People often go on and on about the dark web.

A secret place of scandal and horror.

But what is it really like?

Redditor AceofSpadesYT wanted to hear about the secrets and the salacious tales from the dark side of the internet. They asked:

"People who have accessed the dark web, what was it like?"

I've never visited the dark web, nor do I know how to find it. Thankfully. But tell me some stories.

The Regular

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"Mostly just like the regular web but with illegal stuff. Drugs, weapons, passports or Kreditcard, apparent hitman service (not sure if that was real though). It is super slow though and the link collections you find for the Tor browser are mostly dead."


Layers Lag



"Just like VPN slows down your connection a bit like 5-10% slow if it's a good VPN with it's company spending lots of money on running thousands of servers. Dark web required multiple layers of encryption and proxies just like a using 3 VPNs on top of each other so that alone makes it much slower, moreover the proxies servers are cheap low budget ones run by volunteers (and some by intelligence agencies)."


Ah... simpler times indeed

"I've seen scarier stuff in the untamed age of the internet than I did when going through it."


"We lived in simpler times back then, I loved growing up on the internet. Back when most people didn't even know what social media was, AOL chat rooms, MSN and Yahoo chat rooms."


Not a Browse

"'What it's like.' is just websites. What you find depends on what you look for. There's a bunch of piracy sites, a lot of counter-culture blogs, sites on hacking (not just blackhat stuff, but a lot of whitehat stuff too)."

"You will also find a lot of sites in other languages too, especially ones you don't normally see, as a lot of darkweb stuff is used to circumvent censorship (the most famous Darkweb network, TOR, was developed by the US Naval Research Lab), and most major news orgs will have some sort of presence there, just as a way to get tips they can't get otherwise."

"A lot of what people assume is there, isn't as common as you might think, and a lot of what is there of that, are government-run honeypots. It's not generally a 'browse' thing, you tend to go to the darkweb with a specific topic in mind, and go to that."


Watching You

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"I think of the darkweb as a honeytrap. Drugs, guns, antisocial groups. There's no way a place with that potential isn't being monitored."


Sounds pretty run of the mill so far. With a few naughties here and there.

Bad Clicks

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"Turns out the accessing the deep Web doesn't do you any good if you don't have any idea where to go. Like I know of websites that are supposed to be on the dark web but I don't want to go to them. That seems like a short road to a long prison sentence."


Window Shopping

"A lot of freaking searching for correct url’s. Idk, I was just window shopping, if you’re not there to shop, and been around for a while, it’s not that interesting."


"This is the best way to describe the deep web imo. I tried using it once out of stupid impulsive curiosity, and it was just rather boring, slow, and overall rather tedious to use. A lot of the websites are poorly designed and dated, and that's if they work at all. Not worth it if you have no business being there and don't know what you're doing."



"Oddly boring. I disconnected and covered up my webcam. Because all of those stories I heard, people accessed your webcam. The first thing I noticed was that it was as slow as hell. Can you imagine running a livestream on this thing? The next thing I found was surprisingly weird."

"It was selling fake magazine paper or fake newspaper paper to print forged coupons on. Not a single person opened a chat window saying 'I SEE YOU! You are x in y!' No red rooms, and any videos of creepy things would probably take days to load. No links to those either. I did find fake accounts to access scientific journals though."



"Awkward and slow to use. It's hard to find what you are looking for, even harder to find a reliable source. The only currencies used are crypto currencies and anonymity is taken extremely seriously. PGP encryption is widely used for direct messaging."

"You have access to a reliable site it is just the same as using a website url and clearnet only slower and the interface is much older looking. I won't get into any details on how its accessed for very obvious reasons but the process of purchasing is normally just found a listing on one of the market websites (think eBay only much shadier), make sure the seller is reliable by checking reviews etc and then place an order."

"You message them directly using PGP (encrypted messages only they can decrypt) with your address and pay them using some crypto. After a few days a package shows up with whatever you brought in it. Usually disguised as something else. For example what I bought came disguised as a sim card!! It's all quite similar to the clearnet just with more security steps added in and a bit more risk!"



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"I haven't, but a guy I watch on YouTube used to do a weekly video series where he would look at stuff on the deep/dark web."

"Obviously for video purposes he was showing stuff that was YouTube friendly, but he frequently talked about how the dark web is pretty boring, and 99% of the stuff on it would be perfectly fine on the normal web. Yes, illegal content does exist, but it's actually pretty rare in the grand scheme of things."



"Boring. There was a page with a bunch of links to illicit things that were probably just the FBI or some other glowie organization."


"I agree. The creepy illegal websites Are either honeypots or scams. Dread is a reddit for the dark web but that's it. There aren't effective search engines but you can find postings of the onion addresses of websites but half the time they don't work."


American prices...

"Drugs mostly. Insanely cheap prices as well. I could get 20g of molly for like 4g's worth here. Boy that cra[pwas risky. Glad I don't do that anymore mostly."


"Where was that? All the drugs I ever saw were substantially above street prices. Like people were buying crap at normal street prices then trying to make a profit by selling on tor. At least American prices. Are you in Australia? I hear stuff is crazy expensive down there."


"Word of mouth. If you don't know people. You're just going to end up nowhere. Website urls are more like passwords... And you won't find them listed anywhere. Then there is the surface shit that's crawling with law enforcement and honey pots."


"TOR has a bunch of search engines at least. If you fool around a bit you can find sites that work. ZeroNet has a bunch of indexes, so finding sites is a lot easier. But once your curiosity is satisfied, there isn't really anything there to keep you interested."


Who Knows

"Ten years or so back, it was crawling with under-age porn. The Dark Wiki at that point had links to several sites. And people would post links to others in comment threads. Then Anonymous (or someone claiming to be Anonymous) took an interest and hijacked a lot of the sites and shut them down. I'm assuming that there is still a lot of that traffic but it isn't easy to find. There must be some, as I keep hearing about arrests. I haven't looked around for a year or two, so I don't know what it is like now."




"Dark markets for drugs are the equivalent of a black market eBay. The sellers have ratings and everything."


That's Depressing

"I was always curious what was on the dark web, I've heard some stories, but when I went on I had no idea what I was looking for so I just went to my usual sites like ESPN and shit, lol."


"It's literally just unlisted websites you can't google. Conceptually it's really not that exciting. Media just likes to hype it up."


Guns. Guns. Ammo

"I didn't do it directly. My friend showed me. He used to use it to get drugs for self use or to sell to close friends. Nothing hard, but like mdma, acid, dmt, coke. Anyway, it was about 8-9 years ago and all I really remember is pages and pages of guns and drugs for sale like it was eBay or something."

"It was honestly pretty crazy just seeing lists for any drug you can think of or damn near any gun like I was scrolling through any typical online shop. He showed me other weird stuff, but nothing too insane to be remembered. I do remember seeing some hitman ads though."


Let's Chat

"Not as terrible as games and media made me think of it. It isn't riddled by hackers and murderers. Although one time my antivirus blocked a trojan and I didn't download anything so not sure what that was about. There was a website to chat with random people on the dark web and I found someone exactly like me who was just curious about it."


Well that is underwhelming but comforting. Maybe there is more good in the world than sleaze.

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