What’s The Difference Between The Dark Web And Deep Web?

What’s The Difference Between The Dark Web And Deep Web?

People commonly use the terms dark web and deep web interchangeably, although they have distinct meanings. Briefly, the two are different in that the deep web entails content on the internet that you cannot find via a search engine, whereas the dark web refers to a secret network that you will need a special browser to access.

You have always used the deep web daily when checking emails or shopping online. But you will require the Tor Border to use the dark web.

This article will explore both the deep web and the dark web, the difference between the two, and related developments associated with both. 

What is the Deep Web? 

The deep web is the internet component you cannot obtain by engines such as Bing and Google. Sometimes, it is referred to as non-indexed content and is any content that lies behind some access control, such as log-ins or code words. Do you know how big this deep web is? Compared to view, it holds about 7500 terabytes of information, making up nearly 90% to 95% of the web. 

Examples of Deep Web  

Surprisingly, you are more likely to be on the deep web than you can imagine. For example, the deep web includes things like your Gmail inbox and Google Drive since they are not searchable domains. Consider your bank account page, the settings page of your social media account, the admin page of your blog, and a few selected academic journals. These are websites that Google or any other search engine cannot crawl because they exist in directories. 

What is the Dark Web? 

The deep web comprises a small portion known as the dark web or the darknet. A secret network of sites was available only after using the specific browser. All activity on the dark web is anonymous by default. It is where the darkest transactions on the internet take place. King’s College London researchers analyzed the contents found in over 2000 darknet sites and concluded that up to 60% hosted illegitimate content. However, there are also some legal websites on the dark web.

To access the dark web, you would need special search engines such as Not Evil, Candle, or SearX, which all work on specialized tools like Tor. Users and website operators never declare their identities and addresses on the dark web. As a result, closing the dark web servers or putting geo-restrictions on users is very difficult. 

Examples of the Dark Web 

It facilitates various illegal activities, including the trading of weapons, drugs, bogus money, fake passports, and stolen passwords.

The “Silk Road” was possibly one of the oldest and most famous illegal darknet marketplaces. It was closed down in 2013. However, it demonstrated to the entire world how simple it was to purchase illicit drugs, bogus documents, and anything else that might raise eyebrows before its closure.

Conversely, shutting down the Silk Road supported the fascination with darknets and unlawfully sold products. Isak Ladegaard was a sociologist who created an algorithm to track sales data on Silk Road-style marketplaces. He stated that all the media coverage helped increase people’s awareness of the dark web. That is why actual trading increased.

However, one cannot only link criminality to the dark web. Whistleblowers, journalists, and other activists frequently use the dark web to share their research results while maintaining anonymity. For example, one can refer to the WikiLeaks website, which resides on the dark web. The dark web is also accessible for sites like DuckDuckGo, Facebook, and ExtremeVPN. 

What is the Difference Between the Deep Web and the Dark Web? 

Accordingly, as mentioned in this article’s opening, the dark and deep web are frequently thought to be the same. In simpler terms, not all of the deep web is the dark web, but every part of the dark web is within the deep web. Understanding this difference is key to navigating the complexities of online content.

Let's quickly explore their differences across various aspects:


The Deep Web 

The Dark Web 


It is more extensive than the dark web, offering access to content blocked by online search engines. 

The dark web is a considerably more limited subnet of the deep web. 


Doesn't need a specific browser or unique protocols. Its material is largely password-protected. 

It is not accessible without a special Tor browser, which protects users' anonymity. 


400–500 times more extensive than the web's surface. 

For just 0.01% of the entire internet and 5% of the deep web. 


Intranets that companies or organizations use. Both free services, like Gmail, and paid services, like Netflix and Amazon, are available. 

Mostly for dissenting speech, criminal activities, and whistleblowing. 


Your login credentials are the target of attacks, which take the shape of numerous schemes like phishing emails and bogus login prompts. 

You risk infection when downloading illicit content containing malware or viruses like worms, trojans, or keyloggers. 

Are you prepared for an in-depth exploration? Below, we've provided a more detailed description of their differences. 


There is a wider field about the deep web than the dark web. The content it covers is unavailable in these search engines, such as Safari, Google, and DuckDuckGo. Email, private chats, and private posts on a social media account constitute anything protected by a password. The Dark web is part of the deep web but is more focused. 


Accessing the deep web doesn't require a special browser or unique protocol. However,  

the Tor browser is the exclusive means of accessing the dark web. One characteristic of the dark browser is that it employs encrypting mechanisms. Thus, all people who wish to access the dark web are invisible to each other by default. In addition, they have different URLs and look hideous compared to standard web addresses.

Unlike the regular sites, which have .com, .org, and so forth, the dark web sites all end with .onion. That intentionally permits access to those sites only on dedicated proxy browsers. It also makes it impossible to remember dark websites' URLs to further add to their anonymity.

The most general way of entry into the dark nets is the Tor software, but there is one more anonymous project – I2P – using a similar approach. I2P is also a small internet, enabling users to send emails, write blogs, and chat without disclosing their identity, as in the regular World Wide Web. 


