What Is the Deep Web?

In this post “What Is the Deep Web?”, you will learn everything about the Deep Web, this includes; difference between the deep web and dark web, accessing deep web, the deep web’s advantage, the deep web criticism and many more.

The “deep web” has a few different names. Some call it the “dark web,”. Others call it the “invisible web,”. But it all refers to the areas of the internet that aren’t accessible using standard browsers. Fir instance, Google, Bing, and Firefox. Those who are interested should instead download a deep web browser such as Tor. The Silk Road trial in 2015 brought the deep web into the spotlight. With Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht receiving a double life sentence plus forty years in prison. The Silk Road was a deep web marketplace that exposed many online users to Bitcoin. This was the site’s primary currency.

Despite the FBI’s assault on the Silk Road, the deep web remains a popular destination for individuals looking for something they can’t find on the regular internet. The deep web has long been associated with the acquisition and sale of illegal narcotics, illicit items, and other black market goods.

About the Deep Web

The deep web refers to areas of the internet that are not fully accessible through typical search engines. Like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The deep web contains pages that are not indexed by search engines, paywalled sites, private databases, and the dark web, among other things.

Bots are used by all search engines to crawl the web. Consequently adding fresh content to the search engine’s index. Although the size of the deep web is unknown, many experts believe that search engines only crawl and index about 1% of all content available on the internet. The surface web refers to the searchable content on the internet.

Much of the deep web’s content is legal and noncriminal in nature.
Email messages, chat conversations, private content on social media sites, electronic bank statements, electronic health records (EHR), and other content accessible over the internet in one way or another are examples of deep web content.

Search engine bots are unable to access paywalled websites. Such as the text of news articles or educational content sites that need a subscription. Bots also don’t crawl pay-for-service websites like Netflix.

As a result, there are some benefits to using the deep web. To begin with, much of the content on the deep web is irrelevant, making searches much more difficult. There’s also the matter of privacy. No one wants Google bots probing their Netflix or Fidelity Investments accounts.

The Deep web vs. The Dark Web

Although the terms “deep web” and “black web” are often used interchangeably. They are not synonymous. The dark web is a subset of the greater deep web. And it refers to anything on the web that isn’t indexed by and hence accessible through a search engine such as Google.

While there is legal and genuine content on the deep web, such as paywalled publications, databases, academic journals, and research. The dark web is far more shady. Many criminal activities, such as black markets for stolen credit cards and personal information, guns, spyware, prostitution, sex trafficking, and drugs, take place on the dark web. Access to botnets that may undertake distributed denial-of-service attacks is also accessible as a cyber attack service.

Illegal marketplaces and forums abound on the dark web, where illicit conduct is advertised and discussed. Empire Market, Dream Market, and Nightmare Market are just a few examples.

Silk Road, a drug-dealing website that became so well-known that it was frequently mentioned as an illustration of the dark web in mainstream media reporting. Its owner was apprehended and condemned to life in jail without the possibility of release.

Accessing Deep Web

Despite the fact that the deep web’s content isn’t indexed by traditional search engines, it may easily be reached.

It is relatively safe to access content on the deep web. So most internet users do that on a regular basis. Accessing data on a deep web site can be as simple as logging into Gmail or LinkedIn. Or signing up for the Wall Street Journal.

Access to much of the deep web is prohibited because user accounts on the deep web contain a lot of personal information that thieves might be interested in.

Users will never have access to the deep web, including the black web. Spam and phishing attacks may begin from a dark web marketplace. But malware is only released when a victim downloads something infected from that marketplace. The dark web site itself would not be the source of such assault.

The dark web is purposefully concealed. Hence, access requires the use of specific technologies such as the Tor browser and the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) network. Both tools have valid applications. When viewing websites, Tor will protect your IP address. And I2P is a proxy network that can assist journalists reporting from risky areas.

The Tor Browser

The Tor browser is required to visit a dark web marketplace. Tor, despite being based on the Mozilla Firefox browser, is not as well maintained and has issues with website rendering.

There is one good reason to look around on the dark web. With all of the discussions on the dark web about hacking and exploit trafficking. It’s a wonderful location to examine where yet-unknown vulnerabilities are discussed. Users may acquire the chance to understand where vulnerabilities are before they are widespread dangers by monitoring the dark web.

