Just like the name suggests, ‘dark web’ is ‘that part’ of the World Wide Web, which is not accessible to us via normal search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc. The reason being, these dark net websites are not indexed by the normal search engines.

(FUN FACT: Although, many people think that the World Wide Web (web) and the internet are the same thing; however, they are completely different systems. While World Wide Web is the collection of web pages, the internet is a wide network of computers connected altogether)

I know that this might sound confusing to some of you, but the truth is that there are ‘only’ 5 to 6 billion websites, which are indexed by the likes of Google search engine. Meaning, when we search for something on the internet, we are only able to view amongst this pool of ‘5 to 6 billion’ websites; which contribute to less than 1 percent of the entire World Wide Web. Thus, we are unable to access around 99 percent of the web!

However, this 99 percent of the inaccessible web cannot be completely termed as ‘dark web.’

Definition of Dark web

According to Wikipedia, “The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets, overlay networks that use the internet but require specific software, configurations, or authorization to access. The dark web forms a small part of the deep web, the part of the web not indexed by the web search engine”.

(For those of you who are confused with “how does Google search engine works” or “what do you mean by indexed websites,” kindly click here to understand)

Now that we are done with the complicated and theoretical definition of the dark web, let me put it across to you in simple terms: Dark web is any website that is not visible through standard search engines like Google, Bing, etc. You need to have a special configuration and software to view these websites. These websites exist on a highly encrypted peer-to-peer network, making it extremely difficult to track the geological location or Ip addresses of its users. Thus, with the help of the dark web, people get to have confidential agreements and transactions.

The total numbers of darknet websites across the World Wide Web are hardly around 40,000 to 50,000 i.e. approximately 0.04 of the normal web. You can only access the dark web with the help of specially designed networks such as Tor and I2P. Further, unlike the normal websites that are recognized by their domain names of ‘.in’ and ‘.com’, the darknet websites are often identified with the help of widely used domain name ‘.onion’.

Difference between ‘dark web’ and ‘deep web’

More than often, people get confused and interchange the term ‘dark web’ with ‘deep web’ with one another. However, both these terms are extremely different from one another and cannot be used as one. After all, the dark web is nothing but a part or subset of a larger deep web.

Although, both of them are hidden from normal search engines like Google; however, the biggest difference between the two is that unlike the deep web, the darknet is used to carry out illegal activities. The deep web mostly comprises of websites that are password protected- personal email, subscription-based services, online banking, etc.

Also, one must remember that simply surfing the deep web or the dark web is not unlawful, as long as you are not getting involved in any of the illegal activities. Further, there are only a few websites carrying out such illegal activities that you need to avoid (most of which are from the dark web).

The Deep web is also beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • There are plenty of whistle blower websites, which help people complain and tip anonymously.
  • Further, as the pages on ‘deep web’ are unindexed, you can also hide your location and have a confidential conversation with another person, or simply have access to books and texts that are not available on the normal web.
  • There are also many countries where the use of internet is not allowed; but thanks to the deep web, people are able to get connected with one another.

Why you should avoid using the ‘dark web’?

There are a plethora of reasons why you should avoid using the ‘dark web’. In fact, ‘there are so many reasons why you should not use the darknet’, that I can probably write an entire separate article about it!

However, for the sake of today’s conversation, let us cover a few ground points, as to why you must avoid using the ‘dark web’:

  • Firstly, most of these darknet websites carry out illegal operations ranging from drug trafficking to the sale of stolen data. Thus, the chances of someone fooling you (out of money or personal information) are pretty high!
  • Also, if your computer is not secured properly, then your own data is at risk of being exposed.
  • Most of the websites on the dark web will show you horrible things, you wish you hadn’t seen. There are many websites on the dark web that are specifically created to broadcast child abuse, live torture rooms, etc.

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