Best dark web search engines in 2023 (2023)

The Dark Web (DW) is called dark for a reason. Like a cavernous dungeon, it’s almost impossible to navigate without a torch or beacon – and the information it contains can be very difficult to discover. Therefore, you need the best dark web search engine to explore the hidden plains of the internet.

However, if you think that you’ll be instantly incognito when entering the dark web, think again. Firstly, your ISP can see when you’re entering and leaving the dark web, which might raise some concerns. Moreover, it’s been proven that the CIA owns some of the Tor relays.

So, if you don’t want anyone to know that you’re using DuckDuckGo and browse from Germany, for example, you’ll need a reliable VPN. It will spoof your whereabouts and hide your IP address instantly. And if you pair it with Tor and a top-tier dark web search engine, you’ll have the smoothest, anonymous experience online.

Best dark web search engines in 2023 (1)

Stay safe with the best dark web VPN

Being one of the top VPN choices, NordVPN will guarantee your safety while venturing through the dark web. Not to mention, it offers loads of feautures and phenomenal speeds.

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What is the Dark Web?

You’ve probably heard stories about the legendary Silk Road, hitmen services, gun shops, and other wacky sites. While some of it is true, in reality, the dark web is simply a place full of non-indexed and actively hidden content. Moreover, journalists, activists, and other curious people use the dark web as a safe place for free speech.

Best dark web search engines in 2023 (2)

And while it’s exciting to rummage through heaps of pages, the dark web is not the safest place on earth. Users should exercise extreme caution when downloading files, as they are often malicious. Plus, if you don’t encrypt your data and hide IP address, malicious actors might take advantage of you and your data. Therefore, getting a dark web VPN is a must, as it will add an extra layer of safety and privacy.

Additionally, unlike regular sites that you can access through Google, Bing, or Yahoo, you’ll need a special browser and search engine to access DW. The most famous and trusted browser is undoubtedly Tor. And when it comes to search engines, it’s a matter of what you prefer and what you need.

How to get on the dark web securely

It doesn’t matter what you’re up to on the web. The point is, you always need some extra protection when exploring the dankest corners of internet. Thus, here’s what you have to do to stay safe:

  1. Download a security-oriented VPN. Our #1 choice is NordVPN, now with 68% discount
  2. Install the VPN on a device that you will use for dark web browsing
  3. Pick a server nearby for best performance
  4. Launch Tor and pick a reliable search engine, such as Torch
  5. Now you can explore the darkest corners of the dark web!

Browse Dark Web with NordVPN

Best Dark Web search engines in 2023

Below you’ll find reliable dark web search engines that will help you access spooky yet intriguing content. However, while they have a proven track record of serving Tor users, there’s always a slight chance that they may harbor malware or other surprises. Therefore, before venturing into the dark, take the best VPN to give you peace of mind.

So, get the best dark web search engine links and surf securely.

1. Torch – the best dark web search engine

Best dark web search engines in 2023 (3)✔️ Offers the biggest archive
✔️ Doesn’t restrict web pages
✔️ One of the first dark web browsers
❌ Might contain malicious content

Torch is one of the oldest and most-known dark web search engines. With an archive of over 400,000 pages, Torch does a pretty good job of sifting through the Dark Web’s content and returns a batch of relevant results for almost any search query.

It’s simple to use and offers uncensored and unrestricted web search results. But that also means that you might stumble across malicious websites. Furthermore, it’s quite fast, so you won’t have to wait long for pages to load. The only annoying thing is the obnoxious ads on the front page. However, the profit from these advertisements goes into the support and maintenance of the servers.

Not to mention, the people behind this search engine take your privacy seriously, as they try to prevent any web tracking. So, if you’re ready, venture into the unknown with the Torch search engine.

