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Onion domain

Onion domain

Onion domain definition

An .onion domain is the address of a website that can only be accessed through the Tor anonymity browser. Regular browsers won’t be able to navigate the relay of proxy servers that will take users to this type of website.

What is Tor?

Tor (The Onion Router) is an open-source network dedicated to anonymous browsing. It uses a system of layered nodes (hence the “onion” in its name) to hide users’ IP addresses, traffic, and online activity.

Onion domain advantages

  • Increased anonymity. Both the domain creator and its visitors can hide their identities almost entirely, which is difficult to do with popular domains.
  • Security. An .onion domain guarantees end-to-end encryption.
  • Control your privacy. No need to register with ICANN or expose your server’s IP address if you don’t want to.
  • Price. Getting an .onion domain is completely free.

Onion domain disadvantages

  • This type of website can only be accessed with the Tor browser — so don’t expect heavy traffic.
  • You won’t be able to choose your domain name — a random string of 16 random letters and numbers will be generated for you.
  • The random name makes it easier for hackers to create similar domains and potentially trick your visitors.
  • Creating an .onion domain is not easy for novice users — you have to create and configure your own web server.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security