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Deep web

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The deep web is the part of the World Wide Web that is not findable through search engines.[1][2] In contrast, the dark web is the part of the Web that is an overlay network that can only be accessed with special software.[1] News and media outlets confuse the terms as the same thing. One example of a dark web is the Tor network. But not all Tor sites are also part of the deep web, since many of them can be found via search engines, both specialized ones, and via Tor2web through regular ones. Public exposure to the deep and dark web remains largely limited to sensationalist reporting, covering, for example, red rooms and snuff films. Unfounded myth and legend continue to seep into popular culture as well.

Why the darknet is bullshit[edit]


By 2013, with the Silk RoadWikipedia shut-down all over the news, the term "Deep Web" embedded itself into mass consciousness as this dark scary thing out there. While it is true that there are drug and illegal markets on the darkweb, as illustrated in deep dot web's top drug-markets list[3] for example, this is also true for the clearnet:

And besides, the normal Internet already hosts loads of child porn, and is where human trafficking definitely takes place. [...] As long as people are obsessed with finding the next terrible thing on the dark web, these scam and troll sites are going to continue—feeding the exaggerated myth of what ultimately boils down to just a small collection of websites.
—Joseph Cox[4]

But so long as general media keep covering alleged drug busts and other criminal activities on the darkweb, the fallacious legend will live on.


Web based Hidden ServicesWikipedia in February 2016[5][6]
Category Percentage
Violence 0.3%
Arms 0.8%
Social 1.2%
Hacking 1.8%
Illegitimate pornography 2.3%
Nexus 2.3%
Extremism 2.7%
Unknown 3.0%
Other illicit 3.8%
Finance 6.3%
Drugs 8.1%
Other 19.6%
None 47.7%

An accurate portrayal of Hidden Service content distribution can be found on Wikipedia for February 2016.[7][8] The table can be observed on the right.

Note that the the category "None" contains nearly half of Hidden Service content. This makes more sense if you just check out Deep Web in a Nutshell covered below. Also note that the table does not specify whether or not the illegal services are actually legitimate.

Not to mention, the multiple HiddenWiki clones exist to filter out the garbage and present interesting content. In other words, it's not the same thing as a web crawler which scavenges Onionland.[note 1]

Deep web in a nutshell[edit]
Why visit lots of dodgy onion sites on the "dark" web, when you can enjoy being bored out of your wits here on this site in perfect safety? Authentic feelings of disappointment guaranteed, or your money back!
—Deep web in a nutshell

Released in May 2015,[9] 'the Deep Web in a nutshell' presents a far more accurate depiction of services that can actually be found.

  • The abandoned forum — The best board is "I have made a nice forum, but nobody is here".
  • This site is hosted — Expect to see a lot of sites with only this text!
  • The weird website with an obnoxious picture


As of September 14th, 2016, harry71's onion crawler has archived a whopping total of over 6,000 onion websites. That's a pretty small number compared to's estimate of "at least 4.7 billion pages" as of September 14th, 2016.[10] But in reality, if such a dark web were to exist, it would contain a rather small community to begin with considering its supposed barriers. Therefore, the darknet would be very small in size of pages to coincide with the size of the audience; definitely not over 60% of the Internet according to an image below (the method by which this figure was developed is a trade secret).

Deep web "levels"[edit]

Truthiness in action. (Click for an enlarged version)

An infamous infographic was created in 2011 or early 2012. At the time Tor and the Silk Road first gained popularity and crucially at the same time the deep web search term started to be conflated with the dark web. It helped feed the sensationalism and further imprint into the public’s minds what exactly the darknet was.[11]

The concept of such 'levels' of the deep web was produced by an enterprising individual, sharing similarities with Dante's InfernoWikipedia in its structure. In this (mis)infographic, the further down, the more insane and preposterous the content becomes. A January 2012 attempt at a corresponding corrected infographic was also created, but never gained comparable popularity due to reliance of text and facts.

The infographic also perpetuates the fallacy that non-clearnet content somehow makes up most of the Internet.

Original (mis)infographicAnalysis

Level 0 Web — Common web[edit]

EVERYTHING The "common web" is a made up name for what is actually the surface webWikipedia in search engine parlance. Typically the term clearnetWikipedia is preferred when referring to non-darknet websites. However the deep web/surface web paradigm is simply more popular, despite these being search indexing terms.

