Often used interchangeably, deep web and dark web aren’t actually the same things, rather, the dark web makes for a small part of the deep web.
People often confuse both the terms and at other times think they both mean the same thing, but that’s not it.
Mostly, the deep web has been related to something awful on the internet — like the notorious SilkRoad black market — but not everything on the deep web is illegal or bad.
Now before you go on jumping to conclusions about the deep web and how dangerous it can be, let me just explain it in simpler words.
What is the Deep Web?
The deep web is the part of the internet which is inaccessible using search engines like Google and Bing — per se, the search engines can not index them, so they do not turn up when searched for.
It’s not something out of this world, on the contrary, you are probably accessing the deep web on a regular basis — your emails, online banking transactions, direct messages on Twitter, Instagram and much more.
None of these things turn up on the internet via a search engine, rather are protected behind a paywall or via a password.
Anything that can not be found on the surface of the web using a search engine is part of the deep web.
Given that the billions of internet users in all probability have thousands of billions of online accounts in all, which are either password protected or hold content behind a paywall — all of this comprises the deep web, which many believe makes up for a majority of content on the internet.
The deep web is alternatively also called the Invisible or Hidden web and can be accessed via the normal Chrome or Safari browsers.
What is the Dark Web?
Dark web isn’t an altogether different part of the internet but a part of the Deep web itself but can not be accessed via the standard browsers.
Given that a majority of the Dark web comprises of websites selling illegal products such as drugs or hacked credentials, and also houses websites dealing with weapons and child pornography, it is often referred to as the underbelly of the internet.
The Dark web is also used by internet activists and journalists to stay anonymous while passing or gathering information, especially in countries where the internet is heavily censored.
The search engine for those concerned about their privacy — DuckDuckGo — runs their service on the dark web too.
Websites on the Dark web, which are suffixed with .onion domain, can be accessed using the Tor browser or a similar service.
Note, while it’s not illegal to access the Dark web, beware that a lot many of the websites offer illegal services and accessing them might not sit right with the lawmakers in your native place.
The Dark web isn’t as fancy and interactive as the rest of the surface web — or the Internet as we know and use it — and the websites are mundane and will take you back in time.
In order to access a website on the Dark web, you’ll either need the exact (.onion) URL of the site or can try your luck with the limited search engines for the Dark web such as The Hidden Wiki.
Is the Dark Web Bad?
Even though a majority of the websites on the Dark web deal with illegal activities, websites such as Facebook, The Intercept, ProPublica have a version with .onion URL — nothing illegal happening here.
Journalists, whistleblowers and internet activists use the Dark web to circumvent restrictions as well as to maintain anonymity and privacy while exchanging information.
No tool on the internet is bad in essence, but it’s the reason it’s being used for that makes it so. Similarly, the Dark web isn’t completely a thing of evil.