How to safely access the Dark Web in 15 steps

How To Access Dark Web

The dark web fascinates a lot of people. To gain access to the dark web you need to use the Tor browser. This is a browser that can be used to browse and access the dark web anonymously. 

If you want to access the dark web, you must do so securely. For extra protection and privacy it is highly recommended that you use a VPN connection. To install a VPN, follow these steps:

  1. Subscribe to a good VPN provider
  2. Download the VPN app on your device
  3. Select a VPN server in the country that does not block Tor Browser
  4. Open Tor Browser and surf the dark web safely and anonymously

We recommend NordVPN. It is a reliable and fast VPN provider with high privacy standards.

Even with a VPN connection you can be at risk on the dark web. You are never 100% sure. You may accidentally reveal personal information or click the wrong link. So, always be cautious and vigilant with cybercriminals

Do you want additional information on how to safely access the dark web? Read the full article below to find out all this and more.

The dark web is a mysterious site. Briefly, it is the part of the Internet that you cannot visit with a normal browser. Often the term “deep web” is used as a substitute for “dark web”. 

However, this is also a different part of the Internet (depending on the country you are in). In short, the Internet is something like this:

WEBSITE TYPEBRIEF DESCRIPTION
Shallow webThe surface web is the “normal” Internet. It consists of all the websites that are accessible through browsers such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari and Mozilla Firefox through normal search engines such as Google and Bing. Think of websites like Amazon, Wikipedia, or the website of your local bakery.
Deep webThe deep web is the part of the Internet that is behind closed doors. This includes files, corporate networks, and pages that you can only access if you’re logged into them. These data are not displayed in search engines. Think, for example, of your email inbox or your company bulletin board that is only accessible by someone who works at a specific company. This is by far the largest part of the Internet.The term deep web is sometimes used as a synonym for dark web, although they are totally different. Although the term “deep web” is used in some languages ​​instead of “dark web”.
Dark webThe dark web is the “invisible” part of the Internet that you can only visit using a special browser, like Tor . Tor is an abbreviation for The Onion Router. Through the Tor browser you can browse the Internet, just like with Google Chrome, for example. However, the difference is that Tor Browser also gives you access to websites that are not available on the normal web (the surface web). This collection of websites is known as the dark web.The dark web consists of all kinds of webs, just like the surface web. And while the dark web is known for “illegal” websites, these are only a small part of the dark web.

Although it is not very difficult to access the dark web, it is important that you think about your online security. The dark web is unregulated and cybercriminals can be lurking anywhere. For that reason, you should learn and secure your system before entering the dark web. This article will give you tips on how to safely access the dark web.

Do you want to know how to configure the Tor browser and how to navigate the dark web? You are in the right place. We’ll give you a comprehensive step-by-step plan with links and tips on how to navigate the dark web as safely as possible. If you come across terms you don’t understand, take a look at our dark web dictionary for more information.

Safety first! Use a VPN

If you want to get into the dark web, we strongly recommend that you use a VPN connection. Using a VPN will give you extra privacy and protection online. The Tor network has many vulnerabilities, and a VPN can protect your privacy and data. However, it’s best not to connect to a VPN when using a live mobile operating system. You will read more about this later.

A VPN makes sure that you are more anonymous, free and safe on the Internet. Because a VPN allows you to access the Internet with a different IP address, your online behaviour cannot be associated with you. Since the dark web is also used by criminals and hackers, it is good to make sure that no one can trace your identity.

Would you like to try a fast and simple VPN, so you can browse safely, even on the dark web? NordVPN is a good and cheap option. NordVPN has high speeds even on .onion websites. Check out our full NordVPN review to learn more about this provider, or download NordVPN from its official website by clicking the button below.

If you prefer to know about other great VPN providers, you can take a look at our article on the five best VPNs. For more information on what a VPN connection is and exactly how it works, click here.

How to access the Dark Web

If you want to access the dark web, it is important that you do so securely. The dark web is not the same as the “normal” surface web. It brings with it a series of unexpected difficulties. To access the dark web follow these steps:

  1. Download and install Tor Anonymous Browser from its official website.
  2. Activate your VPN for extra online security.
  3. Make sure that the Tor browser does not allow you to run any scripts.
  4. Set the browser’s security level to “most secure.”
  5. Go to the website of the dark web you want to visit. For example, visit The Hidden Wiki (only works in Tor Browser). This is a page with links to other websites on the dark web.

