The go-to site for newbies browsing .onion links is Tor. Any research you find on accessing the dark net includes explicit instructions on downloading Tor Browser before doing anything else. For more experienced users,the Freenet network is also downloaded in addition to Tor. Both are secure browsers. Both also have a colossal difference.
Freenet’s official website explains,
“Freenet is free software which lets you anonymously share files, browse and publish “freesites” (web sites accessible only through Freenet) and chat on forums, without fear of censorship. Freenet is decentralized to make it less vulnerable to attack, and if used in “darknet” mode, where users only connect to their friends, is very difficult to detect.”
Tor allows encrypted access to both the web and anonymous web servers. Freenet is a self-contained network. In other words, websites like Facebook and Google are not accessible through Freenet. This is not a big deal. With Freenet’s “Friend to Friend” or “Darknet” mode available, users are happy.
Infrastructures by Freenet nodes already encrypt and route through other nodes for maximum privacy. Friend to Friend mode is taking it one step further. This option allows users to connect their Freenet node to other nodes run solely by their friends.
“An important recent development, which very few other networks have, is the “darknet”: By only connecting to people they trust, users can greatly reduce their vulnerability, and yet still connect to a global network through their friends’ friends’ friends and so on. This enables people to use Freenet even in places where Freenet may be illegal, makes it very difficult for governments to block it, and does not rely on tunneling to the “free world”.”
Despite the popularity surrounding this option, most users still operate Freenet in “opennet” mode. Because of this, users are strongly recommended to use a VPN service while operating Freenet.