The dark web is a portion of the deep web that’s inaccessible without specialized privacy software. The most infamous software used to access the dark web is Tor, but other software such as I2P or Freenet exists as well.
The reason why software is required to access the dark web is because servers running on the dark web conceal themselves using what are called hidden services. By using hidden services, servers can prevent themselves from being located; however, specialized software that work with hidden services such as Tor is needed to access them.
Websites on the dark web can be accessed in the same manner to those on the clear web, which is what you’re using right now to access this website. However, rather than typing in an address followed by a .com, .net, .org, .us, etc. dark web websites use .onion. Additionally, most of the websites on the dark web aren’t indexed by search engines either, so you’ll have to know the address of the site you want to visit.
As the dark web isn’t policed, anything can exist on the dark web. While the dark web has gotten a lot of negative publicity due to users on the service buying/selling drugs, guns, fake passports and even assassinations, the dark web is also commonly used by whistleblowers, journalists, and regular internet users who simply want to use the anonymity benefits of the Onion Network to surf the clear web.