The Deep Web (Dark Web): A BEGINNER’S GUIDE


Have you heard of the deep web?

There is a completely different world of websites beyond what you can see with regular web browser and Google. In short, this different world is referred to as deep web.

Though I have used the word dark web in brackets, it doesn’t mean the same is a synonym for the deep web. A specific portion inside the deep web which is known for illegal activities is termed as the dark web.

In this article, you are going to read everything about the deep web. I recommend you follow the guidelines mentioned in this post before you proceed to any of the website on the deep/dark web.

A Beginners Guide to Deep Web

For the convenience of reading, I have divided this article into different sections. As it is going to be a long post, you can bookmark this, come back whenever you feel like it. Use Ctrl+ F shortcut in case you like to see anything specific on this post.

So without further time wast, let’s get started.

What is the Deep Web?

The Deep web has many names including the “invisible web” or the “hidden web”. A lot many people consider the dark web to be a synonym of the deep web. Technically, those are two similar, yet very different things. They’ll be covered in the later sections on this piece.

According to the researches, traditional search engines index only about 1% of the web pages available on the web.

Meaning, a whopping 99% of data is hidden, much like the ice-berg which sank the mighty Titanic. The majority of people rely upon search engines to get the information they need. For the same reason, deep web remains hidden.

All the information you get on traditional search engines is the clearnet, or the “surface web”. The “traditional search-engines” mean those search engines which you can access using normal browsers such as Chrome, Opera, Safari, Firefox etc.

All the following are the traditional, clearnet browsers:

  • Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari etc.

The terms dark web and deep web first appeared in 2009. Nonetheless, they totally existed beyond 2009. Michael K. Bergman compared online search to dragging a net along the surface of the sea. Of course, you will get many useful things. But you can’t catch it all.

The regular search-engines (some of which are listed above) do not index deep web content. In fact, the mere definition of the Deep Web is that “Content which is not indexed by clearnet search engines“.

You need special permission/access or software and browsers to access them. For e.g. your bank records, school records, adoption records, classified govt. data, or even basic website dashboards are “not” indexed on search engine. All of this is “Deep web content”.

The size of the content available on the deep web isn’t up for measures. Even in 2001, it was estimated to be 7.5 petabytes. And, in 2006, it was the Russians who dominated this field with more than 14000 deep web sites.

Now that you got a brief idea about deep web, let’s now move on to the dark web.

What is The Dark Web?

Deep web involves everything that can’t be indexed by search engines. However, it in most cases “can” be accessed with clearnet browsers. (E.g. your bank records).

The dark web is a subset of the same. Means, no clearnet search-engines index dark web content either.

However, you can directly visit websites on the deep web if you know the exact URL of the website you’re trying to visit.

But one needs specific software (Tor) to access dark web links. With regular browsers, dark web content stays unachievable.

Broadly speaking, Dark web is the “illegal subset” of the deep web.

It can only be accessed with Tor browser because it’s on the onion network, exclusively. And Tor is a browser which is used to access the onion network.

Dark web sites do not have domain structures ending with .com/.org/.edu or any of those other extensions. Rather, they all end with .onion.

Example: http://facebookwkhpilnemxj7asaniu7vnjjbiltxjqhye3mhbshg7kx5tfyd.onion/

As the name suggests, people use dark web for illegal activities. You can literally hire Hitmen and buy drugs from them.

In simpler words, any deep web site, on the .onion network, involved in illegal activities is a Dark web site.

However, note that simply being on the Tor network, or having a domain ending with .onion doesn’t make a website “dark web content”.

The CIA, Facebook, BBC all have their Tor domain versions.

It’s the “content” of a website which makes it a deep web, or a dark web site.

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Deep Web vs. Dark Web

Here I am concluding the comparison. Of course, there are similarities but both of them aren’t the same.

  • Deep web is a subset of surface web and dark web is a subset of deep web.
  • Everything on the dark web can be considered as deep web. But it’s not true vice-versa.
  • Any page not indexed by clearnet search engines is deep web content. However, not all of this is dark web content.
  • Deep web is mostly legal, unindexed content. Dark web is always illegal.
  • Deep web can be accessed with clearnet browsers. Dark web can only be accessed with specialized browsers, such as Tor browser bundle.

I know a few portions of the above comparison are confusing. So better you read it carefully.

How to Access the Deep Web?

Are you sure you want to know how to get to the deep web?

Note: You will be seeing tons of sensitive and explicit content. So brace yourself for that.

If you don’t want dark web only the deep web, you can do it simply by entering the URL into the address bar. It will fetch the content you are longing for.

In case you made up your mind to visiting the notorious dark web, you must download and install Tor browser.

Here in this section, you will know how to access dark web using Tor browser. I have listed out the steps needed for the same below. Just follow them in the right away. Again, I should tell you that you must be vigilant.

