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5 Best Dark Web VPNs in 2022

The dark web, or darknet, has something of a bad reputation. It's often presented as being used almost exclusively for illegal activities, that it's something illicit that needs to be kept away from reputable search engines. Despite this, it isn't the platform that's inherently bad, but simply how people choose to use it.

Accessing the dark web requires special anonymous browsers, like Tor, I2P, and Freenet, but it is critically important to make sure you safeguard your privacy when doing so given that there are plenty of folks out there who DO use the dark web for illegal activities - which is why we also recommend using a virtual private network.

In this article we list the best VPNs for keeping your identity and data secure and private while you surf the dark web.

What are the best VPNs for the Dark Web?

Here is a quick rundown of our recommendations for the best dark web VPNs. If you want more detailed information about each provider, keep scrolling.

  1. PrivateVPN - The best VPN for the dark web. It boasts fast connections and apps for all platforms. Users get a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. ProtonVPN - The fastest VPN for the dark web that includes an impressive free tier and up to a 30-day money-back guarantee for its users.
  3. NordVPN - The best all-round VPN choice for the dark web. It boasts rock-solid security and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Try it out for yourself!
  4. Mullvad - The most private VPN for accessing the dark web, with multi-hop servers, a no-logs policy and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  5. AirVPN - The most advanced VPN for browsing the dark web. It offers 5 simultaneous connections, fast servers and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

5 Best Dark Web VPNs- In-depth Analysis

Below is a list of our experts' top picks for the best dark web VPNs available today. If you'd like to know more about any service in particular listed below, click through to the provider's website or take a look at our informative VPN reviews.

PrivateVPN is the best VPN for accessing the dark web. It has a kill-switch, stealth servers and more, all backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 36 months: $2/mth
      84% OFF
    • 3 months: $6/mth
      50% OFF
    • 1 month: $9.99/mth
      17% OFF
  • Pros

    • Strong OpenVPN encryption
    • Zero logs
    • 24/7 customer support
    • Good server speeds
    • Supports six simultaneous connections
  • Cons

    • Fewer servers than some competitors
    • Based in a 14-Eyes country
    • Kill-switch is Windows only
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

PrivateVPN Demo

PrivateVPN Demo PrivateVPN Demo


PrivateVPN is an established VPN from Sweden. It offers a secure service with a bespoke client that can be used on up to six devices simultaneously. It is a no-logs VPN service that has servers in over 50 countries around the world. And, it provides a kill switch, obfuscation (stealth) and VPN over Tor (setup manually using a guide on its website by connecting with the third party OpenVPN software). 


The simple and easy-to-use client offers plenty of customization, giving users full control over the security of their VPN. And it just pips ProtonVPN for first because of its super fast speeds – which makes it better for streaming and other data data-intensive tasks. You can try the service out yourself, risk free, thanks to a 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee. PrivateVPN is an incredible VPN that is perfect for Tor and the dark web. 

ProtonVPN is the fastest VPN for accessing the dark web. A kill-switch and DNS leak protection make browsing secure, and the service comes backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months: $3.29/mth
      35% OFF
    • 12 months: $4/mth
      19% OFF
    • 1 month: $5/mth
    • Free trial: $0/mth
  • Pros

    • Supports the Tor browser
    • No-logs policy
    • No IP leaks detected in testing
    • Supports multi-hop connections
  • Cons

    • Limited P2P support
    • No live chat support
    • Limited presence in Asia
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Proton Demo

Proton Demo Proton Demo


ProtonVPN (from the people behind secure email service, ProtonMail) is a speedy and secure VPN provider based out of Switzerland, home to some of the world’s most stringent privacy protections and safely out of the jurisdiction of the "Fourteen Eyes" network. ProtonVPN supports Tor integration, keeps no logs, and offers excellent encryption standards to secure your connections. Additional security features include DNS leak protection and the all-important kill switch.


As well as software security and safeguards, to further bolster the security of ProtonVPN’s network, the company houses its Secure Core servers in a Swiss military fallout shelter located a full kilometer underground. ProtonVPN also houses servers in a former Icelandic military facility and deep in a Swedish subterranean data center. You can also sign up anonymously if you have a ProtonMail email address. The ProtonVPN client works flawlessly across all major operating systems and allows you to connect up to 10 devices simultaneously.


ProtonVPN does have a 30 day money-back guarantee, but unlike other providers on this list, they will only refund the amount of the unused period within 30 days. This means that you can never get a full refund unless you sign up, and then immediately cancel the service. Just something to bear in mind before you take the plunge with ProtonVPN.

