We would like to present you with a guide that will allow you to enter the main darknets that make up the Dark Web, colloquially known as the Deep Web, although this last term has another meaning. The hidden Internet or Dark Web is a portion of the network in which you need certain applications to be able to connect, and that is precisely what we are going to help you, to download and configure these tools to enter them.
We're going to show you how to connect to four different darknets. The first one will be TOR, which is probably the most known and used of all. But we will also show you how to connect to ZeroNet, Freenet and I2P so that you can explore them all and decide which one has convinced you the most, either by using it thoroughly or simply by browsing through it as we have done several times.
The difference between Clearnet, Deep web, Dark web and Darknet
It is important that you differentiate four concepts: Clearnet, Deep web, Dark web and Darknet. The easiest to understand is Clearnet, which is the Internet as you know it, the pages you find on Google and other search engines and which you can access directly from them. For example, Xataka is a Clearnet page, because if you google it you find it quickly, and if you enter its web address you have no problem entering it.
It should be noted that ~90% of web content is not accessible through search engines. That's one part of the Deep Web, which encompasses all the information you can't access publicly. This can be conventional pages protected by a paywall, but also files saved in Dropbox, emails saved on the servers of your provider, and all those pages that are created during a few moments.
Imagine a page that you access by typing a conventional web address, but whose content you cannot access if you do not pay a certain fee or a monthly payment. That's Deep Web. So is the page that is generated when you are using a travel search engine. It is a unique web configured with the data you have entered, and which cannot be accessed directly.
If the Deep Web is 90% of the Internet, the Dark Web would take up only 0.1% of it. It is a portion of the Internet intentionally hidden from search engines, with IP addresses masked and accessible only with a special web browser. The Dark Web is therefore part of the Deep Web, but they are different things. For example, if the Deep Web were a city, the Dark Web would be several neighborhoods. They are part of the city, but they are not the city.
The Dark Web is the content that you can find in different Darknets, which are each of the networks that you can only access with specific programs. The most popular is TOR, but you can also find Freenet, I2P or ZeroNet. Each of these is a Darknet, but when we refer to all of them we generally use the term Dark Web.
The Dark Web is usually defined as an area not indexable by conventional search engines, which means that you cannot find their pages on Google, Bing and other search engines. But there are some exceptions. For example, search engines have been created for Darknets such as the TOR network, and we have some search engines such as DuckDuckGo that are also working on including this type of content.
It is also important to make clear that there are many myths that are false about the Dark Web and that it has plenty of pages with constructive content. In addition, the Dark Web serves as a haven for persecuted activists in countries that are particularly harsh on freedom of expression, and helps others to bypass local censorship to access information.
Some myths about the Dark Web
There is a halo of mysticism around the Dark Web, like a separate Internet where you can find a lot of evil and hidden secrets. But if you're going to get into it, the first thing you need to know is that it's not that big a deal, and you're going to find little that you can't find on the clearNet as well.
The main feature of this alternative Internet is the theoretical privacy it offers, although this does not prevent the illicit pages on it from being dismantled as well. For the average European country, this network offers few advantages beyond the morbidity and a browsing experience similar to that of the Internet in the 1990s.
However, their privacy is essential in countries where there is a lot of institutional censorship and freedom of expression is amputated, so much so that media such as the BBC are also interested in putting their information on it to make it more accessible. In such cases, these networks can be used to get your views across freely. Yes, it is true that freedom can be double-edged and this service is also used for less noble purposes, but that does not mean that it is not equally important.
Anyway, the main idea you have to keep in mind is that you will see few things that you won't find in the Clearnet or the Deep Web, counting on this second one with pages and forums hidden from the search engines where similar content can be published, but which are still hosted in the open Internet.
What you will need to get into the Dark Web
Therefore, as you have seen, you do not need anything to enter the Deep Web because it is the conventional Internet, but with the pages that do not appear in the search engine. What we are going to explain to you is how to enter the Dark Web, since this is what we colloquially refer to as the Deep Web, and the method to enter depends on the darknet you want to connect to. Here are the steps you have to follow to access the most important ones.
How to get into TOR's darknet
TOR is probably the best known darknet in the world, and its popularity has made those responsible for maintaining it offer an alternative as easy to enter as downloading a specially prepared browser. It's called Tor Browser, and to download it you only have to go to the official website of torproject.org/en/download. There, click on the operating system you want to use it for, which can be the three main ones for desktop and Android.el conventional Internet, but with the pages that do not appear in the browser. What we are going to explain to you is how to enter the Dark Web, since this is what we colloquially refer to as the Deep Web, and the method to enter depends on the darknet you want to connect to. Here are the steps you have to follow to access the most important ones.
Once you have downloaded the .exe, choose the destination folder and click on install. In desktops, the installation is quite simple and there is no problem at all. In the case of the mobile, you can install it from Google Play or from the web, where you can download the APK file.