If you really want to be prepared for the dark web, you need more than these simple steps. Additional explanations and tips on how to enter the dark web anonymously and safely can be found in our comprehensive guide below. We’ll give you tips to help you stay safe when using Tor.

Note: You may have heard that using the Tor network (with a good VPN for added security) is not the only way to access the dark web, which is true. However, it is, in fact, the only more or less safe way. Today, users can reach dark web pages through normal browsers (such as Google Chrome) through another tool developed by Tor: Tor2web. 

However, even Tor indicates that this is much more dangerous than using the Tor browser. After all, this way of accessing the dark web makes it easy for cybercriminals to find out your identity or even infect your PC with malware. Thus, we emphasize that the use of the Tor browser to access the dark web is really important!

Lady Justice

In a word: yes. The dark web is legal in most parts of the world. Using the Tor browser is also completely legal. However, if you use the dark web to break the law, you will be participating in illegal activities. We strongly advise our readers to avoid illegal activities on the dark web (and beyond) at all times.

The dark web and the Tor browser are tools to protect your right to privacy. That is the intention of the browser and the way it should be used, in our opinion. The right to privacy is a human right established by the United Nations. It has been stated in the following articles:

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948, article 12
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966, article 17
  • American Convention on Human Rights, article 11
  • American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, article 5
  • European Convention on Human Rights, article 8

More than 30 countries that are part of the United Nations have constitutional declarations for the protection of the privacy of their citizens. Chances are, the country you are currently in also has these statements. Even so, local laws can be very different. 

If you want to know more about your right to privacy and the use of the dark web in the place where you are, we advise you to consult the laws of your country.

The complete step-by-step plan to safely navigate the dark web

The dark web can be a pretty dangerous place if you don’t take the proper precautions. You can be relatively safe with a good antivirus and a decent VPN. However, if you want to be completely anonymous and protect your device, you’ll need a little more than that. 

Below you will find 15 steps that will help you visit the dark web safely. However, keep in mind that things can change quickly and hackers can get smarter every day.

  1. Make sure you have the basics
  2. Use a live mobile operating system (optional)
  3. Use a VPN to encrypt your internet traffic
  4. Download Tor from its official website
  5. Take safety precautions
  6. Change the security level and prevent the loading of scripts in the Tor browser
  7. Check for an IP, DNS, or WebRTC leak
  8. Be aware of common dark web myths
  9. Use additional anonymous services
  10. Avoid logins, subscriptions and payments
  11. know where you’re going
  12. use cryptocurrency
  13. Close it all when you’re done
  14. Realize that you are never 100% sure.
  15. Check online guides, blogs, search engines, chat sites, etc.

1. Make sure you have the basics

It may sound boring. But the dark web is a complex place where many things can go wrong. It is full of scammers, malware and phishing websites. Sometimes it is better to learn by doing. With the dark web, however, this would not be the best method. 

You would rather not infect your computer with malware or lose a lot of money before you understand how it all works. There are already many people on the dark web abusing the ignorance of others.

That is why it is important to know exactly what you want to achieve on the dark web before you download the software or start browsing. If you know what you want to do or discover on the dark web, you can better prepare yourself:

  • If you’re just looking for something exciting or unusual: Make sure you know how to navigate the dark web safely.
  • If you are trying to make a profit through Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies: make sure you understand how cryptocurrencies work, what the blockchain is and what reliable platforms there are to deal with other users.
  • If you are a whistleblower, it is important to ensure that you are completely anonymous. Make public according to what things it can cost you your job or in some countries your freedom. By trying to remain as anonymous as possible, you can prevent your false identity from being blown up.

2. Use a live mobile operating system (optional)

Anonymity is the most important thing to protect, on the dark web. Not because the dark web is illegal (it isn’t), but because the more anonymous you are, the safer you are. Unfortunately, operating systems like Windows 10 are not very suitable for privacy on the dark web. Windows does the following, which does not help anonymity:

  • Your data is continuously synced: browser history, open websites, app settings, and Wi-Fi hotspots are tracked
  • Your device is automatically linked to a unique ID from third-party ads
  • Cortana collects data such as: keystrokes, search results, microphone audio messages, calendar information, music playlists, and even your online purchases
  • Microsoft can collect all kinds of personal data: your identity, your passwords, habits and interests, user data, contacts and locations

If a hacker manages to break into your system through the dark web, all of that information can be used by that hacker. Many of these Windows settings can be easily disabled (although not all). You can do this by checking your Windows settings or by using nifty software like W10Privacy.