NordVPN is the best all-rounder VPN for accessing the dark web. Bursting with privacy features including a kill-switch. Try it out risk free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 3 months FREE: $3.69/mth
      70% OFF
    • 12 months: $4.99/mth
      59% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Extra security with double-VPN connection
    • Fast servers
    • Supports Onion over VPN
    • Supports anonymous payment through cryptocurrency
  • Cons

    • OpenVPN config could be more user-friendly
    • Not the fastest for Asian regions
    • No Linux GUI
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

Nord Demo

Nord Demo Nord Demo


NordVPN is a superb all-round VPN service that happens to also be a top choice for dark web users. In addition to being incredibly simple to use, NordVPN offers airtight security features including AES 256-bit encryption, automatic kill switch, and CyberSec technology that blocks potentially harmful websites that could host malware. Those security features, coupled with world-class connection speeds, a strict no-logs policy, and Tor compatibility make NordVPN one of the best when it comes to surfing the dark web.


With NordVPN, you get access to thousands of servers spread out across 60 countries . You can also pay for your subscription anonymously using Bitcoin. NordVPN offers a great product that’s highly secure and supports a wide variety of operating systems and devices, all at a very reasonable price point. If you want to see if NordVPN is the right service for your dark web needs, you can try it for yourself risk-free thanks to a generous 30-day money-back guarantee.  

4. Mullvad

Mullvad is the most private VPN for browsing Tor and the dark web. It has up to date protocols, including WireGuard, and is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 1 month: $5.5/mth
    • 12 months: $5.6/mth
  • Pros

    • Supports OpenVPN and WireGuard
    • In-depth guide to get started with Tor
    • Supports multi-hop servers
    • Kill-switch functionality
  • Cons

    • Not a great choice for streaming
    • Some features need technical understanding - Split tunneling, etc
    • Doesn't work in China
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks


Mullvad is one of the best VPNs when it comes to protecting your privacy and anonymity, which is obviously a good thing if you’re keen to surf the dark web. You can sign up for an account without divulging a single iota of personal information, and the company encourages users to pay anonymously via cryptocurrency or even with cash through the mail (though if you do choose to pay with cash, you can't use the money-back guarantee)! Mullvad also offers low-cost monthly plans that don't require you to sign up for a long-term contract.


Mullvad has servers in 38 countries , keeps no logs and offers Tor integration on top of airtight security, robust encryption protocols, and blazing fast server speeds. The client software is exceptionally easy to use and is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. If you’re looking for a top-class VPN provider that’s really focused on security for your dark web needs, you really can’t go wrong with Mullvad. They even offer a 30-day money-back guarantee to you can check it out for yourself entirely risk free!

AirVPN is the best VPN for advanced users who want to access the dark web. It has a no-logs policy and more, all backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Pricing

    • 36 months: $3.23/mth
    • 12 months: $4.64/mth
    • 6 months: $5.75/mth
    • 3 months: $5.75/mth
    • 1 month: $8.05/mth
  • Pros

    • No logs
    • Strong encryption (including Perfect Forward Secrecy)
    • Port forwarding
    • Accepts Bitcoins (and other crypto-currency)
  • Cons

    • Not a huge number of server locations
    • No app for iOS users
    • Based in Italy
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Hulu
  • Website

T

AirVPN Demo

AirVPN Demo AirVPN Demo


AirVPN is an excellent, incredibly secure VPN provider based in Italy. AES 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection, Tor network integration, and a kill switch make AirVPN a solid choice for anyone who needs to access the dark web. On top of that, AirVPN collects no logs and accepts a wide array of cryptocurrencies for payment. Adding to the overall privacy of the platform, no personal information whatsoever, not even a real email address, is required to create an account.


The AirVPN client is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and routers. The only drawback for beginners is that AirVPN is made by "hacktivists", and is geared more towards the techie crowd. That’s not to say though that beginners won’t be able to get the hang of it, and use it properly, it’s just that it may not be as straightforward or simply “plug-and-play” right from the get-go for novices.


AirVPN does offer a free trial, but you need to reach out to the company directly to request it using the contact form on the site. It also offer a 30 day money-back guarantee if you're not happy with the service or you decide it's not quite the right fit for you.

Features a VPN needs for the dark web

How to access the dark web with a VPN and Tor together

Although browsing the dark web requires some vigilance and at least a basic understanding of the risks involved, protecting your privacy is simpler than you might think. You just need to:

  1. Download the Tor browser.
  2. Subscribe to a VPN (preferably using one of the providers listed in this article), log in, and make sure that the kill switch is enabled.
  3. Connect to a VPN server. Remember, servers that are closer to you will usually offer faster connections than those in other countries or continents.
  4. Launch the Tor browser.
  5. Browse the dark web. Connecting to the dark web this way will ensure that no one will be able to detect that you’re using Tor or accessing the dark web since your internet connection will be fully encrypted by your VPN.
  6. Make sure to always end your Tor session first, prior to disconnecting from the VPN server.

Check out our how to get on the dark web guide for more information about how to access it safely. If you want more information about using a VPN, check out our VPN over Onion guide.

