Disclosure
Affiliate Commissions

CyberWaters is supported by its readers, therefore we may receive affiliate commissions if you purchase goods or services via our links. We appreciate your support.

7 Best VPNs for Dark Web & Darknet in 2023

Best VPN for Dark Net

Dark Web VPN Key Takeaways:

  • Dark web VPNs keep your network private from snooping eyes.
  • A VPN for the dark web is crucial if you live in a highly authoritarian country.
  • VPN servers allow dark web users to access the Tor network in locations where it’s blocked.
  • NordVPN allows accessing Dark Web with its Tor Over VPN Servers

For most online users, the dark web and darknet primarily draw up associations of illegal activities and dangerous websites. While this is true to an extent, the dark web is much more than that. It’s also a great place for those who want Step 6. Add specific websites and IP addresses to avoid censorship and remain anonymous online. 

Unfortunately, many governments generally find usage of the Tor browser shady and suspicious. Even if you can easily access the dark web without issues, using Tor might get you on the government’s radar.

To avoid looking suspicious and protect your online privacy while using the Tor browser, it’s best to use a VPN for the dark web. A strong and reliable Virtual Private Network will protect you from any tracking attempts and enable you to enjoy Tor in countries where it’s blocked.

Test Your VPN Knowledge – Take A Quiz!

Best VPNs for Dark Web – our shortlist:

  1. NordVPN – Best VPN for dark web
  2. Surfshark – Fast, light, and affordable
  3. AtlasVPN – Great all-around VPN
  4. PrivateVPN –  Simple and cheap service
  5. ExpressVPN – Robust and sophisticated
  6. Private Internet Access – Fast with tons of servers
  7. CyberGhost – Strong privacy

How to Access the Dark Web?

The simplest and quickest way to access the dark web anonymously is to use a Tor browser and a VPN. You can download Tor by searching it up on Google and installing it directly from the Tor Project website. 

Once you’ve done so, you’ll need to download and set up the VPN of your choice. To help you in this process, we’ve created a step-by-step guide.

This is how to access the dark web with a VPN:

  1. Pick one of the trusted VPNs from this guide (We recommend NordVPN)
  2. Download and install the appropriate app for your device
  3. Open the app, pick a server, and connect
  4. Wait a few seconds and open the Tor Browser
  5. Enter the .onion URL you want to access
  6. Enjoy surfing the dark web!

Accessing the Dark Web Safely

The Tor-VPN combination is the best way to access the dark web, ensuring you’re entirely safe and private. Your Internet traffic is effectively encrypted twice. First, Tor encrypts it, then your VPN encrypts it. That way, not even your ISP can detect that you’re accessing the dark web or using the Tor server.

7 Best VPNs for the Dark Web – our detailed list:

1. NordVPN

🌐 Website:nordvpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:Panama
📍Servers/Countries:5800+ servers in 60 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & CouponsGet 68% off + 3 months extra
🌐 Website:nordvpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:Panama
📍Servers/Countries:5800+ servers in 60 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & CouponsGet 68% off + 3 months extra

The NordVPN dark web service is the most complete VPN package you can get in the current industry. It comes with very powerful geo-unblocking features and can access even the most restrictive regions. Plus, with over 5,400 servers at your disposal, you can use NordVPN to access any corner of the world. You can connect up to six devices simultaneously.

NordVPN is packed with many advanced security and privacy protection features. It protects your data non-stop with a reliable kill switch and offers server obfuscation. NordVPN’s servers come with private DNS leak protection

It also offers obfuscated servers, which protect your traffic from being blocked in countries with high restrictions. NordVPN conveniently lists all of its obfuscated servers on its site. Moreover, you can conveniently connect to these specialized servers directly by clicking on the appropriate tab in the VPN app.

You can get a dedicated IP address that would only be available to you. There are also some advanced features like double VPN servers, which allows you to add another layer of encryption to your Internet connection.

Another aspect particularly interesting in the context of this page is NordVPN’s Onion over VPN feature. While it is a bit overkill when you’re already using Tor, it is still very valuable in this situation. The Onion over VPN feature hides your real IP right from the entry node, meaning that even if someone is monitoring a particular Onion network, they won’t be able to see you.

