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

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.

(Video) How to Search on Dark Web ? | Dark Web par Kaise Search Kare? | Top Search Engines on Darknet |


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.

(Video) How to Access the Dark Web Safely in 2022

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.

(Video) Access Dark Web Using Tor Browser | Complete Guide

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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Is the dark web 90% of the internet? ›

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 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.

What do hackers use the dark web for? ›

The dark web is a subset of deep websites that cannot be accessed using a regular internet browser, requiring encryption or specialty software. Cyber criminals share such sites with each other and can limit or prevent unknown persons reaching their site accidentally via a Google search.

Is My Name in 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.

Can the dark web hurt you? ›

How dangerous is the dark web? The danger of the dark web comes when you aren't careful with what you access. You may easily fall victim to hackers and give away personal information without intention. Or, you could stumble on illegal activity without even realizing it.

How illegal is the dark web? ›

Is it legal? Using Tor or visiting the Dark Web are not unlawful in themselves. It is of course illegal to carry out illegal acts anonymously, such as accessing child abuse images, promoting terrorism, or selling illegal items such as weapons.

Who owns the dark web? ›

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.
Category% of total% of active
Illicit Other3.87.3
Illicit Finance6.312
Illicit Drugs8.115.5
10 more rows

What can you buy on the dark web? ›

It's possible to buy and sell illegal drugs, malware, and prohibited content in darknet marketplaces. Some dark web commerce sites have dangerous chemicals and weapons for sale.

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.

Can people be tracked on the dark web? ›

It is a web of anonymity where users' identities and locations are protected by encryption technology that routes user data through many servers across the globe – making it extremely difficult to track users. The anonymity of the dark web makes it an attractive technology for illegal purposes.

Who benefits from the dark web? ›

The dark web is not only meant for cyber criminals, but also cyber security experts can use this to improve business security. Hackers who want to exploit your organization always use the darknet to publish stolen data so active cyber security experts can easily track business information available for sale by hackers.

Does the dark web steal your information? ›

Sites on the dark web use encryption software to hide their locations. A good chunk of the dark web is devoted to the buying and selling of stolen financial and personal information. And if your information ends up on dark web sites — for instance, after a data breach — an identity thief could gain access to it.

How much is a SSN worth on the dark web? ›

Basic stolen identity information on a US citizen, which only includes the Social Security number, full name and birth date, can range from $1 to $8 per person. But in some cases, hackers will package the offering with the victim's stolen credit card information, and charge from $20 to $75.

When your 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.

Can I remove my email from dark web? ›

Can You Remove Your Email (and Other Info) From The Dark Web? Once your email address or other information is on the Dark Web, it's there to stay. For this reason, it's far more important to be proactive about your online security.

Can you go to jail for looking at the dark web? ›

Simply put, no it is not illegal to access the dark web. In fact, some uses are perfectly legal and support the value of the “dark web.” On the dark web, users can seek out three clear benefits from its use: User anonymity.

What happens if you watch the dark web? ›

When you access the dark web, you're not surfing the interconnected servers you regularly interact with. Instead, everything stays internal on the Tor network, which provides security and privacy to everyone equally. Worth noting: Dark web website addresses end with .

What are the hidden dangers of the dark web? ›

Illegal access – browsing on the dark web is not illegal, but accessing illegal websites on the dark web using an anonymous browser, is. ideas and views, it also poses risks to society, ranging from extreme ideologies and radicalisation to terrorism.

What is illegal to watch on the internet? ›

Anything that is illegal offline is also illegal on the internet, including fraud, theft, gambling, drug trafficking, prostitution, and child pornography. Certain internet crimes, however, may only be committed online, and some people do not even realize they're engaging in illegal behavior.

Is Tor illegal in the US? ›

Tor is legal in the US. You won't likely get in trouble just because you use the Tor browser. However, Tor is not a lawless domain, so you can't use this browser for illegal activities. If you use Tor for buying drugs or weapons, you are held responsible against the law.

Why was the dark web created? ›

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.

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”.

How much of the dark web takes up the internet? ›

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. Right at the bottom of the iceberg sits the dark web, representing only a tiny percentage.

How big is the dark web compared to the internet? ›

Some experts peg the size of the dark web at approximately 5% of all the content on the internet. It is easier to give an accurate estimate of the size of the deep web due to its public nature. More than 200,000 websites exist on the deep web.

What percentage of the web is deep web? ›

The deep web. The deep web rests below the surface and accounts for approximately 90% of all websites. This would be the part of an iceberg beneath the water, much larger than the surface web.

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.

What items are on the dark web? ›

They function primarily as black markets, selling or brokering transactions involving drugs, cyber-arms, weapons, counterfeit currency, stolen credit card details, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, steroids, and other illicit goods as well as the sale of legal products.


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