What is the Deep Web?
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Deep Web is an ominous-sounding term. I mean, it sounds like the land of hackers, viruses, illegal substances, and malware. However, the reality is very underwhelming. The deep web is just a place with unindexed web pages.
For the non-nerds, the deep web is a place where Google can’t find anything. It is not the abyss of darkness that the media describes. That would be the dark web. The dark web makes up a measly 0.01% of the deep web. Good luck finding that easily on your internet escapades.
You’ll be surprised to know that the deep web makes up 96% of the Internet. Compared to the Internet that is accessible, the deep web is enormous. So, let us go ‘deeper’ into what the deep web actually is.
What does the Deep Web Contain?
The Deep Web is massive. The deep web is made up of everything that cannot be found with Google. The deep web contains everyone’s data that is stored over the Internet.
Let us take the example of your Facebook account. For you and the people around you, your Facebook account consists of details you want to be public like a profile picture, your statuses, and your ‘About’ section. That is accessible to everyone if you allow it to be. That comes under the surface web. That part is searchable on Google.
However, everything else on your Facebook like your Login details, your email accounts, your chats and messages, your Facebook search history, your usage history, etc. are only accessible to you. All this data is hidden from Google and other search engines including the Facebook search. This data is stored in the deep web. This data is hidden and secured behind encryption, password-based logins, and other digital security measures.
This concept also applies to other places on the Internet like your email, your online banking account. Everything related to you stored behind encryption is a part of the deep web. The deep web also contains internal data of businesses and brands, the data of other people, and the data of various websites. From the WordPress blog of a teenager to the archives of an online e-book seller, the deep web is a major cache of data.
This data is not essentially inaccessible but rather hidden. You can access this data under special conditions. For example, you can pay for a hidden newspaper article, or you can request access to your personal data on some websites.
How the Deep Web Works
Now that you understand what the deep web contains, the question remains as to why it is inaccessible. This is due to the very nature of search engines. Search engines find pages on the Internet by something known as crawling. Essentially, search engines use a crawler to select a webpage, ‘read’ it by the keywords and index it accordingly in their own database. The graphic below explains how it works.
Search engines cannot crawl a webpage that is stopped by an authentication request. For example, if a page requires a user login to be seen, it cannot be accessed by the search engine because it is disconnected from public access. Therefore, the data stored in deep web cannot be accessed by normal search engines.
Deep Web data can be retrieved by a website when a request is sent for it. It can also be accessed through data specific and internal search engines. This request is then authenticated, confirmed, and opened for the person who sent it. For example, when you log in to your Facebook, or when you click to open a newspaper article you’ve paid for.
Dark v/s Deep Web
The Deep Web is crucial as you can see. Then why the huge noise over illegal activities on there? That is made for the Dark Web. What is the Dark web, you ask? The Dark Web is an anonymous part of the Internet that has been encrypted online. Deep and Dark Web are often confusing. Even today, most people refer to the Dark Web as a ‘major part of the Internet.’ That is not true.
The Dark Web is miniscule in comparison to even the normal Internet we know. The Dark Web uses something known as the ‘Onion Router’ service protocol. Only specifically made browsers can access the Dark Web. Publishers on the Dark Web are anonymous thanks to the service protocol.
Websites on the dark web end with a ‘.onion’ suffix. The dark web is not completely dark. Nearly half of it is harmless. From very hidden book clubs to complex puzzles, many dark web websites are normal. It does host a lot of negative stuff too. For example, illicit dealing, hiring hitmen and distribution of illegal substances are also a part of the dark web.
The Dark Web is not too ‘unsafe’. Rather, its unregulated internet. You need to be vigilant while surfing across it. Use a VPN if you’re going there. The dark web, however, is crucial. In countries with regulated internet and a lack of net neutrality, the dark web has been used for whistleblowing purposes in the past. The Dark Web is also a place for journalists to find whistleblower information. It acts as a counterbalance to government intervention with our digital lives.
Privacy and Security
The Deep Web forms the foundation of the World Wide Web. It contains everything that is crucial for the working of the Internet as you know it. It also contains people’s private data. Millions of dollars are spent every year to ensure the safety of data stored on the deep web.
Do not worry. Your data is safe on the deep web.
Both the deep web and dark web are important in their own ways. Fearing both is dumb and fearing none of it is dumber. However, I advise staying away from both unless you know what you’re doing. And if you know, just be careful while doing it.
Also, while you’re on the surface web, how about you check out Appy Pie? We might not help you access the deep web or the dark web, but we do have a badass no code app making software. Try Appy Pie App Builder for free! Don’t worry, we hide your data securely on the deep web.