There is a wide range of people that benefit from the Deep Web’s capability to allow anonymous use and communication. Listed below are individuals or groups who have benefitted from the Deep Web in the past and whom also continue to benefit from its existence today.
What the above all have in common is that their information is not intended for public consumption. The owners of the content may go to great lengths to render the information inaccessible by ensuring it doesn’t show up in internet browser search results.
How to get into the Deep Web
We bring you a guide to allow you to enter the main darknets that make up the Dark Web, which is colloquially known as the Deep Web, although the latter term has another meaning. The hidden Internet or Dark Web is a portion of the network in which you need certain applications to be able to connect, and that is precisely what we are going to help you with, to download and configure these tools to enter them.
We are going to teach you how to connect to four different darknets. The first will be TOR, which is possibly the best known and most used of all. But we will also teach you to connect to ZeroNet, Freenet and I2P so that you can explore them all and decide on the one that has convinced you the most, either by using it thoroughly or simply by browsing it as we have also done several times.
The difference between Clearnet, Deep web, Dark web and Darknet
It is important that you differentiate four concepts: Clearnet, Deep web, Dark web and Darknet. The easiest to understand is that of Clearnet, which is the Internet as you know it, the pages you find on Google and other search engines and which you can access directly from them. For example, Engadget is a Clearnet page, because if you google it, you can find it quickly, and if you enter its web address, you have no problem entering.
— 90% of the content on the web is not accessible through search engines. This is a part of the Deep Web, which includes all the information that you cannot access publicly. It can be conventional pages protected by a paywall, but also files saved in Dropbox, emails saved on your provider’s servers, and all those pages that are created for a few moments, for example, when you configure a travel search engine and it shows you the contents.
Imagine, for example, a page that you access by typing a conventional web address, but whose content you cannot access if you do not pay a certain fee or monthly payment. That is Deep Web. So is the page that is generated when you are using a travel search engine. It is a single website configured with the data you have entered, and which cannot be accessed directly.
If the Deep Web is 90% of the Internet, the Dark Web would occupy only 0.1% of it. It is a portion of the Internet intentionally hidden from search engines, with masked IP addresses and accessible only with a special web browser. The Dark Web is therefore part of the Deep Web, but they are different things. For example, if the Deep Web were a city, the Dark Web would be several neighborhoods. They are part of the city, but they are not the city.
The Dark Web is the content that you can find in different Darknets, which are each of the networks that you can only access with specific programs. The most popular is TOR, but you also have Freenet, I2P or ZeroNet. Each of these is a Darknet, but when we refer to all of them in general we use the term Dark Web.
The Dark Web is usually defined as a non-indexable area by conventional search engines, which means that you cannot find its pages in Google, Bing and other search engines. But there are some exceptions. For example, search engines have been created for Darknets like the TOR network, and we have some search engines like DuckDuckGo that are also working on including this type of content.
In Here you have a broader explanation of these concepts so that you understand them. It is also important to make clear that the Dark Web is not bad by definition, that many of its myths are false, and that it has quite a few pages with constructive content. In addition, the Dark Web serves as a shelter for persecuted activists in countries that are especially fierce with freedom of expression, and helps others to bypass local censorship to access information.
Some myths about the Dark Web
There is a halo of mysticism around the Dark Web, like a separate Internet in which you can find a lot of hidden and evil secrets. But if you are going to delve into it, the first thing you should know is that it is not so bad, and you will find little that you cannot also find on the open Internet as I myself could see in a report from 2017.
The main characteristic of this alternative Internet is the theoretical privacy it offers, although that does not prevent the illicit pages that are in it from also being dismantled. For middle European countries, this network offers few advantages beyond the curiosity and having a browsing experience similar to the Internet of the 90s.
However, your privacy is essential in countries where there is great institutional censorship and freedom of expression is amputated, so much so that the media such as the BBC are also interested in putting your information there to make it more accessible. In those cases, these networks can be used to get your opinions across with complete freedom. Yes, it is true that freedom can have a double edge and this service is also used for less noble purposes, but that does not mean that it is not equally important.
