The Dread forum was precipitated by the closure of several subreddits which catered for darknet users on Reddit. This is why it is loosely referred to as the reddit of the Deep Web. Launched in February of 2018, Dread was initially intended, by its developer /u/HugBunter to be a community that solely catered for DarkNetMarket issues.
Soon after its launch Dread evolved from being a DNM centric forum to one which caters for diverse DNM interest across its various sub forums (which we will be calling sub-dread in this guide). As at the time of writing there are over 735 sub-dreads on the forum.
One underlying feature which binds all of Dread’s sub forums is the free-speech and privacy privileges that the forum affords its users. Out on Dread, you can post, comment, and share your thoughts and opinions and offer help or request without fear of your privacy being compromised, if you play by the privacy rules.
The only exceptions with discussions are— child pornography, poisons, assassination services as well as media related to harm and murder, pro-terrorism as well as terrorist propoganda, and finally harmful weapons of all sorts.
Over the course of this guide, we will be walking you through how to use the Dread forum, even if this is your first time or if you are finding it difficult navigating this site.
Getting on the Dread homepage
As at the time of writing, the valid onion URL to access the Dread forum are:
Please note that Dread uses a blurry and difficult captcha system, which could require multiple trials on some occasions for some users. So be patient and try again with care, if you fail.
Similar most to forum designs, all of the pages can be accessed without signup. However to interact with other users, make a post, or start a sub-dread, then signing up or login in is mandatory. This by the way is where we will begin.
Registering as a user
To register, click on the top right registration icon (marked in the image above) or click on the login button, if you are already registered.
Fill the signup form; click and solve the captcha, then click on signup.
After Signing up, you will be automatically redirected to the login page, with a prompt stating —“Your account has been successfully created, you may now login.”
After entering your login details a 40 letter lowercase alphabet that appears as a mnemonic key phrase will be generated, to help with account recovery, if you lose your login details.
Copy and paste the phrase on the “past key here box” in the image above. Once you do, confirm and you will be online as a user.
On the frontpage of the forum are a series of posts from different sub-dread forums, each with a prefix “/d/” attached to the name. Also, there is a top left filter that allows users to select from the “Hot”, “New”, and “Top” posts (in the top-left red box below.)
Also, on the right side bar (in the red box above) are a list of all the sub/dreads (/d/…). The list is arranged by the number of subscribers. Hence the main dread sub-dread is at the top of the list, since it has the most subscriptions.
Once you are signed in as a user, there is the option of submitting a post for moderation and eventual publication on any of the sub-dreads. Also, still on the top right sidebar, there is the option to create a sub-dread, which we will be talking more on subsequently.
More on Sub-Dreads
As at the time of writing, there are 785 sub-dreads on the Dread forum. To view all the available sub-dreads click on the Discovery button at the bottom of the right hand column.
This takes you to the sub-Dread search page, with the option of entering your preferred sub-dread name, as a search term.
Find a Sub-dread
Also, on the top left of the search page is the choice of sorting by size of subscribers, newest, and oldest.
All sub-dreads have their niched rule for being a participating member of that sub-dread. As is common with forums, all posts are manually reviewed by the admins and moderators of the sub-Dread.
Subscribing to a sub-dread
To subscribe, as a user of any sub-dread. Click on the sub-Dread /d/[name] link. When on the page, click on the subscribe button on the right side of your screen and you will be subscribed!
Upon subscription, the top header menu of each sub-dread contains the Rule page icon and sometimes depending on the sub-dread a FAQ, PGP key (mostly for sub dreads of specific darknet markets) and so on. Once you are subscribed to any sub-dread, there is the option to also unsubscribe.
Creating a Sub-dread
Finally on this section, to create a sub-dread, you must have been an active member for at least one month. Even then, you have to be vetted by the admin before your sub-dread gets endorsed and public on the forum.