Note: We all know dark web can’t be accessed from regular web browsers like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Even with Tor Browser, you are not 100% secure. So, I recommend using a Virtual Private Network tool aka VPN. It will mask your identity by faking your IP address and other revealing details. We recommend you use NordVPN. It is the perfect one for those who want to visit dark or deep web.Black friday nordvpn sale 65% and 3 Month Free

With that being said, let’s just move on to the core, that’s how to access the deep web using Tor browser.

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Step 1: First, you must download the executable installer file of Tor browser. Don’t think it is a rare thing! You can do it without much of ado.

Use the following link for it. Download Tor Browser to Access the Dark Web

You can use any download managers or even the inbuilt one of your browser as the download process doesn’t last long.

Step 2: As the second step, you have to open the downloaded file. It will ask you to choose a language. I don’t think you will go for one other than English. Still, it is completely up to you.

Step 3: Clicking Ok will open the installing wizard before you. Next step is to choose the directory into which you want to install the software.

Hit install once you do it.

Step 4: You need to wait a few seconds to get it finished. The wizard will not make you waited for so long as the process gets completed within no time.

Step 5: Finally, it will show two checkboxes. The first one runs the Tor browser once you hit Finish. And, the second one adds shortcuts on both start menu and the desktop. If you don’t want anyone to know you use Tor browser, you can uncheck the second one.

Step 6: Open Tor browser. If you checked the first option at the previous step, you would see it opening automatically. Or else, you have to make use of the shortcuts or the real application from the installed directory.

Step 7: Instead of a browser tab, you get a wizard-like window on the first run. You can see two buttons on it. Simply, hit Connect to get yourself connected to the Tor network to access the notorious dark web.

Step 8: You have to wait some time to establish the connection to the Tor network. If you want to continue with it, I recommend not hitting the Cancel button.

Step 9: Now you see the browser tab. In order to check the configuration is right, you should click on the link ‘Test for Network Settings’ given on the page itself.

If the connection is good, you will see the IP address of your computer on the screen.

There you go! You can enter the dark web site URL to visit the same. But before you do, I have a few cautions.

Instructions to Visit Deep Website Links

  • You must block access to microphone and camera. Sometimes, they get activated without your concern. Block the web cam with a black tape not to allow your image to sneak into the black hands of the intruders.
  • There are methods to trace your identity by certain nuances like the way you change your window size. So never ever change the window size of the Tor browser while you are browsing deep web. It will bring you to more dangers.
  • As I said earlier, Tor browser doesn’t provide 100% anonymity. So, you should turn Javascript off.
  • When you have to enter the name, email address or some identity revealing details, never ever provide the real ones. Trust me, you will regret it later. Prevention is better than cure. here are some other privacy related email services for you, that you can use on the deep web.
  • I recommend you not browsing the dark web from the OS you use every day. On the other hand, there is a tiny OS that you can directly boot from a USB flash drive, called Tails , Whonix, Qubes OS. Install anyone in your workstation for for maximum security.
  • You must do your research before you visit any deep website link. There is a subreddit you can check.
  • Be careful during every second you browse deep web. There are tons of dangers hidden in there. If you don’t act vigilantly, you will lose many things.

So you know how to access deep web now. I will give you a list of some deep website links later in this article. .

50+ Active Deep Web Links and Dark Web Links

Once you get to know how to access the dark web, you may be confused. You don’t know what to search for. Moreover, you can’t do the regular search on Google given that it doesn’t show results from the deep web.

That’s why I am going to give you a few links and search engines for you.

Before I move on to the extensive list, the following are the common search engines to visit deep websites.

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I have just given a few links for your reference. There are tens of thousands of such sites for you to check out. You must be aware of the danger coming with each visit.

I have included maximum possible explicit content from this article. Even if I did so, you may see some sites here.

Now, I am going to explain what makes deep web so anonymous that the users never get exposed.

Why Dark Web and Deep Remains to be Secrets?

You know both dark and deep web are secrets. Not a lot of people know about them. Moreover Google doesn’t show sites from deep web in their SERPs as well.

We have read news that people get caught for doing cyber crimes. A lot of such actions are being done in deep web also. Still, the people behind the same remains as anonymous! How can it be possible?

Do you know? It is because of the superior security techniques and technologies they possess.

Let us have a look at a few.

  • Cryptocurrency

Even if you buy something from deepweb marketplaces, you can’t make the payment via regular methods like Paypal, Payoneer, DD, Cheque or direct deposit. All these methods lead to revealing their identity. So the best way is cryptocurrency or bitcoins out you can try various anonymous payment modes for payment.

That’s how they make transactions. For the same reasons, all of their identities remain anonymous.

  • Lack of true knowledge

For starters, a lot of people consider the Deep/Dark web to be “illegal”. It’s NOT!