Level 1 Web — Surface web[edit]

  • Reddit
  • Dig
  • Temple Email Services
  • Newgrounds
  • Vampire Freaks
  • Foreign Social Networks
  • Human Intel Tasks
  • Web Hosting
  • MYSQL[sic] Databases
  • College Campuses
For some reason, the infographic portrays the surface web... below the surface. Social networks like Reddit, Vampire FreaksWikipedia and Human Intel TasksWikipedia are also listed here — websites which have very little in common either technically or content wise. MySQL databases and college campuses are at least intranet based services with relationships to search indexing technologies.

Level 2 Web — Bergie web[edit]

  • FTP Servers
  • Google Locked Results
  • Honeypots
  • Loaded Web Servers
  • Jailbait Porn
  • Most of the Internet
  • 4chan
  • RSC
  • Freehive
  • Let Me Watch This
  • Streams Videos
  • Bunny Tube
So that damned iceberg is still in the graphic, so I guess we'll name this level after it. For some reason FTP servers are placed below MySQL databases. Of course, the more edgy content like 4chan and Jailbait is listed. Made up terms like 'Google Locked Results' (presumably officially censored results that come with Lumen links), and pirate streaming service 'Let me Watch This' are placed next to honeypots.Wikipedia But surely if a honeypot was on a deeper level than normal, it would fail at being a honeypot? Try not to overthink this...

Proxy required after this point...

The dark web proper begins below.

Level 3 Web — Deep web[edit]

  • "On the Vanilla" Sources
  • Heavy Jailbait
  • Light CP
  • Gore
  • Sex Tapes
  • Celebrity Scandals
  • VIP Gossip
  • Hackers
  • Script Kiddies
  • Virus Information
  • FOIE Archives
  • Suicides
  • Raid Information
  • Computer Security
  • XSS Worm Scripting
  • FTP Servers (Specific)
  • Mathematics Research
  • Supercomputing
  • Visual Processing
  • Virtual Reality (Specific)

Wait, the deep web inside the deep web? Try not to think too hard...

Apparently one can find celebrity scandals here; to be fair, this did pre-date The FappeningWikipedia. Vague hacker jargon starts to be introduced such as "XSS worm scripting", "computer security", "visual processing" and apparently "specific virtual reality". And to think all this time you've settled for general virtual reality.

Tor required after this point...
  • Eliza Data Information
  • Hacking Groups FTP
  • Node Transfers
  • Data Analysis
  • Post Date Generation
  • Microsoft Data Secure Networks
  • Assembly Programmer's Guild
  • Shell Networking
  • AI Theorists
  • Cosmologists/MIT
Say "hello" to more hacker jargon such as data analysis, AI theorists, shell networking and the "AssemblyWikipedia Programmer's Guild". Such sites are abundant on the clearnet,[12][13][14][15][16] so why is this on the dark net? What's so bad about machine code? Stop thinking too hard.

As for AI information, to date, there are two mirror websites that host an AI titled VIKI. The websites claim that the bot has "been online since 01JAN70" in one form or another. Most likely, these websites were created because of this (mis)infographic. [note 2]

Level 4 Web — Charter web[edit]

  • Hardcandy
  • Onion IB
  • Hidden Wiki
  • Candycane
  • Banned Videos
  • Banned Movies
  • Banned Books
  • Questionable Visual Materials
  • Personal Records
  • "Line of Blood" Locations
  • Assassination Box
  • Headhunters
  • Illegal Game Hunters
  • Rare Animal Trade
  • Hard Drugs Trade
  • Human Trafficking
  • Corporate Exchange
  • Multi-Billion Dollar Deals
  • Most of the Black Market
Let's list random sick shit: child pornography, The Hidden WikiWikipedia (wtf?), Assassination Box, human trafficking, and god forbid banned books are here. The hard drugs trade can be found here and clearly not on well documented darknet markets.Wikipedia

To be fair, one can find various anarchist writings but no more so than on the clearnet. In addition, "personal records" a.k.a. doxes can be found on websites such as Doxbin.Wikipedia

Closed Shell System required after this point...
  • Tesla Experiment Plans
  • Scat CP
  • Hardcore Rape CP
  • Snuff CP
  • Group CP
  • WW2[sic] Experiment Successes
  • Josef Mengele Successes
  • Location of Atlantis
  • Crystaline Power Metrics
  • Gadolinium Gallium Garnet Quantum Electronic Processors (GGGQEP)
  • Border's Engine Plans
  • Paradigm Recalescence
  • Forward Derivatal Supercomputation
  • AI in a Box
  • CAIMEO (AI Superintelligence)
  • The Law of 13's
  • Geometric Algorthymic[sic] Shortcuts
  • Assasination[sic] Networks
  • Nephilism[sic] Protocols
Possibly a reference to the cyberbrains of Ghost in the Shell.

