Home Tech 7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark Web

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark Web

The dark web is a subset of the internet that is much different from the surface web we use regularly. You cannot access the dark web using conventional search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. 

They require software like the Tor browser to access it and use special onion links to access sites on the dark web. Tor Browser uses several nodes and servers to route traffic and encrypts it at every step to protect the user’s anonymity. 

There are three varying layers of the internet; the surface web, the dark web, and the deep web.

Let’s understand what each of them means, as it is easy to get confused by these terms. 

In this tutorial, we are talking about the below topics in detail:-

  • Best Dark Web Search Engines
  • What is TOR? Is TOR Completely Safe to Use?
  • How Does the Tor Browser Work
  • How to Use Tor Browser ( Step-by-Step )
  • Essential dos and don’ts for Tor Network

Without any further delay, let’s explore this guide.

What Will I Learn?💁 show

Dark Web Search Engines – Our Top Pick👌👌

Dark web URLs are basically encrypted gibberish that you cannot memorize.

Since any search engine does not index the web pages and sites on the dark web, you need specialized search engines to visit sites and search for things on the dark web. Furthermore, the links keep changing; what worked once might not work tomorrow.

Here are the top search engines we’ve used and recommend you to use if you venturing into the dark web.

here’s a table of some of the most popular Dark Web search engines:-

Dark Web Search Engine URL Description
Torch http://xmh57jrzrnw6insl.onion/ Torch is one of the oldest and most popular search engines on the Dark Web. It indexes over a million hidden services and provides users with a simple search interface.
NotEvil http://hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion/ NotEvil is a search engine that claims to provide uncensored search results. It does not store user data and uses a decentralized design to prevent government censorship.
Ahmia http://msydqstlz2kzerdg.onion/ Ahmia is a Tor hidden service search engine that indexes over 6,000 hidden services. It provides users a simple and easy-to-use interface to search the Dark Web.
Grams http://grams7enufi7jmdl.onion/ Grams is a Dark Web search engine that specializes in the sale of illegal drugs. It also offers other services such as counterfeit documents, hacking services, and weapons for sale.
Candle http://gjobqjj7wyczbqie.onion/ Candle is a basic search engine for the Tor network that indexes websites in the Dark Web. It claims to have indexed over 20,000 Tor hidden services.
DarkSearch http://darksearch.io/ DarkSearch is a search engine that indexes Dark Web marketplaces, forums, and other websites. It provides users with a clean, easy-to-use interface to search the Dark Web.

Note:- Accessing the Dark Web requires a Tor browser and should only be done with caution as it contains illegal and dangerous content.

We have also included links to these sites, but they might be subject to change as these things are very unpredictable. 

1. DuckDuckGo – Oldest Dark web search engines

DuckDuckGo (Visit Here) is one of the oldest dark web search engines used since 2008. Its main feature is that it does not track its users, so whatever they search for and visit remains anonymous. 

DuckDuckGo is also the official search engine used by default on the Tor Browser but uses the surface web version of the search engine, which regular browsers can access.

We will discuss Tor Browser in detail later in this article but let’s first explore the Brave browser option to browse this dark web search engine.

First, Download the Brave Browser and install it on your device, click on the Three dot icons on the right pane side and select the “New Private Windows with Tor” option.

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark Web

With this, you are able to open all TOR sites on your device.

2. Torch

Torch is also one of the oldest and most widely used search engines on the dark web and has the most extensive database out of all the search engines on this list.

Dark Web Search Engines

Currently, it has indexed over a billion onion pages. However, you should be careful as this search engine does not filter any search results. Make sure you stick to safe categories to prevent yourself from accidentally stumbling over anything illegal.

3. Ahmia 

Ahmia search engine was developed by the developer Juha Nurmi in 2014. It is a search engine for services accessible on the deep web.

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark Web

Furthermore, it is different from other search engines on the dark web as this filters out illegal material and keeps a blacklist of all those sites. 