Header Menu Experience
On the top header menu of the forum is the “All ” icon, which gives access to all the comments and posts going as far back as 200 activities behind. Also there is the main dread sub-forum icon, which is the /d/dread, the official sub-forum of the Dread forum. Also, there is the “all” page, which leads to all the posts and comments going 200 posts deep… and the saved button leading to all your saved posts.
Also to the right end of the header (as seen in the image above) are the following pages and their respective functions—
- the user profile page: this contains details of approved posts or comments
- Subscription page: this contains details of all sub-dread subscription
- Account page: this is a bit more complex. Here you can reset your password, block users, view saved and hidden posts, and also generate a code for account profile confirmation outside the forum.
- Donation page: to support the Dread project
- And the Logout icon: which is simple for login out.
Speaking of pages there is the Canary Page, found at the footer menu, is the admin validation page.
This is where, /u/HugBunter, the founder of the forum provides a regularly published PGP signature, every monday. This serves as proof that he is in control of the forum’s server. If it fails users are advised to alert the darknet community outside the forum.
Making your first post
Once you subscribe to any sub-dread, you are free to submit posts to be moderated for publication. Before making your first post, however, make sure to go through the rule of the sub-dread to avoid having your post declined. Post basically comes as a thread that allows for subsequent comments.
Similar to posts are comments where you can join a post thread and share your opinions.
More on writing your first post/text
Before we begin, more info on this can be found on the Dreadiquette page, down at the footer menu. Like with most forums, dread uses the BB Code to make posts from its text creation page.
Shortly we will be looking at some BBCode hacks in making a simple post:
[b]Embolden your text[/b]
[i]Italicize a text[/i]
[s]strikethrough a text[/s]
[titleEnlarge title text[/title]
[subtitlemake text subtitle[/subtitle]
[color=green]green colored text (Name colors/color hex code)[/color]
And so on.
Sending and receiving Private Message
Before sending a user a private message, make sure the user will find it welcoming. Sending unsolicited or unwelcoming messages can have you flagged for Doxxing.
That being said, to send a private message to any user, visit the users profile page, click on the message icon on the sidebar, which will appear on the right side of the screen. Type the text for your message, using the BBCODE tags we shared earlier and complete the captcha task before sending.
To view your private messages, go over to the right end of the header menu, click on the message icon and view all of your messages.
Dread score system
Now that you know how to make a post, let’s go over to increasing your score rating. Unlike some other forums, the dread score rating system is content quality oriented. In other words, If users respond positively to your content, your score increases if they respond negatively it decreases.
A users score is seen, immediately below their username on their profile page.
Advertising on Dread
Ads on Dread are mostly graphic banner ads, appearing on the vertical sides and horizontally across the pages. Any user can run an Ad on the forum, if they have at least 50 user scores and their account is older than 2 months.
To run an Ad, click on the “Advertise here” button, and you will be redirected to the Ad page. Click on the create an AD icon. Fill in the Ad form with the Ad title, purpose of the Ad and the URL you intend to redirect the traffic to.
For new users, understanding the forum rules is important, as violation can mean users being outrightly barred or somewhat restricted, depending on the offence or worse getting yourself implicated with law enforcement agents. Playing by the rules is oftentimes to the users benefit.
Shortly we will be walking you through some of the forum rules you want to bare in mind, before making your first post or comment:
- Users are not allowed to post comment or send a private message relating to: Child pornography, pro-terrorism or terrorist propoganda, harmful weapons sales, poisons, assassination services or media related to harm.
- Don’t discuss payment or carry out transactions on the site.
- Site trades are prohibited
- Spam messages are not allowed
- No FUDS
- DUXXING is not allowed
- Impersonation of other users is prohibited
Security and privacy best practice
Dread offers probably the most unbiased, community experience for users of the darknet marketplace, and darknet related issues in general. Be sure to observe all security due diligence and site rules as it is for your own safety. Hope this helps you in your exploration.