A much better idea than going to the dark web using Windows 10 is to use a live mobile operating system like Tails, Whonix, ZuesGuard or Qubes.

Tails, Whonix, ZeusGuard or Qubes

tails-logo

Tails (The Amnesiac Incognito Live System) is a live version of the Linux operating system that will not leave any trace of your activity or the operating system on your computer. This free operating system can be downloaded to a USB flash drive or DVD. You don’t have to install it on your computer. 

You just plug in the USB flash drive or insert the DVD when you want to surf without a trace and load the operating system. It cannot store cookies on your hard drive unless you personally tell it to.

Tails also has the Tor browser installed out of the box. The Tor Browser is essential for breaking into the dark web, and installing Tails on a flash drive saves you the hassle of installing Tor on your PC or laptop.

Tails Alternatives

Alternatives to Tails are WhonixZeusGuard (paid), and Qubes OS . All three have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s more a matter of personal preference.

Whonix is ​​a lot like Tails in that it is a live operating system that runs alongside your regular operating system. In other words, you can use Windows, Mac or Linux and also use Tails or Whonix.

Everything you do on Whonix is ​​routed through Tor. The difference is that Whonix runs simultaneously on your normal operating system through a virtual machine. This makes logging in and out of the dark web much faster and easier. It could be argued that it also makes it less secure. Their home page has detailed instructions .

Qubes OS is a single-user desktop operating system with several virtual machines running inside it. It only has about 30,000 users. Arguably the most secure option because the operating system is made up of several virtual machines. 

Edward Snowden, for example, uses Qubes OS to protect his anonymity.

Live operating systems are not compatible with VPNs

However, it is very important to note that many live operating systems do not support VPNs. This is for a good reason. These types of operating systems run in isolated virtual machines, which means that there is little that can connect to your identity, or to anything else on your computer.

In this case, having a VPN subscription could make you more discoverable than just using the Tor network. This is because VPNs, in this case, would introduce permanent ingress protection or a permanent egress node. This just means that, ironically, the VPN introduces a new method for detection.

  • So, when using a live OS –> Use Tor, but not VPN (you can skip steps 2 and 3 and go to step 4)
  • When using Windows, Mac or Linux –> Use a VPN and then Tor (go to step 2)

Of course, not everyone is comfortable downloading and using an entirely new operating system. If you choose not to access the dark web through Tails, make sure you follow the steps below.

3. Use a VPN to encrypt your internet traffic

VPN Internet Norwegian

Even if you use Tor Browser, anyone with enough time, resources, and knowledge can still track your traffic. In fact, the Tor browser was discovered to have a vulnerability in 2017 that in some cases leaked real IP addresses.

This problem was especially serious for macOS and Linux users. However, if these users had taken the precaution of also having a VPN running in the background, their real IP addresses would not have been compromised.

Therefore, it is highly recommended to use a VPN in addition to Tor while browsing the dark web.

VPNs encrypt web traffic and make sure your IP address is hidden from hackers or government surveillance, even if there is a Tor Browser leak. To learn more about VPNs, check out our detailed explanation.

However, keep in mind that not all VPN providers are equally reliable. The free versions often suffer from slow service, data caps, and security leaks. We recommend using NordVPN as a good VPN that works well with Tor.

However, keep in mind that many live mobile operating systems like Tails do not support the use of a VPN. If you are using one of these live mobile operating systems, you can skip the step of installing a VPN and go straight to taking some extra security precautions.

4. Download Tor from its official website

Tor The Onion Router Logo

A mobile live OS like Tails and Whonix already have Tor Browser pre-installed, so you can skip to step 4 if you use them. However, for Windows, Mac, Linux, or Android users, this is important.

The Tor browser is a very interesting target for hackers and government agencies. Fake versions of Tor Browser have been created to breach users even before they access the dark web or to monitor a user’s behaviour while on the dark web. The latter approach is especially attractive to government agencies.

Therefore, you should always download Tor Browser from its official website: https://www.torproject.org/.

Make sure to always download the latest version of your browser and keep it up to date at all times. That way, you’ll make sure you’re up-to-date with the latest security measures.

What exactly is Tor?

Tor is a special browser that you can use to access the dark web. Most browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox, provide access to all regulated websites. All unregulated websites cannot be visited through these browsers.