4. Haystack 

Similar to Ahmia, Haystack filters out the illegal and dangerous content using custom web crawlers. A paid option also allows for in-depth searches and various other features. 

5. NotEvil

Dark Web Search Engines 2

NotEvil search engine is said to be the Google of the dark web. Its motto “ don’t be evil “was derived from the Google motto in the earlier days. NotEvil is not accessible currently, so we won’t be providing a link for it. 

6. The Hidden Wiki

The hidden wiki is yet another one of the most popular Dark Web Search Engines and a giant repository of links from around the dark web.

Dark Web Search Engines 3

There are several categories, including Financial Services, Commercial Services, Domain Services, Anonymity & Security, Darknet versions of popular sites, Blogs / Essays / News Sites, Email / Messaging, Social Networks, Forums / Boards / Chats, Whistleblowing Hosting, website developing, and file uploaders.

7. Directory of Open Access Journals

The Directory of Open Access Journals is the only search engine for accessing academic journals that are locked behind a paywall. DOAJ was initially launched in 2003 with 300 journals and to date, it has over 17,500 peer-reviewed journals in all academic areas like science, medicine, technology, etc. 

8. Elephind

Elephind is the only search engine that is aimed at cataloging and digitizing historical newspapers. As of 2021, it has garnered over 3.6 million newspapers and over 200 million archives. Moreover, a lot of them cannot be found on Google.

Even though the founders believe that it is very much like Google, however, it is mainly focused on history and digital newspapers. You can choose to look for any story from any newspaper site by simply searching here. simply search for the titles and you can then direct yourself to that source on the official site.

9. World Cat

WorldCat is one of a kind search engine that is designed for librarians. You can share bibliographies and library metadata using WorldCat with other librarians, drastically reducing the time taken to catalog from scratch.

Moreover, you can find multiple digital content available such as audiobooks. Not only this, but here you can look for citations and other resources that are available for communities all around the world in different languages.

10. Brave

This is new functionality introduced by the Brave browser allowing users to access the Tor network right inside the browser. This protects the users from their ISPs snooping on their connection to collect data and other things.

The Tor integration with the private browsing tabs provides an added layer of protection to ensure privacy is maintained.

Layers of the Internet:-

Dark Web Search Engines 4

Surface Web

The surface web is readily available to general users. It consists of all the pages and sites that are indexed by standard search engines. They do not need special software to visit them and can be accessed by virtually any browser. 

Deep Web

The deep web is often confused with the dark web. It is entirely different; the deep web simply refers to the sites and pages with security behind them, preventing them from being indexed on regular search engines. 

The security can come in multiple forms; an excellent example would be a private Instagram account whose photos cannot be accessed by the search engines or the contents of your email account.

These accounts and their contents can only be accessed by the person using them and cannot be accessed by search engines. 

Dark Web

The dark web lies within the deep web and is intentionally hidden to prevent peeking eyes. These sites cannot be accessed by regular search engines or browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari. 

You need a Tor Browser that is amongst the best Dark Web Search Engines to access sites on the deep web as the sites have unique links with “.onion” affixed to the end of the URL instead of “.com, .shop, or .in”  that the Tor Browser can only open. Tor is short for The Onion Routing Browser. 

Tor was initially designed to keep internet communication safe and secure. The United States Naval Research Laboratory developed it in the mid-1990s to assure online anonymity. 

However, recent studies and data show that the dark web is used mainly for illegal activities and hosts various marketplaces selling dr#ugs, wea#pons, and other illicit items like stolen credit cards, counterfeit currency,  bank account information, and fake passports.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as the dark web is home to many websites and things that are mostly unseen by the general public. 

Exploring the Dark Web

Tor Browser’s Uses:-

So far, we’ve talked about all the illegal things the Tor browser has used to do. However, it wasn’t meant for those things at all. Tor’s primary function was to protect users from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from illegally monitoring them. 

The Tor Browser can be used to access all the layers of the internet, including the dark web, deep web, and surface web.

