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Deep Web Browsers are browsers which let you access the Deep web. The Deep Web, as the name suggests is the “deeper” part of the Internet.
Something that you can’t access with your Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or any other day-to-day browsers and that’s exactly where the Deep Web Browser comes to your rescue.
So here we list the top 10 Deep Web Browsers, their features and why they are the best weapons in your arsenal when you’re about to access the Deep web.
Why do you Need Deep Web Browsers?
- Apr 18, 2021 While the deep web contains usually digitized records and harmless data, the dark web is usually crawling with a lot of criminal activity. Normal browsers cannot access the dark web, so to access it, you will need what is called the Onion Router hidden service protocol.
- Jan 25, 2021 The dark web is a mysterious part of the web that most people only get to with the Tor browser. Onion links (websites with the suffix ‘.onion’) host hidden services that aren’t accessible through regular browsers (unless you do a lot of tweaking).
They let you access the Deep Web, that’s the surface-level answer, but what makes them special, why can’t you use the general browsers to do the same? That’s what this section is about.
Accessing the Hidden Links
The Deep Web isn’t hosted on the “World Wide Web” (WWW), so you can’t access it with the general browsers because they don’t recognize the .onion or can’t grant you access the opposites.
The dark web is a hidden part of the worldwide web which isn’t accessible to people using popular browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. Dark web pages also won’t be indexed by search engines such as Google.
Neither are these links made available on the search engines for you to just click on them and land over there.
While the Deep Web Browsers are crafted specifically to facilitate the access of those onion links, and at the same time also generally let you browse the clearnet.
The Deep Web is generally paired up with content that’s “illicit” if not illegal at best, even though it’s not always true, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want others peeking over your search history, or Identity on the Deep Web, would you?
It’s not just about search history, cookies or activities from your end, even others (including websites and independently interested “third-parties”) trace and track your location, activities and other data.
No information is sent from the deep web browsers to the websites you browse, which isn’t the case with the general browsers we use.
So basically, deep web browsers are specifically armed in such a way that your identity is protected and is kept anonymous, so you always have a cloak over you while you walk through the slimy streets of the Deep web.
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Top 10 Deep Web Browsers
Here are the Top 10 Deep Web Browsers you can employ to your service right now and start surfing the waves towards the Deeper part of the web.
We’ve explained what makes these browsers “the best”, and also note that this isn’t a “ranking chart”, so the #1 browser doesn’t mean it’s the “best”, while the #10 doesn’t indicate it being the “last option” either.
TOR (The Onion Router)
Even though it’s not a “ranking chart” as I said earlier, TOR is literally “the best deep web browser” you’ll ever cross paths with.
TOR is an Open-Source project that was broken out of its eggshell to protect “Internet freedom” (which is somewhat of rarity these days!)
TOR keeps our identity private by using a “network or relays” which is run by volunteers all across the globe. They bounce our internet traffic off via various nodes which if translated to plain English, means your identity is safe with TOR.
It allows for users to manually select their security levels and trade it for the level of “user-interface” they get. Disabling images and scripts offers more security, and vice-versa. It even allows users to create new identities, or just opt for a new circuit.
Moreover, you get to see which countries exactly your network is being routed through. TOR is also extremely well-managed and updated very frequently which is a reassuring thought.
Tor Browser for Android
You may need one of the best Deep Web browsers for Access the Deep web even if you’re not on a PC or a laptop and we totally understand that.
I personally used Orbot to access the Deep Web on Android devices earlier. But then came the Tor Browser which wasn’t very stable, and required Orbot in addition to the Tor browser in order to function.
This new Tor browser (Android) releases however are independent apps from Tor, which don’t require Orbot to route traffic through the onion network. Alike the Computer version, it too blocks ads and fingerprinting, allows access to .onion sites and makes overall browsing a lot more anonymous.
Note that you also can use Orbot however the official Tor browser is a lot more anonymous and secure. Alike Tor browser, Orbot for Android too passes the traffic via various nodes before connecting to a user. And obviously alike most other options on this list, Tor (both for Desktop and Android) is absolutely free to download and use.
Whonix is an advanced deep web browser which is armed to the teeth to protect you against common web-attacks or privacy threats.
It uses the TOR network to provide us with online anonymity, and a deeper layer or protection is its heavily encrypted and modified debian base which is run inside a number of virtual machines; acting as our guardian angle against malware and IP address leaks!