Although Tor is known for allowing people to visit the dark web, most of its users simply use it to visit the surface web (the “normal” Internet).

That is why it is important that you always download the correct version of Tor from its official website: https://www.torproject.org/.

Make sure that you always download the latest version and always approve updates as soon as they are available. This way, you can be sure that you have the most secure version of Tor.

.onion addresses

With the Tor browser, you can access any website, as long as you have its address. Many websites on the dark web use a URL ending in “.onion”. If you enter that address in a normal browser, you won’t see anything.

Tor makes it possible for the user to browse as anonymously as possible. All requests within the browser go through a network of other computers, and are constantly being unpacked to reach their destination. 

Your browser’s request goes through a watchdog node, several bypass nodes, and finally an exit node to retrieve what you’ve requested. In this way, it is not possible for others to follow the behaviour of your browser.

How Does Tor Work - Network Nodes

5. Take safety precautions

Before opening Tor Browser, you should:

  • Close all non-essential apps, e.g. Netflix, password managers.
  • Stop unnecessary services from running, for example, OneDrive.
  • Cover your webcam with a piece of paper. It’s surprisingly easy to access your webcam, even without you realizing it.
  • Have a reliable and fully updated antivirus program installed on your device.
  • Install quality, up-to-date anti-malware software. For more general information about malware, see our section on malware.
  • Turn off your location on your device. Your location can be found through your IP address as well as through the device itself.
    • In Windows 10, you can turn off location in Settings > Privacy > Location > Turn off location + clear location history
    • For macOS: System Preferences > Security & Privacy Panel > Privacy > turn off “Enable Location Services”
    • For Tails or other live OS: You won’t have to worry about your location being leaked.

Security measures to take once Tor has been opened

The dark web is full of hackers who will take advantage of any opportunity to exploit any detail you may have overlooked. If a dark web hacker manages to hack into your system, all the apps and services you run in the background will be open for attack.

Essentially, the best way to stay safe on the dark web is to make sure that a potential hacker has little or no information about you. This means that you should not randomly browse the dark web or provide any personal information. Do not click on any suspicious links. Leave as few signs of your presence as possible. These precautions will reduce the chances of you becoming a target.

Once you have opened the Tor Browser, do not change the size of the Tor Browser screen. Oddly enough, this will keep you safer. Also, to be on the safest side, never write directly to the Tor browser. Instead, write your search in a notepad and copy it to your browser. Advanced tracking methods can identify your specific way of writing. 

These things may seem trivial, but they can help you stay more anonymous. It’s like the game “Who’s who”, the more they know about you, the easier it is for them to identify you. Unlike the “Who’s Who” is that they do not look for your appearance, but the size of your screen, language and the way you write (among other things).

It also doesn’t hurt to check how well your Tor browser is protected against tracking (or your day-to-day browser for when you’re not on the dark web). 

Cover Your Tracks allows you to check with one click if your browser is protected against: advertising trackers, invisible trackers, so-called “acceptable ads” and your digital footprint.

6. Change the security level and prevent the loading of scripts in the Tor browser

You can change the security level from “Safer” or to “Safest”. Naturally, the highest setting is the most secure. Unfortunately, this setting significantly slows down your Internet connection and makes some websites not fully functional. 

Higher security settings will disable most video and audio formats, some fonts and icons may not display correctly, JavaScript is disabled, and some images may not display correctly, among other things.

Change Tor security level

To change the security level, follow these steps:

  • Click on the small shield-shaped icon in the upper right corner of the browser.Tor NoScript shield
  • Click on “Advanced Security Settings”
  • Scroll down to “Security”, if you haven’t already reached this section.
  • Do not select “Safer” or “Safest”.

The “Safer” option only disables JavaScript on websites that are not protected by “https”. “Safests” disables Java scripts on all websites. These options also enhance your security in a few other ways, which you can read more about in the menu you went through during steps 4 and 5.

Disabling scripts in Tor

You can disable scripts in Tor manually, without changing the overall security level. This may be a good option for those who prefer more control over the Tor browser. This is how you can manually disable scripts in Tor:

  1. Go to this address with Tor Browser: “about:config”.
  2. Click on the button that says, “I accept the risk”.
  3. Now type the following in the search bar on the page that appears: “xpinstall.signatures.required”.
  4. Double-click on this piece of text.
  5. Check if “value” now reads “falls” and if “status” is “modified”. If so, you have successfully disabled JavaScript.