More illegal porn (hey, what happened to the animal crush fetish porn?Wikipedia This is discrimination!), artificial intelligence, and information about "secret"Wikipedia Nazi discoveries that totally aren't publicly available now.

As for red rooms and snuff films, currently no evidence supports the existence of real red rooms on the dark net or the existence of (human) snuff films. In addition, it can be concluded that Peter Scully'sWikipedia red room never existed either. He was charged with "pay-per-view video streams"; however, the reports of him live-streaming are allegations, according to Mamamia.[17][18] This doesn't stop websites from blindly stating otherwise.[19][20] Someone could always ask the man himself about it; however, even 60 Minutes had trouble getting Scully to speak about his crimes.[21]

80% of the Internet exists below this line...
This is rather not 80% of the physical information, but 80% of the information that effects[sic] you directly The (mis)infographic makes another reference to deep web search technologies while also making a bullshit statement on how the information affects someone.

Polymeric falcighol derivation exists below this line...
Shit… I don't really know faggot. All I know is that you need to solve quantum mechanics in order to view this on even the normal web, let alone closed servers. Quantum Computation exists, and the government powers have them. So be careful what you do here. The (mis)infographic just makes up the term polymeric falcighol derivation. It wouldn't be a proper sensationalist graphic without a little homophobia and conspiracy-theory mongering, would it?

An intrepid "researcher" at urban dictionary defined polymeric falcighol derivation as such:[22]

A complex algorithm that is often associated with the Mariana Web (Level 5 Web); needed to access said web. The Marianas Web is the deepest part of the internet and is only rumored to exist. (It has been said that 80% of the Internet exists here.) It has been called the "Vatican Secret Archives" of the web, containing archives of Historical documents, Government secrets, plans, records, ETC... However the computing power/knowledge needed to process and compute the algorithm is quantum computing, which is still in its early stages and takes use of the quantum-mechanical phenomena. Many often write it off as a hoax[;] however there is no evidence proving or disproving its existence. An anomaly was discovered by super deep web scans in the early 2000's.

The Polymeric Falcighol Derivation is a quantum algorithm used for quantum computing.

Level 5 Web — Marianas web[edit]

The day you get here is,[sic] when OP is no longer a faggot.
People are now even trying to sell access to the Marianas Web.

A reference to the Mariana Trench,Wikipedia now an urban legend in its own right.[23] And of course Takedownman has reported on it...[24]

But wait, there's more! Some time around December 2014 an update to the infographic was created.

Level 6 web — (?)[edit]

Intermediary between the Marianas Web and Levels 7 and Level 8 Level 6: a level that exists for the sole purpose of being one.

Level 7 web — The Fog/Virus Soup[edit]

The best way to describe level 7 would but[sic] a war zone. Where it is every man for themselves, where everyone who "made" it here is trying to get to the 8th level preventing other people from getting there. ಠ_ಠ

Level 8 web — The Primarch System[edit]

Level 8 is impossible to access directly. The primarch system is what controls the Internet. No government or organization has control of it. Nobody even knows what it is. The system is an anomaly discovered in the 2000's. It is unresponsive, but sends out unalterable commands to the entire net, randomly. The entire 7th Level is people trying to gain access to Level 8 and stopping others from getting there. Level 8 is thought to be separated by "level 17 quantum t.r.001 level function lock" which is virtually impossible for our computers to break.

Also known as "The Final Boss of The Internet"

No, seriously…


Article analysis[edit]

PC World — Meet Darknet, the hidden, anonymous underbelly of the searchable Web[25][edit]

This article does a better job compared to most websites by showing the positives and negatives of onionland. In addition, it recommend the reader to take security precautions. However, it focuses too much on illegal activity and makes several errors:

[Y]ou’ll find a society that lurks intentionally in the blind spots of search engines.


Have an example: http://idnxcnkne4qt76tg.onion/ For those using Tor, that link will lead to the Tor Project website. For everyone else: a dead end.

There’s no chance that you—or Google—will stumble across that site by accident, or any of the secretive Darknets that have sprung up around technologies such as I2P or Freenet (which Alex Wawro touched upon in the August issue of PCWorld magazine).

Not true. Due to the existence of ".casa" and ".to", onionland websites show up on Google search results. In addition, Google does not filter archives that store onionland links.

They cloak themselves in obscurity with specialized software that guarantees encryption and anonymity between users, as well as protocols or domains that the average webizen will never stumble across.

