Full Project – Usefulness of deep web and prospects for web hidden content

Full Project – Usefulness of deep web and prospects for web hidden content

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The deep web refers to parts of the Internet not fully accessible through standard search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The deep web includes pages that were not indexed, fee-for-service sites, private databases, and the dark web. It is also called the hidden web or invisible web, the deep web is different from the surface web, where contents can be accessed through search engines. Information on sites like Investopedia is part of the surface web, as it can be reached through search engines. Most experts estimate that the deep web is much bigger than the surface web. Many webpages are dynamically generated or do not have links from other sites. Without links from previously indexed sites, the search engines cannot find them. That is why getting links from other pages is a basic principle of search engine optimization (SEO) (Investopedia, 2018).

According to Akiap (2017), deep web refers to anything on the internet that is not indexed by and, therefore, accessible via a search engine like Google. Deep web content includes anything behind a paywall or requires sign-in credentials. It also includes any content that its owners have blocked web crawlers from indexing. Medical records, fee-based content, membership websites, and confidential corporate web pages are just a few examples of what makes up the deep web. Estimates place the size of the deep web at between 96% and 99% of the internet. Only a tiny portion of the internet is accessible through a standard web browser generally known as the “clear web”.

In order to access these search engines and sites, it is necessary to use specific browsers, such as the Tor Browser. The dark web allows legitimate users to avoid censorship, but it also creates opportunities for cybercrime. The deep web gives users access to far more information than the surface web. This information may simply be pages that aren’t important enough to be listed. However, it also includes the latest TV shows, databases that are essential for managing your personal finances, and stories that are censored on the surface web. Much of the content on the deep web would not be available at all if only the surface web existed (Mooger, 2018).

Privacy, which is usually provided by encryption, is another benefit of the deep web. Encryption on the deep web allows fee for service sites to keep their content away from nonpaying Internet users while serving it to their customers. The encryption of databases is absolutely necessary for all forms of fintech to function properly. Without this security, neither firms nor individuals could safely conduct financial transactions over the Internet. The dark web was designed mainly to provide users with more privacy.

The volume of information on the web is already vast and is increasing at a very fast rate according to Deepweb.com (2017). The Deep Web is a vast repository of web pages, usually generated by database-driven websites, that are available to web users yet hidden from traditional search engines. The computer program that searches the Internet for newly accessible information to be added to the index examined by a standard search tool search engine used by these search engines to crawl the web cannot reach most of the pages created on-the-fly in dynamic sites such as e-commerce, news and major content sites, Deepweb.com (2017).

According to a study by Bright (2018), the deep web is estimated to be up to 550 times larger than the ‘surface web’ accessible through traditional search engines and over 200,000 database-driven websites are affected (i.e. accessible through traditional search engines). Sherman (2011) estimates the amount of quality pages in the deep web to be 3 to 4 times more than those pages accessible through search engine like Google, About, Yahoo, etc. While the actual figures are debatable, it made it clear that the deep web is far bigger than the surface web, and is growing at a much faster pace, Deepweb.com (2017).


Dark web history is packed with government influence. “Onion routing” – the core principle that enables Tor to retain its users’ anonymity – was developed and funded in the mid-1990s by the U.S. federal government. Onion routing was created to protect individuals in the intelligence community by allowing them to communicate anonymously.  It also served to protect whistleblowers, allow freedom of thought and expression for citizens and journalists who lived under oppressive regimes, and kept many others out of danger by protecting their anonymity. Even today, it still serves that same purpose for many people around the world.

After onion routing was patented, additional computer scientists joined the original development team in 2002 and created the biggest project for onion routing yet: The Onion Routing Project, now commonly known as the Tor Project. The Navy would later release the code for Tor under a free license. Then in 2006, several of the same scientists who developed Tor founded the Tor Project, a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization. The Tor Project maintains the software and browser of the same name and still receives funding from the U.S. government.

The Tor Project maintains that while it accepts federal funding, the organization does not worked with the NSA to reveal the identities of any of its users. While Tor (and similar dark web software/browsers) have uses that keep people safe, the anonymity that it provides can be exploited for criminal purposes. The dark web created a unique opportunity for digital black markets to thrive, and people began to take advantage. The transactions on the dark web are often carried out with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, which are unregulated and difficult to trace back to the user. With this background understanding of the history of the existence of the deep web, it was necessary to compare, analyze and then evaluate the prospects of improving internet users access to hidden content of the internet.


Most people access Web contents with Surface Search Engines and 99% of Web content is not accessible through Surface Search Engines. A complete approach to conducting research on the Web incorporates using surface search engines and deep web databases. However, most users of the Internet are skilled in at least elementary use of search engines but the skill in accessing the deep web is limited to a much smaller population. It is desirable for most user of the Web to be enabled to access most of the Web content.  This work therefore seeks to address problems such as how Deep Web affects: search engines, websites, searchers and proffered solutions.


The aim of this study is to provide a potential solution to web users on gaining access to hidden web content without having users’ identity revealed. The main objective of the project work can be stated more clearly as follows:

  1. To aid IT researchers in finding quality information in less time.
  2. To describe the Deep Web and Surface Web
  3. To compare deep web and surface web
  4. To the availability of software to implement a Deep Web search technique


The study on deep web is necessary because, it brings to focus problems encountered by search engines, websites and searchers. More importantly, the study will provide information on the results of searches made using both surface search engines and deep web search tools. Finally, it presents deep web not only as a substitute for surface search engines, but as a complement to a complete search approach that is highly relevant to the academic and the general public.


The study covers the explication of deep web content and the potential prospect for users of the internet to assess them with special focus on Tor Browser.



This study was limited by time constraint since there was limited time allocated for the execution of this study. Inadequate finance was also a problem encountered that hinder the study from designing a custom deep web accessible browser for users of the internet to explore hidden sensitive web content.


WEB: The World Wide Web, commonly known as the Web, is an information system where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators, which may be interlinked by hypertext, and are accessible over the Internet.

DEEP WEB: Deep web content includes anything behind a paywall or requires sign-in credentials. It also includes any content that its owners have blocked web crawlers from indexing.

DARK WEB: The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets: overlay networks that use the Internet but require specific software, configurations, or authorization to access.

TOR BROWSER: Tor is free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication by directing Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays in order to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis.

RESTRICTED USER: A restricted user is simply a view-only user. The purpose of this user type is to ensure the complete integrity of a company’s transactions.

WEB CONTENT: Web content is the textual, visual, or aural content that is encountered as part of the user experience on websites. It may include among other things: text, images, sounds, videos, and animations.

SEARCH ENGINE: A search engine is a software system that is designed to carry out web searches (Internet searches), which means to search the World Wide Web in a systematic way for particular information specified in a textual web search query.

SENSITIVE CONTENT: Sensitive content includes three primary categories. These are Violence, Adult Content, and Hateful Content.

CLASSIFIED CONTENT: Classified information or documents are officially secret.


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Full Project – Usefulness of deep web and prospects for web hidden content