The Difference Between The Deep Web and The Dark Web


You’ve probably heard about the deep web.

You may have even thought, “That sounds pretty spooky, so I’ll stick to my normal web and stay away from that deep web thing.”

It turns out that most of us probably access the deep web every day and we didn’t even know it.

Let’s take a look at what it really means to access the deep web and how it involves the dark web.

What Is The Deep Web?

First of all, let’s clear up a common misconception: the deep web is not the same thing as the dark web.

In fact, the dark web is just a tiny sliver of the deep web.

The deep web is everything on the Internet that can’t be accessed by a Google search.

When you search for something on Google, you’re accessing content on what’s called the surface web. That content includes news articles, YouTube videos, blog articles like this one, and more.

But, the deep web contains all of the content we don’t want publicized, such as:

  • Personal and business email accounts
  • Private social media accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Gated pages, such as content behind a paywall or a user forum that requires registration
  • Staging versions of your business’s website
  • Your company’s internal websites or private databases

Most people would want to keep this content from being readily available on search engine results pages.

The deep web is nothing to be concerned about despite some misinformed and misaligned headlines.

In fact, we should enjoy the privacy benefits the deep web provides for us.

What Is The Dark Web?

We’ve established that search engines can’t serve deep web content up to you, so that means they can’t serve up dark web content, either.

The biggest difference between the deep web and the dark web is that the dark web can only be accessed by special browsers that conceal your IP address and anonymize your online activity.

The dark web has a number of uses that span the legal and ethical spectrum:

  • Cybercrime - Personal data is sold and traded by cybercriminals to exploit victims.
  • Journalism - Journalists can securely transfer information to keep sources or data private.
  • Censorship - Some countries censor websites. For example, a number of countries have banned YouTube. People in those countries—China and Syria, to name a few—who want to access these sites must do so through the dark web.

How Can I Protect My Information On The Dark Web And The Deep Web?

One recommendation we have to get the most out of the deep web is to follow security awareness tips.

If and when the credentials you use to access private accounts on the deep web are compromised and become available on the dark web to cybercriminals, protect yourself by:

Enjoy your next visit to the deep web with confidence.

Download Our Security Awareness Guide

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