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Surfing with the TOR browser: How to get into the Darknet


Child pornography, violence, drugs and even more crime: The Darknet is considered to be the dark part of the Internet that it is better to "surf past". But anyone who thinks the dark web is just a collection point for criminals and the "deep web" is the darknet is wrong. Netzwelt tells you what is hidden behind the Darknet and how you can use the TOR browser to access the mysterious realm of the Internet.

  1. What is the Darknet?
  2. What makes the Darknet so interesting?
  3. How do you get into the darknet?
  4. Is there a TOR browser for the smartphone?
  5. Darknet search engines
  6. Darknet pages and darknet search engines at a glance
  7. Is the Darknet illegal?
  8. Security in the darknet

Many write or talk about the Darknet as the "dark side of the Internet". The Darknet actually has nothing to do with light and darkness. You can imagine the Darknet as a network for anonymous and uncensored communication. The users use a special darknet browser which, so to speak, represents the door to this network. This works through certain darknet sites and darknet search engines. We will introduce some of them to you in this article.

What is the Darknet?

Often the darknet is confused with the deep web. The deep web is something else. Think of the internet as an iceberg. The floating part that you see above the surface of the water is the "normal" Internet. These pages have been indexed and can be found using search engines. The first layer that floats below the surface of the water is the deep web. This consists of huge databases of organizations, companies or authorities that have not been indexed and therefore cannot be found with Google. The last layer, at the very bottom, is the Darknet.

Tip for the security-conscious: The best way to go online is with a VPN service. This means that you are better protected from unauthorized access and attacks. At around 2-3 euros per month, the protection is cheaper than most Internet users believe.

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Back to the darknet: what is the difference to the deep web? The Darknet and the Deepweb are different on both a technical and a content level. The deep web is accessible to everyone, for example via official deep web search engines for scientific research. The Darknet, on the other hand, is a kind of "exclusive club". Users establish a manual connection to one another, also known as peer-to-peer. This creates connections to "hidden services".

These services can only be reached, for example, through the well-known TOR network. The URL of the hidden services are anything but easy to remember. You can reach "Torch", a kind of "Tor Google", for example via "http://xmh57jrzrnw6insl.onion/". The popular "Hidden Wiki" via "http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page". But there are many other hidden services. Most are known through word of mouth in forums.

What makes the Darknet so interesting?

Many imagine the Darknet as a dark place for criminals. But that's only partly true. The Darknet is of particular interest to journalists, politically persecuted people in totalitarian systems, whistleblowers like Edward Snowden or "normal" users with a penchant for anonymity.

Of course, criminals have also discovered the anonymity of the Darknet for themselves. In 2013, for example, investigators exposed "Silk Road", a digital black market worth billions for drugs and other illegal goods. Not the only spectacular criminal case set in the depths of the web. Ever since the hack of the affair portal Ashley Madison or after billions of data records appeared on the Darknet, the hidden part of the Internet has become famous and notorious for criminal machinations.

How do you get into the darknet?

The most popular way to look around the Darknet is the Tor browser. You can download it from our download archive. The Tor browser is nothing more than a regular browser, only the developers place a lot of emphasis on anonymity and security. The Tor network that the browser can access and the browser itself are based on an encryption scheme. You can imagine this encryption scheme like dressing according to the onion principle in winter.

Tor Browser

The Tor Browser hides your IP address and other personal information such as your current location and allows you to surf the Internet safely.

Three layers are put on over the t-shirt and no one can see the pattern on the shirt. It works in a similar way with your "ID" while surfing. According to its own information, the Tor project is the largest Darknet representative with over four million users (as of January 2018). Due to the high degree of anonymity, the browser may be a little slower when surfing on "normal" pages.

Is there a TOR browser for the smartphone?

You can surf the Darknet not only with your PC, you can also use your smartphone. All you need is a browser from the Tor project. The "TOR-Browser for Android" is suitable for Android smartphones. This connects the Tor network and the browser in one app.

There are a variety of Tor browsers for iOS that connect to the Tor network. However, these do not come from the original Tor developers, so we do not make a recommendation. However, you can check if your browser is connected to the Tor network by clicking ""Visited. If you get the message that your browser is configured to use the Tor network, you can get started. Please note, however, that many Darknet websites are not optimized for mobile devices. It is therefore always safer to surf the Darknet via computer .

Darknet search engines

Search engines also exist in the Darknet, although "real" search engines have a hard time in the Darknet. After all, bots cannot continuously record the hidden services. The "hidden services" generate a "new path" every 24 hours, which is of course obscured. So that new users of the Tor network do not have to learn the complicated URLs by heart, there are so-called link collections and search engines that do the work for you.

Darknet pages and darknet search engines at a glance

You have no idea where to start? With a VPN you can surf anonymously, but not call the TOR network. For newbies, the following darknet websites and darknet search engines are particularly suitable to start with.

10 interesting darknet websites for beginners
10 interesting darknet websites for beginners

Is the Darknet illegal?

Visiting the Darknet itself is not illegal. If you search for and buy illegal content such as child pornography, weapons or drugs on the Darknet, you are liable to prosecution. A good comparison with regard to illegality and Darknet is the possession of a knife: The sale, possession and regular use of knives is permitted. Accordingly, surfing the Darknet as well. Threatening or injuring with a knife is a punishable offense, as is buying illegal things on the Darknet.

Security in the darknet

For a normal user, the Darknet is a dangerous place and security should be a top priority for laypeople. If you are looking for a little thrill and just want to "browse" a bit, then you should consider the following tips:

  • Don't trust anyone. You never have a clue who is behind a username of a forum for intoxicants, for example.
  • Don't believe anything that's written on the Darknet.
  • Do not open any social networks in the same browser. Log out of all social networks to visit the Darknet. Otherwise, trackers and plugins on Facebook and Co. can still follow you.
  • Do not enter any personal data anywhere. Even if it is just an email address. Even the smallest information about you can give you away.
  • Do not upload any photos or videos you have created yourself.
  • Always keep virus scanners and browsers up to date.
  • Check downloads.
  • Don't buy anything. Even if some goods seem legal, you can never really be sure.

You can find a current virus scanner mentioned in our selection list. If you want to surf anonymously without a Tor browser, we recommend setting up a proxy connection. Our proxy server list is also available to you.

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