What is the dark web? How to access it and what you’ll find

The internet is a vast space, and there’s more to it than the average netizen knows. Beyond what we can all access via Google is a huge chunk of the internet, actually bigger than the internet as we know it.

What is the dark web?

The dark web is a part of a larger section of the internet known as the deep web. This section generally comprises things that are not accessible to every internet user, such as medical files, legal documents, email content, items behind paywalls, etc. Estimates place the size of the deep web at between 90% and 96% of the internet.

The dark web is a subset of the deep web designed by military researchers in the US in the mid-1990s, with the main goal being to hide government files from general internet users. Today, it is recognized for the anonymity it provides, which can be used for both good and bad.

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How to access the dark web

The dark web can’t be accessed via regular browsers (unless you do a lot of tweaking). To gain access, you will need an anonymized proxy network. The most common of these are Tor and I2P. The former is the biggest anonymized network, and it’s the one we’ll use for this guide.

How to connect to Tor

Tor stands for The Onion Router, and it is a network of servers made up of volunteer servers from across the world. The network is usually accessed through the Tor browser, which is based on Mozilla Firefox.

The Tor browser can be downloaded from the official Tor website and installed on Windows, OS X, Linux, and Android platforms. Once you open the browser, it will automatically establish a connection to the Tor network, and you’ll be able to access the dark web.

How to navigate through the dark web

If you are new to the dark web, it can be difficult to access various pages as you will still get the regular results after a search. To know where to go, you will need some help, and here are some of the best dark web sites you should check out.

Apart from that, you can also use Hidden Wiki (http://wikitjerrta4qgz4.onion). This dark net website acts as a guide for the dark web as it indexes .onion sites based on categories such as market place, email/ messaging, political advocacy, whistle blowing, drugs, adult, etc. It can help you explore anything on the dark web.

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What is found on the dark web?

The dark web generally contains “everything” that the internet has to offer, and that involves both good and bad. It is however infamous for unlawful activities such as selling and buying drugs, weapons, fake currency, stolen passwords, etc. Some of these activities actually take place, although some of the stories such as red rooms and hitmen for hire are often exaggerated.

The privacy provided by the network also facilities some legal activities such as whistleblowing, anonymous chat rooms, and emails, unblocking content, and so much more.

In other words, you can access anything you need on the dark web, from chat rooms to illegal weapons. Browsing through the sites without making a purchase (except child porn) is completely legal.

Wrap up

The dark web is an interesting part of the internet that you can and should explore. Accessing it is quite easy, and you can do so using the guide above. However, also remember that whatever is illegal in your country is still illegal on the dark web.