For some time now, the media has been talking more and more about the so-called Deep Web or Dark Web. It is almost always done to relate it to criminal activities carried out in the depths of the network, and very rarely do they stop to explain what that Dark Web really is. An example of this is that they call it Deep Web, an erroneous term in most cases.
That’s why today we are going to try to explain to you in a simple and understandable way what exactly the Dark Web is, and what is its difference with the Deep Web. And if you are curious, we will also tell you how to download and use a browser specially created to navigate in it.
What exactly is the Dark Web?
To understand what the Dark Web is, you have to understand four different concepts: Clearnet, Deep web, Dark web and Darknet. The easiest to understand is the Clearnet, which is the Internet as you know it, the pages that you find in Google and other search engines and which you can access directly from them. For example, Xataka is a page of the Clearnet, because if you google it you find it quickly, and if you enter your web address you do not have problems to enter.
~ 90% of the content of the network is not accessible through search engines. That is a part of the Deep Web, which includes all the information that you can not access publicly. It may be conventional pages protected by a paywall, but also files stored in Dropbox, emails saved in your provider’s servers, and all those pages that are created for a few moments, for example, when you set up a travel search engine and it shows you the content.
Imagine, for example, a page that you access by writing a conventional web address, but whose content you can not access if you do not pay a certain fee or a monthly fee. That is Deep Web. So is the page that is generated when you are using a travel search engine. It is a unique web configured with the data you have entered, and which can not be accessed directly.
If the Deep Web is 90% of the Internet, the Dark Web would occupy only 0.1% of it. It is a portion of the Internet intentionally hidden from the search engines, with masked IP addresses accessible only with a special web browser. The Dark Web is therefore part of the Deep Web, but they are different things. For example, if the Deep Web were a city, the Dark Web would be several neighborhoods. They are part of the city, but they are not the city.
The Dark Web is the content you can find in different Darknets, which are each of the networks that you can only access with specific programs. The most popular is TOR, but you also have Freenet, I2P or ZeroNet. Each of these is a Darknet, but when we refer to all of them we generally use the term Dark Web.
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The Dark Web is usually defined as a non-indexable area by conventional search engines, which means that you can not find your pages in Google, Bing and other search engines. But there is some exception. For example, search engines have been created for Darknets like TOR, and we have some search engines like DuckDuckGo that are also working on including this type of content.
You have a broader explanation of these concepts for you to understand. It is also important to make clear that the Dark Web is not bad by definition, that many of its myths are false and that it has enough pages with constructive content. In addition, the Dark Web serves as a shelter for persecuted activists in especially iron-fisted countries with freedom of expression, and helps others to bypass local censorship to gain access to information.
How to enter the Dark Web
Each Darknet has its entry method, but taking into account that the TOR is the most popular of the Dark Web, that is where we will teach you to enter. The first thing you have to do is go to the Tor Browser page, click on Download, and choose the version in your language and operating system to download it. It is a Firefox-based browser specially created to enter TOR without having to configure anything. You just open it and it automatically connects you.
Choose the destination folder and install it, then launch the browser. You will see that it does not open automatically, but first it shows you a window that tells you that you are connecting to the TOR Darknet. When finished, Tor Browser will open and you will be able to navigate with it through both Clearnet and Tor’s network. It comes with the DuckDuckGo search engine configured to also find .onion pages, the domain of the Darknet websites.
A good starting point is to search for “The Hidden Wiki” and enter the first result even if it is a .com page. In it you will see a large number of .onion pages and their description sorted by theme. From there, you only have to visit the different pages and browse their content.
It is normal that the TOR network pages load extremely slow, something that is due to the encryption of anonymization of the network itself. Precisely for that reason you will also notice that most of them seem removed from two decades ago, since they are usually created in simple HTML and without too many frills.