Whonix takes pride in being an isolated solution for the deep web, at the same time being able to be run inside a Virtual machine and with mandated TOR routing.
SubGraph OS is an open-source and one of the most secure browsers you can use to browse the deep web.
It’s packed with GrSecurity for starters, put it simply all I can say is it’s “the best” Linux kernel security enhancement known to man!
One of its superpowers is its ability to create “Sandboxes” around programs commonly prone to online attacks and security leaks.
Meaning, it “contains” those applications (Email, PDF Files, Messaging apps) within themselves, so even if there is a leak or security breach, it doesn’t effect the whole system and remains limited to the app.
Not to mention that all outgoing traffic is routed via the TOR network. It’s an extensive program but I’m pretty sure the above features can paint a picture for you as far Subgraph’s capabilities are concerned, isn’t that right?
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Disconnect is on this list specifically because of its “anti-monitoring” policies. The primary marketing hand it plays is its “Disconnect” abilities.
It not only automatically prevents you from visiting sites which are known to collect information and are malicious, but also stop them from collecting your information if you do happen to land on them.
It also boasts an in-built VPN which makes it all the more secure and allows you to mask your location while you browse the deep web.
To top it all up, it’s programmed in a way which also boosts your browsing speed (the deep web is ill-famous for its slow loading websites), saves your battery life if you’re on a mobile device and a number of other extra benefits, so bottom-line, it’s worth a try.
Disconnect offers us three plans, among which there’s a “free” plan as well so you can try it out without shelling anything out from your pockets.
It’s on top of my personal favourite deep web browsers list after TOR, maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s a project from the TOR team itself.
Apart from it being a TOR project, what makes Tails special is its unique ability of being a “standalone Operating system”!
What I mean by that phrase is, you can install and run Tails on any system in minutes directly from a USD stick, CD-Drive or any other media.
Once the OS is run, you can browse the deep web seamlessly, and all the traffic is forced to be routed through the TOR network.
Also, there’s no trace of your activities whatsoever on the system Tails is run. Other advanced features include the ability to sign documents using the de-facto OpenPGP, and it also is capable of protecting our instant-messages by the use of OTR tool for added authentication and deniability.
EPIC really does live up to its name. It disables any and all “tracking scripts” that websites might have positioned in order to track your activities, choices and interests.
Disabling the tracking scripts results in a faster loading of the websites, which is a big win specially on the deep web sites.
Every outgoing connection is encrypted in a “Separate process” even if the browser is the same, which adds to the additional security provided by EPIC.
EPIC also makes it impossible for your IP address to be leaked out in the world with simple flaws like the webrtc function per say, instead it makes you the “spy” by showing you who or which websites are tracking you.
And finally, it’s embedded with a built-in proxy which hides your location, masks your IP address, and grants you access to even the hardest to find hidden websites.
And it’s worth a mention that EPIC reportedly refused to compile to Google’s ultimatum and share user-data even when it meant a majority of their traffic and revenue being cut-off.
Bottomline, they’ve earned our trust, and are worth it.
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Ipredia runs on I2TP, which is an anonymous network for people who’re protective towards their identity and online security.
So Ipredia routes all online traffic via an I2TP router, and also features an anonymous BitTorrent client for those who’re interested in downloading media via Torrents using the Deep Web torrent sites which are still live.
It also helps users discover hidden websites which aren’t generally available on the web to be found.
Apart from all that, we might sometimes need Email IDs to register on Deep web markets or other Deep web platforms, well in that case Ipredia also features an anonymous Email client for you which you can use without risking your personal Email ID.
Not to mention an anonymous chat system being provided as well.
The next contestant up this race for the best deep web browser is FreeNet project. And honestly, it has some of the best encryption and protection levels compared to a number of its rivals in this list.
Secret Identities, the “secret sauce” of Freenet! Yeah, it let’s you create a completely fake, secret identity which you can use while doing anything and everything on FreeNet.
FreeNet isn’t a “connected” environment, instead of an isolated one. Meaning it doesn’t let you connect to Google or Facebook, instead it has its own social networks, chat-rooms, blogs, so in a nutshell it’s the “whole of the internet within itself”.
