The deep web is basically that part of the internet that isn’t taken into account by the likes of Google, YouTube, and Bing.
Needless to say, the deep web (and its even deeper part: the dark web) isn’t a place for the faint of heart. The deep web is beyond the reach of your standard search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo).
To surf the dark web in a productive manner, you need to train yourself. And we’ll provide you with the right tools which will enable you to surf the deep web without fear or insecurity.
There is little doubt that most of the stuff on the dark web is pretty useless. In fact, we’ll go one step further and say that 99 percent of the useful information on the internet resides within the confines of your standard internet.
That is, the internet that is accessible through the services such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
And even though the deep web is multiple times bigger than the visible (in other words, somewhat legal) web, it still doesn’t makeup for the fact that the dark web, for the common user, is a pretty worthless place.
But, there are always cases where you might need to use the dark web. Edward Snowden was able to leak important documents to the likes of New York Times and Washington Post by sending them through the deep web.
So not everything on the dark web is sinister in nature. But for a beginner, it is a safe assumption that everything on the deep web is sinister.
As mentioned before, with the proper tools you can start to explore the deep web without having to worry about your privacy or safety.
There are a lot of ways in which you can surf the dark web but we’ll stick to the ones that are the most straightforward, simple and safe to use so that the average user isn’t overwhelmed by the technicalities.
The method we’ll describe here will involve utilizing Tails OS, which is basically a bootable operating system that will provide you with everything you need to reach the deepest pits of the hidden (deep) web.
And just for clarity’s sake, we would like to define what deep web is, again. The dark web is every part of the internet that is not indexed by standard search engines.
The deep web is a place that you’ll never reach by clicking on a bunch of links on a website.
Most of the deep web is made up of sites whose web addresses end with .onion and you might have heard about one particular website known as the Silk Road.
The Silk Road deep website made the news some time back when The Wired magazine did a story on the website’s operations. The Silk Road is essentially a site that deals with drugs and weapons. That’s all you really need to know.
As mentioned before, most of the sites on the dark web are made up of .onion sites which are only accessible by special browsers.
The majority of the sites on the dark web use a special top-level domain which is only approachable through the use of a special browser. One, and probably the best, of those browsers is called Tor.
Some people confuse deep web with the dark web. Well, you need to know that the dark web is a slightly worse version of the deep web. The dark web is a subsection of the dark web where the worst of the worst humankind has to offer, hang out. But for the purpose of this guide, both terms will be used interchangeably.
But not is all doom and gloom in the dark web. It is certainly a place that is worth checking out if you’re the type of user that likes to have an online adventure once in awhile. But even if you’re just a regular old internet user, you might still visit the deep web for other reasons such as privacy and encryption.
And besides, sometimes it can be fun to see what lies beyond the imaginary borders of the normal internet that we connect with on a daily basis.
Before we move forward, make sure you understand this: the dark web isn’t a place for the uninitiated. You need to be extra careful about which link you click when you’re on the deep web as there is a lot of bad stuff out there.
If you’re not careful then you might land on an illegal website which could put you in trouble.
In other words, browser the dark web at your own risk.
Step 1: Download And Install Tails OS
You should consider yourself fortunate that you are surfing the internet in an era where projects such as Tails OS have actually made an installation wizard that guides you each step of the way in setting up the necessary software for surfing the dark web.
Basically, what you need to do is to create a bootable USB copy of Tails OS.
After you have done that then you also need to get hold of a Windows machine.
When you have completed that step, then you will need two 4GB (preferably 4GB plus) USB storage sticks.
You’re going to need one USB stick for the “buffer” version of the operating system.
You’ll need all these pieces of software to verify the initial download and confirm that it indeed is what it purports to be.
Just hang in there because there are a couple of more things you need to do before you start browsing the deep web.
You’ll need a Universal USB Installer utility. If you don’t already have it then worry not since the Tails OS installation wizard will automatically direct you to one.
The Universal USB Installer software will help you set up the first USB stick using your Tails OS downloaded ISO.
When you’re finished with that then you need to boot from the newly created USB drive in order to configure the second USB stick.
