Where Are Dark Websites Hosted?

Dark web markets are probably more popular than you realize, and have contributed to the popularity of financial innovations like cryptocurrencies. As you may know, the dark web is an interesting and complex environment where you can find and obtain a number of goods and services not found elsewhere, often for legal reasons. Since some of the items on dark web markets are not legal in some countries, the question is how and where can they be hosted?

The Role of Hosting Providers

Hosting providers play a crucial role in determining the location of dark websites. While some hosting providers may be based in countries where dark web activities are legal, others may be located in countries where they are not. Additionally, some hosting providers may have strict policies against hosting dark websites and may actively monitor and take down such sites. Therefore, the choice of hosting provider can have a significant impact on the location and accessibility of a dark website.

The Rise of Decentralized Hosting

With increasing concerns around internet censorship and surveillance, there has been a rise in decentralized hosting solutions for dark websites. These solutions, such as the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), allow websites to be hosted across a distributed network of computers rather than in a centralized location. This makes it much more difficult for authorities to shut down or block dark websites, as they are not hosted in a single location. As decentralized hosting solutions continue to gain popularity, it is likely that more dark websites will be hosted in this way.

Are Websites on the Dark Web Illegal?

A common misconception is that just because you can find illegal things on the dark web — all pages that exist there are also illegal. However, a dark website is just as legal as any website on the public internet. There’s nothing inherently wrong with hosting a site on the dark net…in fact many popular sites also have versions on the dark web.

Of course, if you build a website with the intent of engaging in illegal activity — that’s still illegal. So, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how and where you can host them.

Hosting a Dark Website

Because a dark website is technically the same thing as a public domain one, you can host it from anywhere. However, some major hosting providers (such as Bluehost) are not the best place to park your domain, as they’re not able to handle DDoS attacks properly.

Luckily, you can host them by yourself, from your home, or via a server in a data center. By becoming your own hosting provider, you’ll be in full control of your website and its security. All you’ll need from a provider is a domain name, or you can let people connect your local IP address. You can also use Apache2 and Nginx with PHP and MySQL modules to host websites from your computer.

However, because home internet connections don’t provide sufficient bandwidth, and DDoS attacks are a common occurrence —  they aren’t all that popular. You need a bit more than a hobbyist’s level of understanding and dedication to host a site with consistent traffic. Alternatively, you could request a .onion domain so anyone browsing through dark web markets can use your website. You will have to use the TOR browser to do it, and it will automatically generate a .onion domain that fits your key, and that’s all the work you’ll have to do.

Can Your Government Take Your Website Down?

Even if you host a website with illegal content, there’s often not much your government can do to stop you. Moreover, they’re rarely able to trace the owner of the website in question and prove a connection. Because dark websites are shrouded behind multiple geo-diverse locations — their hosts are virtually untouchable. That’s the attraction of the darkweb…true freedom of speech.

Final Thoughts

As you can tell, hosting a dark website isn’t all that complicated, and almost anyone can do it. Also, as long as you’re not doing something that violates the laws in your country — you’ll be in the clear.