Since its launch in 1983, the internet as we know it has grown exponentially. It’s no longer dial-up sounds and slow-loading websites; now, we can access almost anything with just the click of a mouse or a tap of a thumb. Although this quick and unlimited internet access is great, it also comes with its risks. Phishing, hacking, and viruses are everyday threats for frequent internet users.
What you may not know about the World Wide Web is that it’s actually broken down into three layers. The surface web, otherwise known as the visible web, is the layer that is indexed on search engines. This is what everybody browses on day-to-day. Then there is the deep web, which includes websites not indexed on search engines. This can include secure content like online banking and webmail, which often warrants an extra layer of security.
Although the dark web and Tor network already comes with additional security compared to the surface web, users can still be at risk. Viruses can still be accidentally downloaded, and personal identities can still be stolen. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access the dark web, and we’re here to tell you which VPN can provide the best protection.
In this guide, we outline the very best VPNs for the dark web and explain in more detail why it’s important to have one. We’ve tried and tested many different VPN providers and shortlisted only the best quality. Keep reading to find out more. Show more
Now that we have explained what the dark web is and the importance of using a VPN for accessing the dark web, it’s time to get into the specifics. Below, we have outlined the very best dark web VPNs and outlined why each has made it into the top list. Keep reading for the details.
|Max Speed:||115000 Mbps|
|Type of IP offered:||Dedicated|
|Simultaneous connections / Users:||6|
|Number of Netflix Libraries:||12|
|OS support:||Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows|
NordVPN is one of the most established VPNs in the world. It’s been around since 2012 and has grown exponentially since. There are several reasons why NordVPN is a great VPN for the dark web, including:
When it comes to security and privacy measures, NordVPN is hard to beat. It has its own dark web monitor tool and is one of the few VPNs to support the dark web. The monitor tool can be turned on at any time and continuously monitors data safety. Perfectly compatible with the Tor browser, NordVPN can be used on almost any device, including desktop, mobile, and tablets.
NordVPN has over 5,000 servers to choose from, but the worldwide coverage is less than most other VPN providers, including 59 countries. That said, you should never struggle to find a suitable server. Each connection is protected by 256-bit AES encryption, which is the highest level of security available. In addition, if your VPN connection drops, the NordVPN network kill switch will temporarily cut your internet connection too. This means that your privacy is protected at all times and ensures that your ISP doesn’t detect dark web usage.
A VPN for the dark web should prioritize safety, and NordVPN does this. Not just in its powerful tools, but even during the account creation and payment processes. Minimum personal information is required, and your purchase can be complete using cryptocurrency. This is the preferred way to pay for dark web users, demonstrating that NordVPN understands the importance of privacy.
A subscription to NordVPN costs $11.95 per month, but this is reduced when you opt for a longer plan. For example, a 6-month plan costs $9 per month, whereas 2 years is $3.71 a month. A 30-day money-back guarantee protects each subscription.
|Type of IP offered:||Dedicated|
|Simultaneous connections / Users:||7|
|Number of Netflix Libraries:||4|
|OS support:||Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows|
CyberGhost has been popular amongst streamers and gamers for many years because of its powerful server network. It combines speed and power with the highest levels of security to make for a great dark web VPN. Some of the features include:
CyberGhost has more server options than any other VPN we have assessed, sporting over 7,000 worldwide. Not only is there a huge choice, but the speeds and stability are equally as impressive. As well as being a great VPN for the dark web, CyberGhost can be used for almost all activities, including HD streaming and gaming. Additionally, CyberGhost is compatible with over 20 systems so that you can protect your PC, mobile phone, tablet, and even your gaming console.
As well as being fast and reliable, CyberGhost has very powerful security and privacy features. There is a strict no-logs policy, meaning that none of your personal information is stored. This includes no logs of your IP address, location, cookies, or browsing history. As a result, users can enjoy access to the dark web without worrying about their activities being recorded. Other great features of CyberGhost include best-in-class encryption and a network kill switch. There are no data limits, so whether you’re using the dark web or streaming on Netflix, you can do it all.
There is very little data required to register an account with CyberGhost. You will only need basic information like your name and an email address. Like any good VPN for the dark web, CyberGhost also accepts Bitcoin payments, so there’s no need for credit card numbers or sensitive financial information.
