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14 Best Dark Web Links in 2021: (+ How to Access .onion Sites)

Dawn Teh Last Updated by Dawn Teh on April 11, 2021

If you’re new to the Tor Network, finding the .onion sites you want can be frustrating and even dangerous. This is because the Dark Web is unregulated, and .onion sites don’t appear on Google. While it’s a valuable place for journalists, civil rights advocates, and activists, the Dark Web is also a haven for hackers and government surveillance. Worse yet, seemingly safe content may contain illegal material.

Fortunately, there’s a way to access the best .onion sites safely. To save you time figuring out how, I’ll share 14 of the best dark websites and give you a step-by-step beginner’s guide on how to access .onion sites securely.

Keep in mind that the Dark Web has dangers that you need to protect yourself from, even when using the best .onion sites. The Tor browser keeps you anonymous once you’re on the Dark Web — but without a secure VPN, your government and internet provider will still see that you’re connected. Your IP address will also be exposed, leaving you open to cyberattacks from Dark Web hackers. That’s why you should always use a VPN with the Tor browser. If you want a quick recommendation, ExpressVPN has some of the strongest security features of any I tested. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free now and if you’re not happy with it, you can get a full refund using its money-back guarantee.

Use the Dark Web safely with ExpressVPN

Quick Guide: 14 Best Dark Web Links (Updated April 2021)

  1. The Hidden Wiki — A directory of the Dark Web that helps you locate pages and tools that may be of interest to you.
  2. ProtonMail — A secure email service that keeps you anonymous.
  3. DuckDuckGo — A search engine that indexes .onion sites and doesn’t track your search history or use ad trackers.
  4. Library Genesis — A vast collection of free books, literature, and comics.
  5. Sci-Hub — A database that lets you access millions of scientific research papers for free.
  6. The Intercept — An online publication that brings you the latest in fearless, unfiltered news and welcomes tips from whistleblowers.
  7. ProPublica — A thought-provoking platform that publishes pieces on a wide range of topics like politics, finance, and the environment.
  8. Wasabi Wallet — A virtual Bitcoin wallet that lets you manage your cryptocurrency anonymously.
  9. SecureDrop — A non-traceable platform for whistleblowers to send information to media outlets.
  10. Torch Search Engine — The oldest search engine on the Tor network, it has access to the largest database of .onion links available.
  11. Black Cloud — A secure Dark Web cloud that lets you upload files just like DropBox or Google Drive, but anonymous and no data mining.
  12. Impreza Hosting — Affordable hosting services to start your own site on the Dark Web.
  13. TorLinks — A directory of .onion sites to use as a backup if other directories go offline.
  14. ZeroBin — This site lets you securely share anonymous messages and images, with an option for your message to self-destruct.

How to Easily Access Any .onion Site in 2021

  1. Get a VPN with tough security. Try ExpressVPN for its fast and reliable server network, as well as military-grade encryption to keep you safe on the Dark Web.
  2. Connect to a VPN server. This will allow you to securely download the Tor browser anonymously.
  3. Start browsing .onion sites. With your VPN turned on, no one will know that you’ve entered the Tor network. Your data will be encrypted, keeping your information safe and anonymous.

Use the Dark Web safely with ExpressVPN

VPNs and Tor: Your Resources for Navigating the Dark Web Safely

The Tor browser provides you with online anonymity, but it doesn’t fully protect you. Even though your internet provider and the government can’t see what websites you’re visiting, they can still see if you’re using the Tor network. To stay 100% hidden and safe on the Dark Web, I always connect to a top-tier VPN like ExpressVPN before logging onto the Tor network and using the Dark Web.

A VPN prevents third parties from acquiring any information about what you’re doing, so you stay truly anonymous when you use the Dark Web. It can also prevent hackers on the Tor network from figuring out your real IP address. While there are “proxy services” that claim to keep you safe from the Dark Web, you shouldn’t use them — they don’t have the security of a VPN service.