But come on, the main idea that you have to take into account is that you will see few things that you cannot find on the Clearnet or the Deep Web, counting in the latter with pages and hidden forums of search engines where similar content can be published, but that they are still hosted on the open Internet.
What will you need to enter the Dark Web
Therefore, as you have seen, you do not need anything to enter the Deep Web because it is the conventional Internet, but with the pages that do not appear in the search engine. What we are going to explain is how to enter the Dark Web, since this is what we colloquially refer to as Deep Web, and the method to enter depends on the darknet you want to connect to. Here are the steps you have to follow to access the most important ones.
How to enter the TOR darknet
TOR is possibly the best known darknet in the world, and its popularity has made those responsible for maintaining it offer an alternative as simple to enter as downloading a browser specially prepared for it. It’s called Tor Browser, and to download it you just have to go to the official website of torproject.org/download . In it, press the operating system for which you want to use it, which can be the three main ones for desktop and Android.
Once you download the installer, choose the destination folder and installer on your computer. In the case of desktops, installation is simple and there is no problem at all. In the case of mobile, you can install it from Google Play or from the web, where you can download the APK file.
You will see that this does not open automatically, but first it shows you a window that tells you that you can connect or configure the connection. Click on the Connect button, and when the connection process is complete Tor Browser will open and you will be able to navigate both the Clearnet and the Tor network with it. It comes with the DuckDuckGo search engine configured to also find .onion pages, the domain of the websites of this Darknet.
A good starting point is to search for “The Hidden Wiki” and enter the first result even if it is a .com page. In it you will see a large number of .onion pages and their description in English ordered by themes. From there, all you have to do is visit the different pages and browse their content.
It is normal for the TOR network pages to load extremely slow, something that is due to the anonymization encryption of the network itself. That is precisely why you will also notice that most of them seem to be taken from two decades ago, since they are usually created in simple HTML and without too many frills.
If you prefer, you also have an Android version of TOR Browser that you can download from Google Play. Its operation is extremely simple: you download it, when you turn it on, click on Connect and that’s it, in a few seconds you’ll be connected to the TOR network.
If you opt for it, its operation could not be easier, because you only have to click on the Connect button, wait a few seconds for the connection to be established and start browsing by entering the pages you want.
How to enter the ZeroNet darknet
Another very popular darknet is ZeroNet, an alternative Internet that works through P2P. This means that there are no central servers, but the network data is transmitted from user to user, just like the downloads of programs like Torrent or eMule. To be able to access this network, you also need a special application.
The application can be downloaded from the official website. To do this, you have to enter zeronet.io, and click on the Download button for Windows. If you use macOS or GNU / Linux, you can click on the Other platforms button on the right.
The application will come to you in a .zip file, that is, you have to unzip the download and open the ZeroNet.exe application or the alternative executable file of your operating system. When you open it, ZeroNet will open in your browser, although it may ask you to allow its access in the Windows Firewall the first time, and in the hidden icons on the taskbar you will see the application run as a sign that the network is working.
ZeroNet will open in a new tab of your main browser, and you will see in its address bar that you need to connect with an encrypted code. You can only browse when you have the application open. The main page is an index, and on the left you have the sites created by those responsible for this darknet to start taking your first steps.
This network works a bit like a forum at first, since the first websites have this format, but then you can go jumping from one to another and find pages of all the themes. A good page to start from can be 0List, which makes a bit of an index where anyone can put their pages or forums. In any case, you will already be browsing ZeroNet, and where you go will be up to you. In Fossbytes they mentioned several pages that you can find.
How to enter the Freenet darknet
Freenet is another darknet, an alternative that works through P2P and that has been fighting for privacy for around 20 years. To connect you have to use a specific application, and to do this, go to its website freenetproject.org, go to the Download section and download the connection executable. It has versions for both Windows and Mac OS X and GNU / Linux.
Open the application you downloaded to launch the Freenet installer. The first thing it will do is check if you have Java, and if you don’t have Java it will ask you to install it first because it will be necessary to use this subnet. If this happens, click on Install Java.
