The Internet is one among the few amazing things people are proud about having today. It helps us in many ways such as being a source of unlimited entertainment, information, education, communication, and lots more. Any activity we do in our day-to-day life involves the web in some way or the other. Moreover, search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., help us access the web pages easily and effectively. However, there is a limit to how much your regular web search engine can access. In fact, over 90 percent of the World Wide Web is hidden away from us. This part of the Internet is known to world as the invisible web.
What Is an Invisible Web?
An invisible web is generally known to most of us as a hub for illegal activities and for ‘social degenerate’. Contrary to popular belief, the deep web is much more than what meets the eye. The invisible web, also known as the deep web refers to the place where websites that are not indexed by the search engines reside. There are a large number of websites such as these which are a part of the hidden web, and cannot be accessed by any regular web browser. Though the deep web has a bad reputation, it is one part of the story. There are a lot of uses that the deep web can provide when compared to the surface web. In fact, this is even used for research purposes.
Why Are These Websites Invisible?
The content in the invisible web is not necessarily outside the World Wide Web. All it means is that the content is within the web, but are inaccessible for some reason. There are a lot of reasons that a website may be invisible.
- Unpublished Content: If you are a blogger, you might know this scenario very well as this mostly happens in blogging sites. When you are writing a blog, there is a big chance that you save it on the website without publishing it. This unpublished blog gets into the web as soon as you save it, but it will not be indexed by the search engine, thus remaining hidden until you publish the blog.
- Protected by a CAPTCHA, Password or Subscription: By this time almost everyone would have come across websites that has a captcha verification or an account login or provides access on subscription to the websites. Until you go through any or all of the processes mentioned, the content is hidden from you while being within the Internet.
- Content Accessible Through Another App, Tool or Software: Certain content such as university books and Government data are accessible only through their respective sites or tools. This is a very good example of hidden content. Even though the content is present in the web database, it cannot be accessed unless you use the specific site or tool as the information is made in such a way that only the specific site can access or index them.
These are few examples of hidden content in websites, which are easy to understand. A lot of content out there that does not appear through normal web searches, but some of these can be accessed using the appropriate tools or following the appropriate steps.
How Can Deep Web Be Useful?
People who have accessed the deep web would know the vast amount of information that it holds. Apart from the dark side, the deep web holds a lot of information that is shut away from the regular web. Researchers use it because it gives them access to information, which is hard to find on the surface web. Moreover, even certain universities in the United States encourage their students, and provide them the knowledge regarding how to use the hidden web. In countries where the use of the Internet and social media is highly restricted, deep net is the perfect place to convey their opinions without worrying about the prying eyes of the government.
Apart from that you can find books, comics, fan art and other relics of the past, which are old and forgotten. Having access to these things are not a bad thing, and more importantly they cannot be found using your trusted search engine. Even old research papers, writings, and other things which are hard to get can be found here. Having access to such information can be crucial to certain research and can even help you learn things outside of what is given in your curriculum.
If you are worried about the legal consequences that accessing deep web content might bring, you do not have to worry. The illegal activities are restricted to 10 percent on the deep web and this part is commonly known as the dark web. As long as you stay away from the dark web, you will be fine as there is no law enforcement that prevents the use of the hidden web. Though, deep web and dark web exists within the same environment, accessing the dark web is much more difficult as it is encrypted and shut away from random users.
Accessing the Hidden Web
Now you know what the deep web is, and how much information that it possesses. It is time to know how to gain access to those amazing information. One of the most renowned and a common way by which you can get into the hidden web is through the TOR browser. The TOR browser or the Onion Router is a project that was created by the Naval Research group, and lets you access the websites that is not indexed. The name Onion comes the method it accesses the inaccessible information. According to the Onion project website, it peels the various encryption layers in the same way an onion is peeled.
Though the invisible web has a lot of myths revolving around it, the fact still remains that it contains a plethora of information that is shut away from the unsuspecting user. On the brighter side, accessing this information is not impossible. With people being educated about the hidden web, we expect more people using this side of the web, hopefully for education and research purposes.