Find Torch here

2. Ahmia – dark web search engine that works on regular web

Best dark web search engines in 2023 (4)✔️ Works on popular browsers
✔️ User-friendly
✔️ Blocks malicious sites
❌ A bit slow

Another handy portal to the recesses of the dark web, Ahmia, was developed with the support of the Tor project back in 2014. Ahmia has the best filters around. It explicitly sets out to sanitize search results from Tor. So don’t expect to have your searches contaminated with illegal NSFW content.

Additionally, we highly recommend using it with the TOR browser, but it also works on popular options such as Chrome, Brave, Firefox, or Edge. Plus, Ahmia aims to make dark web adventures more accessible and safe, so it’s a fantastic beginner-friendly option.

Ahmia’s biggest advantage is its servers, unlike other competitors, are always up. Thus, if you want to take it for a spin, use the link below.

Find Ahmia here

3. Haystak – dark web search engine with over 1 billion indexed pages

Best dark web search engines in 2023 (5)✔️ Heaps of websites to explore
✔️ Fairly fast
✔️ Doesn’t track your data
❌ Not as reliable as other search engines

Few search engines have penetrated as far into the Dark Web as Haystak, which claims to use an archive of over 1.5 billion pages. That probably features a broad overlap with the more conventional Deep Web, but there’s no doubt that Haystak reaches the part of the Tor network that other searches can’t.

However, Haystak’s search infrastructure is a little less reliable than alternatives like Not Evil or Torch, so you may find yourself fiddling around with keywords to find relevant content.
Even so, the archive size means that it’s a Tor search engine that needs to be taken into account.

Not to mention, the creators of this search engine take your privacy and security seriously, as they don’t track your data. So, you can try it out by copying the link below.

Find Haystack here

4. DuckDuckGo – default Tor dark web search engine

Best dark web search engines in 2023 (6)✔️ Doesn’t collect logs
✔️ Works on regular browsers
✔️ User-friendly
❌ Less results than other search engines

DuckDuckGo (DDG) is one of the most privacy-friendly search engines in 2023. Additionally, it’s a default option for Tor, so you know it’s a reliable choice. You can also use it for the most popular browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge, but it won’t show you .onion sites.

DDG offers a familiar and simple interface, so you shouldn’t have any problems utilizing it. Not to mention, it offers a no-logs policy, so the team behind the platform won’t gather any information about you.

Nevertheless, it might show fewer dark web results compared to other specialized search engines. But it’s truly a worthy contender. You can test it out by following the link below.

Find DuckDuckGo here

5. Not Evil – versatile dark web search engine

Best dark web search engines in 2023 (7)✔️ Simple to use
✔️ Database includes over 32 million websites
✔️ Results are monitored by users
❌ The servers are often down

Taking the form of a very stripped-down form of Google (hence the humorous name which riffs on the search giant’s questionable ethics), not Evil is usually the place to start when searching the Dark Web.

It simply features a search field and a list of results that have been harvested from Tor servers. But there’s a bit more going on here than you might think.

Search results are monitored by users, who can report incorrect and misleading results or log sites as “abusive.” And the search engine actively tries to combat content like child pornography, which is good to see (and suggests that it lives up to its name).

Sadly, getting it to work is a bit iffy, as not Evil servers are usually down. Nevertheless, you can try and access it with the link below.

Find not Evil here

Should you use services like Web2Tor?

When you surf the web looking for ways to get the most out of Tor, you may well run into services with names like “Web2Tor” or “Tor2Web.” These sites seem really useful on the surface, promising to create an interface between the ordinary web and Tor nodes.

In theory, this would let you use search engines like DuckDuckGo to search Tor, and it would do away with the need for the standalone Tor browser.

However, don’t be fooled. These tools (when they work) are inherently insecure. Users run the risk of betraying their DNS and IP information when they create a bridge between the surface web and Tor, giving away plenty of data about the sites they are visiting.

So when you navigate the Dark Web, search engine tools are your friend. Just stick to specialist Tor-based services instead of apps and sites which promise more than they can deliver. And finally, don’t forget to turn on a secure VPN for your own safety.

