Dark Web Search: The Best Dark Web Search Engines in 2023 (2024)

What is a dark web search engine?

A dark web search engine is an online tool designed to find websites on the unindexed part of the internet known as the dark web. Dark web websites are not listed on regular search engines, but dark web search engines can help you find them.

Search engines are integral to the web browsing experience, but only about 10% of all websites are indexed on a typical search engine. The remaining sites, including those on the dark web, won’t show up when you search Google — they can be accessed only with a direct URL, IP address, or deep web search application.

The internet consists of two parts:

  • The surface web: Also known as clearnet, the surface web includes many of the public sites we use when we browse the web, such as news sites, e-commerce sites, social media sites, etc. These sites are all indexed on search engines and visible to everyone.

  • The deep web: Sites on the deep web — also known as the invisible web — are hidden from search engines. These sites often contain sensitive information and are hidden behind password-protection protocols and other security systems.

While classified government data and sensitive health records sit in the deep web, many of the sites we use everyday are also part of the deep web, such as our email accounts and personal banking portals.

The dark web is a subset of the deep web. One way to understand the difference between the dark web and the deep web is to think of the dark web as a small part of the deep web that sits on a special network accessible only via special software tools like Tor browser. Most dark websites are hosted and accessed on the Tor network and can be identified with the use of Tor’s own top-level domain: “.onion.”

Best search engines to search the dark web

The dark web is more than just a shady cyber bazaar for drug deals and other transactions on dark web markets. It also supports independent journalism, provides secure email services, and lets people evade government censorship and surveillance.

There are useful resources on the dark web, and you need a dark web search engine to find them.

Here are the best dark web search engines:


A portmanteau of Tor + search, the Torch search engine is the oldest search engine on the Tor network. Torch indexes a range of dark web sites and links. On top of that, Torch web search speeds are relatively fast.

Torch takes online anonymity and digital identity very seriously. The platform offers truly uncensored and unfiltered web search results. Along with offering an unrestricted search engine list, Torch also prevents web tracking.


The DuckDuckGo dark web search engine is like Google for the dark web. Widely considered one of the best private search engines, it’s the default search engine on Tor browser. DuckDuckGo has a simple interface, with a search box in the middle of the page, and its list of search results is also formatted like Google’s. And it’s not just a deep web search engine — DuckDuckGo works for surface websites, too.

DuckDuckGo also has a no-log policy, meaning they don’t keep a record of your search history or collect other user data. Used in with a dedicated private browser, DuckDuckGo is a powerful search engine and a potent privacy tool.

Dark Web Search: The Best Dark Web Search Engines in 2023 (1)

The Hidden Wiki

The Hidden Wiki is the dark web version of Wikipedia. So while it’s not exactly a deep web search engine, it makes navigating Tor easier by providing a categorized directory with indexed links to “.onion” websites, as well as surface web links.

The Hidden Wiki isn’t a completely unrestricted search engine, because it uses filters to block many of the scam sites found on the dark web. But like many other allegedly illegal search engines, the Hidden Wiki does index certain shady sites that Google blocks.

Dark Web Search: The Best Dark Web Search Engines in 2023 (2)Source: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hidden_Wiki


Ahmia is a surface web search engine that’s compatible with Tor’s onion services. Onion sites are often associated with illegal activity, but Ahmia aims to bring them into the mainstream by filtering Tor search results and weeding out fake or unsafe websites that may contain malware.

Ahmia’s simple interface helps make searching the dark web more accessible, and Ahmia lets you perform deep web searches in regular web browsers like Google Chrome.


With over 1.5 billion indexed pages, Haystack boasts more indexed sites than any other deep web search engine. It’s also fast and helps protect your identity and privacy. Haystack does not track your data or compromise your privacy for profit, although the free version will serve you occasional ads.

If you go premium, you’ll lose the ads and gain additional data insights and access to historical versions of websites. Haystak is one of the best dark web search engines on the Tor network.