However, Tor is known to be extremely slow as the traffic gets routed to several different relays before reaching its end-point. Hence, don’t make Tor your default browser, as sites and videos load very slowly on it. 

The general public who knows about the Tor browser thinks people only use it for illegal activities. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and there are several reasons why Tor can be used as a force for good.

Here are some reasons why accessing and using Tor can be a good idea. 

Anonymity:- many people and activists regularly use Tor to communicate privately and prevent third parties from monitoring them. 

Circumvent Censorship:- Many countries heavily censor websites to prevent and discourage their use. Tor Browser can be used to circumvent that issue safely and securely. You can also watch geo-restricted content using this. 

Expose crimes:- Whistleblowers and journalists use Tor to safely reveal documents, proof, or provide a tip that might lead to an investigation. 

Accessing the Dark Web:-

Accessing the dark web is actually very straightforward. You just need to get a VPN to route your IP from a different place and the Tor Browser, which you can download and install from this site. 

Technically, you can access the dark web with the different Dark Web Search Engines, but the VPN adds another layer of security which masks your IP address even if it gets leaked or revealed from a particular node.

  1. Sign in to your laptop or PC. 
  2. Head over to https://www.torproject.org/download/ to download the Tor browser for your system. 
  3. Click on the installation files and follow the instructions on the screen. 
  4. Now run your VPN service and connect to any location you want in order to mask your IP address. 
  5. Select and open the Tor Browser and wait for it to connect. 
  6. Once connected, enter the onion link to the website you want to visit in the search bar and hit Enter

How Does the Tor Browser Work?

The Tor Browser sends the traffic through various nodes and encrypts it at every single step before reaching its final destination. There are three layers of nodes through which your traffic is routed. 

The first one is the entry node which sends the traffic to a host of relay nodes. The relay nodes then transfer the traffic to the exit node, leading to the website. As you can see, since the traffic is routed through so many nodes, the overall speed of Tor is pretty bad.

These nodes are scattered throughout the globe, and only a bit of information is revealed when the traffic reaches a particular node, just enough to point it to the next node. Tor doesn’t allow a single node to view your traffic route, lending Tor its security and privacy. 

How Tor Browser Protects Your Privacy and Identity Online

However, Tor is not impenetrable; the entry and exit nodes are the weakest links in the entire process as they can partially view your data. The entry and exit nodes can identify and figure out to which sites you’re sending requests, respectively. 

What is TOR? Is TOR Completely Safe to Use?

Tor (www.torproject.org) is an anonymity network that hides your identity as you browse the web, share content and engage in other online activities.

It encrypts any data sent from your computer so that no one can see who or where you are, even when you’re logged into a website. Tor is an acronym for The Onion Router, and it was created by the US Naval Research Laboratory in the mid-Nineties.


It’s all about layers. The data from your computer is sent through a series of ‘nodes’ (other computers, also known as ‘relays’) run by millions of volunteers around the world, building up layers of encryption like the layers of an onion.

Tor gives you a different IP address every time you send or request data, disguising your real one and making it nearly impossible for prying eyes to know where the data originated.


The easiest way to use Tor is through its dedicated browser , which is available for Windows, MacOS and Linux (it can be run from a USB stick if you don’t
want to install it on your computer).

The Tor browser is based on Firefox but disables plugins that could compromise your privacy and security. It won’t clash with other software you have installed, but you
may need to configure your antivirus program or firewall to allow it access to the internet.

There’s also a Tor app for Android, called Orbot; and an operating system –Tails (tails.boum.org) –that’s preconfigured to use Tor.


The police, the military, medical researchers, human-rights groups, abuse victims, whistleblowers, journalists and, increasingly, anyone else who wants to keep their online activities private or is concerned about cyberspying.

It is very popular among people in Internet-censored countries such as Russia and the UAE, and counts Human Rights Watch among its past donors.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a big fan and says: “Without Tor, the streets of the internet become like the streets of a very heavily surveilled city.