CyberGhost costs $12.99 per month, or $7.99 if you opt for a 6-month plan. The cheapest plan is the 18-month option, costing just $2.79 per month. In addition, unlike other VPNs that offer 30 days, CyberGhost has an extended 45-day money-back guarantee.
|Type of IP offered:||Shared|
|Simultaneous connections / Users:||Unlimited|
|Number of Netflix Libraries:||15|
|OS support:||Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows|
Surfshark is a premium VPN with a huge selection of fast servers across the world. It comes packed with every security feature you could need for browsing on Tor, including:
Surfshark is a great dark web VPN for multiple reasons, but it all begins with device compatibility. Not only can you connect to the VPN on Windows, Linux, and macOS, it’s also supported on Android and IOS. The best part? It’s the only VPN on the market that allows unlimited simultaneous connections with no data limits. This makes it incredible value for money as you only need one subscription to avoid web dangers on every device. Surfshark works on the Tor network and is also compatible with other popular web browsers.
This popular VPN allows users to securely access the dark web, with private DNS included on each of its 3,200+ servers. A dedicated IP address means that it’s harder for ISPs to detect VPN usage, adding an extra layer of security. Surfshark has a strict no-logs policy, promising that your browsing information or IP address is never stored. AES 256-bit encryption is included as standard and access to OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec protocols. If this isn’t enough, there is also 24/7 live chat support if you ever require any assistance.
Surfshark is another VPN provider that supports cryptocurrency payments, using both the CoinGate and CoinPayments wallets. This is another important way to maintain your privacy, and the entire account creation process takes just a few seconds. Despite being one of the best VPNs out there, packed with great features for browsing the dark web, Surfshark is surprisingly affordable.
A monthly subscription to Surfshark costs $12.95, but 12 months can be purchased for just $6.49 per month. The cheapest plan is 24 months, costing just $2.49 per month. Whichever you choose, Surfshark provides a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans.
|Max Speed:||58000 Mbps|
|Type of IP offered:||Dedicated|
|Simultaneous connections / Users:||5|
|Number of Netflix Libraries:||12|
|OS support:||Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, macOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows|
As far as speed and reliability go, ExpressVPN tops the charts. Great server coverage and the highest level of security features make this a great VPN for Tor and the dark web. Here are some of the main perks:
The ExpressVPN network is one of the best there is. We’re talking about the fastest internet speeds on the Tor network and the ability to handle all activities. ExpressVPN is perfect for every part of the internet, from the surface web right through to the dark web; your privacy is the number one priority. Private DNS on every server isn’t something most VPNs provide, but it’s just one example of how ExpressVPN outperforms the competition.
There are over 3,000 lightning-fast servers to choose from that can handle even the highest data transfer requests like Netflix streaming. There are many VPN protocols to choose from, and you can switch between them in just seconds. ExpressVPN supports the standard protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2 but has also created its own Lightway protocol, which guarantees the best speeds and security.
ExpressVPN has been tried and tested on the Tor browser, and it works perfectly. It’s also perfectly compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and IOS. This means that you can browse the dark web on every device without interruption. But that’s not all; for times when you’re not on the dark web, ExpressVPN works great with other popular browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome. It’s a versatile VPN that can be used for almost every type of internet traffic.
Like many other VPN services on this list, ExpressVPN also supports Bitcoin payments. Unfortunately, Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency you can use right now, but this will likely expand to include others. Alternative payment methods include major credit cards and e-wallets.
|Type of IP offered:||Dynamic|
|Simultaneous connections / Users:||5|
|Number of Netflix Libraries:||13|
|Information sharing:||14 Eyes Member|
|OS support:||Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows|
Hotspot Shield has best-in-class privacy and encryption, making browsing the dark web safe and secure. Here are some of the reasons why it’s one of the best VPNs for Tor:
Hotspot Shield is jam-packed with all of the best privacy and security features you would expect from a premium VPN for the dark web. Perfectly compatible with Tor Browser, Hotspot Shield is an obvious choice for dark web users. The entire network includes a no-logs policy, meaning that none of your personal or browsing information is stored, maintaining complete privacy as you use the dark web. One of the best aspects of Hotspot Shield is its 256-bit AES encryption, the highest level of internet security available. DNS leak protection and a network kill switch are just some of the other great privacy tools.
