The internet we use at home on a regular basis is just a fragment of the entire network. Think of it as an iceberg – we are only hitting the surface with the traditional browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, DuckDuckGo, and so on. In other words, there is something called the Deep Web and it holds many secrets, some of which are gruesome.
Let us start by clarifying a small point right of the bat. People often use the terms the Dark Web and the Deep Web interchangeably. The truth is that the Dark Web is a small part of the Deep Web known for its criminal and immoral practices.
We’ll get into it in more detail, but let’s first discuss what Deep Web is and why it exists in the first place.
The Deep Web is also known as the invisible web. It is not indexed by regular search engines. If you’ve ever built a website with a content management system, you know that there is an option that lets Google index your site and pages. People do this the same way you post an ad or appear in the Yellow Pages. If you don’t, the general public will not know you are there.
Sometimes this is done because you are not done tweaking your site and pages and don’t want a bad indexing score, which would prevent people from viewing your content even when you do register with search engines. Other times, you simply don’t want to share your site with everyone and are content with a few people knowing about it. To access a site, you must know the specific URL and you might need a password to enter.
The Dark Web
The Dark Web is another matter. It is one of the parts of the Deep Web that is not indexed on purpose. In fact, you cannot access the Dark Web with traditional web browsers. You need special browsers, programs, and protocols to gain access to the content on the Dark Web.
The reason the Dark Web is so sinister is that it is an underground part of the internet and it deals with many criminal activities, including illegal pornography, communicating with terrorist organizations, human trafficking (including children), drug trafficking, hacking services, frauds, and many more.
This isn’t to say that all of Dark Web is gruesome, just most of it.
Many use it as a type of rebellion against authority and government surveillance with no intention of morally dubious or heinous activities, like accessing social media, uncensored content, sharing educational materials in authoritarian countries, and so on.
Is It Safe to Browse the Dark Web?
We would advise against it. The Dark Web is not a place to be visited out of boredom, as you would have to do your best to hide your location and personal information, which does require a level of tech understanding. There is a meme about finding yourself on there with a discount. Luckily, as is the case with the rest of the Deep Web, you have to know exactly what you are looking for in order to find it. You are not going to find Google-like suggestions, like Did you mean …? and so on.
The Dark Web exists outside of the confines of the law of any country. While browsing the Dark Web is not illegal in itself, most of its websites are. Depending on the laws of your country, you may face jail time for simply being curious. However, that is not the worst that could happen to you there, so, again, we urge you not to visit it.