Is TOR Completely Safe to Use
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is
one of Tor’s biggest supporters

With Tor, we have private spaces and private lives, where we can choose who we want to associate with and how”.


7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark Web
Tor’s latest figures show that it has 2.5 million daily users worldwide

The most recent figures (metrics.torproject.org) suggest Tor has around 2.5 million daily users, with Facebook’s Tor-only website alone attracting more than a million visitors every month. The US has the most Tor users (19% of the total number) with the
UK in seventh place (3.4%).


Every medium, from the printed page to a standard browser, has the potential to
be dodgy, but web services do not commit ‘actions’ – their users do. As with technology such as Bitcoin – Tor’s preferred currency – Tor does not incite or condone illegal enterprises. On its website, it recognizes that criminal elements exploit anonymity, but
points out: “Criminals can already do bad things… they already have lots of options available”.

For every lawbreaker, there are numerous legitimate users, many of whom use Tor to great social benefit.


Yes, completely. The US Navy isn’t in the habit of creating illegal software,and there’s nothing dubious about wanting to browse in private.

Nobody has ever been arrested or prosecuted solely for using Tor, only for what they used it to do, and Tor itself says
in its legal FAQ that “it is not a tool designed or intended to be used to break the law” .

Is TOR Completely Safe to Use?

As with many online tools, that depends on what you use it for. Many people have reservations about browsing with Tor because it provides access to the so-called Dark Web, where they fear they might stumble across disturbing and illegal content.

However, Tor doesn’t blithely offer you a directory of links so you can start exploring Dark Web sites – you need to know the exact web addresses, which usually consist of
a jumble of 16 characters and the domain ‘.onion’. All the same, it pays to be vigilant and you should avoid opening suspicious files and links.


There are plenty of useful–and perfectly legal – Dark Web sites that can only
be accessed through Tor. Here are 10 of our favorites,

Facebook www.facebookcorewwwi.onion

Yes, we realize the irony: the social network renowned for harvesting its users’ data for advertising purposes has a special private version that can only be accessed through Tor.

Is TOR Completely Safe to Use

You might wonder how this works – surely you can’t be anonymous on Facebook
or friends won’t be able to find you (and vice versa).

But the idea is to provide a secure and reliable method of communication for people worried about cyber-surveillance. More than one million people use the hidden site, which is also available on Android.

ProPublica www.propub3r6espa33w.onion

Is TOR Completely Safe to Use

Winner of four Pulitzer prizes–and the first online publication to win the award–this non-profit news site’s mission is to “expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business and other institutions”.

Not only does ProPublica’s ‘.onion’ site put paid to the notion that only dubious content can be found on the Dark Web, but it allows people in iinternet-censored countries to read its fearless investigative journalism via Tor, without fear of reprisal.

DuckDuckGo 3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion

Is TOR Completely Safe to Use

As we’ve mentioned, DuckDuckGo is Tor’s default search engine but it’s also worth bookmarking its ‘.onion’ site, if only to see that the Dark Web hasn’t wiped the smile from the happy logo’s bill.

Indeed, the privacy-loving bird thrives on the freedom and anonymity offered by the browser, letting you quickly search the web without being spied on.

DuckDuckGo’s ‘bang’ commands can be used to search thousands of sites by typing, for example, !w for Wikipedia followed by a search term.

Intel Exchange rrcc5uuudhh4oz3c.onion

Some discussion forums accessed via Tor are distinctly unpleasant, but if you’re interested in conspiracy theories, leaked documents and unreported global events, Intel Exchange is one of the safest places to read and share information.

Some threads are amusingly bonkers – ‘Cthulhu for President’, ‘Telekinesis – everyone can do it’ and ‘Building a spaceship’, for example – but by insisting users register and have their accounts verified, the forum generally avoids the spam, trolls and timewasters that plague many boards
on the standard web.

Blockchain blockchainbdgpzk.onion

Is TOR Completely Safe to Use

You need to invest in cryptocurrency to buy and sell through hidden sites, and Bitcoin is by far the most popular option.