Friend-to-Friend node is another one of FreeNet’s innovations, it’s a connection protocol which let’s you connect only to those nodes run by your friends or people you trust. That provides you with a lot more security and autonomy.
Utopia in many senses resembles Freenet, primarily in that it too is a complete environment within itself. It is a decentralized and P2P environment. What separates it from other similar tools is that it doesn’t make use of any central server, hence eliminates any single point of failure. The program was created primarily and specifically for privacy and anonymity.
Additionally, the data from users (media/files/messages etc.) aren’t stored on other third-party servers. For now, users can send private and group messages, share files, and send e-mails using uMail which is an isolated e-mail network accessible only inside Utopia.
Everything required for the environment (E-mail client, Wallet, Games, Messenger etc). is pre-included in the package and doesn’t require any third-party installations.
It also has its own fully functional financial-structure, users can conduct financial transactions using Crypton, the private Cryptocurrency of Utopia. The users also “earn” Crypton for using the platform. No party controls the transactions, neither has access to the transaction details.
No data about a user’s activity such as location, IP addresses or messages are collected. The storage is encrypted using 256-bit AES encryption.
Is currently in its Beta version and users are invited to join the program and contribute their skills.
Psiphon alike Whonix or a number of other tools on this list is an anti-censorship tool. It’s a browser which makes use of VPN, SSH Tunnels and Proxy to help bypass internet censorship. Note that it clearly states that it doesn’t increase anonymity, and shouldn’t be considered as an online security tool.
Put simply, when using Psiphon our ISPs can’t intercept our traffic. Neither can they monitor our internet habits, browsing history, messages or anything else. On Windows Psiphon uses L2TP/IPSec protocols to connect to the internet, arguably one of the strongest and most encrypted solutions.
It’s currently available for Windows, Android and iOS. Currently Linux and MacOS aren’t supported but the team has stated that it may be a future possibility.
Note that Psiphon is neither an alternative to Tor nor a VPN. It’s simply a “censorship circumvention tool”. It allows access to content other browsers may not. But it doesn’t necessarily offer anonymity or privacy. Also unlike a VPN it only proxies the activities conducted explicitly through the Psiphon browser. All other internet connections are unencrypted and public.
Yandex is yet another deep web browser you can get your hands on, a browser which understands your privacy and need to be anonymous.
For starters, it has built-in safety mechanism which keeps your “online activity” safe, things like being attacked by a malware, tracking of activities, bank details being leaked and so on.
It even has Kaspersky antivirus inbuilt into the browser to protect your downloads!
Apart from that, considering how slow the deep web generally is, it has a “turbo mode” which keeps thing in balance even when your internet speed drops down, or the website is just not fast enough.
Zero Net was created in 2015. It’s an isolated, Peer to Peer network which aims to build a self-sufficient internet-like interface within itself. Zero Net uses Bitcoin’s cryptography as well as BitTorrent to make the overall network decentralized as well as anonymous.
The primary reason why it’s listed here is, it’s nearly impossible to identify a site owner among a list of simple website visitors. Each Zero Net website uses Bitcoin’s private keys (wallet-addresses) and there are no “servers” as such. So the files are served, or “seeded” locally. In other words, every visitor of a website is a host of the website as well (only if they wish to).
It’s 100% decentralized and open-source, hence no third-party control of institutions and governments is applicable. It also allows routing its traffic through Tor which makes it perfect for accessing the Deep/Dark web.
It has plans to implement BitMessage as well as OpenBaazar 2.0 in its future updates. Both of which will potentially make it the next Dark-web hub much similar to Tor itself. It already features alternatives to Facebook, Gmail, Twitter etc. And these are 100% anonymous and privacy-respecting.
So let’s just say that Zero Net isn’t a “browser”. Rather a network which supports Deep web browsers, and offers deep web alternatives to almost everything available on the Clearnet. Tor is pre-bundled with the Windows version of ZeroNet as well.
The final solution I can lay out for you as a deep web browser is I2P. They market themselves as “A network inside a network”, so again a “contained network” in other words.
It protects us from data-leaks, activities being tracked online, identity being publicized and so on. So basically it protects our digital lives.
Apart from that, just like FreeNet, I2P also offers contained, isolated platforms for Emails, Blogging, Chat, File-sharing etc. And all this is anonymous, as well as decentralized.
All the messages are sent via “tunnels” and routed via the I2P router which keeps it anonymous as well as safe from being intercepted by unwanted third-parties.