Let us, for example, look at some numbers. The deep web is estimated to be 400-500 times larger than the surface web. However, the dark web only counts for 0.01 % of the deep web and 5% of total internet. 


Internet users can easily access the deep web, unlike the dark web. The deep web consists of intranets used for businesses or schools and payable or unpaid internet services. It means you are in the deep web when checking emails in your inbox, going through the bank account page, and managing your Dropbox folders.

However, the dark web attracts different groups of users, including criminals, whistle-blowers, or dissidents, who exploit the anonymity the dark web provides. Nevertheless, any ordinary internet user can access the dark web, and its usage is not illegal. 


Generally, the deep web is safe and secure to use with the owners of private websites or services responsible for security. However, this part of the internet has become a preferred target for cybercriminals due to the attractive personal data contained therein. Therefore, basic cyber etiquette is important when it comes to self-protection. Find out here about how to browse the deep web securely.

So, it isn’t dangerous for you to browse the dark web only. One should be careful about downloading illegal material containing viruses or malware, like worms, trojans, and keyloggers. 

Is the Dark Web or Deep Web Illegal? 

Tor browsing and not indexed pages are legal. It does not indicate that an inaccessible webpage is attempting to promote illegal activity just because the search engine cannot access it. Just like that, accessing the Tor browser and browsing on the dark net without a VPN is not illegal. One cannot buy illegal merchandise such as drugs or fake licenses/documents using a browser. It will remain so whatever the case. 

Risks of Using the Deep Web and Dark Web 

In this regard, you continuously submit your login credentials for various online services such as e-banking, email, and social networks within the deep web. Third, it is also very attractive to hackers interested in getting into users’ data, using all sorts of tricks in LinkedIn messages, phishing emails, or artificial login pop-ups.

If you are careless in selecting content, you incur risks associated with the dark web. Scammers can steal your personal information, putting you at risk of falling victim to a scam. Even worse, you may encounter an illegal act or something malicious. 

Safety while Searching the Deep Web 

Generally, accessing the deep web is considered safe, and much of it depends on sticking to basic online hygiene practices.

* Use a VPN: VPNs hide your IP address, increasing your online anonymity and improving your privacy while on the internet. You can do unsecured online activities such as public Wi-Fi without any worry that hackers, governments, and your ISP may monitor your communications.

* Attach to safe password practices: Ensure you always create different passwords for every account and keep your passwords secure. Does all this sound like a hassle to you? You can use a password manager. 

The Safest Method to Access the Dark Web 

Like other internet sectors, the dark web has scammers and third parties trying to steal your information through phishing. How do you protect yourself while working through it? 

* Visit the official website to download the Tor browser: Tor is still the simplest and most secure way to browse the dark web. Armed with this knowledge, they will force you to download their bogus copy. Viruses and malware, loaded into this fake version, will infiltrate your system through your device. Ensure that you will receive an official version of Tor at 

* Use a VPN: The government or your ISP cannot trace you, but they will know you are within the Tor network. Use a VPN to avoid this. It diverts unnecessary scrutiny and makes your encrypted traffic more difficult to crack. 

* Take security precautions: Use a different email address through which you do it, encrypt the email with PGP, and disable the Javascript through your Tor browser. Do not click on any random onion URL, and ensure you are logging onto authentic websites. Some good places to cross-check onion sites on Reddit are /r/deepweb, /r/onions, and /r/Tor. 

Who is the Dark Web Creator? 

The dark web has its genesis in the U.S. government’s attempt at setting up communication networks for both military and self-defense. 

The purpose of the Tor browser is to allow messages to be shared anonymously between U.S. spies distributed worldwide. Tor originated in the '90s, and developers released it as open-source software in the early 2000s.

The anonymous nature of the dark web also attracted people involved in illegal activities. Originally designed to facilitate secret communications, the network's anonymity became attractive to criminals. The dark web gained popularity after the launching of Bitcoin in 2009. Using this platform enabled the criminal alliance to source and supply illegal commodities. 


What are the recommended browsers for accessing the deep web and dark web? 

Any browser like Google Chrome or Safari is sufficient to browse normally. A VPN also works well with any browser for extra safety when accessing the dark and deep web, while Tor is better for privacy. 

Is the deep web more secure than the dark web? 

Theoretically, the un-indexed parts of the internet, known as the deep web, are considered safe. However, despite the common portrayal of the dark web as a haven of crime, it is generally as secure as surfing the deep web with care. 

Are you tracable to the police on the dark web? 

Police can track you on the dark web, but that’s not easy. Use the TOR browser for anonymity, but do not forget that advanced software can still follow your IP address if authorities believe so. 

Is the deep web more extensive or the dark web? 

The deep web is deeper than the dark web. It is a center of anonymity, making it run off from public view and interrogation. 

What is the top VPN for the dark web? 

If you want to browse the dark web, choose ExtremeVPN. It provides extra protection of encryptions and anonymity, backed by a firm no-log policy. Do it yourself, and we offer a 30-money-back guarantee. 

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