Is DuckDuckGo a true dark web search engine?

DuckDuckGo is one of the well-known Clearnet sites, for sure, but it also is available in the Tor network.

However, it’s not actually a dark web search engine, per se, and it doesn’t list .onion pages and essentially functions like Google. Its advantage is concluded in its anonymity and privacy features. Using DuckDuckGo, you can rest assured that your data isn’t tracked or collected. All the cookies, history, and other web activities performed through the site are kept off the charts.

All in all, DDG is not a dark web search engine as it won’t list dark web pages. Therefore, you are better off getting a different search engine, such as Torch or Ahmia.

Best dark web search engines according to Reddit

Reddit has answers to all of your questions, including the ones about dark web search engines. To save you time, we dug through heaps of threads to find the most reliable options. In most cases, Redditors had similar opinions to ours. So, here are the best dark web search engines in 2023 according to Reddit:

Search EngineWhy you should use it
TorchOldest and the best, also no censorship
HaystackBiggest archive
PhobosExtremely fast & ads-free
DuckDuckGoFor Android users
CandleQuick, convenient & always working

We recommend trying a few of these search engines before picking your one and only. And remember, no matter how private these search engines claim to be, you need some extra protection before any digital disasters happen. Therefore, we recommend checking out the best VPNs according to Reddit, which will also work perfectly while exploring DW.

Why do you need a VPN on the dark web?

We talked about it before, the dark web is far from being the safest place to explore. While you won’t have FBI guys or hitmen banging on your door, you can stumble across malware-infected sites. That might lead to financial losses, identity thefts, or other digital calamities.

But that can only happen if you don’t encrypt your data, hide your IP and whereabouts. Luckily, you can easily keep yourself safe by using a reliable virtual private network. And, if you’re wondering which VPN to use for the dark web, here are the best options:

  1. NordVPN. Overall the best option. It’s a versatile service that will keep you safe and anonymous online. It’s also the fastest VPN, so it won’t slow you down while on the dark web.
  2. Surfshark VPN. The top option for multiple gadgets, as this service has no device limit. Moreover, it provides top-tier security features, guaranteed confidentiality, and swift connectivity globally.

Get the best VPN on the market

How to stay safe on the dark web?

We get it, you want to dive into the exciting world of the dark web as soon as possible. Nevertheless, you should be extra careful. One wrong click, and you might be in some big trouble. Therefore, here are a few things you can do to stay safe on the dark web:

  • Avoid downloading files on the dark web as they might actually be malware.
  • Have your VPN on while browsing to protect your data and hide your IP address & whereabouts.
  • Never use your personal information like email, name, address, or social security number, as they might be used against you.
  • Don’t buy anything, but if you do, make sure it’s from a reliable source and use cryptocurrencies.
  • Use antivirus software, as it will protect you against malware if something goes awry.

Best dark web websites

Now that you know about the best search engines for the dark web, it’s time to do a bit of digging! Of course, don’t forget to turn on your VPN to keep your devices safe and sound.

Best dark web search engines in 2023 (8)
And if you don’t know where to start, we found some interesting dark web sites that are worth visiting. Just copy the link and paste it into your dark web search engine.

  • The Hidden Wiki – your gateway to the dark web. It offers loads of useful links to secure sites.
  • SecureDrop – best dark web platform for file sharing.
  • ProRepublica – unbiased investigative journalism and news.
  • Galaxy3 – social networking experience for dark web.
  • FlashLight Deepweb Live – popular news site about dark web matters.

Wrap up

DW is an exciting place to look for hidden information. And to access these sites, you’ll need a reliable dark web search engine. While our top choices are Torch and Ahmia, you might want to try other options to see which one fits your needs the best.

And, of course, to avoid digital catastrophes, we strongly recommend getting a top-notch VPN such as NordVPN. It will add an extra layer of security by encrypting your data and hiding your IP address. That way, you won’t have to worry about online dangers as much.