NordVPN is based in Panama and has a zero-logs policy, so you don’t have to worry about any potential privacy issues when using this service. Moreover, this VPN allows you to pay for it anonymously using cryptocurrencies, most notably Bitcoin and Ethereum. That way, you can remain completely anonymous while enjoying the best VPN in the industry.

Pros

  • Thousands of lightning-fast and well-optimized servers
  • Unblocks all the major streaming sites
  • Fully supports Torrenting and P2P
  • Strict no-logs policy and RAM-disk servers
  • Ad blocker and malware protection features
  • Robust security features and military-grade encryption to protect you from DDoS attacks and other online threats
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Only 6 simultaneous connections
  • No free trial

Pros

  • Thousands of lightning-fast and well-optimized servers
  • Unblocks all the major streaming sites
  • Fully supports Torrenting and P2P
  • Strict no-logs policy and RAM-disk servers
  • Ad blocker and malware protection features
  • Robust security features and military-grade encryption to protect you from DDoS attacks and other online threats
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Only 6 simultaneous connections
  • No free trial

2. Surfshark

🌐 Website:surfshark.com
🏢 Headquarters:The British Virgin Islands
📍Servers/Countries:3,200+ servers in 100 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & CouponsSave 84% Now!
🌐 Website:surfshark.com
🏢 Headquarters:The British Virgin Islands
📍Servers/Countries:3,200+ servers in 100 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & CouponsSave 84% Now!

Surfshark has over 3,200 servers in 100 countries, with at least 1 Gbps port available on every server. Moreover,  there’s an increasing number of 10 Gbps servers available. Every Surfshark server runs on RAM only and supports trusted and reliable protocols like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2

The service doesn’t make any compromises on your security, as it has a zero-logs policy and features private DNS on every server. Surfshark also protects your traffic with a kill switch.

This VPN provider is based in the Netherlands, which is a part of the Nine Eyes Alliance. This might be a deal-breaker for some dark web users. Surfshark also has a nifty Camouflage Mode. This feature hides the fact that you’re using a VPN, as your VPN connection appears as normal Internet traffic.

Looking at its features, there are a few more very valuable ones. Firstly, there’s the CleanWeb feature that protects you against any ads, malware, and trackers. There’s also a NoBorders Mode that allows you to use Surfshark anywhere in the world, regardless of the country’s online censorship levels.

Another thing that makes Surfshark great is that it allows you unlimited simultaneous connections per one subscription plan. In addition, you can pay with one of three supported cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ripple.

Pros

  • A very affordable VPN provider
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Ad-blocking feature
  • Unblocks streaming platforms
  • Ad blocker and malware protection features
  • A fast and light WireGuard protocol
  • Allows split-tunneling and has a multi-hop VPN feature
  • No-log policy and robust security features
  • GPS spoofing on Android devices
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No free version
  • Does not allow P2P seeding

Pros

  • A very affordable VPN provider
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Ad-blocking feature
  • Unblocks streaming platforms
  • Ad blocker and malware protection features
  • A fast and light WireGuard protocol
  • Allows split-tunneling and has a multi-hop VPN feature
  • No-log policy and robust security features
  • GPS spoofing on Android devices
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No free version
  • Does not allow P2P seeding

3. Atlas VPN

🌐 Website:atlasvpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:United States
📍Servers/Countries:1000 servers in 49 locations
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & Coupons85% OFF + 3 Months FREE!
🌐 Website:atlasvpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:United States
📍Servers/Countries:1000 servers in 49 locations
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & Coupons85% OFF + 3 Months FREE!

Atlas VPN is an excellent all-around VPN for the dark web. It offers a solid server network of over 750 servers across 40 server locations worldwide. Not only this, but these servers support several great features. 

The two that we found the most impressive are MultiHop+ and SafeSwap. In short, MultiHop+ allows you to rotate multiple VPN locations simultaneously, while SafeSwap enables you to access the Internet from several IP addresses at the same time.

All of Atlas VPN’s servers come with private DNS and support the WireGuard protocol. You can also rely on advanced features like malware and phishing protection, a tracker blocker, a kill switch, and split tunneling. The latter is particularly convenient, as it allows you only to route your Tor browser through the VPN tunnel while keeping the rest of your network on your real IP address.

Apart from being the best free dark web VPN, in our opinion, Atlas VPN also offers great payment methods for those who want to subscribe to one of its premium plans. The list of supported options also includes cryptocurrencies.