What is the dark web?

The dark web can be an intimidating place. It has gained a not entirely deserved reputation in the mainstream media for being filled with underground marketplaces specializing in selling stolen personal data, hacked accounts, illicit drugs, weapons, and counterfeit goods. Some dark web marketplaces do, indeed, deal in things like child pornography, human trafficking, and alleged hitman services.

On the other hand, despite its shadowy reputation, the dark web can also be a legitimate and necessary venue for dissidents, whistleblowers, journalists, human rights investigators, or for anyone that simply wants to evade censorship or maintain optimum anonymity online.

Essentially, the dark web represents a small portion of the much larger deep web, a part of the internet that search engines like Google do not index. The dark web, on the other hand, is an intentionally hidden area of the deep web that can only be accessed by using software like Tor.

Tor routes your internet connection through specialized servers run by volunteers around the world, changing the IP address and re-encrypting your traffic each time it passes through a node, making it virtually impossible to trace your online activity back to you.

While using Tor is essential for accessing the dark web and remaining anonymous when doing so, using a VPN for the dark web can have added benefits for your overall privacy as a VPN can help conceal your Tor usage from your internet service provider or government entities.

For a more in-depth explanation, check out our complete guide to the dark web.

Deep web vs. dark web

Many people often confuse the terms "deep web” and "dark web” as being interchangeable. There is, however, an important distinction between the two.

The deep web refers to any part of the internet that is not indexed or searchable by the search engines you use on a daily basis. This includes, but is not limited to, any part of the internet that is password-protected, such as personal bank accounts, email accounts, medical records, private databases, Amazon accounts, Facebook accounts, and so on.

We couldn’t, for instance, search Google for access to Anne’s personal Netflix account or to check Larry’s PayPal account balance. That’s because sensitive personal information like this is secured on the deep web. In fact, it is likely that you access the deep web on a daily basis and just don't realize it.

The dark web, on the other hand, represents a minuscule fraction of the deep web that has been deliberately hidden from search engines and requires special anonymization software like Tor to access it. Anyone looking for the ability to bypass censorship, exercise free speech, or needing complete online anonymity for any other reason can achieve it on the dark web.

Basically, all the dark web is part of the deep web, but not all the deep web is part of the dark web.

Why using a dark web VPN is beneficial

There are several reasons why it can be beneficial, or even necessary, to use a VPN to access the dark web. For one, Tor is often blocked, or at least partially blocked in some countries, including places like China, Iran, Turkey, and Venezuela - areas of the world that aren’t exactly privacy-friendly to begin with. If you are located in such an area, you can use a VPN to route your connection through a different country to access Tor, and then out to the dark web. 

On top of that, by using a VPN, you are effectively hiding the fact that you are using Tor from any government authority who may be interested in taking a look at what you are up to online. And this is not just pertinent for users under the watch of authoritarian regimes like China; using Tor can reportedly even land you on the NSA’s watch list from the United States and elsewhere.

Using a dark web VPN will also hide your Tor connection from any other third party that may be monitoring your online activity, including your internet service provider (ISP). You’d do well to conceal the fact that you’re using Tor from your ISP because most, if not all, ISPs record, collect, and store your online activity. And in some corners of the globe, ISPs are notorious for selling the data they collect on you to advertisers and other interested third parties.

Conclusion

While Tor keeps you anonymous while accessing the dark web, using a VPN on top of that will add an extra, much-needed layer of privacy. For more information on the differences between them, check out our Tor Vs VPNs guide. In the meantime, here's a quick reminder of our top picks for dark web VPNs:

  1. PrivateVPN - The best VPN for the dark web. It boasts fast connections and apps for all platforms. Users get a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. ProtonVPN - The fastest VPN for the dark web that includes an impressive free tier and up to a 30-day money-back guarantee for its users.
  3. NordVPN - The best all-round VPN choice for the dark web. It boasts rock-solid security and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Try it out for yourself!
  4. Mullvad - The most private VPN for accessing the dark web, with multi-hop servers, a no-logs policy and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  5. AirVPN - The most advanced VPN for browsing the dark web. It offers 5 simultaneous connections, fast servers and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

FAQs

Below, you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the dark web in general and using a VPN to access the dark web.

Written by: Attila Tomaschek

Attila is a Hungarian-American currently living in Budapest. Being in the VPN game for over 5 years, along with his acute understanding of the digital privacy space enables him to share his expertise with ProPrivacy readers. Attila has been featured as a privacy expert in press outlets such as Security Week, Silicon Angle, Fox News, Reader’s Digest, The Washington Examiner, Techopedia, Disruptor Daily, DZone, and more. He has also contributed bylines for several online publications like SC Magazine UK, Legal Reader, ITProPortal, BetaNews, and Verdict.

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