The dark web is a portion of the internet that is not easily seen or searchable. It's a strong alternative if you're looking for a truly private way to use the internet. Let's look at the best ways to navigate the dark web efficiently and safely.
Accessing the dark web requires the right web browser. Nearly all dark web users use Tor. Tor is free to download and can be installed on Windows, macOS, Linux, or Android.
iPhone users can find the third-party version, Onion Browser, on the App Store.
Tor does not operate like Chrome or Firefox. It doesn't take the most direct route between your computer and the web.
Instead, it uses a random path of encrypted servers called "nodes". This makes IP addresses hard to identify or track. Because of this, connectivity to Tor can be very slow.
And you can't access Tor like other sites. Most websites on the dark web end in ".onion", instead of .com or .org.
Use a VPN
Even though the Tor browser allows you to browse the internet anonymously, there are still some ways you can be tracked. The government and your internet service provider (ISP) can still see you are using Tor.
A virtual private network (VPN) is a good way to mask your activity on Tor. VPNs help add an extra layer of encryption and pass your traffic through privately.
This will help prevent third parties from seeing that you are using Tor.
If you're new to VPN, ProtonVPN is a great option. Their free version does not serve ads or sell browsing history.
Learn to Search
Unfortunately, you can't use Google when searching the dark web. There are specific sites that do not show up with a simple Google search.
With Tor, there are some great alternatives out there. Torch, also known as TorSearch, claims to be the oldest search engine on the dark web.
Torch has over a million .onion pages indexed, making it one of the largest search engines on the dark web. Also, Torch search users are not tracked.
DarkSearch is another option that indexes Tor pages every day, scouring the dark web 24/7.
And if you are looking to find active Tor websites and their URLs, The Hidden Wiki is a dark web link directory. It collects legit sites, as well as illegal sites, so browse carefully!
Tor is a necessity if you want to navigate the dark web.
Pair your browsing with a strong VPN. And use some of the Tor-based web searches and Wikis to help find what you're looking for.
Because there are some sketchy things on the dark web, it's easy to overlook the benefits of privacy and anonymity.
Without proper care and research, the dark web can put you at risk from hackers and government officials, even if your intentions are pure.
If you decide to use it, avoid common names, emails, passwords, etc. Shop with crypto or prepaid cards if you're using fiat.
Lastly, scan all files you download. Malware is widespread on the dark web.