Not Evil

Not Evil is an onion dark web search engine that’s a great introduction to Tor-specific search tools. Not Evil’s name is a play on Google’s old motto: Don't be evil. And unlike Google, it doesn’t participate in advertising or web tracking.

Not Evil has more than 32 million websites and addresses indexed from Tor servers, as well as more than 14 million onion links. The Not Evil search engine is a not-for-profit operation, and it relies on a community of volunteers who report false results and log “abusive” sites.


Candle is a web crawler and dark web search engine for Tor’s onion service websites. Candle’s index contains over 100,000 web pages, including dark web marketplaces and forums, and it’s popular among cybercriminals and others who purchase illicit goods from dark web markets.

The Candle search engine is effective, but minimalistic — it gives you only the top ten most relevant results for your search queries. And the search box can’t read certain characters like parentheses or quotation marks.

Dark Search

Dark Search is a relatively new free search engine tool that aims to make the dark web more accessible. This dark web search engine also has an easy-to-use interface and offers free access to onion links and websites. The creator of Dark Search is currently working on a way to let dark web users access restricted dark web forums via onion search engine links.


Kilos is primarily used to find and access dark web markets where — as the name suggests — illicit drug transactions are one of the main activities. While many search engines steer clear of the dark web’s seedier elements, Kilos embraces it and doesn’t filter search results.

That approach has resulted in Kilos becoming one of the premiere black market search engines, but it’s also why it’s a dangerous portal to a landscape teeming with potential threats.

Types of dark web search engines

For those interested in accessing the safer parts of the dark web, there are censored dark web search engines that filter out the more illicit dark web sites. And there are also tools for those interested in an uncensored dark web search experience.

Unlike regular search engines like Google and Bing, dark web search engines usually don’t track web activity or log your search history. And most onion search engines operate as nonprofits and don’t display ads.

But that doesn’t mean your dark web activity is completely anonymous. Before you start browsing websites on the dark web, make sure to protect yourself by using a VPN, proxy, or Tor.

Searching the dark web

You need to use a dark web browser — such as the Tor browser — to search and access the dark web. Dark web browsers are specially designed to connect to websites on the Tor network, where most dark web sites are hosted. Though you can search dark web indexes with some clearnet browsers, you won't be able to access the sites themselves.

The desktop version of the Tor browser can be downloaded directly from the Tor project’s website. Tor browser apps for Android or iOS are available on Google Play and the App Store. Once you have Tor or another dark web browser, there are plenty of search engine options available to help you find the dark web content you’re looking for.

The importance of using a VPN when searching the dark web

Whenever you’re online, but especially if you go on the dark web, you need a VPN to encrypt all your communications and data.

Tor’s elaborate onion routing technique makes web tracking extremely difficult, but it’s still possible for third parties to spy on certain aspects of your web activity. A VPN adds an extra layer of encryption to protect your privacy. And it hides your IP address from hackers, your internet service provider (ISP), and even government spies.

Dark Web Search: The Best Dark Web Search Engines in 2023 (3)VPN encryption protects your data from being intercepted while on the dark web.

Setting up a VPN is easy, and there are plenty of commercial VPNs for PC and other devices available.

Here’s how to use a VPN to access the dark web:

  1. Download a secure VPN from a reliable vendor.

  2. Install the VPN on your device. Mobile VPNs are available for secure dark web browsing on Android and iOS, too.

  3. Connect to a VPN server using the VPN protocol from your provider’s list of options.

  4. Launch the Tor browser and start browsing “.onion” websites using one of the onion search engines listed above.

Stay private and protected online with a VPN

Whether on the clearnet or the dark web, using search engines and other browsing tools can lead to data leaks that expose your search history and other personal information. That’s why it’s important to use online security tools that protect your personal data.

Avast SecureLine VPN hides your IP, secures your Wi-Fi connection, and encrypts your data to make sure your personal information stays secure wherever you go online. Try Avast SecureLine VPN today.


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Dark Web Search: The Best Dark Web Search Engines in 2023 (2024)


Is the dark web 95% of the internet? ›

Greenberg notes that while the deep web is vast and accounts for 90-something percent of the Internet, the dark web likely only accounts for about . 01 percent.

