This is an excerpt from Browserling's Tor Browser Testing Guide. Browserling offers a cloud-based service for testing deep web websites and onion URLs via the Tor browser, which can be accessed via The Tor browser is sandboxed in a virtual machine, runs on Browserling's servers, and is isolated from your device and network.

What is the deep web?

The term "deep web" refers to the portion of the Internet that is not indexed by traditional search engines, such as Google or Bing. This includes password-protected websites, private databases, academic journals, forums and message boards, among other things. Unlike the "open web", which is readily accessible and searchable, the deep web requires specific credentials or authorization for access. Despite its mysterious-sounding name, the deep web comprises a vast majority of the Internet's content.

What is the dark web?

The "dark web" is a subset of the deep web that is intentionally hidden and requires specialized software like Tor to access. It is often associated with anonymity and privacy, allowing users to browse and communicate without revealing their identity. While it serves various purposes, including whistle-blowing and secure communication, the dark web is also known for hosting questionable content. Accessing the dark web itself is not illegal, but many activities conducted there may go against the law, so exercise caution and ensure you're adhering to the laws and regulations of your country.

What is the dark net?

The terms "dark web" and "dark net" are often used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meanings. The dark web refers specifically to the content hosted on dark net networks. The dark net is more about the underlying infrastructure. It refers to the actual network of private servers and routing protocols (such as the onion protocol) that make anonymous, unindexed services possible.

Why are the terms deep web, dark web, and dark net often confused?

The terms "deep web", "dark web", and "dark net" are often confused due to a lack of public understanding and media sensationalism that blurs their distinctions. All three relate to parts of the Internet that are not indexed by standard search engines, contributing to the perception that they are similar or interchangeable. Additionally, popular culture and media frequently focus on the more illicit aspects of these areas, reinforcing misunderstandings and creating an aura of mystery around all three terms. The overlap between these terms, such as the fact that the dark web is a part of the deep web and runs on dark net infrastructure, also adds to the confusion.


Testing websites running in the hidden parts of the Internet, from the deep web to the dark web, can be a journey full of surprises. The Tor browser is essential for those aiming to conduct cross-browser testing on the deep web while ensuring anonymity and security. However, getting started with the Tor browser can be intimidating due to its association with the dark web and the technical complexity often perceived around its usage. Moreover, individuals might fear threats to their privacy and security if they perform testing incorrectly. Browserling provides a quick and easy way to use the Tor browser without any complicated setup, allowing you to jump right into testing your sites within this anonymized environment.

With Browserling, you don't have to worry about the technical setup or security as you venture into the unknown areas of the Internet. Just simply navigate to and you are on your way with the Tor browser, ready to test your site within the hidden parts of the web. It's a straightforward and secure starting point for anyone wanting to launch their own website beyond the surface of the Internet. So, if you're ready to explore, give Browserling a try and see how your deep web site performs!