use Blockchain.info’s onion service if you must purchase something. Typically, Tor’s exit node would expose you if you’re using bitcoins. This link lets you access your bitcoin wallet without ever exiting the Tor network. Just make sure you’re connected to CyberGhost VPN for extra online security!
Grab Your Gear and Get Started!
After going through our exhaustive list of the best onion sites, you must’ve gathered that the dark web isn’t all dark and gloomy. It can be mysterious and fascinating, too. It’s your ticket to unbiased news, banned media, unfiltered conversations, obscure radio stations, and more.
That said, the darkest part of the web can be a creepy place. Don’t ever dive in without your gear. You should always protect yourself with anti-malware and a VPN!
You’re just minutes away from unfolding your dark web adventure. Download CyberGhost VPN now to get the improved privacy, protection, and speed in the Onion realm.
Onion sites are websites on the dark web with the ‘.onion’ domain name extension. They use Tor’s hidden services to hide their location and their owner’s identities. You can only access onion sites through Tor browser. Tor encrypts your request and hops it between three different, random servers. Each server masks the IP address included in your request with its own. That way, the onion website doesn’t know your identity or location.
That said, Tor’s anonymity system has loopholes that can reveal your identity to malicious entities as well as your ISP and government authorities. Use CyberGhost VPN to add an additional privacy and encryption layer when going on Tor. Contact our friendly customer support team for more details. They’re available 24/7 via email or live chat.
Cybercriminals notoriously lurk around onion websites. Authorities often keep an eye on such pages to detect criminal activity, and your accidental click can alert them of your activities. What’s more, onion sites sometimes have vulnerabilities that can de-anonymize you.
To stay safe while exploring onion sites, use CyberGhost VPN. We mask your IP address and reroute your traffic through a private, encrypted tunnel. Even if you’re on a shady onion website, no one will know your actual IP address and location or track your activities.
Always connect to a VPN before you access onion sites. This method is called onion over VPN and is a staple for privacy and security when browsing the dark web. Malicious users use Tor’s flaws to unmask your identity, and onion site operators can use trackers to follow you around the dark web. Your ISP also knows that you’re using Tor browser and may become suspicious of your activities.
A premium VPN like CyberGhost will add an additional protection layer over your internet traffic. We’ll hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic so no one, not even your ISP and the government, will know what you’re up to on the internet. Just log out of all your online accounts beforehand, and it’ll be as if you never accessed any onion site at all.
Onion sites should be anonymous, but loopholes and security flaws can give away your identity anytime. Connect to CyberGhost VPN when you’re about to access an onion site for added protection against malicious dark web surfers.
CyberGhost VPN comes with an automatic kill switch that disconnects you from the internet if your VPN connection ever fails. That way, you’d never be able to leak your IP address accidentally. We also stay true to our No-Logs Policy. We don’t track, store, or record your data, so you’re the only one who knows what you do on the dark web. We never keep tabs on you, ever!
You’d be surprised to know that many popular surface web sites host the best onion sites on the dark web. Turn on your CyberGhost VPN app and check out our list of some of the most well-known ones with their .onion links:
– Facebook: http://facebookcorewwwi.onion/
– The Hidden Wiki: http://s4k4ceiapwwgcm3mkb6e4diqecpo7kvdnfr5gg7sph7jjppqkvwwqtyd.onion/
– DuckDuckGo: http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/
– ProtonMail: https://protonmailrmez3lotccipshtkleegetolb73fuirgj7r4o4vfu7ozyd.onion/
– SecureDrop: http://sdolvtfhatvsysc6l34d65ymdwxcujausv7k5jk4cy5ttzhjoi6fzvyd.onion/
– ProPublica: http://p53lf57qovyuvwsc6xnrppyply3vtqm7l6pcobkmyqsiofyeznfu5uqd.onion/
Onion sites are on the dark web. The deep web and the dark web aren’t the same. The deep web is where password-protected, private, or dynamic web pages reside. That includes your social media home page or your office’s internal website. Your search engines can’t discover deep web pages, but you can access them through your regular browser if you have access rights.
The dark web is only accessible through Tor. Websites on the dark web have a .onion domain name suffix. .onion website owners publish them on unknown servers, only accessible through obscure Tor Network routes. Although Tor promises anonymity, it has many loopholes. Get CyberGhost VPN to navigate through the dark web safely and benefit from our 45-day money-back guarantee!