What is the Dark Web? How to access it?

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The dark web is a part of the Internet that is not indexed by traditional search engines. Also, you need special internet browsers and configurations to access the dark web. Indeed, the dark web is entirely unmoderated.

This side of the internet has no censorship, no ethics and certainly no limits. However, the dark web attracts many users because it offers anonymity and privacy. So, if you have the right tools, you can use them without having any problems.

The Internet is divided into three main parts. These are the Surface Web, the Deep Web, and the Dark Web. When you browse the Internet with a standard web browser using a standard search engine such as Google, you are exploring the surface web.

You can find relevant websites using a search engine and navigate to those websites. This is where you find the Deep Web. Once on the site, you can log in with the username and password. As long as your ID is online, it is not logged by search engines, making it part of the deep web.

What is the Dark Web?

The dark web comprises the internet’s deepest crevices. This is where you can buy or sell drugs, hire a hitman, explore the illicit organ trade, and all kinds of bad actors. While that’s the mainstream reputation on this side of the internet, there’s more to it.

Once you start exploring, you’ll see that many mainstream services have official dark web addresses as well. Facebook, the CIA, BBC News and HuffPost are services that have a presence there. These services have a .onion domain that allows you to visit these sites through the Tor browser.

Tor guarantees your privacy and allows you to browse the web without being tracked. The dark web is completely uncensored, which means that even if a site is blocked by the government, you can access it through Tor on the dark web.

How to access the Dark Web?

What is Tor
Image: Tor

The Tor browser is one of the most common ways to access the dark web. It is private, anonymous, encrypted and easily accessible. Tor stands for The Onion Router, and like the layers of an onion, it bounces your internet activity through random nodes, encrypting it every time it does.

As a result, you may get slower browsing speeds, but you won’t leave a trace on the internet. You can also use the Tor browser with a VPN to access the dark web. It’s called Onion over VPN when you first connect to a VPN and then fire up Tor to browse the web.

If you want to start using it, you can check out the list of real-world onion sites that you can browse using Tor. Reddit also has an ar/deepweb thread with lots of information to help you get started and resolve your doubts about it.

What to know before accessing the Dark Web

In the words of Doctor Strange, “warnings come after spells.” You should always know the full context of what you are getting into. The dark web is censorship-free and has been instrumental in protests and revolutionary movements.

However, it’s also unmoderated, which means that sometimes things aren’t what they seem. If you think dark patterns are bad, wait until you see the ugly side of the internet. So if you’re switching to Tor to maintain your anonymity, stick to verified links and privacy-focused search engines like DuckDuckGo.

In most cases, you have plenty of Google alternatives and even privacy-focused browsers to let you browse the Surface Web privately. But if you’ve explored the dark web or are planning to do so, share your experience with us in the comments.

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex technical topics and break them down into short, easy to understand articles.

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