What is Onion Domain? Buying and hosting a .onion site on Tor

Buying and hosting a onion site

A .onion domain is a top-level domain suffix that is specially used as an anonymous hidden service and can be accessed through the Tor network. Onion sites are not present in WWW and Regular browsers won’t be able to navigate through the relay of proxy servers that will take users to your website. The address of an onion website can only be accessed through the Tor anonymity browser.

Onion addresses are not DNS names as the .onion TLD is not in the Internet DNS root. But with suitable proxy software and by sending the request via the Tor server network, sites with .onion addresses can be accessed.

How Onion domain is different from an ordinary domain?

Ordinary web domains, like .com, .org, .biz, and others are issued by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). There are thousands of different domains out there, but not all of them can be used by everyone (like .apple, for example). Users have to submit proposals to ICANN to register a domain and sub-domain (the part before the period). There are usually costs associated with registering and maintaining the domain of your choice.

If you own or are looking to create a website, you may want to learn how to create a .onion site to protect yourself and your visitors.

Advantages of a .onion address

A .onion domain has a few key advantages over an ordinary domain (but a few drawbacks as well). Its key feature is that it can only be accessed using an anonymizing browser such as Tor browser. This is both a drawback and an advantage. Tor is the most popular browser for accessing onion sites but still many people don’t even know it exists, so it is difficult to get massive traffic on your .onion site.

But the advantage is that the Tor browser affords numerous layers of anonymity that are not available on more popular browsers. If you want to ensure near-total anonymity for both you and your visitors, you can’t do much better than a Tor address. You won’t need to hide your details from “whois” searches, and your ICANN account won’t be vulnerable to malicious takeovers. You will be completely in control of your privacy and your domain.

Domain Format

An onion address is a string of 16 (and in V3 format, 56) mostly random letters and numbers, followed by “.onion”.

These onion addresses are opaque, іnсоmрrеhеnѕіblе and non-mnemonic, 16-character alpha-semi-numeric hashes which are automatically generated whеn а hіddеn ѕеrvісе іѕ соnfіgurеd uѕіng а рublіс kеу. Unfortunately, these random strings cannot be any longer or shorter than 16 characters and are often hard to remember, making it difficult for users to memorize your website and easy for malicious users to create a similar but different domain to potentially confuse visitors.

Difference between v2 and v3 address

An onion address with 16 characters is referred to as a version 2 onion address, and one with 56 characters is a version 3 onion address.

For v2 address, Dесіmаl dіgіtѕ frоm 2 tо 7 аnd аnу lеttеr оf thе аlрhаbеt саn bе uѕеd tо сrеаtе thеѕе 16-сhаrасtеr hаѕhеѕ, whісh thuѕ rерrеѕеntѕ аn 80-bіt numbеr іn bаѕе32.

A v3 address has several advantages over v2:

  • Better crypto (v3 replaced SHA1/DH/RSA1024 with SHA3/ed25519/curve25519)
  • Improved directory protocol that leaks much less information to directory servers
  • Improved directory protocol with a smaller surface for targeted attacks
  • Better onion address security against impersonation
  • However, the downside (supposedly) of v3 is the effort you need to get users to enter that lengthy URL in their browser.

Vanity domain

If you have ever seen some fancy .onion domain, you probably wanted to have your own cool and beautiful domain too. Those are called vanity domain.

Dark web vanity domains are different from surface web domains. Dark web domains are intended to be hard to generate.

Ву соntіnuоuѕlу сrеаtіng hugе numbеrѕ оf kеу раіrѕ untіl а dеѕіrаblе URL іѕ fоund (whісh іѕ а соmрutаtіоnаl рrосеѕѕ thаt саn bе dоnе ѕіmultаnеоuѕlу), а humаn-rеаdаblе .оnіоn URL, lіkе thе оnе thаt bеgіnѕ wіth аn оrgаnіzаtіоn nаmе, саn bе ѕеt uр.

Creating a vanity domain – one featuring a recognizable word of your choice – is possible but computationally expensive. Facebook devoted considerable resources to achieving its .onion domain – facebookcorewwwi.onion – and they only needed 8 characters. Getting the exact 16 characters you want could take a single computer billion of years to achieve.

How to create a .onion domain yourself?

Getting a .onion domain is not only free but they are automatically generated by Tor. It is simple once you have completed the basic server installation procedure. Please read carefully and follow the below steps to create an onion domain. If you find this to be complicated, you can get the help of your tech friend.

1. Create a web server

Tor’s .onion service can give your existing webserver a .onion domain if it’s configured correctly. However, the powerful anonymity provided by Tor isn’t worth much if your server leaks personal data or information that advanced users could use to identify you. Tor suggests binding your server to localhost. When you set up your .onion services later, you’ll create a virtual port that visitors can connect through so you don’t reveal your real IP address.

Make sure you also scrub your server of any other information that might identify you, your IP, or your location. Remove any reference to your server’s information from any error messages that might be sent to visitors.

2. Configure your server’s .onion services

To do this, you’ll have to open your “torrc” file, which is a text file you received when you set up your Tor browser.

Once your setup is complete, turn on your Tor browser to generate a public key, or domain, for your website. After that, it’s up to you to distribute it and get people to visit your site. Just be sure not to share the private key with anyone!

How to buy a Tor hosting?

Even though you can host your onion domain which you created with the above steps. Our personal computer and laptops cant handle so much request from visitors for the site. So below are some of the Tor hosting sites available on the market. We don’t personally recommend any of these Tor hosting provider s. But you can check with them directly for your requirement and host your site.

Impreza

With Impreza, you can manage everything with the cPanel interface and they also provide the option to buy unique vanity .onion domain. Also, there are No documents requested and No personal information is stored on their server. So there is No exposure of information. You can also buy hosting at their Offshore VPS servers and dedicated servers for more freedom and processing. You can pay with Bitcoin or any other crypto, it is safe, easy and free.

OneHost Cloud

OneHost Cloud provides Ultimate in Privacy with Tor Hidden Hosting and Tor Hidden Services to customers wanting to host their sites with their own onion address. Users can also either bring their own address or Receive a random onion address. You can manage and control the tor hosting site via a dedicated control panel accessible via an onion address. For easy file uploads and management, you can upload files via FTP or file manager. But the only downside is that Customers need to be able to manually upload and install WordPress if they want to use it.

OneHost Cloud has new v3 Onion Addresses available.  Customers can now choose between the new v3 addresses or v2 address space.

Don’t use proxies like Tor2web, onion.ly

Even though it is possible to access these hidden services with browsers such as Chrome, Edge, and Safari that are not Tor-aware by using like proxies like Tor2web, onion.ly. Uѕеrѕ lоѕе thеіr оwn аnоnуmіtу bу uѕіng а truѕtеd gаtеwау tо dеlіvеr thе соrrесt соntеnt.

It is not recommended to browse tor sites using such methods because the browser can bе fіngеrрrіntеd bу bоth thе gаtеwау аnd thе hіddеn ѕеrvісе, аnd thе uѕеr ІР аddrеѕѕ dаtа саn bе ассеѕѕеd. Іn оrdеr tо рrоvіdе а fаѕtеr раgе-lоаdіng thаn thе оffісіаl Тоr Вrоwѕеr, сасhіng tесhnіquеѕ аrе uѕеd bу these рrохіеѕ which is not secure.

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