News flash: Tor is not necessarily anonymous because attacks can be made against it. According to the Tails website, a global adversary studying "the timing and volume patterns of the different communications across the network, it would be statistically possible to identify Tor circuits and thus match Tor users and destination servers."[26]

Speaking of which, be very, very careful when slinging your digital dollars around. The anonymity of Bitcoins and the Darknet makes Onionland a haven for scammers.

Darknet marketsWikipedia such as pioneered by the Silk Road and successors are such a significant part of the Bitcoin and dark web economy that crypto currencies often play a part in mythos. Nonetheless, the nature of the feedback[27][28] and escrow systems operated by the marketplaces and extended ecosystems means that onionland markets are — at a large extent — community regulated. Because of this, the onionland markets are focused on reputation, something that must be maintained delicately over an extended period of time. This results in a good willed community — upset druggies without their drugs are very vocal after all — though there's always that one asshole out there that will send you sand instead of cookies.[29]

Even with regulation, onionland's markets are not a hundred percent safe, although scam sites have distinct red flags that are relatively easy to spot: lack any sort of reviews; have duplicate listings across different sites; and have the same UI.[30]

Markets such as BlackBank[31] and EvolutionWikipedia[32] have performed exit scams in the past, however, these are standout examples.

Why people believe this bullshit[edit]

The mythos behind the deep web draws parallels to the Atlantis myth. In both cases, the subjects' portrayal takes advantage of human curiosity and wonderment. Even if there is little to no actual evidence that points to a certain conclusion, evidence to support people's opinions is conjured through unrelated "evidence" or entirely falsified to sell stories. As for the latter, people look at stories from news authorities and assume the content and themes presented in said stories must be true.

Stories about the Silk RoadWikipedia introduced the connotation that the Tor Network and other anonymous networks like I2PWikipedia are mainly for illegal purposes. Now that this connotation has been initiated, people believe it and start their own Hidden Services and Youtube videos to prolong it.[4] Hidden Services have the security advantage of having end-to-end encryption for web browsing[33] and Tor Browser has great security features; it's disappointing that the Tor ProjectWikipedia name is tarnished by stories related to the Silk Road and urban legends.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

Icon fun.svg For those of you in the mood, RationalWiki has a fun article about Derp web adventure‎.


  1. Because apparently the DarkWeb only exists on Tor?
  2. VIKI is the name of the AI in the 2004 film adaptation of Isaac Asimov's I, Robot. This may be where the creator of the image got the name, and subsequently where the other websites got the idea.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Deep Web vs. The Dark Web | Blog
  2. Bergman, Michael K (August 2001). "The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value". The Journal of Electronic Publishing 7 (1). 
  4. 4.0 4.1
  5. Moore, Daniel. "Cryptopolitik and the Darknet". Survival: Global Politics and Strategy. Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  6. Cox, Joseph (1 February 2016). "Study Claims Dark Web Sites Are Most Commonly Used for Crime". Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  7. See the Wikipedia article on Tor (anonymity network) — Usage.
  8. Wikipedia: Hidden Services 2016
  9. Your new #Tor Browser homepage — THE #Deepweb in a nutshell: http://dtt6tdtgroj63iud.onion #Darkweb #darknet
  10. The size of the World Wide Web (The Internet)
  11. How far into the Deep Web have you travelled?
  12. Data Science Stack Exchange
  13. pandas - Python Data Analysis Library
  14. Artificial Intelligence Stack Exchange
  15. flat assembler message board
  16. Learn Multiplatform Z80 Assembly Programming... With Vampires!
  17. It's the Peter Scully 60 Minutes interview that you need to see.
  18. See the Wikipedia article on Peter Scully.
  19. Peter Scully's red room Is The Most Disturbing Story You'll Ever Read — Sick Chirpse
  20. Alleged paedophile Peter Gerard Scully fled a sordid past in Melbourne
  21. 60 minutes: Peter Scully Episode and Interview
  22. polymeric falcighol derivation
  23. The myth of Mariana's Web, the darkest corner of the internet
  24. The Hidden Internet- Marianas web
  29. (SCAM ALERT) HumboltFarms sent me a bag of SAND instead of cookies!!!! Archived from the original on Reddit, 2015.
  31. DeepDotWeb (18 May 2015). "BlackBank Under Maintenance". Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  32. Greenberg, Andy (18 March 2015). "The Dark Web's Top Drug Market, Evolution, Just Vanished". Retrieved 4 July 2015.