You should also use antivirus software for extra protection — I’ve found that Norton 360 has the best value for the most in-depth level of security on the Dark Web, and you can even try Norton 360 for free for 60 days. Once you’ve connected to a VPN and enabled your antivirus, remember these extra tips to use the Dark Web as safely as possible:

    • Don’t click links that you aren’t familiar with.
    • Never use your personal email address to sign up for anything — use a secure Dark Web email service to make a new account.
    • Use strong passwords that are unique for every individual account and enable two-factor authentication.
    • Cover your webcam and microphone to prevent anyone from spying on you.
    • Don’t download anything, as hackers will try to trick you into installing malware.
    • Use extreme caution before buying anything, as Dark Web marketplaces are filled with scammers.

I also recommend you don’t use a free VPN to browse the Dark Web. Most free VPNs don’t work well and are actually involved in malicious activity, putting you at risk of financial fraud, identity theft, and malware. Instead, I’d look for a service that offers military-grade encryption, and a speedy, reliable global server network like ExpressVPN. Since you can try ExpressVPN’s top-tier protection risk-free for 30 days, you can use it to safely explore the Dark Web and then cancel for a full refund.

Use the Dark Web safely with ExpressVPN

14 Best .onion Sites in April 2021

1. The Hidden Wiki – Index of the Dark Web

Screenshot of The Hidden Wiki in the Tor browser

The Hidden Wiki is the Dark Web version of Wikipedia: a directory that indexes links of .onion sites to help you navigate the Tor network. Directories like this are essential because these URLs aren’t as informative as those used on the standard web. For example, the URL for The Hidden Wiki itself is a seemingly random mix of numbers and letters. This makes it difficult to find specific websites on the Dark Web, but The Hidden Wiki makes it easy for you by providing an in-depth directory of sites in different categories.

Keep in mind that The Hidden Wiki is uncensored, which means it indexes both legal and illegal websites, and not all the links listed may be functional or safe. It’s known to file legitimate websites alongside those that cater to pedophiles, scam users, or offer illicit services like money laundering. To keep yourself and others safe, avoid these categories and only access The Hidden Wiki after connecting to a reliable VPN.

The Hidden Wiki URL: http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

2. ProtonMail – Anonymous Email Service

Screenshot of Protonmail's homepage on the dark web

If you want to communicate securely using the Tor network, ProtonMail is ideal. It’s one of the most popular email services available on the Dark Web. It uses end-to-end encryption to help keep users anonymous while giving them access to quality email. Unlike other services, it even includes an automated login recovery system if you lose your credentials. Plus, it is much more secure than popular surface web services like Gmail and HotMail.

To keep your communications 100% private, you can access ProtonMail while you connect through a VPN with secure servers like ExpressVPN. Unlike other email services, you don’t need to provide personal information when signing up, further increasing your anonymity.

ProtonMail link: https://protonirockerxow.onion/

3. DuckDuckGo – A Search Engine That Doesn’t Track You

Screenshot of DuckDuckGo's .onion site
I was tired of web crawlers logging my searches and sending me targeted ads, so I decided to try DuckDuckGo. This search engine works on the surface web (so it’s a great alternative to Google) and the Dark Web.

Since it doesn’t have anywhere near the same level of resources as Google, I didn’t expect it to work very well. However, I was surprised that DuckDuckGo provided tons of relevant search results during my testing.

Aside from searching different corners of the internet, DuckDuckGo offers great user privacy. It doesn’t log your personal information or search history, and it blocks ad trackers. You can get total anonymity on the Dark Web if you use DuckDuckGo with a quality VPN like ExpressVPN.

DuckDuckGo: http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/

4. Library Genesis – Find Free Books on This File-Sharing Website

As a huge reader, I was excited to learn about Library Genesis (Libgen). This platform is one of the world’s largest free virtual libraries on the Tor network, and it’s growing fast. Libgen expands rapidly by integrating other existing library catalogs into its system. The platform claims to have over 2.4 million non-fiction books, half a million magazine issues, 80 million academic articles, 2.2 million fiction books, and over 2 million comics. The collection covers technology, business, science, and other subjects. Plus, it has an active forum to encourage you to interact with other users.

If you want to safely and quickly torrent large files from LibGen, make sure to use a VPN with torrenting-specialized servers.