Blockchain serves as a free virtual wallet for your
currency and provides lots of useful data such as the current market price, graphs of Bitcoinmining activity and details of transaction numbers.

Unusually, for an onion site, it has an official HTTPS certificate, for peace of mind about your Bitcoin savings.

Flashlight kxojy6ygju4h6lwn.onion

Calling itself “an info beam in the Dark Web”, Flashlight gathers news about cryptocurrency, Tor-related projects and internet privacy in general, presenting it as a constantly updated feed.

Interesting headlines when we visited included ‘Tor browser
downloads are up in 2017’ and ‘Bitcoin price hits all-time high’.

Hidden Answers answerstedhctbek.onion

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark Web

Like Yahoo Answers for the Dark Web, this site lets you post queries about any topic you like and get a helpful – or at least honest – response from the community.

Be warned that the no-holds-barred nature of Hidden Answers means some of the discussion is rather dubious, and we certainly wouldn’t click its hoax adverts. But there’s some genuinely useful advice about security and privacy, and avoiding scams.

How Will You Tell the World? rjzdqt4z3z3xo73h.onion

“You have been chosen. You have always been awake. Seek and it shall be found” begins this enigmatic site, which dares you to make sense of its mix of diagrams, audio snippets
and portentous statements.

Is it a communication from aliens hidden on the Dark Web or a prank to fool Tor users into thinking they’ve uncovered a secret? Nobody has worked it out yet, but it’s an intriguing riddle.

WikiLeaks wlupld3ptjvsgwqw.onion

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark Web

Julian Assange may have lost much of the goodwill he once enjoyed, but WikiLeaks remains one of the most important sources of uncensored political information.

Although you can access its content in any browser, for security reasons the only way to submit documents is through Tor. Files are encrypted automatically during upload.

Privacy International privacyintyqcroe.onion

This London-based charity promotes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence”.

It’s aim is to investigate the secret world of government surveillance and expose the companies enabling it.

This onion site shares Privacy International’s eye-opening reports
and case studies, and explanations of the dangers of ‘big data’, and lets you donate to the charity via PayPal.

How to Use Tor Browser ( Step-by-Step )

Tor can take you to places that a standard browser can’t, but it’s easier than you might think to use and far less intimidating than its reputation suggests.

In this How to Use Tor Browser tutorial, we explain how to get up and running with the browser, configure its most important settings and use its built-in tools to keep your private and secure online.

Step-by-Step Process to use Tor Browser

Step1:- Download Install and run Tor, and opt to connect directly to the Tor network. Before you start browsing, click the onion icon to the left of the address bar.

1 Here, you can see and change the ‘circuit’ of nodes through which your connection is routed, and the IP addresses and countries used. 2

How to Use Tor Browser

Step 2:- Click Security Settings to set a security level. Standard is the default, 1 which enables all standard browser features but may leave you compromised.

Safer 2 boosts security by turning off some risky scripts and media, while Safest 3 disables them all, and may leave the web looking rather bare.

How to Use Tor Browser

Step3:- The preinstalled NoScript add-on blocks some scripts. If you chose Safer or Safest level, you can still run scripts on certain sites by clicking the ‘S’ button 1 and temporarily allowing them.

2 To create a whitelist of allowed sites, choose Options, Whitelist and enter the URLs.

How to Use Tor Browser

Step4:- Tor’s default search engine is DuckDuckGo, but you can click the search icon 1 to switch to another, such as the equally private Disconnect or Startpage, or the Tor-specific DuckDuckGoOnion.

Click Change Search Settings 2 to set one of these as the default from the drop-down menu.

How to Use Tor Browser

Step5:- As in any browser, Tor ‘.onion’ sites are accessed via the address bar. If they won’t load, click the onion icon and choose Tor Network Settings.

Select the “ TOR is censored in my country” option 1 to connect using secret entry points (‘bridges’); or computer options to connect via a proxy 2 or alternative ports.

