The difference between the Dark web and Deep web?
Lets first start off by dividing the different types of internet we have. The internet you probably use everyday can also be called the “Clearnet” or “Surface Web”. This is the internet that is indexed by search engines like Google and Yahoo. So the clearnet is pretty much the internet known by many.
The deep web are websites that are usually NOT indexed by search engines or are blocked from it entirely. So you will have to know the correct URL to visit these websites. You can still use a normal browser to visit these sites though. In some situations it might not be wise to do so however.
The dark web, also called Darknet or Dark Net is a network that does not exist on the normal internet. Therefore it can not be visited using your normal browser. It is a seperate network that can only be accessed when using special software.
The most popular dark web network is the TOR network. To get access to this network you will need to use a special browser or operation system. All websites you visit on there have a scrambled url name and always ends with “.onion”. For example the onion version of the search engine Duckduckgo looks like this http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion you can try to click on this link from a normal browser but you will see that nothing will load for you.
What Tor does is encrypting your connection and putting it through different nodes usually in different countries. This way it is very hard to discover your true IP adress, thus you are fairly anonymous.
How to access Tor
If you want to browse the onion network yourself, you can download the Tor browser right now. After installation you can just load it up like any other browser and surf around.
We have some helpful articles to get you started here:
The second most popular dark web protocol is (probably) Freenet. To make use of Freenet, you can use your normal browser but you will have to install software that will connect you to the freenet network itself. And while Tor can be used to visit any website, be it onion or a clearnet site. With Freenet you can only access so called “Freesites” that are on its network. A freesite url looks like this:
It is also different from Tor because Freenet uses a P2P (peer-to-peer) system to connect its users. So you will connect to other people, this does mean that if nobody uses Freenet, it does not work at all. Think of it like how Torrents work.
Not used by that many people but still used by some is I2P or invisible internet project. Like with Freenet you will not need a special browser but connect to a layered network and use your Chrome or Firefox browser to visit “Eepsites” on the I2P network.
Even though it does not have that much content on its network it still deserves a spot on this list. Personally i am not a fan of this network, since it was also a lot harder to get working and searching for eepsites also was not that straightforward in my opinion.
This one is fairly new but does work in a unique way compared to other dark net protocols. Zeronet does not make use of IP adresses but makes use of cryptocurrency-like private keys. It is not that hard to get working either so maybe fun to check out. Since its kinda new i don’t know that much about this one though.
What is on the dark web
Criminals and illegal activity
Ok let’s just get this out of the way first since you have probably heard about the “dark web” on the news or something that mostly portray it to be this evil dark part of the internet where you get assassins after you if you visit it.
Yes there are criminals on the dark web, JUST AS THERE ARE ON THE CLEARNET. Since people using the dark net can hide their identity it is fairly obvious that people with bad intentions will make use of that to do whatever illegal stuff they do.
Illegal sites and content
We don’t advise you to look into these types of content on the dark web.
Yes on the dark web people also share copyrighted materials like movies, music, games and porn. There are also ways to use torrents from the dark web. This is probably not a big suprise to whoever is reading this though 😉
The illegal content on the dark web is very varied. There are these online marketplaces where they sell all sorts of illegal products like drugs, weapons, stolen credit cards and hacked accounts. Speaking of hackers, there are plenty of “black hat” hackers in special communities that do spooky internet stuff.
Assassin for hire (myth)
On a even darker note, there are also places where you could hire “assassins” (which are mostly scam sites). There was also some recent news that some guy ordered and paid for someone to “take care” of his wife and the scam site reported him to the cops. So most of this stuff is probably fake. However, there are some stories that would suggest there are actual people using the dark web in one way or another to take on hitman jobs. I know this is a very un-popular thing to say in the dark web community, but there was a documentary done in asia that supported this idea. Payment was always made in cryptocurrency and people that hired them always paid after the deed was done not before. This way the criminals showed that they mean business. Still, don’t believe any site claiming to be a hitman for hire service, it is probably a scam and can get you in trouble.
The most disturbing things on the dark web
If hitman’s are not bad enough there are even more crazy things on the dark web that are on a whole new level of disturbing. Just a quick heads up, this next part is not meant for unstable people or persons under 18. Skip this part if you don’t want to know more.
There are communities for all sorts of people on the dark web, usually in the form of “Chans” (like 4chan) or forums. On these sites people will discuss and share pictures and videos related to their interests. Nothing wrong there, but the topics on these sites could be very disturbing.
For example there are sites covering underage porn, cannibalism, necrophilia, murders and gore.
