Dark Web Links: The best .onion and Tor sites in 2024

Want to explore the dark web? Here is our list of the best .onion websites in 2024.
Digital freedomTips & tricks
15 mins
21 best onion and Tor sites on the dark web

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.

In this article, learn more about dark web links (also called Tor links or onion sites), then check out some of the best Tor sites.

Jump to…
What are onion sites
Tor and the Onion Browser
How to access onion sites
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 (aka Tor 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. This is also why the sites on the dark web are called Tor links.

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 dark web links below, you’ll need to get the Tor Browser (also called the Onion Browser) or another service that provides dark web access, such as the Brave 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.

How to access onion sites

On your computer

  1. Download Tor Browser from here
  2. Install Tor Browser on your computer by opening the file you downloaded and following the prompts
  3. Open Tor Browser
  4. Click “Connect” on the Tor startup page
  5. Wait for a connection to be established
  6. Surf the dark web!

You can also use Brave to access the dark web on your computer. Find the instructions here.

On Android

  1. Download the Tor Browser app from here
  2. Open Tor Browser
  3. Click “Connect”
  4. Once a connection is established, you should see an onion icon in your status bar
  5. Start exploring!

On iOS

  1. Download Onion Browser from the App Store
  2. Open Onion Browser
  3. Click “Connect to Tor”
  4. Once connected, click “Next” to configure your security level:
    • Insecure
    • Moderate
    • Secure
  5. Click “Start Browsing”
  6. You’re in!

Best onion sites by category

Though the dark web is infamous for hosting all manner of illicit content—dark web marketplaces for buying personal information (find out how much your data is worth on the dark web), 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 is one of the best onion search engines to find tor links that do want to be found

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 is one of the best onion search engines on the deep web.

Similar to Ahmia, Haystak is also an onion search engine that 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 is one of the best dark web search engines.

Torch is one of the oldest and most popular onion 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 is one of the best onion search engines for privacy.

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 and one of the best onion search engines.

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 screenshot.

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 Tor links to a wide variety of services and sources running on the dark web. Many of those dark web links are defunct, and even more of them link to scams or potentially illegal activities. Click at your own risk!

Tor Links


Tor Links is one of the best onion directory sites.

TorLinks serves as a backup or secondary directory site to the popular Hidden Wiki. It’s divided into commercial links (from crypto services to gambling sites) and non-commercial links (like social media). But it’s not as detailed as the Hidden Wiki. As always, use Tor Links with care, as it includes onion links to dubious or illegal activity.

Read more: Best dark web search engines

News, media, and other information organizations



ProPublica's onion site on the dark web

The first online publication that won a Pulitzer became 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

Archive.today (formerly known as Archive.is) 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.

Archive.today 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 its journalism more accessible to readers around the world, the New York Times launched its 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 invasiveness and controversial clear-name policy have a .onion address?

Facebook is aware of attempts by many governments to restrict access to a tool that allows strangers across the web to talk and collaborate freely. While its .onion address doesn’t make it much easier to maintain an anonymous account, 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 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.


Impreza Hosting


Impreza Hosting homepage screenshot.

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


Just Another Library


Just Another Library screenshot.

Offering books for free, shadow libraries face the morality question of copyright vs. access to information and knowledge. Just Another Library is one such service, with a wealth of books covering computer programming, science, and niche hobbies (sailors’ knots, anyone?). It also offers works of art, course material, and audiobooks for download.

But, as is the case with visiting any free book site, you’ll have to decide how OK you are with reading a book without paying for it.

Comic Book Library


Comic Book Library screenshot.

Comic Book Library is not just about evading copyright and offering books for free. Because so many of the comic books are vintage and not easily available, it’s more about letting you explore the cultural artifact that is the comic book, going back to the 1930s—the Golden Age of comic books.

Bonus: Sci-Hub

Sci-Hub homepage screenshot.

While technically not an onion site, we’re including Sci-Hub (sci-hub.se) 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 with 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

Dangers of the dark web

While the dark web boosts freedom of information and communication, it’s also filled with dangers. These are the primary concerns:

  • Scams. The dark web has lots of people offering attractive deals, whether it’s some kind of investment opportunity or the sale of hard-to-find items. Bear in mind that nearly all offers and deals on the dark web are scams. The anonymity that the dark web offers make it an suitable environment for scammers to operate. Stay away from any kind of transaction.
  • Malware. There are two facets to malware on the dark web. One is simply the prevalence of malware being sold on the dark web. The other is the use of malicious links to lure people into downloading malware unintentionally. A malware download could result in infiltration of your device, leading to data theft.
  • Objectionable/illegal content. The dark web has a reputation as a place for criminals to house and trade illegal content. Stumbling on this kind of content could be unpleasant or even get you into legal trouble.

How to stay safe on the dark web

With the above dangers, it’s imperative to tread carefully as you step into the dark web. Follow these tips.

  1. Avoid downloading files from the dark web. The dark web’s dodgy reputation isn’t for nothing. Files on the dark web are likely malware-laden.
  2. Don’t click on unfamiliar or suspicious links. While it’s hard to avoid clicking on links when exploring dark web directories and search engines, there are plenty of scam pages on the dark web; it’s best to exercise caution.
  3. Don’t submit personal information. Never submit personal information of any kind on the dark web. If you need to use an email address, create a new one, preferably from a privacy-focused email service like ProtonMail.
  4. Don’t buy anything on the dark web. We say this not only because there is no guarantee any seller on the dark web is legit but also because most things you can only buy on the dark web are illegal.
  5. Use a VPN. Connecting to a VPN first, then Tor, gets you all the privacy protection of the Tor network, plus added protection that prevents any Tor node from seeing your home IP address.

FAQ: More about onion sites

What are onion sites used for?
Is it illegal to visit onion sites?
What kind of content is on the dark web?
What can you buy on the dark web?
Can you access the dark web with a VPN?
Are onion sites safe?
Why can’t I access onion sites?
How many onion sites are there?
Can you be traced on Tor?
How do I access onion sites on my mobile device?
Why is Tor so slow?
Does Tor hide your IP address?
Who is Tor owned by?
Do I need a VPN if I use Tor?
Does the CIA have an onion site?
How are onion sites hosted?
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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.