You have probably heard about the Dark Web, the Dark Net and the Deep Web before and it is likely that you think that these terms are associated with illegal activity. However, it is important to understand that this is not always the case. Many news reports refer to the frightening content that is hidden in the Deep Web or the Dark Web, but it is important to clarify what they are and how they are different.
Deep Web, Darknet and Dark Web
The Deep Web is a term that covers all web pages that can’t be found via search engines. This includes harmless content such as databases and versions of websites that administrators haven’t made available for indexing by search engines. For instance, if a website administrator wants to check the content before setting it live, a version of the website would exist in the Deep Web. It is said that a large percentage of the internet is in the Deep Web, but this is simply due to the fact that it includes content that is not available for public search.
The Deep Web includes the Dark Web, which is a collection of websites that are available to the public, but that hide the IP address of the servers in which they run. As such, it is very difficult to find out the identity of the people who manage them. Although anyone can access these websites, they can’t be found using search engines. The Dark Web exists on dark nets, networks that can only be accessed with specific software, configuration or authorization.
The Dark Web is similar to the World Wide Web, but in order to access a site there, you will need to use the same encryption and anonymity tools that the site uses. Tor is probably the most popular option to access Dark Web sites. The Tor Browser package can be downloaded from www.torproject.org and once it is set up, you will be able to find content and services that are not available on the regular web, also known as “clear web”.
Darknet, Dark Web and VPNs
While the Dark Web can be used to access books, movies or other content that has been banned in a specific location and those living under oppressive regimes use it as a way to bypass censorship and protect their identity, it is also home to illegal and very disturbing material. Many criminals take advantage of the anonymity that the Dark Web offers and as a result, drugs, weapons, stolen credit cards, fake IDs and counterfeit goods can be found there on sites like the silk road and they are not even the worst.
Apart from the sordid side of the darknet, it is important to keep in mind that it is regularly targeted by law enforcement agencies by means of attacks on the network or looking for ways to intercept communications there. Government agencies like the NSA pay special attention to Tor users and when ISPs are requested to hand information to authorities, it is likely that the use of Tor is highlighted.
As previously mentioned, in spite of the illegal content available in the Dark Web, there are also good reasons to access it. Journalists from countries where freedom of expression is restricted, use it to publish information without putting their security at risk. Many users also rely on Tor to get access to censored content. Additionally, there are forums where online freedom campaigners can find others who share their ideas. Or, you may just want to explore the Dark Web out of curiosity.
Whatever the case, it is advisable that you use a VPN to tunnel your Tor traffic through it. By doing this, you will prevent your ISP from seeing that you are getting access to the Dark Web. A VPN disguises your IP address, keeping your privacy protected, even before you connect to Tor. With a VPN you can enjoy additional security when you are using Tor to access the Dark Web. While the speed of your connection will be impacted when you use a VPN and Tor together (due to the encryption applied), it is a sacrifice worth making in order to defend your right to privacy, online freedom and speech.
VPN Services for Darknet and Dark Web
Below you will find a list of the best VPNs to access the Dark We safely.
NordVPN (Read Review)
NordVPN is a providers that operates from Panama, a great location for VPNs as it is far from the NSA’s jurisdiction and there are no strict data retention laws in place. The company doesn’t keep any logs, so even if they were asked to provide information, there wouldn’t be anything to hand over. Additionally, they accept Bitcoin as method of payment. They also offer an impressive level of encryption and they offer additional options like double VPN and Tor over VPN, which prevents your ISP from finding out that you are using Tor.
Surfshark (Read Review)
Surfshark is another name that is worth considering when it comes to adding protection when you use the Dark web. This provider is focused on offering a reliable performance, top security and advanced technology to unblock content. You can connect to servers in over 50 countries. No logs of your online activities are kept and Surfshark uses an impressively high standard of encryption to keep you protected.
Perfect Privacy (Read Review)
To remain true to its name, Perfect Privacy doesn’t keep logs, which means that there is nothing that they could give away, even if authorities ask them. They also publish a a warrant canary to let users know about any requests for information or court orders received. Perfect Privacy is based in Switzerland, meaning that it is not subject to US laws. They also accept Bitcoin as method of payment and protect your data with top encryption.
ExpressVPN (Read Review)
ExpressVPN is a well-established name in the VPN industry. It operates from the British Virgin Islands, an ideal location for a VPN that wants to keep the privacy of its customers intact. They don’t keep logs of your online activities and their solid DNS leaks protection will allow you to browse the Dark Web without compromising your privacy. They have an extensive network of servers in 87 countries and Bitcoin is available.
This Malaysian provider has a strong commitment to privacy and offers an impressive level of protection for your data. They support a large variety of protocols and they don’t monitor or keep any logs whatsoever. Since there is no data stored, they won’t have anything to hand over, even if they receive a request. Hide.me also provides solid protection for your online traffic.
Private Internet Access (Read Review)
PIA offers reasonably priced plans, but that is not the only reason to pick this provider. It uses high encryption to protect your information and it gives you access to thousands of servers in more than 30 countries. You will be able to add a strong layer of protection for your identity, in case you decide to explore the Dark web. You can pay with Bitcoin as an extra step to protect your privacy. No logs of your activities are kept.