The dark web is a place for people to access information and services that may be illegal, requires extreme privacy, or needs protection from being taken down. No matter what your goals are by accessing the dark web, you need a way to find sites to gain access to the information, services, and products you want.
The Hidden Wiki is one of the options available to you when looking for dark web sites; it’s an alternative to dark web directories, dark web dark engines, asking friends, or trusting strangers on Reddit.
What Is The Hidden Wiki?
The Hidden Wiki is one of the oldest sites on the dark web, it’s gone through a number of iterations, and there are many pretenders doing similar things, as well as sites that mirror The Hidden Wiki or perform a similar service.
Instead of having a singular owner and maintainer, The Hidden Wiki and similar sites work like Wikipedia by allowing registered users to add, update, and maintain information on dark web links.
While it doesn’t guarantee anything once you’ve been passed along to the external URL, it does ensure that you have a central location for many of the major dark web links.
If there are problems or anything that you should know about the link, the information is available and updated by a large collection of anonymous users, and you’ll be able to see the last time the page or link was updated.
Is The Hidden Wiki Real?
The site has been around since as early as 2007; it’s moved to host providers, changed links, and may or may not still be run by the originator of the site.
You’ll also find that there are a number of sites that mirror The Hidden Wiki or that are alternatives to the site that run in a similar Wiki format rather than running as dark web directories.
How Many Hidden Wiki Sites Are There?
There are a large number of sites that mirror and filter the primary Hidden Wiki site or simply alternative versions with slightly different goals for their operation.
Constant downtime or access issues are a significant problem for many dark web sites, so mirrors are a good way to keep access to the information available at all times.
A standard filter that many sites implement which isn’t done on the primary site is filtering out anything to do with child pornography or other filters depending on the mirror sites owner’s preferences.
The less illegal or troublesome information provided on each mirror allows it to operate for longer and have fewer issues.
Is It Illegal To Access The Hidden Wiki?
It’s not illegal to access The Hidden Wiki from most locations; however, it’s important to remember that it only provides information and links out to other sites that may offer illegal products and services that are up to you to decide what to do with.
The dark web is well-known for providing illegal products and services, and while there is other information or a genuine interest in privacy, that will not be the norm.
It’s also advisable to access any dark web sites as securely as possible, using at a minimum a VPN service, which could be enabled prior to any dark web activity so that your ISP doesn’t know and can’t track what you’re doing.
Is Everything On The Hidden Wiki Safe?
There is absolutely no guarantee that information you find or URLs you access through The Hidden Wiki are safe.
Issues you could face are scams, law enforcement trying to trap you, fake products being delivered, or even tainted products that are physically unsafe.
That being said, safety issues are not the sole problem of The Hidden Wiki; any dark web site could have these issues, just as any unknown or anonymous site on the regular web could also be a scam or otherwise unsafe.
Is The Hidden Wiki Trustworthy?
The Hidden Wiki is a well-known site that provides a huge range of dark web sites; it has community access, meaning that you can add or update information on the site. However, there are a group of primary admins who monitor and may update information as needed.
The only thing to note is that users can mark sites as safe, dead, active, or anything they see fit, and the information won’t be modified until somebody disagrees with the update or feels the information is false.
The benefit with this is that trustworthy person when they find scams, will update the site, or if the primary admins feel the information is unsafe, they will remove or modify it. However, there is no guarantee that untrustworthy information or sites aren’t added to the wiki, so you still need to be careful where you go and what you do.
What is helpful is knowing that the links can be reviewed, and the more updates or variable information available, the higher chance of trustworthiness you can expect from the page.
Advantage Of Using The Hidden Wiki
There are a range of advantages to using The Hidden Wiki over other methods. One of the primary advantages is that it’s is a well-known site that has been running for many years with active updates constantly happening and more and more users connecting to it to drive the community-updated information and links about dark web sites.
With a popular site like The Hidden Wiki, the information is more likely to be updated and accurate. So when you’re looking for the best sites on the dark web, you will likely find a good starting point on the site.
Many dark web directories will offer a smaller selection of sites that are maintained by a single person or small group of people, so you may run into outdated information or simply won’t find what you’re looking for.