If you had to install Java because you did not have it, when you click Install Java the procedure will be very simple. All you have to do is click on the Install button that you have at the bottom right. If you want, you can also check the option to choose a destination folder, but it is not necessary.
Once Java is installed, in the Freenet installer it will tell you that everything is in order, and you will have to click Next. You will go to the screen where to choose where to install the application, then where to put the shortcut in the start menu and whether to make another on the desktop. They are the same three screens of the installer of any application, and when you finally get to the summary you just have to click on Install to confirm the whole process and proceed to install Freenet.
When you finish installing the application, run Freenet. You will have to allow their access in Windows Firewall the first time you do so. When you launch the application, you will see the Freenet icon in the hidden icons of the Windows taskbar, a sign that it is already working. If you click on the icon, the Freenet home page will open in a tab of the browser you are using.
When you open Freenet in a browser tab, you will go to a first screen where you can choose how you want to connect. You can choose to connect with low security, which is by connecting to other users’ computers (remember that it is a P2P), but you can also choose a high level by connecting to a friend, although they will have to have less security so that you can connect through them to more pages. Here, it is best to start with low security and thus be able to navigate through all the pages.
On the next screen, you will be advised to use Freenet in the private mode of your browser. After this screen, you have to choose the size of the data storage. As it is a P2P network, you have to host the pages you are visiting on your computer, which are downloaded from other users. Here, follow the recommendations choosing between 10 or 20 GB to ensure correct navigation and click Next.
Then, on the next screen of the browser, you will be asked if you have a connection with a monthly data limit to take it into account when downloading. And when you answer, you will have to configure the download and upload speed that you want the application to have. You can choose the maximum speed you have at home or one that does not interfere with your work, and when you choose it or put it at hand, click Next.
Once you’ve gone through the initial setup, you will finally enter the Freenet home page. In it, you will see an index of the main pages of the darknet. In this directory you will find various indexes so that you can start exploring the pages that you can find on the net, and from here on the type of content you access will depend on you.
How to enter the I2P darknet
And the fourth option that we present to you to access part of the Dark Web is to use the I2P darknet, another anonymous network that emerged in 2003. To access it, you will also need to install your own application, and for this you will have to go to its website official in English and click on the Download I2P button that appears in green and includes the number of the latest version of the application.
Next, you will go to a page where you have to click on the installer for the operating system you have and from which you are going to connect. You have the possibility of using it for Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, GNU / Linux in general and Android. Click on the name of the file you want and the download will begin.
When it downloads, it launches the app. After choosing the language on the first screen, you will arrive at a simple process. In the first two screens, just click Next, and in the third, choose if you want to change the installation directory. You will reach the fourth screen, where you have to choose whether to install only the base or add Windows Service that only serves to run the application when starting the computer.
Just installing the base package is enough, so just click Next. The application will install, and when you continue from the progress screen you can decide which shortcuts you want to add. After this process, just click on the Done button and you are done.
When done, launch the application and add the exception in Windows Firewall when prompted. When finished, the main I2P website will open in the browser. The first time you open I2P you will be able to do the initial configuration. This is not really something strictly necessary and you have the option to skip it, but if you do you will find information, a speed test and the possibility of configuring the data transfer rate you want to use.
You will go to the main screen of this darknet, in which you now have to wait several minutes for the connection to be established between the peers that configure this P2P network. If you get tired of waiting, there are advanced instructions to configure a proxy in the browser with which to connect more quickly.
The bad news is that this darknet may not connect the first time, and that you need to do an advanced configuration in your browser to connect to a proxy server with which to guarantee safe browsing. As explained in the documentation, you will have to use the IP 127.0.0.1 with port 4444 for HTTP, and with port 4445 for HTTPS.
Once you have waited for it to work correctly or have configured the proxy server, then you can start browsing the I2P pages. In the main one that we have shown you a little above, you have links to the most interesting ones, from which you can already try to find different ones to connect to.