Even accessing dark web sites isn’t illegal.

As long as you do not buy/sell illegal products on these dark web sites, it’s not illegal simply to visit them.

However, people often consider the entire deep/dark web to be illegal and do not even talk of it.

  • Lack of public acceptance

People do not accept using the Dark web.

Suppose you purchased guns or drugs on the dark web.

Would you announce that on forums or your social media?

You won’t.

That’s the primary reason why the dark web remains invisible.

Those who actually use it, never publicize their use. Rather, they’ll deny that any such site exists.

  • Misinformation

A lot of websites and articles portray the Dark web as an elite network, only accessible to the most tech-savvy hackers.

Hence, most people refrain from digging deeper.

That’s the farthest from the truth.

All you need is a TOR browser.

TOR too is considered “complex” by many.

It’s not. It’s just a web-browser, an exact replica of Mozilla Firefox as far as looks go. And it’s 100% legal.

Then, you may or may not use a VPN (using a VPN makes you 100% untraceable). NordVPN offering 68% discount on Cyber deal and also bonus 3 Month Free.

Basically, accessing the dark web takes minutes, and zero tech-skills. Often the opposite of this is publicized.

  • Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is what people behind dark web use. As the services are provided by reputed firms, the traffic doesn’t get blocked.

If they try to block, it will cause a huge outrage as a lot of other people use the same service. There are a lot of companies offering cloud space. Even the tech titans Amazon, Google and Microsoft offer such services.

And, there is no way to track them down as well.

  • Web Hosting Services

There are a number of hosting companies that don’t demand the true identity of their customers before providing them with the service.

As long as people have money, there are companies who will provide their best-in-class servers without digging deep into the identity of customers.

Best Deep Web Browsers

In case you find Tor is not working well on your computer, you can try any of the browsers given below to access the dark web.

So, are you ready to get into the list? Here you go!

  • Freenet

Freenet is one of the best alternatives to Tor browser. If you are looking for the top-notch data encryption, you shouldn’t get passed Freenet.

Unlike most of the other insecure browsers, Freenet lacks a central server, which makes it easy to hack into. You can access both clear net and dark net using this browser.

The peer to peer technology gets rid of censorship as well. No one except the person who uploads the data can access the same. So your data remains secure and safe.

If you don’t like Tor and you want to access dark web, my recommendation is to download Freenet right away. You won’t regret it.

  • I2P

If you are researching about dark web since long, you might have heard about I2P. There is an everlasting debate that whether I2P is better than Tor or not.

The best thing about I2P is it keeps data in different layers, making it difficult for intruders to hop into. To be specific, I2P is an internet within the internet. It makes use of both public and private keys.

Just like the previous one I have shared here, you can trust it with maximum credibility. Only you will know what you do on the web if you choose to go with I2P.

  • Whonix

More than a browser, Whonix is a Linux distribution that aims to provide the best in class security.

There are a lot of security professionals, who use this Linux destro. It basically runs on Tor framework. You can also download the isolated one as well.

Being the best free alternative to Tor, Whonix won’t be difficult for you to download and install. The two versions are Whonix-gateway and Whonix-workstation. As I said earlier, the first one solely depends upon Tor whereas the second one is isolated.

Once you start using this, you will realize that not even a dns leak can steal your information.

  • Yandex

I hope you know the Russian tech titan Yandex. No wonder, Yandex browser is their product. After a keen observation, I found out that it is a combination of Tor and normal browsers.

You get all the anonymity you want for browsing the dark web. Along with that, it gets rid of the malware as well. When you try to access a malware affected website, it will give you the warning.

Isn’t that helpful? I guess it is!

Moreover, you can install extensions to enhance the features of the browser. But I recommend you keep Yandex browser free from extensions to make sure you have the maximum anonymity.

  • Disconnect

The name says it all. You get disconnected, not from the entire web, but from those sites which track the users and their identity.

Disconnect is an awesome alternative to Tor browser. The disadvantage is you have to pay $5 per month to get your hands on this browser that offers amazing anonymous experience.

So, you have read about five replacements to Tor browser. If you ask me for the best, I will tell you to stick to Tor. In case you can’t do that, you must go for I2P. The security and anonymity of I2P is equal to or same as that of Tor.

Yeah, Tor is the best deep web browser.

Wrapping Up

So that’s it! I am finishing the ultimate guide about deep web and dark web.

I hope you know both these terms are different. A lot of people on the internet use them as synonyms. But it is not true!

You have got everything I guess. I have even shared a list of best deep web browsers for you to check out. Moreover, you get URLs to deep sites and hidden wiki links too.

In case you have any doubt about how to access the deep web or anything related to this, you can leave comment below.

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Nagama Ansari
Nagama Ansari is a well-known blogger and digital marketer, working in the industry from several year, and has written more than 1000+ well-researched information guides and product testing review articles..