How to Use Tor Browser

Step6:- HTTPS Everywhere, built into Tor, ensures you connect to secure, encrypted versions of sites. To avoid sharing data on unsafe connections, click the top-right menu button.

Pick HTTPS Everywhere 1 and ‘Block all unencrypted requests’. 2 Choose Show Counter to see how well it’s doing.

How to Use Tor Browser

Essential dos and don’ts for Tor Network

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark WebMake sure Tor is kept up to date

Tor is much more secure than Chrome and Firefox but as with any piece of
software, it’s not impervious to attack.

For example, the network was targeted in 2013 by a Trojan called Chewbacca, which stole banking details; and in 2016, it was revealed that the FBI had used specially created malware called Torsploit to ‘deanonymise’ Tor users and track their real IP addresses.

There have also been cases of Tor exit nodes – the last relays that Tor traffic passes through before it reaches its destination – being used for malicious purposes rather than anonymous ones, and infecting users’ systems.

Fortunately, Tor usually addresses such threats and vulnerabilities very swiftly, which makes it essential to keep the browser up to date.

Every time you launch Tor, click the onion icon on the toolbar and choose ‘Check
for Tor Browser Update’ (Tor updates itself periodically, but checking manually ensures you’re using the latest version).

Essential dos and don’ts for Tor Network
Update Tor regularly to safeguard it against the latest security threats

Additionally, if you’re using a service that involves sharing personal information, you should change Tor’s security level to High, as explained in our Workshop opposite.

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark WebUse Tor for torrenting

As a powerful privacy tool,Tor might seem like the perfect means of downloading and uploading files via BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer networks, but it absolutely is not!

Using a torrent client bypasses Tor’s protection and blows your anonymity by sending your real IP address to the torrent service and other ‘peers’. This allows them to identify you, the port you’re using for torrenting and even the data you’re sharing, if it isn’t encrypted.

They can then potentially target you with malware or even notify the relevant authorities (if you’re sharing copyrighted material).

Additionally, torrent traffic places a heavy strain on the Tor network and slows it down for others, so it’s selfish as well as careless.

For all these reasons, Tor says file-sharing is “widely unwanted” and exit nodes are configured to block torrent traffic by default.

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark WebCreate a new identity when necessary

Tor does a great job of keeping you safe and anonymous, but you may still
encounter websites that raise alarm bells – indeed, Tor may warn you that
a site is trying to track you.

If you’re worried that your privacy has been compromised, click the onion icon on the toolbar and choose New Identity.

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark Web
If you encounter anything suspicious, reset your identity and restart To

This will restart the Tor browser and reset your IP address, so you can carry on browsing as a fresh user.

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark WebMaximize the Tor window

Leave Tor browser windows at their default size because maximizing them
allows websites to determine the size of your monitor.

This might not sound too worrying on its own but when combined with other information, it may provide the extra information websites need to identify you.

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark WebUse a VPN alongside Tor

It’s important to remember that Tor is a proxy rather than a VPN, which means it only protects traffic routed through the Tor browser.

As we explained earlier, there are some risks to using the Tor network, especially when downloading torrent files and inadvertently connecting through a malicious exit node.

You can boost your privacy and security by using Tor in conjunction with a VPN, to ensure all your data is encrypted and no logs are kept of your activities.

Several VPNs offer features designed specifically for Tor users, including NordVPN – which lets you access servers pre-configured to redirect traffic through the Tor network.

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark WebSearch the web using Google

Google isn’t known for respecting its users’ privacy, so to continue using it
in Tor (it’s one of the available options) is rather self-defeating.

Not only does Google still try to track you and record your searches (based on your exit node’s IP address) but when it finds you’re connecting in an ‘unusual’ manner, it gets very uppity about it.

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark Web
Google doesn’t like you using Tor and will continually try to track you

Try searching with Google in Tor and you’ll continually get CAPTCHAs that ask you to prove you’re not a robot.

