The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets: overlay networks that use the Internet but require specific software, configurations, or authorization to access. The dark web has often been confused with the deep web, the parts of the web not indexed (searchable) by search engines. Many internet users only use the surface web, data that can be accessed by a typical Google browser. The dark web forms a small part of the deep web, but requires custom software in order to access its content.
Through the dark web, private computer networks can communicate and conduct business anonymously without divulging identifying information, such as a user’s location. Identities and locations of darknet users stay anonymous and cannot be tracked due to the layered encryption system. The darknet encryption technology routes users’ data through a large number of intermediate servers, which protects the users’ identity and guarantees anonymity.
The darknets which constitute the dark web include small, friend-to-friend peer-to-peer networks, as well as large, popular networks such as Tor, Freenet, I2P, and Riffle operated by public organizations and individuals. Users of the dark web refer to the regular web as Clearnet due to its unencrypted nature. The Tor dark web or onionland uses the traffic anonymization technique of onion routing under the network’s top-level domain suffix .onion.