Pros

  • Very affordable plans and it has a free version
  • Fast Speeds
  • Helpful against an ISP throttling your connection
  • Unlimited device support
  • WireGuard protocol, DNS leak protection, and strong security features
  • Torrenting-friendly
  • Unblocks streaming services
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Limited Linux app
  • Based in the US
  • Not so many servers

Pros

  • Very affordable plans and it has a free version
  • Fast Speeds
  • Helpful against an ISP throttling your connection
  • Unlimited device support
  • WireGuard protocol, DNS leak protection, and strong security features
  • Torrenting-friendly
  • Unblocks streaming services
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Limited Linux app
  • Based in the US
  • Not so many servers

4. PrivateVPN

🌐 Website:privatevpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:Sweden
📍Servers/Countries:200 servers in 60 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & CouponsSave 85% Now!
🌐 Website:privatevpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:Sweden
📍Servers/Countries:200 servers in 60 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & CouponsSave 85% Now!

PrivateVPN is the perfect beginner’s VPN service. If you just want to dabble in the dark web and are looking for an easy-to-use and stable VPN, this service is the ideal choice. It does offer a fairly small selection of servers, especially considering what some other VPNs on this list provide. 

More specifically, it currently has a bit over 200 servers in 63 countries. That said, this is more than enough for a casual user, even a more advanced one, but likely not enough for a technical online user looking for a huge server network for the dark web. It offers above-average Internet connection speeds and an outstanding uptime of 99.98%.

While it is pretty straightforward and simplified, PrivateVPN also boasts some more complex features, including an Advanced View. There you can tailor both your VPN connection type and the type of encryption you want to use.

You can utilize the Stealth VPN feature to disguise your VPN traffic as regular traffic if you want to use PrivateVPN in a country with tough censorship. There’s also a Connection Guard that serves multiple purposes. It includes protection against IPv6 and DNS leaks, as well as a kill switch.

Pros

  • Supports P2P traffic and allows port forwarding
  • Unlimited bandwidth and great speeds
  • Unblocks most streaming platforms
  • Zero-logging policy
  • Free Static IP servers
  • A fast and light WireGuard protocol
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Not as many servers as other VPN providers
  • No split-tunneling

5. ExpressVPN

🌐 Website:expressvpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:The British Virgin Islands
📍Servers/Countries:3000+ servers in 94 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & Coupons+3 months FREE!

Many reasons rank ExpressVPN so high on the list of the best VPNs for the dark web in 2023. For starters, it employs TrustedServer technology, meaning that it uses only RAM servers, which never write any user activity data. 

ExpressVPN employs top-quality security measures to keep you private when accessing the dark web. It hides your IP address behind AES 256-bit encryption. What’s more, the service doesn’t log any DNS queries, browsing history, or other identifiable data.

ExpressVPN offers servers in 160 locations across 94 countries. All servers support the provider’s Lightway protocol, as well as a handful of other common protocols. You will also find standard VPN features like split tunneling and a Network Lock kill switch. Both of which can be very useful when browsing the dark web. 

Although more expensive than its competition, ExpressVPN is known as one of the most robust VPNs in the industry. It’s fast, stable, and works in every region worldwide. Plus, focusing on the main topic of this guide, it also has a .onion site.

ExpressVPN is based in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands. And, like any other VPN worth its salt, it has a no-nonsense no-logs policy. You can also buy an ExpressVPN subscription with Bitcoin, so you don’t leave any trace when paying for it.

Pros

  • Works with streaming
  • Supports torrenting
  • No-logs policy
  • TrustedServer technology with RAM-only servers
  • Premium security features
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Expensive subscription plans
  • Only 5 simultaneous connections

6. Private Internet Access

🌐 Website:privateinternetaccess.com
🏢 Headquarters:United States
📍Servers/Countries:30000+ servers in 60+ countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & Coupons85% OFF + 3 months FREE!

Private Internet Access is an open-source VPN service, a fact that makes pairing it with Tor for dark web browsing even more enjoyable. You can rely on complete transparency with PIA and even inspect the code in its apps if you want to. 

Besides this, PIA is a very impressive VPN service on its own. It has over 30,000 servers across 84 countries, numbering the largest server network you can find in the current VPN industry. All servers offer unlimited bandwidth, ultra-fast connection speeds and adhere to a stringent no-logs policy.