Library Genesis: http://genotypeinczgrxr.onion/

5. Sci-Hub – Free Scientific Research Papers

I was thrilled to discover Sci-Hub — it lets you download millions of scientific articles for free. Sci-Hub makes it possible to access breaking discoveries without paying a fee.

Gaining access to scientific research papers on the surface web can be difficult and expensive. Many databases and journals impose costly membership fees or charge high one-time prices to view a single article. As an independent researcher myself, I am always frustrated by barriers like this — accessing enough papers to write one review can cost thousands of dollars.

To protect yourself, make sure you secure your private data with CyberGhost before downloading anything from Sci-Hub.

Sci-Hub: http://scihub22266oqcxt.onion/

6. The Intercept – Publishes Fearless and Unfiltered Political News

The Intercept is a news source that publishes fearless and adversarial journalism. It prides itself on giving journalists the editorial freedom and legal support they need to investigate corruption and other injustices. Many of its articles rely on leaks and secret sources. Its .onion address offers SecureDrop for whistleblowers. This platform lets users submit documents without revealing their identities.

To stay anonymous when reading or contacting a news source like The Intercept, use a VPN with a strict no-logging policy like ExpressVPN before connecting to your Tor browser.

The Intercept: http://xpxduj55x2j27l2qytu2tcetykyfxbjbafin3x4i3ywddzphkbrd3jyd.onion/

7. ProPublica – Pulitzer Prize-Winning News Publication

This Pulitzer Prize-winning news outlet covers a wide range of topics, including politics, health, finance, and the environment. Journalists at ProPublica aim to provide in-depth investigative pieces that are thought-provoking and impactful on multiple subjects.

In 2016, ProPublica launched a .onion domain to help readers access articles anonymously and bypass censorship. Whistleblowers can submit documents on the .onion site, and whether you’re offering a tip or just browsing, you can use CyberGhost to stay anonymous while on the site.

ProPublica: https://www.propub3r6espa33w.onion/

8. Wasabi Wallet – Buy Bitcoin Anonymously

Over the past several years, Bitcoin has increased in popularity with the general public and is still the most used cryptocurrency for Dark Web transactions.

Wasabi Wallet is one of the best platforms for buying, selling, and managing your cryptocurrency anonymously. Its unique wallet-mixing features let you combine coins with other users to make your transactions harder to trace. When you use its .onion website, you’ll stay private as all your data gets anonymized on the Tor network.

For even greater safety in managing your transactions on the Dark Web, use ExpressVPN to protect your sensitive financial data with strict security like DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch.

Wasabi Wallet: http://wasabiukrxmkdgve5kynjztuovbg43uxcbcxn6y2okcrsg7gb6jdmbad.onion

9. SecureDrop – A Secure Way to Share Sensitive Information With the Media

SecureDrop has earned a reputation as a reliable whistleblowing platform for those who want to share sensitive information with the media safely. You can send information to news outlets without revealing your identity. Since whistleblowers put themselves at risk for leaking information, SecureDrop’s anonymity is key to protecting them.

As soon as you submit data on this platform, it’s automatically encrypted. As it doesn’t log your IP address, you can rest assured that third parties won’t trace you on this .onion site. To stay even safer, make sure only to connect using a VPN with military-grade encryption like CyberGhost.

SecureDrop: http://secrdrop5wyphb5x.onion/

10. Torch Search Engine – The Largest Search Engine on Tor

As the oldest search engine on the Tor network, Torch has access to the largest database of .onion links available. It claims to have indexed over 1 billion .onion pages. This means Torch probably has a relevant link available, no matter what you’re looking for.

Like DuckDuckGo, Torch doesn’t log any of your activities. It also gives you additional information about search results, like the size of the pages you might want to access.

Just be careful — like many other tools on the Dark Web, Torch doesn’t censor search results. That means you should try to stick to safe categories to avoid illegal content, scams, and malware. Even seemingly safe pages might hide dangerous content, so use CyberGhost and its built-in malware blocker to prevent you from entering sites that could put you in harm’s way.

Torch: http://xmh57jrzrnw6insl.onion/

11. Black Cloud – A Secure and Anonymous File Storage Cloud

On Black Cloud, you can upload any type of file securely to share it with others or access it yourself from anywhere. On the standard web, you have to rely on regular cloud services like Google Drive for this, but these companies mine data from your files and have inadequate security. I like to use Black Cloud as a backup for my free cloud storage.