Anything you add, update, or maintain will be anonymous. If your goal is to spread information about dark web sites, then instead of running your own dark web directory, you can keep The Hidden Wiki updated without the risks of running your own site.
If you’re trying to stay safe or updated on information and want to share, then it’s a fantastic site where you can provide information to other users, who will, in turn, provide information to you on dark web links.
Anonymous accounts on a central site mean that you can contribute, which enhances the site and your own experience on the dark web.
Dark web directories and even search engines are known to filter and censor the information provided on them. The Hidden Wiki is a site that allows anything to be added, and nothing will be removed.
It’s truly a zero censorship site which is what many people are looking for on the dark web, an ability to find anything and everything that they want, regardless of what it is.
Instead of removing or filtering out information, if there are broken links, scam sites, or other information that should be shared, then it’s available for everyone to find.
While there have been hacks or filtering to remove information on child pornography on other sites, that doesn’t remove the actual problem; it just removes the ability for law enforcement or others to find the actual sites that need to be shut down.
Constant And Frequent Updates
A huge advantage of The Hidden Wiki over directories is that it has constant updates happening, whether that’s to add new sites, indicate a site is a scam, or even indicate a site has been taken down.
You have a group of primary admins that are looking after the site, but the large number of users that find and add new information daily grows constantly, and it means that you don’t need to go hunting all over the regular Internet looking for the sites you want.
It’s also helpful to have constant updates to know that a site has been taken down by law enforcement or has simply disappeared and no longer operates. Then, instead of waiting, you can move on to the next best option.
Instead of having centralized hosting like many other websites, The Hidden Wiki uses decentralized hosting through services like ZeroNet, which operates with similar cryptography to Bitcoin and distributed files like BitTorrent.
So it becomes incredibly challenging to take down the site down or for there to be logs that indicate you have been using the site because. It becomes an excellent resource that will be unlikely to disappear in the near future, unlike many dark web directories.
The other benefit of decentralized hosting is that if the site does go down or you get errors, you can retry to be connected to something that is up right now.
It’s still extremely advisable to be using a VPN service while accessing dark web sites, as while your website viewing can’t be seen, your use of TOR will be seen by your ISP.
Categorized Onion Links
Not only are The Hidden Wiki links constantly being updated, but they are categorized into different sections. So depending on why you’re visiting the site, you’ll be able to search for specific terms, or you can find the category that you want and view all possible websites.
The advantages are that you won’t need to search through sites that you don’t want to see, and you have access to see every single site with no requirement to pick the right search terms.
The disadvantage which the wiki will need to handle is that as the dark web grows, it becomes more challenging to stay up to date on which sites are active until somebody adds or modifies a listing.
By default, the TOR browser won’t store cookies, but they can still be used and potentially found at a later date if somebody were to be searching your computer. So if you have extreme privacy concerns, a site like The Hidden Wiki does not use or attempt to store any kind of cookie or cache information.
You’re much safer if you’re visiting sites that contain illegal information to not have anything stored that can be found later, so it’s an added benefit in addition to your other security measures, such as a VPN service.
While some may dislike that The Hidden Wiki keeps historical information where sites are no longer available, it provides a valuable service so that you can track sites and see whether they went down, were taken down, or if there were other issues.
If sites come back and are linked to their original wiki page, then you can have a full understanding of the site and better know whether it should be trusted or avoided.
Some of the products and services used on the dark web should remain private and anonymous, but there are always people looking to gather information, cause problems, or arrest people doing illegal things, so being careful and having full knowledge is extremely beneficial.
Hidden Wiki Alternatives
Unlike some dark web “search engines” or directories, the information or links have a better chance of being trustworthy on The Hidden Wiki thanks to the community-driven approach of the site.
If other directories have preferences, want to filter out information, are paid to add or remove sites, or have even been taken over by law enforcement, then you have no way of knowing what is being tracked and who you’re dealing with.
A large majority of dark web search engines will utilize the links on The Hidden Wiki and other wiki sites to start their seeding, as well as recrawl for further links as time goes on.
Some of the search engines that simply link dark sites include:
Haystak indicates that it indexed over 1.5 billion sites, but the big problem that most people will face is that many dark web sites are constantly changing address, disappearing, and of course, new sites popping up to replace old ones.