Among other PIA features worth highlighting, you can count on advanced split tunneling, ad and malware blocking features, as well as sophisticated encryption settings. All of its servers support the popular and high-performing WireGuard protocol

On the other hand, we should also mention that PIA is based in the US, which is a part of all major international surveillance organizations. However, it clearly states that it doesn’t log any user data and uses a secure kill switch, so you don’t have to worry about any data falling into the wrong hands.

Pros

  • Thousands of servers
  • Great for torrenting and P2P
  • Strong security and encryption
  • Block ads, trackers, and malware
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • Anonymous payment methods
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Based in the US
  • Not all streaming services can be unblocked

7. CyberGhost

🌐 Website:cyberghostvpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:Romania
📍Servers/Countries:9600+ servers in 91 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & Coupons82% OFF +2 months FREE!

CyberGhost offers one of the most impressive server networks in the industry, with over 7,800 servers in over 90 countries, covering 112 locations. What’s even more remarkable in this case is that most of these servers are physically based in the actual location, as there are only a fraction of virtual servers.

This VPN service offers apps for all major software platforms, so you can conveniently use the Tor browser with CyberGhost on any platform it runs on. CyberGhost has AES 256-bit encryption, uses an automatic kill switch, and employs reliable DNS leak protection.

CyberGhost VPN is an excellent pick for privacy-conscious users, as it has a 100% zero-log policy. Moreover, it’s based in Romania, a European country with lax online privacy laws that’s not a part of any major international surveillance organization. 

Lastly, CyberGhost is another top-quality VPN provider for the dark web that allows you to purchase a subscription with Bitcoin. It also offers you one of the longest money-back guarantees in the business at 45 days, allowing you more than enough time to test it out and determine if it’s worth your subscription money.

Pros

  • Good for streaming and torrenting
  • WireGuard protocol available
  • No Logs
  • Offers Dedicated IP option
  • Free browser extension
  • Torrenting-friendly
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No third-party audits
  • Messy app’s interface

Why do You Need a VPN to Access Dark Web or Deep Web

There are a couple of reasons you need a VPN to access the dark web or the deep web. Here are several most significant ones why dark web VPNs are valuable:

Access the Tor Network

Firstly, you’ll need a VPN if you live in a country that blocks the Tor browser so that you can download it in the first place. In some authoritarian countries, for example, China, you can’t download or use the Tor browser

Plus, seeing that the Great Firewall of China is very robust, the only way to get around it is by using a very capable and reliable VPN service. When you connect to a VPN server, you can reroute your Internet traffic to a country where Tor isn’t banned and download this dark web browser without any issues.

Keep Your Data Secure and Private

The second major reason you need a VPN for the dark web is to keep your data private and block anyone from seeing that you’re using the Tor browser. While your ISP won’t be able to see what sites you visit, it will still be able to tell whenever you’re trying to access Tor.

A VPN protects your traffic and keeps you private when accessing the dark web. You can hide your Tor connection and stay private from any government agency or snooper trying to track your activities.

How to Pick the Best Dark Web VPN

When selecting the best dark web VPNs, you need to factor in aspects like server quality and quantity, connection speed, and others. But, more importantly, you need to focus on online security and privacy features.

Doing so will help you ensure you’re as anonymous as you can be online. With that in mind, we’ve picked our best VPNs based on a handful of such criteria. Here’s what to look for when picking a VPN for the dark web:

Data Logging Policy

Arguably the most important feature to look for is the VPN’s data logging policy. Ideally, the VPN should have a strict no-logs policy and be based in a privacy-friendly country. That way, you don’t have to worry about your data falling into the government’s hands or getting stolen by any malicious third party.

Encryption Standard

The VPN should offer strong encryption, preferably military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. This is the standard for the best VPNs, and you shouldn’t pick a VPN offering anything less than that.

Data Protection Features 

Apart from strong encryption, the VPN for the deep web should also have some data protection mechanisms. The two most common ones you’ll find in nearly every top VPN are DNS and IP leak protection.

VPN Server Network

A strong server network is one of the essential aspects every VPN should provide. The server network should cover most regions worldwide to enable you to conveniently access the dark web no matter your location. It should also deliver above-average connection speed. Using Tor will naturally slow down your normal connection speed. So, the VPN shouldn’t exacerbate this issue any further.

