What Is Dark Web? How To Access It?

And what you should know before you get into it.

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What is Dark web featured image
Image: Tor

The dark web is a part of the internet that isn’t indexed by regular search engines. Not only that, you need special browsers and internet configurations to access the dark web. This is because 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 make use of them without getting into trouble.

The internet is divided into three broad parts. These are the Surface web, the deep web, and the dark web. When you browse the internet with a regular web browser using a regular search engine like Google, you’re exploring the surface web.

You can find relevant websites using a search engine and go to those websites. That’s where you find the deep web. Once you’re on the website, you can log in with the username and password. While your ID is online, it isn’t registered by search engines, making it part of the deep web.

What is Dark Web?

what is dark web and how to access it

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

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

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

How to access the Dark Web?

What is Tor
Image: Tor

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

As a result, you may get slower browsing speeds, but you’ll not leave a trail on the internet. You can also use the Tor browser with a VPN to access the dark web. It is called Onion over VPN when you connect to a VPN first and then launch Tor to browse the web.

If you want to get started using it, you can check the list of real-world onion sites you can browse using Tor. Reddit also has a r/deepweb thread with plenty of information to get you started and solve your doubts about it.

Things to know before you access the Dark Web

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

However, it is also unmoderated, which means sometimes things are not how they seem. If you think dark patterns are evil, wait till you see the ugly side of the internet. So if you’re switching to Tor to keep your anonymity, stick to verified links and privacy-focused search engines like DuckDuckGo.

In most cases, you have many Google alternatives and even privacy-focused browsers to let you navigate the surface web privately. But if you have explored the dark web or plan 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 tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Manik Berry

Manik Berry

With a Master’s degree in journalism, Manik writes about big tech and has a keen eye for political-tech news. In his free time, he’s browsing the Kindle store for new stuff read. Manik also adores his motorcycle and is looking for new routes on weekends. He likes tea and cat memes. You can reach him at [email protected]

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