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  • Going down the rabbit hole can be overwhelming, especially if it’s something you haven’t done before – and if you’re an ethical hacker, penetration tester or cybersecurity enthusiast, this inexperience has the potential to cost you in a real situation.

    The best way to learn is by doing, and many websites allow for cybersecurity, programming and exploit practice in a neutral environment where you won’t be judged for learning. The following platforms are a great deal and safe way to build your skills to put them to the test and challenge what you can do when put against other players.

    Hack This Site

    Hack This Site (also known as HTS) was founded back in 2003 and is considered one of the original players in the hacktivist sphere started by a group of curious individuals.

    Under new management, the site still continues to be one of the best places to go if you want a variety of challenges.


    CTF365 advertises itself as a hands-on training ground for security professionals, and it’s a great place to go for penetration challenges; the name, of course, refers to the wargame of Capture the Flag – but instead, they’re flagging servers.

    Hack The Box

    Hack the Box has 62 member challenges available on its website and claims membership of approximately 116, 000 users. They’re advertised as a playground for penetration-testing, and even offer customized “labs” for companies.


    Root-Me is another excellent penetration testing playground where various challenges are offered over a variety of different fields, including browser exploits.


    HackThis is enormous and offers you more than 50 challenges spread over a reported number of 250, 000 members that put your skills to the test.

    Smash The Stack

    Smash the Stack calls themselves a wargaming network, and they offer a range of challenges that are more than impressive and will test you through a variety of different disciplines including reverse engineering and cracking a code.

    Hacker Test

    Hacker Test offers you penetration testing training in practice with 20 levels of different challenges to get through for you to become a better penetration tester by the end.


    Logic and the skill to think on your feet make for some of the essential skills a penetration tester can have; HackTest is a selection of 23 questions that seem simple, but eventually boggle the mind more as they go along – you’ll learn something in these 23 questions.

    Over The Wire

    Over The Wire is an incredibly elaborate site that hosts several different wargames, including one they call Bandit aimed at novice testers. Of course, there are others for the more experienced, including Leviathan, Narnia, and Krypton – and each has its unique vibe.

    WhiteHat War Game

    WhiteHat War Game is another training ground home to a CTF system for penetration-testers-in-training, currently in 2.0 BETA according to the website and they host a lot of challenges related to cybersecurity testing.


    I hope the above playground helps you improve your skills. If you are looking to get some ethical hacking courses, then check out here.