It is important to change this setting as websites often run scripts without warning. This is especially dangerous on the dark web, as .onion sites are unregulated and there is a lot of malware. 

By blocking the scripts, you reduce the possibility of your computer getting infected. However, even by blocking the scripts you are not protected from harm. Therefore, caution should be exercised when browsing the dark web.

If you want to disable the scripts for everyday use in a different browser, it’s better to do it through an extension.

Both extensions will let you decide which websites can run JavaScript and which ones can’t. Please note: Both extensions can disable all kinds of normal website functionality by disabling JavaScript.

7. Check for an IP, DNS, or WebRTC leak

It is possible that even after all these security precautions, an IP or DNS leak is still occurring. What this means is that through some sort of bug or leak, your IP address is still traceable to third parties.

WebRTC is built into most browsers to enable real-time communications such as voice and video calls. This allows you to talk directly from your browser using your webcam, microphone or headset. 

The problem is that most voice calls are sent over a point-to-point connection, which requires your exact IP address. So if you’re in Google Chrome, for example, and have WebRTC running, your real IP address will be revealed even when you’re using a VPN.

This problem is especially prevalent in Google Chrome. To subvert this feature, you can install this Chrome extension.

To check if your connection is really anonymized, go to the following websites:

On these pages, you can see if your real IP address is visible. All of these websites do essentially the same thing. At the top of the page, you can see your public IP address, and below that is your location. If your VPN is working properly, your real address and IP address will not be visible anywhere on the page.

8. Be aware of common dark web myths

There are many myths about the dark web. Knowing them will give you a better perspective of what you can find and expect to do on the dark web. By being aware of these myths, you are less likely to fall prey to a hacker or scammer. Here are some of the most common myths:

MYTHREALITY
All cybercrime happens on the dark webMost cybercrimes take place on the normal web. Phishing and fraud are more common on the surface web than on the dark web.
The dark web is giganticCompared to the deep web, the dark web is relatively small. There are approximately 250,000 to 400,000 websites on the dark web. It is estimated by some sources that the normal surface web contains about 5 billion pages, which means that it is about 12,000 times larger than the dark web.
The dark web is for tech geeks only.By taking the proper precautions, anyone can access the dark web relatively safely. Tor Browser, VPNs, and Tails or other live OS are available to anyone and not too difficult for a beginner to use.
The dark web is illegalThe dark web itself is not illegal. The Tor browser you need to access the dark web; however, it uses very strong encryption which is illegal in some countries. As such, the dark web is indirectly illegal in some countries. These countries, however, tend to have more far-reaching internet restrictions. These are countries like China, Russia, Belarus, Turkey, Iraq and North Korea
Anything you can do on the dark web is illegal.The dark web itself is not illegal, nor is everything that happens on it illegal. Whether or not something is illegal on the dark web depends on the country from which the dark web is accessed. For the sake of clarity, apply this general rule: if something is illegal in the country you are in, it will also be illegal to do the same thing on the dark web. So if it’s illegal to sell drugs on the street, it’s also illegal to sell drugs on the dark web. When in doubt, always make sure to find out what is legal and what is not.

9. Use additional anonymous services

Even if you enter the dark web completely anonymously, it is still possible to unintentionally disclose your personal information through the use of some online services such as search engines, extensions, file sharing, messaging applications, emails, etc.

Many online services use cookies, trackers, and scripts to collect specific data about you. That is why it is better to opt for alternative online services that value privacy. Below, you can find a number of services that are good for safeguarding your privacy.

Anonymous seekers

DuckDuckGo Logo Small

A good private search engine to use is the DuckDuckGo search engine instead of Google. While most search engines don’t work on the dark web, DuckDuckGo does. Unlike most other search engines, DuckDuckGo also shows websites with the ending “.onion”.

The onion address is:  https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/

DuckDuckGo uses the Tor network. This makes it more difficult for them to follow your searches back to you.

Other alternative search engines that will work on the dark web are:

Using private search engines is a big step towards a more private Internet experience.

Strong passwords

Laptop With Password

Strong passwords are even more important on the dark web than on the normal (surface) web. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of thinking of a decent password every time and keeping it safe, you can use a good password manager. Two good options are Bitwarden and LessPass. Both are free and open source. The best option is to load these services through your website.

file encryption

If you are going to download or upload files on the dark web, it might be a good idea to encrypt them. A free, reliable and open-source encryption tool is PeaZip. This tool supports 181 different file formats. Unfortunately, PeaZip is not available for macOS users. An alternative for Mac users is Keka.