Can you accidentally access the dark web? ›

Users cannot 'accidentally' access the dark web. Even if a cyberattack targets a user, it would be unlikely for the attack to have directly originated from the dark web.

Is DuckDuckGo a dark web browser? ›

The darknet version of DuckDuckGo is not a search engine for the dark web, but a private browsing tool for the dark web. DuckDuckGo's regular site can take you to the dark web, as it brings up onion sites and dark web links when searched. Neither DuckDuckGo's dark or normal versions keep a log of your web activity.

Is the dark web 99% of the internet? ›

In 2001, they estimated the deep web to be around 400 to 550 times as big as the surface web which contains 4.5 billion sites. The deep web is the 99% of the internet that you can't search on a search engine.

Who owns the dark web? ›

Of these, 18 000 would have original content. In July 2017, Roger Dingledine, one of the three founders of the Tor Project, said that Facebook is the biggest hidden service. The dark web comprises only 3% of the traffic in the Tor network.
21 more rows

Can hackers track you on the dark web? ›

Darknets use complex, layered encryption systems to keep their users' identities and locations anonymous. Exploiting this capability, Dark Web users communicate and share data confidentially, without being tracked by private companies or public organizations, including the government and law enforcement.

What happens if your name is on the dark web? ›

Criminals can use this information in a variety of ways, such as to impersonate you or create a fake identity using your Social Security number. They may even make a driver's license or medical insurance card using your information and then use the documents if they're arrested or want to get a medical procedure.

Can police track you on the dark web? ›

Typical web browsers reveal their unique IP (Internet Protocol) address, making them traceable by law enforcement. But a dark web browser issues a false IP address, using a series of relays, to mask the user's identity. A significant portion of dark web activity is lawful.

Can hackers track you on DuckDuckGo? ›

Use a Reliable VPN. DuckDuckGo protects your privacy while you search, but it offers little defense against other threats on the Internet, like government surveillance and social media trackers. DuckDuckGo doesn't encrypt all your traffic, which means any prying eyes can still see your activity and IP address.

Can you be tracked with DuckDuckGo? ›

DuckDuckGo search is completely anonymous, in line with our strict privacy policy. Each time you search on DuckDuckGo, you have a blank search history, as if you've never been there before. We simply don't store anything that can tie searches to you personally.

What does dark web look like? ›

Dark web websites look pretty much like any other site, but there are important differences. One is the naming structure. Instead of ending in .com or .co, dark web websites end in .onion.

What are dangers of dark web? ›

The dark web is a common gathering place for hackers and other cybercriminals, which can make browsing the dark web a risky activity. Visitors to the dark web should exercise extreme caution when downloading files, as they may infect your devices with viruses, malware, trojans, ransomware or other malicious files.

How much of internet is dark? ›

It only represents around 4% of the entire internet. Dive underwater, and you'll see the deep web which makes up most of the internet. Search engines don't index those sites but you can access them with a standard web browser.

How big is the dark web? ›

The dark web is only a small fraction of the deep web—constituting only 0.01% of it, and 5% of the total internet.

What is the law of 13? ›

Article 13 of the Indian Constitution describes the means for judicial review. It enjoins a duty on the Indian State to respect and implement the fundamental right. And at the same time, it confers a power on the courts to declare a law or an act void if it infringes the fundamental rights.

What can be found on the dark web? ›

The dark web is the scene of many illegal activities, including black markets for stolen credit cards and personal information, firearms, malware, prostitution, sex trafficking and drugs. Cyber attack services, like access to botnets that can conduct distributed denial-of-service attacks, are also available.

How many people use the dark web? ›

The 'Dark Web' uses complex systems that anonymise a user's true IP address, making it very difficult to work out which websites a device has visited. It is generally accessed using dedicated software, the best known is called Tor (The Onion Router). Around 2.5 million people use Tor every day.