Black Cloud: http://bcloud2suoza3ybr.onion/

12. Impreza Hosting – Dark Web Site Hosting Services

Even sites on the Dark Web need to be hosted somehow, and Impreza Hosting is one of the best services to get your dark website up and running. Even though you need technical expertise to set up a website with them — you can rent its servers to run your site, register your domain name, host email services, and everything else that services like GoDaddy have on the standard web.

Impreza Hosting: http://v7avmdv2l6dio3cg.onion/

.Onion sites are frequently going offline for one reason or another, so I find it useful to have several directories to refer to for a backup. TorLinks is a nice collection of categorized .onion sites that you’ll find helpful if The Hidden Wiki is unavailable, or if you want to find an alternative for a site that’s no longer available.

TorLinks: http://torlinksd6pdnihy.onion

14. ZeroBin – Secure and Anonymous Messaging Service

ZeroBin lets you post messages that require a password to view and will self-destruct immediately after reading the message or up to 5 years later. All contents are encrypted so not even the owners of ZeroBin know what’s sent, making it secure and anonymous.

Whether you’re a journalist who needs to communicate private information securely with your editor or just sharing memes with friends, ZeroBin keeps your identity from being revealed. To make sure not even your internet provider knows you’re visiting .onion sites, you need to connect to a top VPN. Try ExpressVPN risk-free — it has advanced security and a vast, reliable server network.

ZeroBin: http://zerobinqmdqd236y.onion/

Myths About the Dark Web + What You Can REALLY Use It For

If you’re new to the Dark Web, you might think it’s mainly just for criminals. In reality, most Dark Web users are regular people like you and me. Many live in internet-restricted countries, do work that could put them in danger (like journalism), or just value privacy. Some of the most popular uses for the Dark Web are:

  • Avoiding censorship — Dark websites let you post anything you want, whether you’re a journalist or a free speech advocate.
  • Preventing data mining — From ads and trackers to social media sites that sell your information, the Dark Web lets you “opt-out” of the data mining over the regular web.
  • Buying and selling — Although people sell illegal things on the Dark Web, it can also be a great place to buy legal but hard-to-find items. It also lets you purchase restricted items like life-saving medicine in areas where access is limited.
  • Protect assets — In countries with unstable currencies and banking systems, converting and holding cash in digital currencies on Dark Web wallets gives you a way to protect your money’s purchasing power in case your country’s financial system collapses.
  • Improve cybersecurity — Security researchers use the Dark Web to develop new methods and track down stolen data to make the internet safer for everyone.

The Deep Web and Dark Web are commonly confused. The deep web contains everything that search engines can’t access, including the Dark Web, private social media posts, and emails. The Dark Web is a separate web managed by volunteers on the Tor network and uses .onion URL addresses instead of .com. Since the Dark Web comes with dangers, you need special software and the know-how to browse it safely.

For this reason, I recommend you use a VPN with extensive security like ExpressVPN. Its servers will help hide your activities and you can even use use ExpressVPN on the Dark Web risk-free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee.

Use the Dark Web safely with ExpressVPN

4 Best VPNs for Securely Accessing .onion Sites

1. ExpressVPN — Fast Browsing Speeds and Powerful Security Features for the Dark Web

Key Features:

  • Fast servers and unlimited bandwidth for quick browsing on the Tor network
  • Military-grade 256-bit encryption and TrustedServer technology to erase any trace of Dark Web activity
  • Automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection to keep you safe even if your internet connection is interrupted
  • Strict no-logs policy audited by cybersecurity experts
  • Anonymous sign-up on its own .onion site on Tor and accepts cryptocurrencies as payment

I loved accessing the Dark Web with ExpressVPN because it has fast server speeds and top-of-the-line security. Using a Tor browser is usually slower than regular web browsing because your data must hop through multiple servers (or nodes). Since I wanted to use DuckDuckGo, I was worried that a VPN would reduce my speeds so I put it to the test.

