Top 20 .onion websites from the depths of the dark web

Want to explore the dark web? Here is our list of the best .onion websites in 2023.
Onion in an open doorway.

The deep web is the part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines. A part of the deep web is the dark web, which exists inside layered proxy networks—known as darknets. Of these darknets, Tor (short for “The Onion Router”) is by far the largest.

Jump to…
What are onion sites
Tor and the Onion Browser
Best onion sites by category
-Dark web search engines
-News, media, and other information organizations
-Bitcoin wallets
-Email services
-Other privacy tools and services
What is the dark web?

What are onion sites?

Onion sites are websites only accessible on the dark web; you can’t view them using a regular browser. Their URLs have .onion as the domain, instead of the common surface web domains like .com or .net. Onion sites are considered hidden in the deep web, and they use Tor to encrypt connections to them, keeping visitors and the site creators anonymous.

How do onion sites work?

When you try to connect to a .onion website, your traffic gets routed around the internet, bouncing three times to random servers before it reaches your destination website. Each server adds a layer of encryption, and these layers give rise to the name The Onion Router.

There are at least three hops your data travels through.

  • The entry node, which inevitably knows your IP address
  • The middle (or relay) node, which prevents the exit node from finding out which entry node you used and makes it very hard to correlate this information
  • The exit node, which knows what site you are connecting to, but does not know who you are

The three nodes separate your IP address from your destination and enable two individuals to communicate without either party, or any middleman, knowing who the other is.

Tor and the Onion Browser

Inside the Tor network, sites cannot use regular domain names. Instead, they use pseudo-domain names ending in .onion. These domain names are not registered with a central authority but are instead derived from cryptographic keys.

You can’t access these .onion sites from your normal web browser—the one you’re probably viewing this page on. Before clicking any of the links below, you’ll need to get the Tor Browser (also called the Onion Browser).

Get step-by-step instructions on how to access the dark web and use the Tor Browser.

(Note that connections inside of the Tor network are end-to-end encrypted by default, meaning there is no separate encryption layer necessary as with regular websites. That’s why most onion sites do not have the S in HTTPS. Fear not; the Tor Browser will show an onion instead of the familiar lock icon when your connection is secure.)

Best onion sites by category

Though the dark web is infamous for hosting all manner of illicit content—dark web marketplaces for buying illegal drugs, gore sites, and worse—there are plenty of legitimate sites and services available if you know where to look.

Here are some of the best .onion sites on the dark web, grouped by category:

Dark web search engines



Ahmia's onion site on the dark web

Search engines on the dark web are a bit of a contradiction because dark web sites by definition are not indexed by traditional search engines.

Ahmia, however, is not a traditional search engine. Founded by security researcher Juha Nurmi, Ahmia is essentially a list of “hidden” sites that do want to be found. Onion sites are “crawled” and added to the list provided their “robots.txt” file permits it, and if it is not on their blacklist of sites with abuse material. Site operators can also submit their own .onion sites for indexing.




Haystak's onion site on the dark web

Similar to Ahmia, Haystak also uses a custom dark web crawler and filters out dangerous content.

Haystak also offers a premium version that allows advanced search, access to historical content, and email alerts.




Torch's onion site on the dark web

Torch is one of the oldest and most popular search engines on the dark web, serving over 80,000 requests per day. Torch is funded primarily through advertising—purchased in BTC, of course—which is why you’ll find the front page blanketed with old-school banner ads of dubious origins.




DuckDuckGo's onion site on the dark web

The internet’s favorite alternative to Google made a name for itself by not logging your search activity yet still providing decent results. This focus on privacy makes it the Tor Browser’s default search engine.

Unlike Ahmia and Haystak, however, DuckDuckGo doesn’t search .onion sites. Use it to search the normal internet from the privacy of your Tor Browser.


The Hidden Wiki


The Hidden Wiki's onion site on the dark web

One of the most popular ways to get around the dark web is not to use a search engine at all. Just like in the old days of the internet, the dark web maintains numerous indexes of sites, like The Hidden Wiki.

This community-edited .onion Wikipedia contains a bunch of links to a wide variety of services and sources running on the dark web. Many of those links are defunct, and even more of them link to scams or potentially illegal activities. Click at your own risk!


News, media, and other information organizations



ProPublica's onion site on the dark web

The first online publication that won a Pulitzer is now also the first major publication with a .onion address.

ProPublica does a lot of things differently. Its source of funding is the deep wallet of the Sandler Foundation and various other similar organizations.

Browsing ProPublica’s work through its .onion site works well, and the site’s very existence is a big win for privacy and free speech.


Archive Today


Archive Today's onion site on the dark web (formerly known as is a platform that aims to preserve the web’s cultural and scientific heritage.

Founded in 2012, it stores snapshots of websites, making it possible to “go back in time” and see what websites used to look like and what information they contained. is considered an important tool to track changes across government and corporate websites, preserve cultural heritage, and keep knowledge outside of autocrats’ reach. You can archive any site you want, or retrieve historical records wherever available.


The New York Times


The New York Times's onion site on the dark web

To make their journalism more accessible to readers around the world, the New York Times launched their onion service in 2017. You won’t find any “hidden” stories here—it’s the same content as the normal web edition—but users in countries with government censorship will appreciate having a secure way to access it.




BBC's onion site on the dark web

Following the NYT, the BBC launched a dark web “mirror” of their international edition in 2019. Note that some features of the normal website are not available on the .onion version, including BBC iPlayer.