How long has the dark web existed? ›

In the late 1990s, two research organizations in the US Department of Defense drove efforts to develop an anonymized and encrypted network that would protect the sensitive communications of US spies. This secret network would not be known or accessible to ordinary internet surfers.

Why was dark web created? ›

The dark web has been used to fight back against government censorship and aid political activists in spreading their messages, however, many cannot help but shudder when reading about the darker corners of the dark web, which have been home to child p*rnography, drug sales, and other illegal content.

How do you know if a hacker is watching you? ›

How to know if your camera is hacked
  • Check if the camera indicator light is on. ...
  • Check browser extensions. ...
  • Check known and unknown applications. ...
  • See if your webcam process is running. ...
  • Try running the webcam. ...
  • Look for audio and video recordings. ...
  • Run a malware scan. ...
  • Enable firewall.
Jan 19, 2022

Can a hacker see my location? ›

A device that is infected with malware or spyware can track your location even if your location settings are turned off. Malware can also record your online activities, allow cybercriminals to steal personal information, or slow down your operating system.

How do I know if I am on the dark web? ›

How Do You Know if Your Information Is on the Dark Web? If your data is available on the dark web, one of the easiest ways to find out is to check the “Have I Been Pwned” (HIBP) website. It's a free service, and all you have to do is conduct a search using your email address or phone number.

Should I be worried if my SSN is on the dark web? ›

When your Social Security number is available on the dark web, it gives cybercriminals the ability to open credit accounts in your name. In other words, someone other than you can take out personal loans, apply for credit cards, or open other financial accounts under your name.

What happens if my SSN is found on the dark web? ›

Using your SSN, scammers can easily open new accounts, claim Social Security benefits in your name, or steal your identity.

Can I remove my email from dark web? ›

If your email address was found on the Dark Web, there's not much you can do to remove it. However, there are steps you can take to secure your identity, protect yourself from hackers, and safeguard your personal information in the future.

Can the police see everything on your phone? ›

The cops might have access to any accounts your phone was logged into, this means they may have read personal communication, noted your personal accounts including email addresses, social media account names to follow, sent messages or made posts using your log in.

Can police track everything on your phone? ›

Can Police Track Your Phone? The police won't track your phone without reason, but they can access your device's location history in an emergency or if they suspect criminal activity. Once they have a warrant, the police can access a phone's GPS data through a cell provider and view its current or last known location.

Can police search your phone without you knowing? ›

Thanks to the Fourth Amendment, the police cannot search your phone without a warrant. The police are allowed to ask you to unlock your phone and hand it over, but you have the right to decline this request. However, a police officer can take your phone as evidence, even without a warrant.

Why should I use DuckDuckGo instead of Google? ›

DuckDuckGo is fairly safe and offers much more privacy than mainstream browsers. First of all, DuckDuckGo's main appeal is your search privacy. This means that DuckDuckGo doesn't collect user data and track your search history. Unlike Google, it doesn't associate what you look for online with your IP address.

What is the safest search engine? ›

You should opt for a private search engine.
1) DuckDuckGo
  • DuckDuckGo doesn't save your search histories.
  • You can save your settings in the cloud.
  • Extracting information with fewer clicks.
  • Allows you to limit your search by region.
  • It includes a detailed, transparent privacy policy.
6 days ago

What is the best private browser? ›

Top 13 most secure browsers for your privacy in 2023
  • Microsoft Edge.
  • Opera.
  • Chrome.
  • Chromium.
  • Safari.
  • Puffin.
  • FreeNet.
  • Vivaldi.
Jan 2, 2023

Why are people leaving Chrome? ›

People might have come to Chrome for speed, but if there's one reason they're leaving, it's because of privacy. Privacy experts have long warned that Chrome collects so much data on users that you'll be mindblown if you even had the smallest peek into its server data sets.

Can the WiFi owner see what I search on DuckDuckGo? ›

For example, if you search for a question on DuckDuckGo but don't click on a website search result, then the WiFi owner won't know what you searched for. They'll only know that you used DuckDuckGo. However, as soon as you click on another website from DuckDuckGo, that domain will be included in the search history.

