The part of the Internet that is not indexed by search engines is referred to as the deep web. Inside the deep web is a part of the Internet known as the dark web. This section of the web is found inside darknets, i.e. layered proxy networks. One of the largest darknets is Tor. Domains native to this network use the suffix .onion, which has come to be strongly associated with freedom on the Internet.

In this article, we take a look at 9 of the most controversial and famous websites hosted on the Tor darknet. At this point, it is important to mention that to open the .onion sites provided in this article, you need to use the Tor browser, which you can easily download and install on your device.

  1. The Pulitzer-Winning ProPublica

ProPublica is the first among all online publications to win a Pulitzer. It is, therefore, no surprise that it was the pioneering major publication on the Tor darknet. ProPublica operates differently from other websites in a number of ways. It’s funded by the Sandler Foundation among many other similar ones. The website works well when browsing it on the Tor browser, making it a favorite among advocates of online privacy and free speech.

  1. The Facebook .onion site

For many, it might appear counterintuitive that one of the leading social media platforms, known for its aggressive violations of privacy, has a .onion address. However, it appears that even though the platform collects your data on all your interactions on the website, it isn’t exactly happy to share your information with third parties.

Furthermore, the social media platform is aware of the efforts made by many countries to prevent their citizens from accessing it and connecting with their friends and family. It is for this reason that Facebook introduced its .onion website. Even though it may not offer much in terms of anonymity, it does allow users to access it in countries where the website is restricted.

  1. DuckDuckGo

One of the main areas in which your online behavior is monitored are your searches on major search engines, particularly on Google. If you’re interested in searching for something online but would prefer to keep it private, the best alternative to Google is DuckDuckGo. The search engine’s Privacy Policy clearly states that it does not record users’ IP address nor does it store their unique user agent strings.

Furthermore, it indicates that cookies are only kept only to store website settings and nothing else. Therefore, even though the company will comply with court orders to hand over user data, this should not be a concern because the company does not collect any personal information from users to begin with, so there will be nothing to share.

One of the aspects of the search engine that make it one of the most trusted websites is the fact that large parts of the software on which the service relies on is open source. The mobile apps, website designs, whitelists, browser extensions and instant answers can be found on the Github page of the website. Even though the core software for searching is proprietary, having many of its other parts being open source improves its credibility.

  1. Bitcoin’s Blockchain on Tor

In cryptocurrency terms, a block refers to a record of new transactions which is added to a chain once it is completed. For these processes to work, complicated math problems need to be solved because cryptocurrencies are encrypted. People obtain these digital currencies by mining them or purchasing them on cryptocurrency exchanges.

Blockchain.info is among the websites that also have a second address found in the Tor darknet. This is advantageous for Bitcoin owners who are also online privacy enthusiasts. While trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the dark web may be too daunting for some, it’s value is undeniable for users who live under oppressive regimes where tools such as Blockchain and services like Facebook attract negative attention from the government.

  1. Sci-Hub

This platform was created for the purpose of spreading scientific knowledge globally. Founded in 2011 by Alexandra Elbakyan from Kazakhstan, Sci-Hub serves as a host for well over 50 million research papers that it makes available for free to the general public. The result of this is that individuals and institutions that the lack adequate funds are still able to access the vast collection of scientific knowledge accumulated throughout the history of academia.

  1. Netpoleaks

Netpoleaks is a .onion platform that monitors the police. Internet users in need of a secure platform where they can leak information regarding the police in the UK can use the organization as files can be anonymously uploaded to the website’s servers. After submitting the documents, you are provided with a key code that you can later use in case you need to maintain communication with the operators of the website.

  1. The Intercept

This is a .onion SecureDrop that employs TLS technology. If you have a great story that you wish to share anonymously, the team at Intercept will assist you. The website has implemented SecureDrop, which is one of the few Tor websites that have a TLS certificate. This is a demonstration of the website’s hard commitment to providing users with privacy and helping whistleblowers get their story out.

  1. Keybase

This is a link system for cryptographic profiles. It’s an excellent identity service that was created for the purpose of make it easier for users to link together all the presences of their online identity through encryption. Users can either obtain a PGP key from the website or they can upload one themselves, then use it to cryptographically link their Bitcoin address, GitHub account and Twitter profile together.

  1. The hidden .onion Wiki

There will be times when mainstream search engines cannot find the content you want. This is where the Hidden Wiki comes in. It helps you search the many indexes of websites that do not appear on regular search engines. The Wiki is edited by the community and various links to a range of sources and services on the dark web.

It is important to note, however, that many of these links are no longer working and a number of them are potentially illegal activities or scams, so exercise extreme caution as you use them. Also available on the Wiki are guides and articles, conspiracy theories, and a brief history of the dark web.