Accessing the Dark Web can be dangerous if you don’t use Tor (The Onion Router) browser and a premium VPN (Virtual Private Network), like ExpressVPN. The Tor browser is a secure browser, keeping you anonymous online by encrypting your data and routing the connection through the Onion network of volunteer-run servers. However, this browser doesn’t prevent your ISP (Internet Service Provider) from recognizing you’re using Tor itself.
Though using the Tor browser is legal, its association to the Dark Web and illegal activities is enough for your provider to view your online activities as suspicious. This can lead to a termination with your ISP or even a visit from your relevant government authority to investigate you.
Using a premium VPN secures your connection and ensures your Tor connection remains completely anonymous. I’ve listed the top three VPNs for the Dark Web for maximum security, privacy, and speed.
3 Easy Steps to Get on the Dark Web (Updated January 2021)
- Get a high-quality VPN. I recommend using ExpressVPN for its proven zero-logs policy and RAM-based servers that don’t ever store your data.
- Download the Tor Browser. This is the best and most secure way to connect to the Dark Web.
- Connect to any VPN server and start the Tor Browser. You’ll be connected to a Tor relay and can start browsing the Dark Web anonymously and securely.
Why You Need a VPN to Safely Connect to the Dark Web
Though the Tor browser provides a certain amount of anonymity, using a premium VPN can guarantee total security and privacy. The Dark Web lacks censorship, safety, and standards that we use on the regular internet. This means websites on the Dark Web are potentially more dangerous and ready to infect your device or attempt to trace your connection. Using a VPN with Tor eliminates the possibility of your real IP being tracked and protects you from the threat.
The Dark Web: What Is It Used For?
The Dark Web is associated most often with illegal activities, like purchasing controlled substances, firearms, and stolen personal data to commit fraud. But the Dark Web isn’t just used by criminals — it’s a way to communicate information securely, make purchases, and use the internet anonymously.
- Journalists, whistleblowers, and activists communicate using the Dark Web to share information without being identified or persecuted by government bodies.
- Legal goods can be purchased using cryptocurrency for anonymous online shopping (just make sure to use a P.O. Box and not your real address!).
- Restricted goods, like medications that are legal in some countries but not in others, are available for purchase worldwide.
- It’s possible to surf the web and visit sites, forums, and chat rooms without anyone knowing where you’re located. By making your location anonymous, you can get around geographic internet restrictions and use the web freely. This is useful if you’re in a country with strict internet regulations (like China, Iran, or Russia) and want to access blocked websites.
The Dark Web is often confused with the Deep Web, a far larger part of the internet consisting of information that isn’t available to the public or indexed by search engines.
Top Tips to Stay Safe on the Dark Web
Even with a VPN and the Tor Browser providing encryption and anonymity, there are still more ways you can protect yourself on the Dark Web.
- Use Tor over VPN. Boot up your VPN of choice before using the Tor browser to ensure your IP address is hidden from your ISP. If you accidently open Tor first and then your VPN (VPN over Tor), you’ve already connected to the Onion network and revealed your activity to your ISP and your IP address to Tor.
- Switch the security settings on the Tor Browser to the highest level. This protects you from malicious sites and online attacks.
- Don’t use your normal device to access the Dark Web. If possible, use a separate computer that has no personal data stored on it.
- Don’t enter any personal details or use non-encrypted email addresses. Don’t post your real name or photo. Use Bitcoin or another anonymous cryptocurrency to make purchases. Use a P.O. Box for any mail, not your real address.
- Consider using the Tails operating system. This is an OS you use with your computer that leaves no trace of your activity (or itself!) on your device. It’s an easy way to access the Tor network anonymously — and you can use Tails with a router-compatible VPN like ExpressVPN to protect your personal data, too!
- Be cautious and careful. This might seem obvious, but using common sense and not clicking on suspicious links or engaging in illegal behavior will keep you safe on the Dark Web.
Don’t Compromise Your Safety — Use a VPN to Access the Dark Web
Keep secure with ExpressVPN when accessing the Dark Web and don’t risk your safety. All the top-tier VPNs offer risk-free 30 day trials that can easily be refunded. I’ve tested all three money-back guarantees and on average received my money back within five days! So, with fully featured VPN providers that offer you total protection with Tor, don’t risk the dangers of the Dark Web without one