With an internet connection, you can access a lot of things – the deep web, world wide web, and the dark web. However, among all these virtual places, it seems many are more interested in the dark web. People are always seeking to know the dark wonders the web has to offer. So, if you are looking to explore this notorious cyberspace and how to get on it, as well as learn how to use the Tor browser, let this article be your guide.
What is the Dark Web?
What is the dark web by the way? Before we explore its dark and deep meaning, let us first identify the obvious differences of the deep web, dark web, and the world wide web. This will allow us to better understand the concept behind the three.
First is the world wide web. It’s basically the first layer of the internet. It contains everything we want to see online: Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, among others.
From a more technical standpoint, this portion of the web is what search engines crawl. For the average internet user, this cyberspace is already vast enough. However, the truth is that it’s only about four percent of the internet.
Now, what about the deep web? Well, this portion of the internet is not crawled and indexed by search engines like Google. But this does not mean it’s a scary space. This part of the online realm contains information like tax-related data, PayPal transactions, medical records, and a lot more. Most of the portion of the deep web hide behind HTTPs forms, but its content can still be accessed if you only know what you are searching for.
Simply said, the materials and information hosted on the dark web can only be accessed if you have the right credentials. For instance, if your medical service provider has your health records online, it won’t be indexed by Bing or Google. You can access your information only if you have the password.
As mentioned above, only four percent of the internet is the world wide web. Ninety percent is the deep web. Where’s the six percent, you may ask? That accounts for the dark web.
The dark web is a rendezvous place for cybercriminals. It is widely used by whistleblowers, drug dealers, hitmen, and human traffickers. In this place, privacy and anonymity are important. Here, there’s no such thing as one server that hosts all information. This portion of the internet is supported by a swarm of nodes and servers that can only be accessed by browsers like Tor.
How to Use the Tor Browser to Access the Dark Web?
You might be very interested in knowing how to use Tor to access the dark web. Regardless of your reason for wanting to learn how to use it, know that we’ve got you covered.
The best way to access the dark web is through the Tor browser. This browser is considered a form of VPN as it makes the user completely untraceable. ISPs and government spies can trace your information with Tor.
Once you have the Tor browser set up on your device, then accessing the dark web is easy.
Set Your Location with Tor
Websites use your IP address to tell your location. But if you are using the Tor browser, nothing and nobody can tell the entry and exit nodes of your IP.
To set the Tor browser’s location, follow these steps:
- Assuming you’ve already installed the Tor browser, open the folder where its files have been saved.
- Once in there, navigate to this path: Browser > TorBrowser > Data > Tor.
- Locate the torrc file. Right-click on it and select Open with.
- Choose Notepad to open the file.
- Find the ExitNodes section of the code. Change the value according to your needs.
- Save your changes by clicking Save.
- Close the file and launch the Tor browser.
Open Websites in the Dark Web
The websites you access via the dark web aren’t the typical sites that have URLs ending with .com or .ca. The commonly used extension here is .onion. Also, the website names are scrambled to make them hard to remember.
VPN and Tor
Everyone who accesses the dark web would agree that using the Tor browser is not enough. It has to be paired with a VPN to ensure complete anonymity. There are two ways to use the Tor browser and a VPN.
Method #1: Tor over VPN
This may sound technical, but it’s not as complicated as it seems. Using the Tor browser over a VPN service means you connect to a VPN service before using the Tor browser. Among the two methods, this is the safest and most popular. While the Tor browser ensures your anonymity, the VPN service protects your privacy.
In this method, the browser will first encrypt your request, which will then be tunnelled through your ISP uninterrupted. From here, it will pass through the VPN server, which will hide your IP and remove geo-location tags.
After which, your request will be transferred to a Tor entry node and sent to various Tor exit nodes. And then, your request will be matched with the right website. Yes, these steps may sound tricky, but it’s effective.
Method #2: VPN over Tor
Though it’s not considered safe, it’s still usable. This method is the opposite of the first. Instead of passing through the VPN tunnel first, the request passes through the Tor network.
Because the request goes to the Tor network first, prying eyes can see what you’re doing. Hence, it is not recommended.
It’s a vast world out there, and there’s definitely more to learn. But hopefully, this article has shed some light about the dark web. To wrap this article neat and tight, take all the necessary precautions. Avoid using your personal information on the dark web and steer clear of any dubious or suspicious groups. Still, have fun while you’re on the internet.
Did this article spark your interest about the dark web? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment on them below.