Red Rooms (myth)
Also some people believe that there are these so called “Red Rooms” where rich people can pay to watch kidnapped people being tortured. Pretty much like in the movie Hostel. It is however never confirmed red rooms really exist. It would also be very hard to livestream something from the dark web since you would have buffering problems to say the least.
Real Red Room
However, it is confirmed that something like a red room actually happened but did NOT involve a dark web website for the streaming of it. Two Italian teens were arrested making a cryptocurrency payment to be able to watch horrific things done to children. A dark web website was used by the teens to describe in text what they witnessed to other users of the site. They were members of a forum-like site where pre-recorded videos were shared of gore and other things.
While these last subjects are indeed disturbing to most people, you will probably not find it on your own when you visit the dark web. To find these often hidden communities that have disturbing topics you will have to look for it yourself. It is very rare that you stumble upon any crazy content without warning on the dark web. I also do not suggest you go looking for crazy stuff on there, it might scar you for life.
Best Free Speech platform in the world
Journalism in cencured countries
There are many people in this world who do not live in a free country. In the west we are pretty much used to being able to say or write whatever we want. For people who live in countries with strong censorship, the dark web is the only place where they can speak their mind in a secure way or report on news that would get them in trouble on the clearnet.
But how far can free speech go?
I believe the most important thing in the world is that you can say or discuss whatever you want, as long as nobody gets mentally or physically hurt. With “mentally hurt” i do not mean hurting someones feelings. In this day and age people are triggered to fast already and in my opinion should grow some extra skin. With mentally hurt i mean saying something to someone who might not be ready or is too unstable to hear what you want to say.
Discussions on controversial and illegal topics
So do people with interest that are illegal when practiced deserve a right to express their way of thinking to others on these dark web communities? I believe yes they do, as long as they are not promoting harm to other people or themselves i think that they should still be able to discuss their livestyle with others of the same mindset. This is of course a personal opinion. A healthy discussion on a controversial topic could be beneficial even. And remember because the dark net exist and people can discuss their relativly controversial topics there, at least we won’t be confronted by it on the clearnet.
Weird stuff and entertainment
For me this is where the fun of the dark web is. Since it’s such a underground network you will find some weird stuff on there. From things about aliens to conspiracy theories and just stuff that does not make any sense at all.
Conspiracy theories and paranormal
There are plenty of chan like sites and forums that dig into all types of conspiracy theories. And yes there are websites on the clearnet that also cover things like this, but to me it is just more fun to look into topics like this on the dark web, where people feel more free and open to talk about stuff.
Personally i find the paranormal somewhat interesting as well and topics like aliens, ufo sightings, ghosts and demons are among the subjects discussed. If you are into that kind of thing, go check it out for yourself.
Super weird sites or content
And then there are people who create just plain weird sites or videos that are in most cases probably a meme or joke. I have seen videos that are in most cases “horror” like content where you just see killer/creepy clowns in a scary setting with scary music in the background. Most of the time nothing is really happening in those videos, it is just super weird.
Yes you can even play games on the dark web. Some are fairly fun others are disturbing and even illegal. Take for example the game “Sad Satan” which supposedly has two different versions, a legal and illegal version. This game is a perfect example on how strange the dark net can really be. I won’t cover the entire backstory of Sad Satan right now but in short it was a game that supposedly have come from an onion site on tor which contained images and sounds of sexual child abuse. Then another version of the game reached 4chan on the clearnet and in this version there was no illegal content, all of which seemed to have been replaced with still weird but legal images.
since it is very hard to describe it’s weirdness, here is a short video from pewdiepie of (the legal version) Sad Satan.
So now you learned what the dark web is and what content you could find on there. What i love about it personally is that it can be a mysterious place and you never know what you going to find.
Should you visit the dark web?
That is of course entirely up to you as a person. If you like mysterious stuff or want to talk to other people anonymously, sure go take a look around the onion network, freenet or i2p and have some fun, talk to other people on message boards and maybe meme around for a bit. Just take care with downloaded files from the dark web and don’t go looking up illegal content.
What you should NOT do on the dark web
- DO NOT give out your personal information to anyone
- DO NOT buy any goods on the dark web you might get scammed
- DO NOT click on links related to / download illegal content
- DO NOT use the dark web on Windows if privacy is a real concern
Staying safe on the dark web
If your privacy is a legitimate concern try to use a secure operation system like Tails to visit the dark web. You could also use a anonymous VPN to add an extra layer of protection to your connection. But honestly if you just use your common sense, follow the “rules” and avoid stupidity you should be fine.