ExpressVPN loaded DuckDuckGo results in only 3 seconds while other VPNs often took up to 6-10 seconds. I didn’t notice any increase in loading time compared to regular web browsing, but I was impressed that ExpressVPN maintained fast speeds even on .onion sites.

Screenshot of the Tor browser open while ExpressVPN is connected to a server in Australia
I had fast and secure browsing with DuckDuckGo while connected to ExpressVPN

Aside from speed, privacy is a big concern to me — I often travel to countries (like the US) where the government could investigate me for using the Dark Web. In my testing, I was relieved that ExpressVPN uses military-grade encryption to keep my data hidden. This is the same encryption level as US military intelligence and has an automatic kill switch to keep your activities private even if your connection drops. It also provides TrustedServer technology to erase any trace of your data every time a server reboots. That means if hackers were somehow able to access ExpressVPN’s servers, they wouldn’t find any data at all.

Screenshot of a page on ExpressVPN's website describing TrustedServer technology
Your online information is secure with ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology

Plenty of VPNs claim they never log user data, but many actually sell records of your online history, IP address, and other data to third parties. ExpressVPN actually upholds a strict and proven no-logs policy. In fact, when Turkish authorities seized ExpressVPN’s physical servers during an investigation in 2017, they couldn’t find any user information!

Considering that ExpressVPN offers strong security and maintains fast speeds even on .onion sites, I believe spending a little extra is worth its advanced features. Before you commit to a subscription, you can also take advantage of ExpressVPN’s money-back guarantee for 30 days. If you’re not completely satisfied, simply contact ExpressVPNs’s customer service and request a refund. I tried it myself, and it only took 4 days to get my money back — no questions asked. This was the easiest refund process out of all the VPNs on this list.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free

April 2021 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan (you can save up to 49%) + 3 months free! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.

2. CyberGhost — NoSpy Servers Give You an Added Layer of Privacy on the Dark Web

Key Features:

  • Fast NoSpy servers and unlimited bandwidth for fast Dark Web connections
  • Powerful encryption and a malware blocker protect you from Dark Web threats
  • Automatic kill switch preserves your anonymity during connection drop-outs
  • Zero-logs VPN doesn’t record any of your data, so it can’t be seized or stolen
  • Option to pay with Bitcoin to protect your privacy

CyberGhost’s top-tier technology keeps you secure even on the Dark Web. Aside from industry-leading security features like 256-bit encryption and a kill switch, CyberGhost offers NoSpy servers for extra privacy. These servers are based in Romania, a country with no web surveillance or mass data gathering practices. I was pleased to find that CyberGhost owns and operates its entire server network, allowing it to closely monitor everything for security breaches. This combination of protections reassured me that prying eyes would never be able to track my activities on the Dark Web.

Since many other VPNs don’t have NoSpy servers, I was worried that it might be difficult to connect to them — but I was wrong. I simply opened the app, searched for “Romania” from the server list, and scrolled to the bottom of the list to find all their servers beginning with “NoSpy.” I was impressed that I could connect to one of CyberGhost’s NoSpy servers in less than 10 seconds. I also liked that CyberGhost’s Smart Rules feature enabled me to connect automatically when I opened Tor, ensuring that I didn’t accidentally start browsing the Dark Web without being connected to a VPN.

Screenshot of CyberGhost's NoSpy server menu
I was able to connect to CyberGhost’s NoSpy servers in less than 10 seconds

During my tests, I was glad to find that CyberGhost has built-in safeguards against ads and malware to protect you against malicious websites. Since .onion sites frequently try to infect users’ devices with malware and viruses, these features made me feel a lot better about visiting .onion URLs.

The only issue I faced was that CyberGhost gave me slower loading times than the other VPNs. It took about 4-6 seconds to load most pages, which was still tolerable for me. However, these slower speeds might be too inconvenient if you plan to torrent large files from Library Genesis, Sci-Hub, or another .onion site.

Although the other VPNs on this list offer a standard 30-day money-back guarantee, I was excited that you can try CyberGhost at no risk to you for 45 days. When I tested it out, CyberGhost’s helpful customer service helped me get my money back in 5 days.