How does the dark web work? ›

The dark web consists of websites that, while on the public internet, require specific software for access. These sites are not indexed by search engines to ensure anonymity. The stolen data is traded, sold, and used for financial, political, or personal gain.

What is dark web monitoring? ›

Dark Web monitoring is a form of threat intelligence that involves scanning for your personal information on the Dark Web. It's a critical part of identity theft protection as it allows you to address leaked data as soon as possible.

Which country has most dark web users? ›

1- United States. The United States has the current highest count of dark web users. That is of 34.81% that ultimately means a daily user count of roughly 831911. The U.S based darknet users mostly engage in buying and selling drugs, fake documents, malware, and data.

Is everyone's data on the dark web? ›

Not everyone's data is on the Dark Web, but it's likely that you or your family have already been affected. However, this doesn't mean that hackers have access to your “fullz.” Most of the time, a few pieces of PII leak onto the Dark Web. Often, that's just a Social Security number.

What data is sold on dark web? ›

Cybercriminals frequently use the dark web — a hub of criminal and illicit activity — to sell data from companies that they have gained unauthorized access to through credential stuffing attacks, phishing attacks, hacking, or even leaks from a company insider.

What is beyond the dark web? ›

Beyond the dark web: navigating the risks of cannabis supply over the surface web. Common depictions of buying and selling illicit drugs online centre on how drug market actors engage in dark web drug cryptomarkets, but the supply of illicit drugs also takes place in 'plain site' on the surface web.

What percent of internet is dark 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”.

What percentage of internet use is dark web? ›

Approximately 90% of all websites are on the deep web, and many are used by entities such as corporations, government agencies, and nonprofits. What's known as the dark web exists within the deep web; it's an area of the internet that is only accessible by users who have a Tor browser installed.

Is the dark web larger than internet? ›

The dark web is a small subset of the deep web, which is part of the internet that is not found using search engines. That includes many websites that require users to log in with an username and password, and the deep web is estimated to be about 400 to 500 times larger than the common internet.

How much of the internet is hidden? ›

Which means that 99.996% of the internet is inaccessible without permissions and passwords and is not indexed by standard search engines. This 99.996% of data is called the deep web. So what is this content and data we can't see? Mostly pretty innocuous stuff, actually.

What if my SSN is found on the dark web? ›

When your Social Security number is available on the dark web, it gives cybercriminals the ability to open credit accounts in your name. In other words, someone other than you can take out personal loans, apply for credit cards, or open other financial accounts under your name.

How serious is the dark web? ›

The dark web is a common gathering place for hackers and other cybercriminals, which can make browsing the dark web a risky activity. Visitors to the dark web should exercise extreme caution when downloading files, as they may infect your devices with viruses, malware, trojans, ransomware or other malicious files.

How long has the dark web been around? ›

In the late 1990s, two research organizations in the US Department of Defense drove efforts to develop an anonymized and encrypted network that would protect the sensitive communications of US spies. This secret network would not be known or accessible to ordinary internet surfers.

Which is worse deep or dark web? ›

In theory, the deep web is safer than the dark web. The deep web is just that part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines. The dark web is dubbed as a hotbed for illegal activity. That said, if you're just browsing on the dark web, it should be as equally safe as doing so on the deep web.

Can hidden WiFi be found? ›

Because hidden networks still communicate with other devices, it's possible to detect using a wireless network analyzer like NetSpot. NetSpot is a versatile wireless network analyzer that can instantly collect detailed information about all WiFi networks available in the area and present it as an interactive table.

What parts of the US have no internet? ›

Key findings
  • An average of 12.22% of households across the nation's 50 states don't have internet access. ...
  • Utah, Washington and Colorado have the smallest share of homes without internet access. ...
  • Mississippi, New Mexico and Arkansas have the largest share of homes without internet access.
Jul 26, 2022

Can WiFi be hidden? ›

Hiding an SSID is simply disabling a wireless router's SSID broadcast feature. Disabling the SSID broadcast stops the router from sending out the wireless network's name, making it invisible to users.

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