We recommend using either Tor’s default search engine DuckDuckGo, its ‘Onion’ variant or Startpage (which uses non-tracked Google results), all of which come preinstalled alongside Google.

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark WebConsider running a  Tor relay

Tor relies on its loyal and ever-expanding community to provide the relays that create the circuits that deliver the anonymity it’s become (in)famous for. The more relays – or ‘nodes’ – there are running, the faster and more secure the Tor network will be.

If you become a regular Tor user, consider giving something back to the community by sharing your bandwidth and running your own relay.

You can either be a ‘middle relay’ – one of the two or more nodes that receive Tor traffic and then passes it on – or an ‘exit relay’.

Being a middle relay is much safer because if another user employs the Tor network to do something malicious or illegal, your IP address will not show up as the source of the traffic.

In contrast, an exit relay can be identified as that source, which means people who run exit relays may have to deal with complaints and even legal attention.

Therefore you shouldn’t host an exit node from your home PC  and, if you’re sensible, not at all!

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark Web
Tor relays are best hosted on PCs running Linux rather than Windows

One further problem: you need to have a Linux computer running Debian or Ubuntu to host a reliable relay – see Tor’s instructions here.

In Windows, you need to run a Linux distro as a virtual machine and set up your relay from there. It’s a bit of a hassle, but at least it will keep your Tor traffic separate from the rest of your system.

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark WebShare your real email address

It may sound obvious, but there’s no point using Tor to stay anonymous if
you sign up to a website using your real email address.

It’s like putting a paper bag over your head, then scrawling your name and address on it. A disposable email service such as MailDrop (maildrop.cc) or Nada (getnada.com), or the brilliant Fake Name Generator (www.fakenamegenerator.com) can be used to create a temporary address and/or identity for site registrations and keep your Tor persona separate from your standard web one.

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark WebUse Tor for anonymous email

You can use your favorite email services in Tor – although pesky Google
may ask you to verify your Gmail account – but the content of your
messages won’t be encrypted in transit.

Tor will of course disguise where you are, but unless you’re using a disposable email address (see above), anyone intercepting your messages will see your real address and, potentially, your name.

For total privacy and anonymity, you can use a Tor-enabled email service. Several of these have been closed down by law-enforcement agencies in recent years because they were linked to criminal activities, but using one is not illegal, nor does it place you under suspicion.

The best and most trustworthy option is ProtonMail (protonmail.com), an end-to-end encrypted-email provider, launched by the CERN research facility in 2013.

Earlier this year, ProtonMail introduced a Tor hidden service specifically to combat the censorship and surveillance of its users.

You can sign up for a free ProtonMail account
at protonirockerxow.onion, but this limits you to 500MB of storage and 150 messages per day; to get advanced features, you need the Plus plan for ¤4 (£3.70) per month.

Browse securely using ProtonVPN: Best New VPN

Alternatively, you could try Bitmessage, a free Desktop client that lets you send and receive encrypted messages using Tor, and can be run from a USB stick. It offers both
standard (bitmessage.org) and Tor (bitmailendavkbec.onion) websites.

How to Send Encrypted Email with ProtonMail

7 Best Dark Web Search Engines To Explore The Dark WebGo overboard with browser add-ons

Because Tor is based on Firefox, it’s possible to install your favorite
add-ons to customize it to your preference, which makes sense if you are planning to use Tor as your default browser. Don’t be tempted!

Even if extensions aren’t infected with malware (as some Chrome ones were recently found to be), they may seriously compromise your privacy.

Tor comes with two of the best protective add-ons preinstalled – NoScript and HTTPS Everywhere – and that’s really all you need if your reason for switching to the browser is
to be anonymous.

Also, bear in mind that browsing with Tor can be slower than Chrome or Firefox because of its roundabout way of connecting, so overloading it with add-ons will
further reduce your speed.

📗Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Tor Browser a VPN?