Try CyberGhost risk-free

April 2021 Update: CyberGhost has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $2.25 per month for the 3-year plan (you can save up to 83%)! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here

3. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Advanced Security Bonuses for Safely Browsing the Dark Web

Key Features:

  • Most affordable VPN for visiting .onion sites securely and anonymously
  • Includes military-grade encryption, so no one will know you used the Dark Web
  • Automatic kill switch hides your identity if you lose your VPN connection
  • Zero-logs policy, so none of your data will ever be collected or stored
  • Anonymous payments with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin

Private Internet Access (PIA) has some nice security extras to keep you safe on the Dark Web. It has the necessities like military-grade encryption and IP leak protection to keep your data hidden when you visit .onion sites. However, PIA also has security bonuses usually reserved only for higher-priced VPNs, like an integrated malware blocker. This automatically blocks ads, trackers, and URLs known to contain harmful software. Since malicious links are one of the biggest threats on the Dark Web, I feel much more assured using VPNs with this feature.

To ensure my private data was hidden with PIA, I connected to a server in France and ran a DNS leak test. This would show me if information like my real IP address leaked while I used PIA. I was glad to see that my DNS test only detected the IP address for PIA’s encrypted VPN server, confirming I was anonymous on the Dark Web.

Screenshot of a DNS leak test while PIA is connected to a server in France
I verified that PIA hides my personal data with a DNS leak test that only detected PIA’s server

With its strict zero-logs policy, none of your data is ever recorded to PIA’s servers. That means it can’t be seen by anyone even if the government requests it. PIA also has an automatic kill switch feature, which instantly shuts off your internet if you lose contact with the VPN server. This ensures that you won’t be exposed as a Dark Web user even if the connection drops.

Plus — thanks to its money-back guarantee, you can try PIA risk-free for 30 days. Just reach out to support via the 24/7 live chat and request your money back before the 30-day period ends. I had to give a reason first (I just said I regretted the purchase), and my request was processed right away. The money was back in my bank within 2 weeks.

Try PIA risk-free

4. IPVanish — Obfuscated Servers for Extra Privacy on the Dark Web

Key Features:

  • Obfuscated servers to hide that you’re using a VPN from your ISP
  • 256-bit encryption hides all your .onion activities
  • Automatic kill switch protects your private data if the VPN loses its connection
  • Zero-logs policy protects your data, preventing it from ever being recorded
  • Includes credit cards and PayPal payment options

IPVanish uses obfuscated servers, giving you extra privacy by hiding that you’re using a VPN. While any secure VPN server disguises that you’re looking at .onion sites, your internet provider and other third parties can still see that you’re using a VPN server. Obfuscated servers prevent that information from leaking, giving you another layer of privacy for staying anonymous when you use the Dark Web.

Since it uses 256-bit encryption (the most powerful level), your data stays hidden when you use IPVanish. It has an automatic kill switch as well, so you don’t have to worry about losing your VPN connection and your data being revealed. The one con of IPVanish for browsing the deep web is it doesn’t have an integrated malware blocker, so you’ll be at greater risk if you end up clicking any malicious .onion links. This won’t be a big deal as long as you use a separate malware blocker, but more powerful VPNs like CyberGhost have this standard feature.

You can easily sort IPVanish servers by ping through a dropdown menu, making it really easy to find a strong connection for browsing .onion sites. A lower ping means it takes less time for your device to communicate with IPVanish’s server, speeding up your .onion site browsing experience. Since the Tor network is slower than the surface web, it’s nice having a way to immediately find a really responsive server.

Screenshot showing IPVanish's server dropdown
I used IPVanish’s “Sort By” menu to find low-ping servers ideal for browsing .onion sites

If you want to try IPVanish’s money-back guarantee, it lets you get a full refund within 30 days if you don’t like it (and it’s valid with the 1-year plan). Just reach out to support before the trial is over, and you can get your money back for any reason.

Try IPVanish risk-free

FAQs on the Dark Web and VPNs

Can I use a free VPN to access the Dark Web?

Technically yes, but I strongly advise against it.

There are good uses for some free VPNs, but using the Dark Web isn’t one. In addition to annoying ads and slow speeds, even the best free VPNs have less powerful security, which means you won’t be protected from the hackers and malicious links that are all over .onion sites. Without extra money to invest in the latest security, free VPNs keep you open to attacks and use low-grade encryption, which might not keep your connection private. Some even violate your privacy on purpose and sell your data to make money.

