This is an excerpt from Browserling's Tor Browser Testing Guide. Browserling offers a cloud-based service for cross-browser testing your onion websites via the Tor browser, which can be accessed via browserling.com/tor. The Tor browser is virtualized and runs in a sandboxed environment on Browserling's servers that are isolated from your device and network.
Creating a dark web version of a website usually refers to setting up an instance of that website on the Tor network that's accessible through an onion address (ending with
.onion). The dark web is a part of the deep web that is intentionally hidden and only accessible using specialized software (such as the Tor browser). There are various reasons why an individual or organization might want to create a dark web version of their website.
In countries with strict Internet censorship, the dark web can provide a way for citizens to access information without governmental interference. Sites on the Tor network are much harder for authorities to block.
Privacy and Anonymity
The Tor network allows users to access content without revealing their IP address or other personal information, protecting them from surveillance and potential backlash, especially in countries where freedom of expression is curtailed.
Freedom of Expression
Artists, writers, or creators might host content on the dark web that they believe could be too controversial or polarizing for the mainstream Internet, using it as a platform for unfiltered expression.
Journalists, activists, and those exposing secrets might use the dark web to talk without being watched. By hosting a dark web version of their website, they can provide a safer platform for sensitive information and discussions.
Alternative Social Networks and Forums
Backup and Redundancy
In the event that a website's primary server is taken down due to DOS attacks, legal actions, or other reasons, a dark web version can serve as a backup, allowing users to still access the site.
By being available on the Tor network, the organizations can ensure that they reach a wider audience, including those who for various reasons predominantly use the dark web for their browsing.
Journalistic Integrity and Whistle-blowing
For entities like the BBC, CNN, and The Washington Post, having a presence on the Tor network can provide a more secure platform for whistle-blowers to share information, ensuring secure communications between journalists and sources.
Demonstrating Commitment to Internet Freedom
By establishing a presence on the dark web, the entities can make a statement about the importance of Internet freedom, the open exchange of information, and the right to privacy.
Technological Novelty and Curiosity
Someone might create a dark web version of their website out of sheer curiosity, as a proof of concept, or to be part of the underground culture of the Internet.
How does Browserling help dark web webmasters?
Browserling provides instant access to a cloud-hosted version of the Tor browser to individuals and entities that host websites on the dark web, offering an essential testing environment. Given the unique nature of the dark web and the Tor network, it's crucial for webmasters to ensure that their sites function as expected in this distinctive ecosystem. Browserling allows them to perform cross-browser testing across multiple versions of the Tor browser on multiple operating systems. This comprehensive testing approach not only helps in identifying potential functional issues but also ensures a consistent user experience for visitors.