The deep web, also known as the unseen web or hidden web, is a section of the Internet that is not indexed by ordinary web search engines. The “surface web,” on the other hand, is open to everyone with an Internet connection.

Michael K. Bergman, a computer scientist, is credited with coining the phrase in 2001 as a search-indexing term.

Web mail, internet banking, restricted access social-media pages and profiles, some web forums and code language that require a permit for viewing content, and paywalled services such as video on demand and some online magazines and newspapers are examples of deep web content hidden behind login forms.

The deep web’s content can be found and accessed using a direct URL or IP address. But getting past public pages may require a password or other security access.


The first time the terms “deep web” and “dark web” were used interchangeably was in 2009. Then deep web search language was discussed alongside criminal actions on the Freenet and darknet.

Personal passwords, bogus identification documents, drugs, guns, and child pornography are among the illegal behaviors.

Since then, following its use in media coverage of the Silk Road. Media outlets have begun to use the term “deep web” interchangeably with “dark web” or “darknet”. A comparison that others reject as erroneous and, as a result, has been a cause of continuous misunderstanding.

The terms should be used in different ways, according to Wired reporters Kim Zetter and Andy Greenberg. The dark web is a portion of the deep web that has been intentionally hidden. And is inaccessible through standard browsers and methods. While the deep web refers to any site that cannot be found using a traditional search engine. The dark web is a portion of the deep web that has been purposefully concealed. And is unreachable through standard browsers and methods.

Non Index Content

Jill Ellsworth coined the phrase “Invisible Web” in 1994 to describe websites that were not registered with any search engine. This is according to Bergman in an article on the deep web published in The Journal of Electronic Publishing.

It would be a site that’s possibly properly constructed. But they didn’t bother to register it with any of the search engines, according to a January 1996 article by Frank Garcia. As a result, no one is able to locate them! You’ve been concealed. That’s what I refer to as the “invisible Web.”

In a December 1996 press release, Bruce Mount and Matthew B. Koll of Personal Library Software used the phrase “Invisible Web” in a description of the #1 Deep Web tool.

The aforementioned 2001 Bergman study was the first to use the phrase “deep web,” which is now widely accepted.

Methods of Indexing

Traditional search engines do not index web sites for a variety of reasons. They can be classified as one or more of the following:

Types of Content

1. Contextual web:

Pages with content that changes depending on the user’s access context (e.g., ranges of client IP addresses or past navigation sequence).

2. Dynamic content:

Dynamic pages that are returned in response to a query. Or can only be accessed through a form, particularly if open-domain input elements (such as text fields) are used. Such fields are difficult to navigate without domain knowledge.

3. Technically restricted content:

Sites that restrict access to their pages (e.g., using the Robots Exclusion Standard or CAPTCHAs, or no-store directive, which prevent search engines from browsing them and creating cached copies).
For examining such pages, sites may include an internal search engine.

4. Non-HTML/text content:

Textual content encrypted in visuals (image or video) files or specific file formats that search engines don’t understand.

5. Sites that require registration and login are referred to as private web (password-protected resources).

6. Scripted content:

Pages that can only be accessed via JavaScript links. As well as content that is dynamically downloaded from Web servers using Flash or Ajax solutions.

7. Software:

Some content is purposefully hidden from the public Internet. And can only be accessed through special software such as Tor, I2P, or other darknet software. Tor, for example, allows users to visit websites anonymously by using the.onion server address. So their IP address is private.

8. Unlinked content:

Pages that are not linked to by other pages. As a result, making it difficult for web crawling programs to access the information. Pages without backlinks refers to this type of content (also known as inlinks). Furthermore, search engines do not always recognize all backlinks from web sites that are being searched.

9. Web archival services, such as the Wayback Machine, allow users to view archived versions of web pages over time. Including websites that have become unreachable and are not indexed by search engines like Google. Because online archives that are not from the present cannot be indexed. And past versions of websites are hard to access through a search, the Wayback Machine might be referred to as a software for viewing the deep web. Because all websites are modified at some time, online archives are classified as Deep Web content.

