The best way to securely access the dark web with NordVPN is over its Onion Over VPN servers.
Alternatively, you can download and install Tor, connecting to a NordVPN server before launching the browser (Tor Over VPN) for additional security.
That said, there are advantages and drawbacks to each method of accessing the dark web via NordVPN, which I discuss below.
So, continue reading to learn how best to access the dark web with NordVPN from anywhere without compromising your safety.
How to Setup NordVPN to Access the Dark Web?
There are two main options for accessing the dark web with NordVPN:
- Method 1: Using NordVPN’s Onion over VPN Feature
- Method 2: Using the Tor Browser to Access the Dark Web Over NordVPN
Let’s dive into the two options.
Method 1: Using NordVPN's Onion Over VPN Feature
NordVPN packs specialty Onion over VPN servers to access the dark web without downloading the Tor browser. Here’s how to set it up:
- Buy a NordVPN plan. (Get discount offers).
- Download the NordVPN app for your preferred device.
- Launch the app, and log in.
- Click the arrow pointing down to open the drop-down menu.
- You’ll see the “Specialty servers” category.
- Click “Onion over VPN” and wait until you’re successfully connected.
- Open any regular web browser and browse Onion websites/dark web sites.
Method 2: Using Tor Browser to Access the Dark Web Over NordVPN
This method is split into two ways of accessing the dark web: Tor over NordVPN and NordVPN over Tor. Let’s start with Tor over NordVPN.
Tor Over NordVPN
- Download and install the NordVPN app. Although NordVPN supports all the major operating systems, Tor only works on Mac, Android, Linux, and Windows. In this guide, I’ll use Windows.
- Launch the NordVPN app, log in via the browser prompt, and click “Open NordVPN.”
- Connect to your preferred server location. You can use the search function in the top left corner to look for your preferred server location. I recommend using closer servers for optimized performance.
- Download and install the Tor Browser. It’s free.
- Open the Tor Browser and access the dark web securely with NordVPN.
Reddit is a great source of dark net sites and other related information.
If you’re so inclined, try these subreddits:
Be careful, however…
Phishing websites, malware, and scams designed to trick unsuspecting users are very common on the dark web. Likewise, be cautious of URLs posted to the normal web as they’re usually malicious.
NordVPN Over Tor
In this method, the order of the two tools is reversed as you launch Tor before connecting to a NordVPN server.
Thus, your online traffic is routed over the Tor Network first, followed by the VPN.
This indicates that the VPN provider doesn’t see your actual IP address, and the VPN protects you from bad exit nodes.
The main disadvantage is that your ISP will know that you’re using Tor.
Is it secure and simple to use? No, it isn’t. After all, it ignores the most crucial reason for using Tor instead of a VPN: keeping your identity hidden from the person running the entry node.
Also, creating a tunnel through the Tor network and connecting to your VPN service is more difficult to set up. Thus, it’s no surprise that NordVPN doesn’t support this method, as it doesn’t increase your anonymity.
Here are the differences at a glance:
|Tor Over VPN||VPN Over Tor|
|Requests aren't protected at Tor's exit nodes.||Requests are protected at Tor's exit nodes.|
|Your ISP will see you're using a VPN but can't see you're using Tor.||Your ISP can see you're using a Tor but can't see that you're using a VPN.|
|Some sites might block you because of the Tor traffic.||You can access sites that block Tor.|
|Can access .onion sites.||Can't access .onion sites.|
|The Tor node host can't see your real IP address.||Tor node hosts can see your real IP address.|
The two setups have their pros and cons. But if you have a reliable VPN provider like NordVPN with a strong commitment to privacy and zero logs, TOR over VPN is the ideal configuration.
NordVPN's Best Safety Practices to Access the Dark Web
Using NordVPN with Tor will keep you safe on the Dark Web, but it’s wise to take extra steps to considerably reduce the odds of being targeted. Some of the things you can do include:
- Enable the Kill Switch: The NordVPN kill switch activates when your VPN connection breaks unexpectedly. In that case, your internet connection will be halted instantly, preventing your ISP or any other party from seeing your dark web traffic and activities.
- Use the Double VPN Servers: If you’re going with NordVPN over Tor, connect to its Double VPN servers to make it twice as hard for criminals to decipher your online traffic.
- Test for Leaks: After connecting to a NordVPN server, go to the DNS leak test website and check if your internet traffic is fully secure and private. If the VPN leak test displays DNS servers that don’t belong to your actual ISP, your traffic is secure.
- Enable Threat Protection: Threat Protection defends NordVPN users from online cyber threats, like malware and trackers. It scans your files before downloading them, identifies threats, and blocks them before they can compromise your device.
Why Use NordVPN to Access the Dark Web?
NordVPN is a versatile VPN with a global reach and top-notch security software features, making it ideal for accessing the dark web. But don’t take my word for it.
Here’s what it says:
- Robust Encryption: NordVPN encrypts your traffic with AES-256 cipher, also known as “military-grade encryption.” It’s one of the safest encryption methods I have come across.
- Specialty Servers: NordVPN also offers specialty servers designed for individual needs. For extra security, enable the Double VPN feature to redirect your internet traffic through two servers instead of one for double encryption, especially when using the NordVPN over Tor method.
- VPN Server Locations: NordVPN offers more than 5200 VPN servers in 59 countries. Depending on your needs, you can choose a VPN server in a specific location or connect to the fastest one and change your IP address in a snap.
- PwC Verified No-Logs Policy: It offers a zero-logs VPN service verified by PwC, ensuring it doesn’t store your online activities.
- Onion Over VPN: It gives you all the advantages of The Onion Router (Tor) combined with the extra security of a VPN tunnel without downloading the slow Tor browser.
- Located in Panama: NordVPN falls outside the surveillance alliances Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes. As a result, the government can never force NordVPN to surrender our data.
- Impressive Speeds: The proprietary NordLynx protocol ensures fast loading times, which is important because of all the nodes your traffic passes through, and Tor significantly limits bandwidth.
- Threat Protection: The feature ensures you don’t land on dangerous pages while the Onion Over VPN servers route your traffic through the Tor Network for extra encryption.
Wrapping It Up
As you can see, it’s pretty easy to access the dark web with NordVPN.
And with this super-specific step-by-step guide, accessing the dark web safely with NordVPN should be a walk in the park!
Ready to get started?
Peel back the onions with our one-time NordVPN discount.
The cherry on top is that you can use various cryptocurrencies to pay for the subscription, further enhancing your anonymity.