Anonymous Upload/Share

If you want to share files anonymously, OnionShare is a good option. It is available for Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu. Dropbox and similar file sharing programs are infamous for not respecting the privacy of their users or data. With OnionShare you can share files of all sizes through a web server.

anonymous office services

If you’re seeking an alternative to Google Docs with better security, check out Etherpad. This software is completely open source. Plus, you don’t even need an account to use it. Another option is Cryptopad. You can use it to write texts, create spreadsheets or make eye-catching presentations. Only those who receive the access keys can gain access to a file.

Video calls (VoIP)

For (video) calls there are several good services available, such as Linphone or Mumble. Linphone is free and open source, it can be used on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and GNU/Linux. The software has end-to-end encryption.

Mumble is a bit different. It is designed specifically for gaming, it does not keep any logs, and it does not record any conversations either. However, it does not have any end-to-end encryption. It is available for Windows, macOS X, iOS, and Ubuntu.

If you want to know more you can take a look at our list of the best video calling services.

send anonymous messages

Ricochet or Signal provide a more secure means of text messaging than your standard messaging app. Another good option is TorChat. This app is part of Tor and allows you to chat with anyone who is also using it. You do not need to register. TorChat automatically assigns you a numerical ID that you must send to the person you want to talk to. 

You can do this by telling the other person directly (face to face) or by sending your ID number via encrypted email (see next step). This allows for a huge degree of anonymity when chatting, you usually can’t go anywhere else.

Send emails securely and anonymously

A highly praised email service is ProtonMail. Your email accounts have standard end-to-end encryption. Emails sent via Gmail or Hotmail are generally easy to intercept and/or decrypt. Encrypted email services are a much more secure option. These services tend to have more rigid data limits. So if you plan to use encrypted email accounts exclusively, you may want to create more than one. Here is a list of encrypted email providers.

It is also possible to create a temporary (disposable) email address. The advantage of this is that you can create an online account on any website, confirm your registration, and then not worry about your inbox being bombarded with useless emails from those websites. Some popular temporary email providers are TempMail  and Guerrillamail.

If you really don’t want to switch to a different email address to browse the dark web, at least make sure your standard email account gets extra protection through PGP (“Pretty Good Privacy”). This can be done by adding a service on top of your regular email account like Mailvelope

This service works with providers like Gmail or Hotmail, and many more. Please note that this option is less secure than a temporary email address or an encrypted email address. A lot of information about you can be tracked through your regular email address.

10. Avoid logins, plugins, subscriptions and payments

If you want to browse the dark web safely, anonymity is the best option. If you choose to log into certain bank or user accounts, your anonymity will be compromised.

It is never a good idea to log into your bank account while on the dark web. Once you’ve logged into a user account, every activity on that website can be attributed to that profile, with or without Tor. Therefore, it is better not to log in to any profile or account while browsing the dark web.

However, some websites require you to have an account to access them. In this case, you can create a random, disposable email address, create an account with which you cannot be identified in any way, and use this account to browse the web.

Creating an untraceable user account means not using your name, date of birth, hobbies, interests, location, etc. The more random and anonymous it is, the better.

Most people use at least some plugins in their browsers. Many of these plugins may collect personal information about you, your location, and your online behaviour. Therefore, it is better not to have them enabled while searching the dark web.

11. Know where you are going

The dark web does not have a normal search index like Google. You have to know where you want to go before you enter the dark web. This means having specific URLs ready so you can go to the right pages. It is not advisable to visit random websites, as it is easy to get somewhere you would rather not be. The dark web is home to some of the nastiest things on the internet, like child porn sites.

To get a bit of a sense of direction on the dark web, there are directories that can help you find what you want. One of the most common places that many new users visit is «The Hidden Wiki«.

Other sites to help you navigate the dark web are:

The Hidden Wiki

To visit The Hidden Wiki, paste the following address into Tor:

http://zqktlwiuavvvqqt4ybvgvi7tyo4hjl5xgfuvpdf6otjiycgwqbym2qad.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page .

The Hidden Wiki gives you access to numerous search engines and pages to visit on the dark web. As you can see, browsing the dark web can be quite easy.