This Tails OS guide will carefully guide you through the rest of the process.
You need to select the Install By Cloning option in the Tails OS installer if you want to create your second USB stick.
That option is the best one to go for since it will include some security improvements and extra features that are not built into your first USB stick.
We’re nearing the finish line so don’t give up.
Now, you need to remove the first USB stick while keeping the second USB stick in place.
Then you must boot your Windows machine from the second USB stick.
Now you are all set to start your adventure in the dark web.
If you encounter any problems during the installation phase then you can always search the regular web search for your problem.
Or, you can use the official Tails support portal which will allow you to get unstuck.
Step 2: Browse The Deep Web
As mentioned before, the Tor browser if your entrance portal to the dark web.
You can also use the Tor browser on your Mac and Windows. But if you want to be extra secure then you should always access the dark web using Tails OS because it adds several layers of security for your connection and comes pre-installed with the Tor browser.
The Tor browser is based on none other than the Firefox browser.
So if you aren’t a total Google fanboy, then you will have little problems in navigating through the browser and surfing the dark web from it.
The Tor browser, when running from Tails OS, will automatically open the Tails OS homepage when you launch it.
No points for guessing that browsing the deep web will not be as easy as clicking a bunch of links or “Googling”. You’re going to need to learn some new tricks.
One of the ways you can search the dark web without thinking too hard is through the use of hidden wikis like this one. We also think that this method is probably the best for beginners.
You must also remember that you will not be able to click on any onion links if you’re not browsing the deep web using the Tor browser.
If you aren’t comfortable with using hidden wikis as your guide to the dark web various places then you can always go to Reddit to find out various other methods.
If you know your way around search engines such as DuckDuckGo, then you can manage to find some resources from there as well.
If you’re thinking to yourself that this is mighty hard for an average user to do then you’re right.
The primary purpose of the deep web is to remain hidden from casual internet users.
The dark web deliberately tries to be inaccessible to people who only know how to fire up Google or read a super simple guide like this one to get started.
So if you want to find some working, up-to-date and legitimate links and directories then you’ll need to work for a bit.
Just follow the instructions that have been given to you so far in order to have a painless experience on the dark web.
And yes, you’ll need plenty of patience along with some good active forums and, sometimes, the Torch search engine if you want to find useful new communities in the ugly world of the dark web.
It should be clear to you by now that the deep web has a bad reputation for being a horrible place to visit.
Most of the activities that happen in the dark web can be best described as “shady”.
But as mentioned before, the deep web can also prove to be a vital piece of technology for productive activities such as whistleblowing, political discussions, and bitcoin exchanges.
The dark web’s structure will make sure that your activities remain out of the public eye for the duration of your visit.
However, you should also know that the dark web isn’t the same place it used to be. Recent events have resulted in security agencies becoming more aware of the workings of the dark web.
But the creative bunch of hackers, behind the dark web gatherings, continue to find newer ways to evade surveillance. Thus, it is safe to assume that the dark web will continue to evolve in the future as well.
Step 3: Stay Safe on The Deep Web
You have done pretty well so far. As a result of your efforts, the Tor browser will protect your data by routing your online traffic through several different IP locations.
As a result of that, you may observe that your internet speed has taken a big hit.
But worry not since it’s for your own good. The extra security features that Tails OS adds to your online activities like built-in encryption work overtime to keep you safe.
Add to that the fact, that you’re running the OS from a USB stick, so basically you’re not leaving behind any trace of your activities on the dark web.
It’s probably a good time to tell you that Tails stands for The Amnesiac Incognito Live System. That name itself should be enough for anyone to consider it as the best option that is available today for surfing the dark web.
Never give away your personal details and things like an email address to anyone you don’t trust. Don’t play with your security, identity, and anonymity. Also, keep your downloading to a bare minimum.
Use your common sense when you access the dark web even with Tails OS. If you’re doing something illegal then all the security features in the world won’t keep you safe forever.
Of course, you can always tape your webcam in order to avoid authorities but sometimes even that isn’t enough.