The dark web has many different visitors, including pushers, computer geeks, scammers, journalists fighting censorship, and regular people who just want to communicate with others without the government looking over their shoulders. The latter frequently occurs in countries like China and Iran, where there is a lot of internet censorship.
To understand what exactly the dark web is, we need to differentiate between a few terms. It is often said that the Internet has three layers: the surface web, the deep web and the dark web. Especially the terms deep web and dark web are often used incorrectly, which can cause a lot of confusion. Here are some points you might want to keep in mind:
- The Internet is a worldwide network.
- The web is a communication tool that uses the Internet network.
- The web consists of the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web links.
- Each of these terms will be explained below.
The surface web
The surface web, along with the deep web, is the part of the Internet that most of us use every day. It is accessible through normal browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc. This very article is part of it: you can access it from anywhere and at any time, as long as you have an Internet connection and a browser. Other websites, including online and business stores, are also part of the surface web. This is the part of the web that can be reached through search engines like Google.
If you visit a website as a regular visitor, you will not see each and every part of the website. You will only see the surface. When you browse Amazon without signing in, for example, you will come across countless products, but you will only be able to view the site as a customer, not as a seller or administrator. In order to see behind the scenes, you will need a username and password. Once you have it, you can get from the surface web to the deep web.
The deep web
The deep web is the part of the internet that contains very specific information. Most of us will not have access to this information, and it is not accessible through search engines either. In other words, a conventional Google search will not return pages from the deep web. For the most part, they are pages and databases that are only intended for a certain group of people within an organization. To gain access, you must know the exact web address (URL). In some cases you also need a password.
The deep web is by far the largest part of the Internet, estimated to be between 90-95% of the entire World Wide Web. Some examples of pages on the deep web that may contain private data are companies, universities, libraries, hospitals, governments, international organizations, etc.
The dark web
Finally, there is that part of the Internet that we call the dark web. It is more difficult to reach than the surface or deep web, as it is only accessible through special browsers such as the Tor browser. The dark web is the unregulated part of the Internet. No organization, company or government is in charge of it or is capable of applying rules. This is exactly why the dark web is commonly associated with illegal practices.
Some people refer to this part of the internet as the “deep web”, but this is not the correct term. It is true that the dark web is part of the deep web, but the dark web is even more elusive. As we have described before, a large part of the deep web is accessible through normal browsers, but this is not the case with the dark web. It is impossible to visit the dark web through a browser like Google Chrome or Edge.
The dark web works a little differently than the surface web. Even using Tor Browser you will not be able to find any “dark” websites ending in .com or .org. Instead, URLs typically consist of a random mix of letters and numbers and end in onion the DuckDuckGo search engine address, for example, might be something like http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion. Also, the URLs of the websites on the dark web change on a regular basis. This means that they can be considered as hidden webs as they are not as easy to find as most surface web or deep web platforms. If you want to know more about a couple of popular dark web sites, be sure to check out our Dark Web Sites worth visiting article.