Keep in mind that the dark web is less regulated than the “normal” internet. So, it is easier for you to accidentally end up on questionable websites. A certain degree of caution is therefore recommended.

The Hidden Wiki may look like a normal Wikipedia page, but it certainly isn’t. Although it contains links to legitimate pages, it also contains links to websites with illegal content. So use your common sense when using The Hidden Wiki.

12. Use cryptocurrencies

bitcoin

The dark web has a wide variety of markets (the most famous being the now defunct Silk Road). Many of these markets are likely to sell items that are illegal in your country. Therefore, you should be careful and consider the laws of your country before buying anything on the dark web.

However, not everything sold on the dark web is illegal. And it is also possible that you want to buy something legally, but anonymously. Not everything you buy must necessarily be public knowledge.

All financial transactions on the dark web are done with cryptocurrencies, rather than bank transfers or credit cards. This guarantees anonymity, both yours and that of the seller.

Bitcoin tends to be the first name that comes to mind when hearing the term cryptocurrency. It has a household name, and is often seen as safe, reliable, and anonymous. However, this is not entirely true.

Bitcoin has a number of privacy issues, such as address reuse, connected nodes, tracking cookies, and blockchain analytics. This means that it is possible that someone could link your personal information to a transaction. As such, using a privacy-focused coin is preferable. Two of the most popular are Monero and Zcash, although there are other options available as well. Here you can find a good summary.

However, before you buy anything on the dark web, make sure you know the laws of your country and how cryptocurrencies work.

13. Close everything when you’re done

When you are done browsing the dark web, make sure to close all browser windows and any other related content. If you used Tails, shut down the operating system and go back to your normal operating system. To be absolutely sure: do a quick reset.

14. Internalize that you are never 100% sure

Even if you faithfully follow all the steps above, you are still not guaranteed total security on the dark web. You may inadvertently give out personal information or click on a corrupted link. Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to bypass security systems and settings. And none of the above steps will keep you safe from compromised hardware either. 

If your computer’s hardware is infected with some type of malware, any use of the Internet is already compromised.

In short, there are many things you can do to improve your security on the dark web, but nothing is foolproof.

15. Check online guides, blogs, search engines, chat sites, etc.

Finding your way around the dark web can be quite difficult. That’s why we’ve compiled some resources that you can use to help you later. You don’t have to rely on directories alone. Be aware that these sites may contain unreliable characters or even outright malware. Nothing on the dark web is really secure. Trust no one, use your common sense and enter at your own risk.

SITE TYPESLINKS
ForumsThe Hub: http://thehub5himseelprs44xzgfrb4obgujkqwy5tzbsh5yttebqhaau23yd.onion/
Internet browserDuckDuckGo: https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/
BloggingTor Metrics: http://rougmnvswfsmd4dq.onion/
News websitesNew York Times: https://www.nytimes3xbfgragh.onion/Privacy News: https://privacyintyqcroe.onion/ProPublica: https://p53lf57qovyuvwsc6xnrppyply3vtqm7l6pcobkmyqsiofyeznfu5uqd.onion/

Conclusions

With this guide, you can stay relatively safe when visiting the dark web. However, as we mentioned earlier, the dark web is still quite complicated. It takes great effort to get into the dark web, and once you’re there, you probably won’t be able to visit many websites. 

We recommend that you do a lot of reading about the dark web before attempting to visit this part of the internet. Finally, if you’re not sure what to do on the dark web, you might as well stick to the surface web.

Access to the Dark Web: frequently asked questions

Need a quick answer to a question? Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the Dark Web and how to access it.

To visit websites on the Dark Web you must use the Tor browser. This is a browser that allows you to visit the special URLs of the Dark Web. However, if you want to be safe on the dark web, you need a VPN.

You can download Tor Browser like any other browser, from a website. Regarding Tor Browser, this is torproject.org.

Dark Web website is a website whose URL has the .onion extension. They can only be accessed through the Tor browser. Dark web sites are often talked about in the media as sites where illegal things happen, but this is not always the case.

Most dark web sites have the .onion extension in their URL. These URLs are usually very strange combinations of letters and numbers. For this reason, many people use The Hidden Wiki or the DuckDuckGo search engine to navigate the dark web.

The Hidden Wiki is a dark web page that looks like a Wikipedia page. Here you can find several links to dark websites.

DuckDuckGo is a search engine just like Google and Safari. However, DuckDuckGo does not track your usage and also shows .onion websites in its results.