So 1.5 billion indexes sites doesn’t mean quality or that the sites work, you could end up searching and having pages of invalid or broken links, which could be frustrating, and no real way to indicate the sites should be removed.
Haystak has a major feature that some people may want but others don’t; it will filter out what it calls “dangerous websites”. Unfortunately, this indicates you will never get a full listing of the dark web, though that may be acceptable to you depending on what those dangerous sites are.
Haystak also offers a paid version, so you may ultimately need to pay to get the best results and features from the site, which is not what people want or are used to.
Torch, or as it was formally known, TorSearch, is one of the oldest dark web search engines, it indexes over 1 billion pages on the dark web, and it does not track your usage of it.
One of the big benefits is that there is no filtering or censorship with this search engine. Many other search engines will filter out information they believe to be bad (rather than unsafe), which defeats part of the purpose of the dark web in the first place.
DuckDuckGo is a popular privacy search engine on the regular web, as it doesn’t track anybody’s usage of it. It’s also the default search engine for the TOR browser that you need to use when accessing the dark web.
Recon works a little differently from your typical search engine, as its goal is to index marketplaces and show you the products listed from all the different ones, which makes it easier to compare prices and other features of products without having to go to each marketplace.
Because it’s providing a niche search function, you can’t use recon for all of your dark web searching requirements, which makes it an incomplete list no matter how many sites it crawls.
One of the good and bad features of Ahmia is that you can access it from the regular web, which means searching for dark web information can be done without connecting with TOR, though ultimately, to access the sites, you do need to connect to TOR.
The downside to this is that everything is being tracked that you search from the regular web, which can be a problem if you start searching for the wrong thing or if one day somebody checks your history or cache to see what you’ve been up to.
The site is absolutely tracking things as it provides stats on searches and other information about general usage. It also allows you to add your own links to its searchable results, though if it’s tracking that information, it’s not advisable to do it.
It also follows robots.txt information, which means that people can stay hidden, and it won’t index truly hidden sites, so you’re missing out on a big chunk of information if relying on Ahmia.
notEvil is a fairly basic search engine that allows you to search for URLs or titles of pages, which is not especially helpful if the titles are poorly done, or the URLs are random.
There isn’t a huge amount of information about this search engine, but the search features are already less than what you can get from The Hidden Wiki.
Candle is a newcomer to the dark web search engine, and it prides itself on simplicity and has attempted to model itself after google.
It reports to have a huge number of indexed sites that grows daily, so it could be a good option when looking for newer sites or smaller sites.
Kilos has a slightly different approach to searching; instead of searching for information, you are searching for specific people to do tasks or provide services. So it’s more of a direct seller/buyer search engine.
If you’re only looking to get information or browse around, then Kilos is not the option for you. Unlike wiki sites that provide everything and all can be searched no matter what you want or your goal is.
What Can Be Found On The Hidden Wiki?
Absolutely anything that you may want from the dark web can be found on The Hidden Wiki. The site has a no filtering methodology, which means that once a site has been submitted, it’s available, and the list of sites is constantly growing and being updated.
- Money laundering
- Contract killing
- Cyber-attacks for hire
- Contraband chemicals
- Illegal drugs
- Fake college degrees
- Credit cards
- Fake passports
There really is no limitation on what you can find on The Hidden Wiki, anything that may be on the illegal side or could be taken down from regular hosting sites will find its way to the dark web, and ultimately you’ll find it.
Should You Use The Hidden Wiki Or Dark Web Directories?
Dark web directories are basically wiki sites run by a single or group of people, unlike The Hidden Wiki, which has a management team but is heavily updated and added to by the community of people who have been using it for many years.
Until a serious search engine that can mimic the likes of Google enters the dark web, it’ll be challenging for dark web directories or dark web search engines to stay updated on the constantly changing dark web landscape.
One of the biggest benefits of The Hidden Wiki and similar wiki sites is that anybody can make updates and notes on the sites listed. However, nobody should ever delete the sites, so you have a complete record of what has happened and where things have been moved.
What would be helpful to see with the wiki sites is to include some type of crawling bot to determine if any sites are defunct and wiki pages need updating.