You will notice that it does not open automatically, but first shows you a window that tells you that you can connect or configure the connection. Click the Connect button, and when the connection process is complete, the Tor Browser will open and you can browse both the Clearnet and the Tor network with it. It comes with the DuckDuckGo search engine configured to also find .onion pages, the domain of this Darknet's websites.
You can start searching in "The Hidden Wiki" and click on the first result, even if it is a .com page. There you will see a lot of .onion pages and their description in English ordered by subject.
Important: It is normal for TOR network pages to load extremely slowly, which is due to the anonymization encryption of the network itself.
How to get into ZeroNet's darknet
Another very popular darknet is ZeroNet, an alternative Internet that works through P2P. This means that there are no central servers, but that network data is transmitted from user to user, just like downloads from programs such as Torrent or eMule. To access this network, you also need a special application.
You can download it from the official website. To do so, you have to enter zeronet.io, and click on the Download for Windows button. If you use macOS or GNU/Linux, you can click on the Other platforms button on the right.
The application will come to you in a .zip file, so you have to decompress the download and open the ZeroNet.exe application or the alternative executable file of your operating system.
When you open it, ZeroNet will open in your browser, although it may ask you to allow its access in the Windows Firewall the first time, and in the hidden taskbar icons you will see the application running as a sign that the network is working.
ZeroNet will open in a new tab of your main browser, and you will see in its address bar that you need to connect with an encrypted code. You will only be able to navigate when you have the application open.
This network works a bit like a forum at the beginning, since the first websites have this format, but then you can jump from one to another and find pages on all topics.
How to get into Freenet's darknet
Freenet is another darknet, alternative that works through P2P and has been fighting for privacy for about 20 years. To connect you have to use a specific application, that you can find at the website freenetproject.org: go to the Download section and download the .exe. It has versions for Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux.
Open the application you have downloaded to start the Freenet installer. The first thing it will do is check if you have Java, and if you don't have Java it will ask you to install it first because it will be necessary to use this subnet. If this happens, click on Install Java.
If you had to install Java because you didn't have it, when you click on Install Java the procedure will be very simple. All you have to do is click on the Install button at the bottom right. If you want, you can also check the option to choose a destination folder, but it is not necessary.
If you had to install Java because you didn't have it, when you click on Install Java, the procedure will be very simple. All you have to do is click on Install. If you want, you can also check the option to choose a destination folder.
When you finish installing the application, execute Freenet. When you run the application, you will see the Freenet icon on the hidden icons on the Windows taskbar.
If you click on the icon, the Freenet home page will open in a tab of the browser you are using.
When you open Freenet in a browser tab, you will be directed to a first screen where you can choose how do you want to connect:
1. low security, which is connecting to other users' computers (remember that it is a P2P)
2. high level
The best thing to do here is to start with low security so that you can browse all the pages.
On the next stage, you will be advised to use Freenet in the private mode of your browser. After this page, you have to choose the size of the data storage. As it is a P2P network, you have to host the pages you are visiting on your computer, which are downloaded from other users. Here, follow the recommendations given by choosing between 10 or 20 GB to ensure proper navigation and click on Next.
Once you have passed the initial configuration, you will finally enter the Freenet home page. There, you will see an index of the main pages of the darknet. In this directory you will find several indexes so you can start exploring the pages you can find on the net, and from here the type of content you access will depend on you.
How to get into the I2P darknet
And the last option to access part of the Dark Web is to use the I2P darknet, another anonymous network that emerged in 2003. To access it you will also need to install your own application, and for that you will have to go to its official website and click on the I2P Download button that appears in green and includes the number of the latest version of the application.
Then click on the .exe. You can use this application it for Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, GNU/Linux and Android.
Now, run the application. After choosing a language on the first screen, you will get to a simple process. On the first two screens just press Next, and on the third screen choose whether you want to change the installation directory. You will reach the fourth screen, where you have to choose whether to install only the base or add Windows Service which only serves to make the application run when the computer is started.
You can install the basic package. The application will be installed, and when you continue from the progress screen you can decide which shortcuts you want to add. After this process, just click on the Done button and you are done.
When finished, start the application and add the exception in the Windows Firewall when asked. When finished, the main I2P website will open in the browser.
The first time you open I2P you will be able to set up the initial configuration. Actually this is not strictly necessary and you have the option to skip it, but if you do you will find information, a speed test and the possibility to configure the data transfer rate you want to use.
You will go to the main screen of this darknet, where you now have to wait several minutes for the connection between the pairs that make up this P2P network to be established. If you get tired of waiting, there are advanced instructions for setting up a proxy in your browser to connect more quickly.
The bad news is that this darknet may not connect at first, and you need to do an advanced configuration in your browser to connect to a proxy server to ensure safe browsing. As the documentation explains, you will need to use the IP 127.0.0.1 with port 4444 for HTTP, and with port 4445 for HTTPS.
Once you've waited for it to work properly or you've set up the proxy server, then you can start browsing the I2P pages. In the main page that we have shown you a little above you have links to the most interesting ones, from which you can already try to find other different ones to connect to.