Payment Options 

To stay as anonymous as you possibly can, you should look for payment methods you can use without sharing any personally identifiable information. For instance, acceptance of cryptocurrencies is a great feature all VPNs for the deep web should have.

Using a Free VPN for Dark Web

We generally advise our readers to avoid using free VPN services. In this case, using a free VPN service can be particularly dangerous, as the last thing you want while browsing the dark web is for your privacy to get exposed. Free VPNs tend to be less secure as they don’t have the advanced privacy and network protection features you can find in premium services.

Moreover, these services don’t rely on subscription income to improve their services. This means that most free VPNs can’t offer as many servers or the overall connection speed you can count on with premium VPNs. Not only this, but many free VPN providers don’t have your best interests in mind, and many even sell your data to third parties.

That said, there are some free VPNs that you can use to access the dark web that are reputable and trustworthy. Primarily, AtlasVPN stands out as our top pick for the best free dark web VPN. This free VPN service comes with many great privacy and security features and isn’t very limiting for a free service. 

The only aspect you’ll be limited in with AtlasVPN’s free feature is the number of servers, as the free plan only offers three VPN server options. If you find this inconvenient, you can easily upgrade to a premium AtlasVPN plan for just a few bucks per month.

Dark Web VPN FAQs

What is the difference between the dark web and the deep web?

The dark web is a term we use when talking about the part of the Internet that you can access through the Tor browser. Sites on the dark web use a .onion domain. On the other hand, the term deep web refers to everything on the Internet that isn’t indexed by mainstream search engines, including dark web content.

Can you be tracked on the darknet?

It’s generally not possible for anyone to track your activities through the Tor browser. That said, your Internet Service Provider can see that you’re accessing the darknet if you don’t use a VPN service. For this reason, it’s best to use a VPN to add an additional privacy layer when accessing the darknet.

Is it legal to use Dark Web VPNs?

Yes, it’s legal to use a dark web VPN service. This is not to say that everything you do while using a VPN on the dark web is necessarily legal. While many websites on the dark web are perfectly legal and legitimate, some dark web marketplaces are used for exchanging illegal goods and services.

What is the best VPN for the Dark Web?

The best VPN service for the dark web in 2023 is NordVPN. It offers a massive network of fast and encrypted servers, along with great privacy protection features. NordVPN doesn’t keep any logs and is based in Panama. It also comes with various advanced tools and features, including Onion over VPN support.

Does a VPN protect you on the Dark Web?

Yes, a VPN keeps you safe and private when browsing the dark web. Equally as important, the best dark web VPNs also keep you private from your ISP and anyone trying to snoop on you. 

What are the best VPN alternatives for accessing Dark Web?

There aren’t any solid alternatives for VPNs when accessing the dark web. While you can rely on Tor to provide you with a good dose of anonymity on the dark web, a VPN with strong privacy features is an irreplaceable tool for accessing the dark web.

Is it better to use VPN over Tor or Tor over VPN?

We advise you to use the VPN over Tor option, as it’s the more secure way of browsing the dark web. When you use a VPN over Tor, you’re first connecting through the VPN’s tunnels and then opening Tor and browsing through it.

Oppositely, when you use Tor over VPN, your traffic is first sent through the Tor network and then through your VPN server. Tor over VPN is not the preferred option as your ISP, and anyone watching will be able to see that you’re using the Tor browser.

Can I use the Tor browser for free?

Yes, you can use the Tor Browser to access the dark web entirely for free. While you can donate to its developers, the browser itself is open-source. All you need to do is download the browser and you can access the dark web right away.

Best Dark Web VPNs – Conclusion

Hopefully, this detailed guide has helped you better understand the intricacies of the dark web and why you need a VPN when accessing it. A VPN is an essential tool to have by your side if you’re aiming for maximum privacy. Keeping your data private is key when browsing the dark web or using deep web search engines.

The seven dark web best VPNs we’ve discussed above are more than capable of keeping you safe when using Tor. Still, if you won’t settle for anything less than the best VPN for the deep web, we recommend NordVPN. Although all seven VPN services on our list provide great protection, NordVPN stands out as the most capable and overall best dark web VPN.

These articles could be helpful too
Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *