How to Access the Deep and Dark Web [Tips & Precautions]
Last Updated: February 2, 2023
Ever wondered how to access the deep web? Curious about what exactly you can find there?
If so, we have great news for you!
In this article, you’ll find all the interesting and intriguing information about the less known space of the internet – the dark web and the deep web. We will explain the difference between the two, and guide you through the steps to access them. We’ll also give you a heads up for when that’s a good idea and whether it’s illegal or not.
Brace yourself, because you’re in for a ride that will show you what’s below the tip of the iceberg known as the internet.
Let’s get those search engines started!
What Is the Dark Web?
The dark web is a portion of the internet purposely hidden. It is not meant for accessing information through regular means of searching the web.
It’s known to provide complete anonymity to its users, and they’re counting on it.
The dark web is a place where obscure and illegal activities happen, including trading with forbidden substances, weapons, personal data, and more. But it’s not its sole purpose.
Due to the anonymity it provides, it’s very helpful for people who don’t have freedom of speech, as well as victims of abuse or other traumatic experiences. The dark web allows them to talk about their problems and get the help they need without risking uncovering their identity.
The dark web functions through the Tor network that consists of numerous relays all around the world run by volunteers. Your internet connection bounces from these relays, which hides your identity.
But what does the dark web look like? Once you access it, it looks just like any other website. The difference is that communications and data on the dark web are protected with encryptions and can’t be accessed with regular search engines.
However, there is a way you can dive into the dark waters (for whatever reason you might want to) even if it’s just out of curiosity.
And we’re about to explain how to do it safely.
|DID YOU KNOW? Websites on the dark web look the same as regular ones and have similar functionalities. However, the URLs are different – they are normally just a random strain of numbers and letters. In addition, they don’t end like surface web links. Instead of .com, . net, .edu, and others, they end with .onion.|
How to Access the Dark Web Safely
Even if the dark web is known for providing anonymity, you can never be too cautious. If you use the dark web, it’s difficult to track activity back to you, but not impossible.
This is why it’s desirable to get a VPN before you cross over to the dark side. It will provide you with additional protection by masking your location and online activity, making data even more difficult to trace.
Not all VPNs are the same, so it’s a good idea to do a VPN security test to make sure how secure a VPN is. Your identity isn’t something you want to leave to chance when using the dark web, so make sure to get the most trusted VPN.
Now that you know why it’s important to mask your IP address with a VPN, you can learn more about how to access the dark web. The first step is to download one of the browsers able to access the dark web, like Tor.
Download Tor or a Similar Browser
After downloading and installing Tor, the general recommendation is not to put it in full-screen mode. Rather leave it at window size, for extra security. Also, it’s very important that you download Tor exclusively from their official website.
If you don’t take extra precautions like a VPN, your internet service provider (ISP) will know you’re using Tor. It won’t be able to decrypt your traffic, but this information can raise suspicion. If you’re looking to browse anonymously, the additional attention is probably not on your agenda.
So, how to enter the dark web? Tor is based on Firefox and can provide results from the so-called surface web, as well as the dark web. But finding the dark web links can be a challenge. There are search engines specifically for the dark web, but still the results shown are often irrelevant. If you have an address of a dark website, make sure it’s legit because the dark web is full of bait for new users.
Also, make sure to use an email account that doesn’t involve your real name or account, because many dark websites require registration. Avoid Gmail or Outlook for these situations, as you want an untraceable address.
Beware: there are a lot of websites that you probably would prefer not to know about.
Decide How to Use the Dark Web
When it comes to how to use the dark web, it’s important that you have a clear idea of what you want and how to get it. This side of the internet can provide valuable information, raise important questions, and be a lifesaver for whistleblowers, human rights advocates, and government critics in suppressive systems. It’s also a great way to protect your personal data and identity while browsing.
Due to its features and the fact that users can’t be traced easily, regardless of the activity they perform, many ask the following question: Is the dark web illegal?
Although the dark web makes space for a lot of illegal and criminal activity to take place, the usage of the dark web is not illegal. Nothing is against the law until you partake in an actual illegal activity, which is defined in different ways depending on the specific action.
That being said, the range of illegal activities on the dark web goes above and beyond. There are marketplaces where you can find all sorts of illegal substances, stolen goods, weapons, and counterfeit money. There are also sites dedicated to child pornography and even those where it’s reported that you can hire a hitman.
Not Illegal, But be Careful
Is it illegal to access the dark web? No, not necessarily. However, it’s needless to say that you should avoid the type of sites mentioned above, as well as similar .onion domains.
One of the biggest items traded on the dark web is stolen data. Many stolen pieces of information, including credit card numbers, may end up for sale. To make sure you don’t fall into the trap of highly skilled scammers that might sell your personal information on the black market, check out some of the most popular identity theft protection services.