While it is not always possible to directly discover the content of a single web server in order to index it, a site can theoretically be reached indirectly (due to computer vulnerabilities).

Search engines utilize web crawlers to find content on the internet. By following hyperlinks through recognized protocol virtual port numbers. This method works well for finding content on the surface web. But it is typically unsuccessful for finding stuff on the deep web. Due to the indeterminate amount of searches that can be performed, these crawlers do not attempt to identify dynamic pages that are the result of database queries. Although it has been suggested that this can be (partially) solved by providing links to query results, this may accidentally enhance a deep web member’s popularity.

A few search engines that have accessed the deep web are DeepPeep, Intute, Deep Web Technologies, Scirus, and Ahmia.fi. As of July 2011, Intute had run out of funding and is currently a temporary static archive.

Scirus stepped down from his position at the end of January 2013.

So researchers have been looking into how the deep web can be explored automatically. Including content that can only be accessed with special software like Tor. In 2001, Sriram Raghavan and Hector Garcia-Molina (Stanford Computer Science Department, Stanford University) published an architectural architecture for a hidden-Web crawler that queried a Web form and crawled Deep Web content using key phrases provided by users or collected via query interfaces. UCLA’s Alexandros Ntoulas, Petros Zerfos, and Junghoo Cho developed a hidden-Web crawler that generated meaningful queries to submit to search forms automatically.

Various form query languages (e.g., DEQUEL) have been developed that allow for the extraction of structured data from search results in addition to issuing a query.

Another endeavor is DeepPeep, a National Science Foundation-funded initiative at the University of Utah that gathered hidden-web sources (web forms) in many domains using unique targeted crawler approaches.

Commercial search engines are experimenting with new ways to trawl the deep web. The Sitemap Protocol and OAI-PMH are protocols that allow browsers and other interested individuals to locate deep web resources on specific web servers. Both approaches allow web servers to advertise the URLs that they make available. Hence enabling for the automatic discovery of resources that aren’t directly linked to the public web. The deep web surfacing mechanism at Google calculates submissions for each HTML form and then indexes the generated HTML pages. A thousand queries per second are made to deep web information using the surfaced results.

Three algorithms are used in this system to pre-calculate submissions
1. choosing input values for text search inputs which recognize keywords,
2. Identifying inputs that accept only specific types of values (e.g., date), and
3. choosing a small number of input combos that create URLs suitable for inclusion in the Web search index

Aaron Swartz created Tor2web—a proxy application that allows users of Tor hidden services to access and search for a hidden.onion suffix—in 2008 to make it easier for them to access and search for a hidden.onion suffix.

Deep web links show as a random string of characters followed by the.onion top-level domain while using this program.

Difference between the Deep Web and Dark Web

What comes to mind when you think of the Deep Web? Is this a criminal offense? Scams and phishing? Bitcoins?

You’d be partially correct… and, in some ways, incorrect. These are some of the items you may find on the Dark Web, which is a collection of websites with concealed IP addresses that may require special software to access. The Deep Web, which comprises Internet content that is not searchable by normal search engines, is only 0.01 percent of the Dark Web. In other words, if Google can’t locate it, it’s undoubtedly still out there on the World Wide Web. Athough in the more difficult-to-access Deep Web. (If Google can locate it, it’s on the Surface Web, which accounts for less than 0.03% of the Internet.)

In public discourse, the Deep Web and the Dark Web have been muddled. So the Deep Web features generally benign sites. Such as your password-protected email account, certain aspects of premium subscription services like Netflix, and sites that can only be accessed through an online form, which most people are unaware of. (Imagine if your Gmail inbox could be accessed by merely Google your name!) In addition, the Deep Web is massive: it was predicted to be 400–550 times larger than the Surface Web in 2001. And it’s only become bigger since then.

Dark Web is small

By contrast, the Dark Web is quite small: there are only tens of thousands of Dark Web sites. The Dark Web’s websites are distinguished by the use of encryption software that conceals the identities of their users and their locations. That’s why the Dark Web is so popular for illicit activity. Users can hide their identities, illegal website owners may disguise their locations, and data can be exchanged anonymously. As a result, the Dark Web is rife with illegal drug and firearm sales. As well as pornography and gambling. The FBI shut down Silk Road, a notorious online illicit market, in 2013.