Finding a server is never a problem, as Hotspot Shield has over 3,200 to choose from. There is no data limit, so your traffic or speed is never throttled. Although this VPN is perfect for the dark web, it can also be used for all other activities on each part of the internet. It’s a great all-around option with a reliable server network and top levels of privacy and security. Users can also enjoy up to 5 simultaneous device connections and 24/7 technical live chat support.
Unfortunately, unlike all other VPNs on this list, Hotspot Shield does not support cryptocurrency payments. This is disappointing, especially considering its other compatibilities for the dark web. It does, however, accept most major payment methods, including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and many others.
Hotspot Shield is one of the few free VPNs out there, but it’s worth noting that the free version is minimal. If you want to experience all of the features available, you will need to subscribe. A monthly plan varies between $12.99 for Premium and $19.99 for Family. Family allows for up to 25 simultaneous connections to protect every device in your household. A 45-day money-back guarantee protects each plan.
To access the dark web, you need to use an anonymous web browser known as Tor. The Tor browser encrypts all of your data, making it impossible to track your browsing history. Although your Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot see the specifics of what content you’re accessing, they can see that you’re browsing the dark web. Unfortunately, over the years, the dark web has become a hub for illegal activity. Because of this, many ISPs prohibit the use of the Tor network and the dark web altogether. Because of such criminal activities, many Government agencies also keep a close eye on those connecting to the darkest part of the internet.
You may just be using the dark web to enjoy the added security and privacy benefits, but it’s still best to hide the fact that you’re doing it. This is where VPNs for the dark web come in; they are designed to hide your web activity completely. This includes disguising the fact that you’re accessing the dark web, an onion site, or using the Tor browser. In addition, a Virtual Private Network allows you to browse completely off the grid and benefit from a wealth of further security features.
Although security and privacy are the main reasons for using a VPN for the dark web, it’s not the only purpose. For example, you may want to spoof your location to appear somewhere else in the world to access specific content or complete a purchase.
There are specific review criteria involved when we assess VPNs for the dark web. Each VPN provider is tried and tested across multiple devices, and here are just some of the things we look for:
Yes, the Tor browser is compatible with mobile, and so the dark web can be accessed on the go. Each VPN is also compatible with mobile too, so you are never unprotected. However, keep in mind that mobile devices don’t have the same levels of security that a PC or Mac does, so although Tor works on other devices, it’s recommended that you stick to using a computer.
There are several free VPNs available on the market, but they tend to come with many limitations. Free VPNs tend to come with fewer security features, and many of the premium services are excluded. As a result, your internet traffic will be limited, and you will not be as protected as you would be with premium VPN services. We strongly recommend that you only use VPNs that include the strongest privacy and security tools.
Each VPN on this list includes a no-logs policy. This type of policy means that none of your traffic or browsing activities is logged. This also includes no record of your location or IP address either, so using a VPN is one of the best ways to browse completely anonymously. However, your internet traffic is easily tracked and stored if you’re not using a VPN.
VPN services only require minimal information to register an account. You will need to provide your name and email address as a minimum, but some may require an address. You will also be required to provide your payment details. However, most VPNs on our list accept cryptocurrency, so even the payment process is anonymous.
It’s always recommended that you opt for a VPN server closest to your real location. This will ensure fast speeds and a reliable connection, as the server is relatively close to you. If you need to spoof your location, select a server in any location of your choice. Any good VPN will have thousands to select from.
No, the deep web and dark web are not the same thing. The deep web is a term used to describe websites that are not indexed on search engines. These websites are harder to find, but they're not as inconspicuous as the dark web and don't require a specific network to connect to them. That said, each VPN for the dark web can also be used for the deep web.
In short, no, the dark web is not illegal. Using the Tor network to connect to the dark web isn't against the law, but many of the activities conducted on the dark web are. Despite the enhanced security and user anonymity, the dark web isn't fool-proof, and so you should avoid conducting any illegal activities on the dark web. Furthermore, despite not being illegal, many Internet Service Providers don't like their users browsing the dark web, one of the main reasons we recommend using a VPN service.
To connect to the dark web, you need to use the Tor Browser. Simply download the browser, connect to your VPN, and then the Tor network. You're then connected to the dark web. Instead of .com or other domain extensions, dark web sites end in .onion. These URLs are usually created using a series of codes instead of specific names, making them almost impossible to remember.