Lastly, you can access the eepsites (anonymous sites not available on the clearnet) with I2P as well.
Difference Between Tor and I2P
This section is here because even though this article is all about Deep Web Browsers, the technology/algorithm implemented in Tor and I2P to achieve those goals is significantly different.
Going through this piece most of you may align Tor and I2P to be just about the same things which would be as wrong as Christmas being in August.
For starters, Tor can be used to access the public Internet while I2P can’t provide you access to them. I2P content is exclusive to the I2P network and isn’t available outside it.
The Primary difference between Tor and I2P is that while Tor relies on Onion routing; I2P relies on Garlic routing, which is an extension of Onion routing, both these processes aren’t completely different yet aren’t identical either.
Now there are quite a few tech-terms involved in their differences, but i’ll break it all down in laymen’s terms for you. Garlic routing (used by I2P) is named Garlic because of its ability to “bundle messages together”, like a clove (and hence the name-Garlic).
Furthermore, Garlic routing makes use of Unidirectional tunnels; both the sender as well as the recipient build two tunnels each; where one is used for sending and the other for receiving data. 2 Parties, with 2 tunnels each hence create a network of 4 tunnels.
While Tor and similar tools use Bidirectional tunnels, so the same tunnel is used both to send as well as receive data which obviously congests the network more and hence results in slightly slower speeds than Garlic routing is able to provide.
I2P also focuses majorly on making the tunnel “length” anonymous and indeterminable (among other security precautions) hence neither the creator nor the receiver at the endpoint of the tunnel can determine the length, latency or any such potentially-compromising data about the Tunnel.
Bottomline, there’s not a ton of difference between Tor and I2P on the user-level, yet in the background it’s a completely different story. Note that the differences mentioned here are only the tip of the iceberg, the other existing differences are too complicated to be explained in an article as simple as this.
Onion Browser (iOS)
iOS (Apple) is one of the least private, most privacy-intrusive companies on the planet. Hence trying to access the Deep/Dark web over there can be a challenge without compromising on your identity.
Fortunately I recently stumbled upon Onion browser. It’s an Onion browser just like the name suggests, but it’s for iOS.
Can you trust it? Well yes, considering how it’s open-source so all of its code is available for public inspection. If you’re not a code-lover well in that case ProPublica vouches for them as well. ProPublica is one of the largest whistle-blowing, anti-censorship and liberal online platforms out there.
It also has been featured in a number of magazines of international repute such as LifeHacker, The Guardian, Tech Crunch etc. further establishing its claims to be true.
The features are parallel with what the Tor browser offers. Such as secondary, hidden IP Addresses routed over the Tor network, accessibility of .onion domains etc. It also lets users clear their cookie and cache in just one click (or tap).
For added privacy, you can also send the “DNT” (Do Not Track) request to websites (although it depends on individual websites’ compliance policies if they do or don’t comply to such requests).
Although it does have some complications, for e.g. the browser only routes the traffic from the browser, so any other apps, internet requests sent via other apps or browsers aren’t encrypted and are still vulnerable.
Bottomline, it’s free, open-source and feature-rich however isn’t perfect yet and should be along with some personal security precautions.
This isn’t a “browser” but I’m still adding it here because VPNs are the extra layer or security and anonymity which fill in the gaps left by the browsers.
No browser, not even TOR is completely anonymous, and they’re honest about it, they’re just a “more secure, and privacy-respecting” browsers compared to the other general browsers.
But a VPN is a third-party software which masks your IP address, and offers you a plethora of “virtual locations” to choose from in a single click! Masking your IP address makes sure even if there is an IP-address or DNS leak, your identity remains cloaked and safe. Check out best VPN software that you can use.
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Difference Between a VPN and Tor
So a VPN is “not” a browser like Tor, I2P or any other option on this list, rather it’s an additional software which needs to be installed on your system (or browsers in some case as extensions).
It doesn’t let you browse websites or access content, in the simplest possible terms what it does when enabled is, takes your IP address (which is being used to connect to the Internet) and changes it with one of its own, so now the VPN’s IP address is being used to connect to the internet and not yours.