Trades and transactions on the dark web are managed through bitcoin wallets that provide anonymity for both the seller and the buyer of goods or services. However, this significantly lowers the credibility of both parties.
This also means that there’s no guarantee that the buyer will receive things they purchased, especially considering that the goods are susceptible for authorities to check during transport.
Due to illegal actions involved, the FBI, the CIA, and similar government authorities are finding new ways to learn how to access the dark web; they also work to infiltrate and trace back some participants of the criminal activity taking place.
Because the Tor network consists of nodes run by volunteers, you never know who has control over them – it might be an individual or a group of hackers looking for a way to inject malware into your device. Or, it could even be a law enforcement agency trying to obtain data and identities of people involved in illegal activity.
|DID YOU KNOW? One of the well-known trading websites on the dark web was Silky Road. Its creator, known by the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, was tracked down and arrested by the FBI. After a long trial, he was sentenced to life in prison with no parole.|
What Is the Deep Web?
The deep web is a part of the internet that’s not indexed by search engines, and can’t be accessed with normal search.
Its vast area contains internet archives, different databases, or old data that most users will find irrelevant. But it also stores private information, login data, and more.
Private social media accounts, personal email accounts, different pages where you provide authentication like username and password, scientific or companies databases located in the intranets…these all form a part of the deep web.
Even though the terms dark web and the deep web are often used interchangeably, they are not the same.
The main difference when it comes to the deep web vs dark web is that the dark web is a portion of the deep web where illegal activity is taking place.
The deep web mainly consists of internet archives and different content that needs to exist on websites but are not relevant to users, or the domain owners don’t want them to be visible.
|DID YOU KNOW? According to some estimations, the deep web constitutes between 96% and 99% of the Internet. And the dark web is only a portion of the deep web! This leaves us with the information that less than 10% of internet databases are available through regular search engines. Knowing how to access the deep web will make it easier for you to get all the data you’re interested in.|
|The dark web is a part of the internet hidden from search engines that can’t be accessed with regular browsers and are associated with numerous illegal activities.|
|The dark web operates on a Tor network run by volunteers that provides anonymity to its users.|
|One of the ways to access the dark web is through the Tor browser, but it’s recommended that before the download you protect your anonymity with a VPN.|
|The deep web consists of not indexed web pages that contain different data that doesn’t appear in regular search results.|
|The terms deep and dark web, although used interchangeably, don’t stand for the same thing.|
How to Access the Deep Web
As we already mentioned, if deep web pages are not crawled by search engine bots, they can’t appear in the regular search results.
You can’t get to content on the deep web unless you have the exact address of the web page you want to visit or a special search engine designed for deep web searches. Also, you can sometimes access the deep web using dedicated boards that are located on the surface web.
An example of this is databases that you can access only by performing a search on a specific website. This also includes a lot of government databases that are not indexed but are still available on the internet.
If you want to find certain data on the deep web, it’s very important to make your search as precise as possible.
Is It Illegal to Access the Deep Web?
After understanding the difference between the surface web and the deep web, you may even realize that you might be using the deep web regularly. Like the dark web, don’t worry: this is not illegal unless you start using it for illegal activity.
If you have the right to access certain databases and you do it for purposes that are not considered illegal, then there shouldn’t be a problem concerning the authorities.
|DID YOU KNOW? Many regular sites now provide their users with a way on how to browse the dark web by allowing them to access the website through Tor. Facebook is a great example since it has a .onion link available for its users to browse through this social network anonymously.|
If you want to go beneath the surface and discover all that the internet has to offer, just follow our guidelines and try to make the most of it.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the technology that allows you to protect your identity and browsing habits from ISP, advertisers, and more. Now that you know how to access the dark web wisely and safely, you can broaden your horizons without being caught up in illegal or criminal activity.
However, make no mistake: nothing is guaranteed, including your anonymity, while surfing the dark web.
Just be clear about the things you don’t want to engage in, stay away from illegal activity lurking in the darkness of the web, and take extra precautions to avoid being scammed.
If you want to be as safe as possible when accessing the dark web, make sure to protect your anonymity with a VPN. After that, download the Tor browser from their official site and start browsing. Keep in mind that it’s recommended not to use Tor in full-screen mode.
You can access the dark web on your iPhone by downloading one of the suitable browsers, like Tor. Keep in mind that all the steps apply when it comes to additional protection, so installing a VPN is highly recommendable.
If you happen to find out that your email is on the dark web, make sure to determine where it’s located and with what purpose. Knowing how to access the deep web, as well as the dark web, isn’t enough. You have to know how to do it safely, which is what our article is for.