Facebook's onion site on the dark web

Why would one of the largest organizations known for its invasive stance on privacy and controversial clear-name policy have a .onion address?

While Facebook might collect everything you say and do on its platform, it isn’t happy with sharing this information with others. Facebook is also keenly aware of attempts by many governments to restrict access to a tool that allows strangers across the web to talk and collaborate freely.

Facebook’s .onion address doesn’t make it much easier to maintain an anonymous account, but it does make Facebook more accessible in places where it’s censored.




CIA's onion site on the dark web

The CIA might seem an odd inclusion in a list for privacy enthusiasts, but Tor actually has an unlikely history with the U.S. government: it was first developed by the U.S. Navy to help informants posted in foreign countries to relay information back safely. In that spirit, the CIA launched an Onion site to help people around the world access its resources securely.


Bitcoin wallets

Wasabi Wallet


Wasabi Wallet's onion site on the dark web

Wasabi Wallet is a Bitcoin wallet that not only hides all your data in the Tor Network but also allows you to ‘join’ your transactions with others to increase your anonymity. This makes it incredibly difficult to find out who you are paying.

The process costs a fee, but unlike with other ‘tumbler’ or ‘mixing’ services, there is no risk that Wasabi or any of its users could scam you out of your coins.


Email services



ProtonMail's onion site on the dark web

Based in Switzerland, ProtonMail is an encrypted email service that is very popular with cryptocurrency enthusiasts. It’s not free, but it’s extremely secure.




Riseup's onion site on the dark web

Riseup is a volunteer-run email provider for activists around the world.

Founded around 1999 by activists in Seattle, it has since grown to over six million users worldwide. It publishes a newsletter in multiple languages and not only runs Onion services for its website but all its email and chat services.


Other privacy tools and services



Keybase's onion site on the dark web

Keybase is an exciting identity service that aims to make it easy for you to link the presence of your online identities together in a cryptographic way. You can upload your PGP key, or have the site create one for you, and use it to cryptographically link your Twitter profile, Github account, or Bitcoin address together.

Keybase also offers extremely user-friendly secure chat and file-sharing services through its app.




ZeroBin's onion site on the dark web

Pastebins are text sharing services, useful for sending and sharing large snippets of code or text. ZeroBin offers an extra secure version of this service by only encrypting and decrypting text in the browser, meaning their servers have no knowledge of what is passing through it.




SecureDrop's onion site on the dark web

A favorite of journalists and their anonymous sources, SecureDrop makes it easy to share confidential information without revealing your identity. Many news publications, like the ones listed above, have a SecureDrop on their .onion sites.




MegaTor's onion site on the dark web

MegaTor is a super-simple anonymous file sharing service that’s not available on the normal internet. Best of all, it’s free and decently fast.




PrivacyTools's onion site on the dark web

The tools we’ve listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re interested in privacy and the dark web, take a deep dive into PrivacyTools, an extensive directory of anti-surveillance tools, services, and educational materials.


Impreza Hosting


Impreza Hosting homepage screenshot.

Impreza Hosting is a site that helps you host your site on the Tor network. It provides an .onion URL and an interface for you to manage your site easily. It also boasts that no personal information is required to use the service, and payment can be made with cryptocurrency.


Bonus: Sci-Hub

Sci-Hub homepage screenshot.

While technically not an onion site, we’re including Sci-Hub as an interesting example of a site you can access via Tor. Sci-Hub gives access to millions of scientific papers, mostly ones from behind paywalls. However, due to copyright infringement, Sci-Hub is considered illegal and banned in many countries. Just like any other site, visit it at your own risk.

What is the dark web?

The dark web contains content that’s only accessible through networks like Tor. Sites in the dark web have .onion as their domain in their URLs. Tor browsers create encrypted entry points and pathways for the user, so dark web activity remains anonymous. The encryption technology routes users’ data through a large number of intermediate servers, which protects the users’ identity and guarantees anonymity.

Because of its anonymity, the dark web is filled with illegal services and is used by numerous criminal groups, including ransomware gangs. It is also used by whistle-blowers, journalists, and other individuals who are not involved in illegal activity but need to protect their communications and identities. Through the dark web, users in places of high censorship can also access information and news.

Difference between dark web and deep web

The dark web and the deep web are often used interchangeably, but they’re two distinct concepts. In short, the major difference between them is that the deep web contains internet content that you can’t find through search engines, while the dark web is a hidden network that requires a special browser to access.

The deep web is the part of the internet you can’t access through search engines like Google and Bing. Also referred to as “non-indexed” content, it’s any content hidden behind some kind of access control such as a log-in or code word. Ever wonder how big the deep web is? It contains 7,500 terabytes of information, compared to only 19 terabytes of information in the “surface” web. To look at it in a different way, it makes up between 90% and 95% of the internet.

The dark web, or the darknet, is a small subset of the deep web. It’s a hidden collective of sites that you could only access through a special browser. Since all activity on the dark web is anonymous by default, it is definitely where the murkiest transactions on the internet take place. A study by researchers at King’s College London that examined the contents of over 2,700 darknet sites found that approximately 60% of them hosted illicit content. With that said, legitimate websites also exist on the dark web.

Read all the differences of deep web vs. dark web

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Lexie is the blog's resident tech expert and gets excited about empowerment through technology, space travel, and pancakes with blueberries.