That’s why it’s worth it to pay for a VPN service. They’re still affordable but if you only want to use the Dark Web for a short time, you can easily just get your money back. All the top VPNs have money-back guarantees that I tested myself by reaching out to each VPN’s live chat support. In every case, I got my refund processed within a few minutes.

Most importantly, top providers like ExpressVPN have world-class security. Since you can try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days, you just get a full refund if you aren’t pleased with it. When I tested the refund process, I had the money back in my bank account within 4 days.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free

Is the Dark Web illegal?

The Dark Web is legal to useas long as you don’t use it for criminal activities. Keep in mind that certain .onion sites are filled with illicit images or other material, so loading one of these sites for even 1 second can make you guilty of a crime. That’s why you should never click unfamiliar links and use extreme caution while browsing.

How dangerous are onion sites (really)?

Using the Dark Web is risky, so you should never use it without a VPN with reliable security features like ExpressVPN. Illegal and dangerous activities on the Dark Web have increased dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic began and more people than ever are using the internet. Aside from lots of malicious links, fake phishing sites, and scams, hackers are always creeping around looking for easy targets.

In some countries, merely accessing the Dark Web may give law enforcement the right to spy on you or search your computer (even if you’re doing completely legal things). Government entities won’t be able to easily track your activity once you’re past the Tor network entry point — but your ISP can see if you install or launch a Tor browser. That could be enough to get you red-flagged.

Even websites that seem reputable can host malware that can infect your devices and expose you to hackers. To stay safe from prying eyes and cybercriminals on .onion sites, you should protect yourself with ExpressVPN’s cutting-edge security.

Use the Dark Web safely with ExpressVPN

What is the best way to find .onion sites?

Dark Web search engines like Torch are a good way to find .onion sites, but sometimes they return a sea of irrelevant results. The alternative is to visit Dark Web directories like The Hidden Wiki and TorLinks. Since sites often go offline suddenly, Dark Web directories always have some dead URLs and may contain links to illegal or dangerous content — but this is a danger with .onion search engines.

To stay as safe as possible while looking for .onion sites, always use a VPN with powerful security features like ExpressVPN, which uses military-grade encryption to keep your real identity hidden while you explore.

What are the best cryptocurrencies for .onion sites?

Bitcoin is the easiest cryptocurrency to obtain and spend on .onion sites, and you can securely store Bitcoin you buy using Wasabi Wallet. It has become the Dark Web’s native currency — and since it has grown so far beyond the Dark Web, it’s easy to buy even on the regular internet.

Keep in mind that buying Bitcoin on a cryptocurrency exchange on the normal web will expose your identity. Bitcoin from an exchange can be traceable to your Dark Web transactions. You can buy Bitcoin directly from other Dark Web users, but this makes it easy to get scammed. Another option is to try coin mixing — Wasabi Wallet has a mixing feature that allows you to hide your Bitcoin transactions by making them look mixed in other transactions on the blockchain. Either way, be extremely cautious if you choose to transact on .onion sites.

Use the Dark Web safely with ExpressVPN

Safely Browse .onion Sites With a Secure VPN

There are tons of valuable resources on the Dark Web, but visiting .onion sites comes with major risks. From hackers to government investigation, you need a VPN with top-notch security and privacy features to keep you anonymous.

ExpressVPN has the most advanced encryption to hide your identity and super-high speeds to load .onion sites quickly. Plus — with its 30-day money-back guarantee, you can use ExpressVPN on the Dark Web risk-free.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free today!

Summary — These Are the Best VPNs for Visiting .onion Sites in 2021

Provider name
Our score
Top Choice
Top Choice
$6.60 / month
Save 49%
Top Choice
Top Choice
CyberGhost VPN
$2.25 / month
Save 83%
Top Choice
Top Choice
Private Internet Access
$2.69 / month
Save 77%
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Dawn Teh
Written By Dawn Teh
Dawn is a cybersecurity content writer. She enjoys updating readers about the latest trends in tech and online security.