Also, it uses various connection protocols such as L2TP/IPsec, IKev2, PPTP, SSTP and so on to encrypt your connections. Tor in addition to encryption, uses “Nodes” to bounce your requests from one location to another until finally reaching your destination, while with a VPN there are no “nodes” per-se rather just the VPN’s IP address acting as an intermediary between your request and the destination.
Also, Tor being a browser only encrypts the traffic going through the browser, any other outbound internet traffic (like from other browsers, chat messengers and/or anything else) aren’t encrypted. While with a VPN the entire outgoing traffic via any browser or application is encrypted and masked with this secondary IP address.
Problems with Tor
Even though Tor is the undisputed king of Dark web browsing, there do exist some problems with it. For starters, Tor functions through relays, or nodes. These are intermediaries which transfer your data from one node to another till it finally reaches the exit-node.
The exit-node is the last node which finally decrypts the data and sends it off to the destination website. This exit-node can be setup by anyone, and there’s no guarantee that the exit-node used by you wasn’t a FBI-setup.
Then there’s the XKeyScore program. This isn’t a technical or anti-privacy guide so all I’ll say is, it’s the NSA magic-wand. They can simply waive it and get into any E-mail, any network, any website traffic and basically “anything” else on the internet.
Although how it directly effects us is, after Edward Snowden revealed its true purpose and potential it came to light that the NSA now keeps an eye on people who use the Tor network. A sort of “anticipatory” list, of people who may be doing things they don’t want us doing. In other words if you use Tor, there’s every chance you may already be on a watchlist.
Also, the FBI has already hacked Tor before.
So bottomline, Tor even though isn’t “unbreakable” or the ultimate layer or protection, still is the max-security browser out there as of today. And this is why it should always be used in addition to a VPN.
Problems with a VPN
A VPN too isn’t completely secure. Or in other words, not “all” VPNs are secure. There are some specific factors you need to pay attention to when choosing a VPN.
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First and Foremost make sure it has a No logs policy. Go to the NLP page and read the fine print. Make sure they don’t store any identifiable data or usage history under “any” circumstances.
Secondly, many VPNs post their Pre-shared Keys online. PureVPN is one of them. This is a major no-no as it’ll let hackers and third-parties attempt a Man-in-The-Middle attack.
Also make sure that the VPN is from a privacy-friendly country, such as Switzerland for example. Any VPN company from countries such as USA or UK are to be avoided. Simply because the govt. in these countries has extensive control over companies.
Most VPNs do not provide for forward-secrecy. This is like leaving a footprint of your network connection which can later be traced and tracked. So go with a VPN which does support forward secrecy. DNS Leak Protection is another feature to look for.
And finally, even though not explicitly required it’s still a good idea to go with a company which offers Double-hop, or double-encryption. Simply because then your connection is routed through two VPN servers instead of one, hence double protection for you.
One VPN which provides for all the security features listed above, and then some is Nord VPN.
You can refer to some of the VPN reviews in the following posts if you do wish to go with a VPN:
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Is Accessing the Deep Web Illegal?
If you’re searching for top 10 browsers to access the Deep Web, this is a question that sure must’ve popped for you. Well, you first need to understand that the “Deep Web” can be divided in two parts, the “Deep Web” and the “Dark Web“.
The “Dark Web” is a smaller part of the Deep Web, but it’s even harder to access and requires specially crafted browsers, such as Tor. Accordingly, it also is equally “illegal”. Infact, the “Dark Web” is the illegal part of the Deep Web. It primarily is hosted on the Onion network, and offers access to Darknet Markets, Weapon Shops, Illegal Porn, Credit Card Shops and similar portals.
You need to understand that there’s no official classification of what’s “Deep Web Content” and what’s “Dark Web Content“. As long as you’re simply accessing hidden documents, private networks (chat rooms, file-sharing portals etc). or hidden websites, accessing the Deep Web won’t bring you any legal troubles.
But as soon as you find yourself on a website which could potentially be illegal, it’s best if you get off the site. It’s not exactly illegal being on one such site, but the laws are becoming pretty strict and you never know what can be used against you.
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So those were the 10 best deep web browsers existing in the industry today. We compared these based on their features, anonymity, privacy level and so on.
Starting from TOR right to the very last option, feel free to go with any one of them. Just make sure you’ve employed a VPN just in case. As long as you’ve done so, you’ve got the green light to be a deep web tourist!
Do let me know your feedback and experience on this piece, it matters, it does.