On the front page of Reddit today, there's a link to an article titled "FBI operated 23 Tor-hidden child porn sites, deployed malware from them".

My response comment was as follows:

My god.. People. Tor is a browser. You do not hide a website with Tor. You hide your activity as a visitor. There's no such things as a "Tor hidden website". And there is no magical secret place on the internet known as the "dark web" that you can only access with Tor - It's simply a group of websites that google and other search engines elect not to index in search results due to their illegal nature. You still simply type in the web address and get there from any browser. People just use Tor to get to them to hide their identity.

But I just want to double check and make sure I'm not wrong about this. I've never used Tor, but I have done a good deal of research on how it works.

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    Tor is not a browser but a network. And hidden services are only reachable through this network. Check out wikipedia about Tor hidden services: Servers configured to receive inbound connections only through Tor are called hidden services.. Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 20:23
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    Odd that your "good deal of research on how it works" didn't yield any information at all on how it actually works.
    – n8te
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 20:53
  • @n8te I knew Tor is a network, I was referring to the Tor Browser, but I did not know about the Tor Hidden Service Protocol.
    – Viziionary
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 21:09

1 Answer 1


You're right in some ways, but wrong on many key details.

Tor is not simply a browser:

Through Tor Browser is a product of the Tor Project, it is not itself Tor. Tor is the piece of software that runs the "The Onion Router" network of connected Tor nodes. Tor Browser utilizes the Tor software to rout network requests over the Tor network.

There actually is such a thing as a Tor Hidden Service Protocol:

They are basically servers that can only be accessed over Tor, and are given .onion domain names. You would not be able to "still simply type in the web address and get there from any browser" unless that site is also available outside of Tor.

Of course, you can use Tor for other things besides accessing Tor hidden services, like browsing the web, possibly with intent to hide your identity or bypass geolocation restrictions.


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