However, the Dark Web isn’t entirely dark. It’s also utilized by political whistleblowers, activists, and journalists who can face censorship or political retaliation if their government finds out about them.
The website Wikileaks, for example, has a presence on the Dark Web.

More information on the Deep Web

Parts of the Internet that are not fully accessible through typical search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are referred to as the deep web. Pages that were not indexed, fee-for-service (FFS) sites, private databases, and the black web are all part of the deep web.

Points to Note

• The deep web comprises pages that were not indexed, fee-for-service sites, private databases, and the black web. And it is not fully accessible by ordinary search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

• The deep web provides consumers with significantly more information than is otherwise available on the Internet, while simultaneously enhancing privacy.

• Perhaps the most severe charge leveled against the deep web is that it jeopardizes the Internet’s openness and equality.

Getting to Know the Deep Web

The deep web, sometimes known as the hidden web or invisible web, is distinct from the surface web, which can be reached via search engines.

Search engines may access information on sites like Investopedia, which is part of the surface web. The deep web, according to most analysts, is substantially larger than the surface web. Many webpages are dynamically produced or may not contain external links. The search engines can’t find them unless they have links from previously indexed sites. As a result, obtaining links from other websites is a fundamental aspect of search engine optimization (SEO).

Another important source of deep web material is fee-for-service websites.

Although fee-for-service websites like Netflix are accessible via the internet, the majority of their content is not.
To access most of the material given by these sites, customers must pay a price, create a user id, and create a password. These sites’ material is only accessible to those who are capable of paying the fees. This limiting of information to paying clients runs counter to the early Internet’s egalitarian attitude. While movie rentals may seem insignificant, serious research resources such as JSTOR and Statista impose fees.

The deep web also relies heavily on private databases. Private databases can be as simple as a Dropbox folder with a few images shared among friends. Financial transactions conducted on big sites such as PayPal are also included. The most important aspect of private databases is that they allow people to communicate or save information without having to share it with everyone. As a result, it is classified as part of the deep web rather than the surface web.

Finally, the deep web includes dark web sites. Silk Road was possibly the most well-known dark web portal. Many black web sites can be found using specialist search engines, but not simply using ordinary search engines. Specific browsers, such as the Tor Browser, are required to access these search engines and websites.

Legitimate users can circumvent restrictions on the dark web, but it also provides opportunity for criminals.

Despite its widespread attention, the dark web is only a small fraction of the deep web.

The Deep Web’s Advantages

Users can access significantly more information on the deep web than they can on the surface web. It’s possible that this data is merely pages that aren’t essential enough to be featured.

It does, however, feature the most recent TV episodes, databases for managing your own finances, and news that are restricted on the surface web.

If only the surface web existed, much of the deep web’s material would be unavailable.
Another advantage of the deep web is privacy, which is usually offered through encryption.

On the deep web, encryption allows fee-for-service websites to keep their material hidden from non-paying Internet users while still serving it to their customers. All kinds of fintech must have their databases encrypted in order to function effectively.

Firms and people alike would be unable to undertake secure financial transactions over the Internet without this security. The dark web was created primarily to give users more anonymity.

The Deep Web Criticism

Perhaps the most severe charge leveled against the deep web is that it jeopardizes the Internet’s openness and equality. In the 1990s, people hoped that the Internet would allow everyone to have equal access to everything. Fee-for-service websites, on the other hand, limit access to premium productivity tools to those who can afford them. Many essential equipment are expensive, costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars, posing a barrier to entrance.

The deep web faces new challenges as a result of the dark web. Criminals can take advantage of those who have an advantage in knowledge rather than money. People who hide behind the dark web can target authorized customers on the surface web, lowering the Internet’s quality for everyone.

More related topics you might find interesting:
  1. Blockchain Technology
  2. Defi
  3. NFTs
  4. DAOs
  5. Crypto
  6. Web 3.0
  7. Altcoin Tokenomics
  8. Metaverse
  9. Smart Contracts

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