No, Tor is not a traditional VPN, but it encrypts your data and protects your anonymity, which is similar to what a VPN does. However, a VPN offers several additional features that the Tor browser does not, such as:

Masked or new IP addresses:- This is one of the primary functions of a VPN; it changes your IP location so that even if your data gets leaked through the entry or exit nodes, it can’t be traced back to you. 

IP address and DNS protection:- A VPN also has several features to safeguard and protect your IP address from getting leaked. 

No logs:- Many VPN services like Nord VPN are known for not collecting any data on the sites you visit while using the VPN. No organization can force them to record data or provide them with anything.

How Large Is The Dark Web?

Contrary to what people usually say, the dark web is not really that big. Data suggests that there are over 55,000 onion domains, but only 15,000 of them are currently active.

Furthermore, dark web links are very inconsistent and are replaced regularly. Old ones get deleted while new ones keep popping up. 

Are Illegal Activities Prevalent on the Dark Web?

The answer to that is, unfortunately, yes. Many illegal activities occur, such as dr#ug buying/selling dru#gs using the dark web.

Some dark websites also sell illicit items such as gu#ns, fake passports, stolen credit card information, and a whole host of other things.

 You can technically find everything you could want on the dark web, legal or illegal. 

In addition, people also sell ransomware, viruses, and other hacking tools and services like DDoS attacks, android/iOS malware. 

Is it legal to access the dark web?

Yes, accessing the dark web is legal. However, using it to aid in unlawful activities is not. In some countries, the tor browser is restricted but not strictly forbidden. 

How to Disable HTTPS-Only Mode in the Tor Browser?

Read the instructions given below to see how you can disable the HTTPS-Only mode in Tor Browser. 

  1. Log in to your laptop or PC and open the Tor Browser. 
  2. Click the three horizontal lines at the top right corner of the window. 
  3. Select Settings from the list and select Privacy & Security from the menu on the left side. 
  4. Scroll down to the HTTPS-Only section and check the circle next to the Don’t enable HTTPS-Only mode

Can I Use Extensions Inside the Tor Browser?

Yes, you can download and install extensions for the Tor browser. However, it is not recommended as some of these extensions and plugins can bypass the browser’s security features and may reveal your identity. 

How to Change the Security Level Inside the Tor Browser?

You can choose between three levels of security within the Tor browser. Read the instructions provided below to see how you can switch between them. 

  1. Log in to your laptop or PC and open the Tor Browser. 
  2. Click the three horizontal lines on the window. 
  3. Click on Settings and head over to the Privacy & security tab.  
  4. Scroll down to the Security section and choose the safety level you want to use. There are three levels to choose from; the Standard option allows all features of the tor browser to be used. 
  5. The Safer option disables dangerous features, and using this might cause some sites to lose functionality. 
  6. The Safest option only allows website features required for stable sites and basic services.

How to Enable QuickStart Inside the Tor Browser?

With the Quickstart feature enable, the Tor Browser will automatically connect to a relay as soon as you open the browser. Read the instructions provided below to see how it is done. 

  1. Log in to your laptop or PC and open the Tor Browser. 
  2. Click the three horizontal lines on the window.
  3. Click on Settings and head over to the Privacy & security tab.  
  4. Under the Quickstart sections, make sure to check the box next to the Always connect automatically option. 

Can I Use a Proxy Network to Connect to the Internet Using the Tor Browser?

Yes, you can configure how Tor Browser connects to the internet. Read the instructions provided below to see how it is done. 

  1. Log in to your laptop or PC and open the Tor Browser. 
  2. Click the three horizontal lines on the window. 
  3. Click on Settings and head over to the Privacy & security tab.  
  4. Go to the Advanced section and check the box next to the I use a proxy to connect to the Internet option. 
  5. Select the proxy type and enter the IP address or hostname which you use to connect to the internet. 

The dark web is a mysterious place that remains largely unexplored. However, it also becomes necessary in places where the government is spying on political dissidents to root them out.

People can use the dark web to communicate privately and securely without worrying about the government breathing down on their necks all the time.