What search engine do you use for browsing the dark web? Let us know in the comments!

You may also like to read:
Most secure browsers
Best VPN for Tor browser
Best VPN browser extensions
How to bypass VPN blocks
Is torrenting illegal in your country?
How to unblock websites from anywhere


What is the best dark web search engine?

The finest search engine for the dark web is Torch. It doesn’t censor search results and won’t track your search history. Plus, for the sake of privacy, Torch doesn’t use any tracking or analytics code.

Is DuckDuckGo a dark web search engine?

Yes, you can use DuckDuckGo to explore the dark web, but only the surface pages. However, you’ll still need the Tor browser to access non-indexed and actively hidden content. Plus, it would be wise to use a reliable VPN, such as NordVPN, for maximum security.

Is it legal to use the dark web?

Technically, it’s absolutely legal to browse on the dark web. Nevertheless, it depends on what you use it for. If you use it for illicit and illegal purposes, then undoubtedly, you’ll get in trouble.

Can you be tracked on the dark web?

While extremely difficult, yes, you can be tracked on the dark web. For that reason, you need to use a tool that would hide your location and swap your IP address with a different one. The best option is to grab an industry-leading VPN like Surfshark VPN or NordVPN and avoid major risks while browsing the deep web.

Should I use a VPN when on the dark web?

Yes, using a VPN while surfing the dark web is highly recommended. A service such as NordVPN will secure your information with an uncrackable cipher. Also, the twice-audited zero-logs policy guarantees your privacy while online.


What search engines have no Safesearch? ›

Are there any search engines that don't censor content? Search engines like StartPage, DuckDuckGo, Swisscows, Qwant, Infinity Search, Gibiru, and BoardReader do not censor data and give you unbiased, and unfiltered search results.

Can you get to the dark web with DuckDuckGo? ›

DuckDuckGo. 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.

What search engine doesn't track you? ›

DuckDuckGo (DDG) is a popular privacy search engine. Like Brave, DDG doesn't build user profiles, so it will always show the same search results to all users. And it prevents online tracking of searches or clicks.

Can you legally go on the dark web? ›

While using the dark web may seem suspect on the surface, it is perfectly legal, and there are many legitimate uses of Tor and anonymous browsing.

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.

Which is worse dark web or deep web? ›

While the content on the dark web has the potential to be more dangerous, this content is usually walled off from regular users. However, it is entirely possible for regular users to accidentally come across harmful content while browsing the deep web, which is much more easily accessible.

Which search engine does Hackers use? ›

(1) Shodan

Shodan is popular for the identification of IoT infrastructure across the globe. If you are a security analyst and performing pentest on the IoT infrastructure, Shodan is a must tool in your arsenal.

Does DuckDuckGo have secret mode? ›

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.

Can you be tracked with DuckDuckGo? ›

Unlike Google, Yahoo, and Bing, DuckDuckGo doesn't collect cookies, IP addresses, or user-agent data (like your device information or the web browser you use). It also doesn't track your searches in a way that links them back to you.

Are Google searches tracked by police? ›

While police do not actively monitor Google searches, they are able to obtain a warrant for your search history if they have probable cause to do so.

What is a ghost browser? ›

"Ghost Browser allows you to log into any web site with multiple accounts from one window. This can be very handy when you manage multiple social media profiles for each of the social media platforms."

Which browser has maximum privacy? ›

The best browsers for privacy at a glance:

The best overall browser for privacy: Brave. The best browser for customizable privacy: Firefox. The best browser for maximum security: Tor. The best browser for privacy on Mac: Safari.

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.

What happens if you go on the dark web without VPN? ›

In the US, visiting the dark web is legal, though using Tor without the safety of a VPN may draw scrutiny from your ISP as well as from the government. And while visiting the dark web may be legal, using it to engage in criminal activity is definitely not.

What are three positive things about the dark web? ›

Defeating censorship, protecting journalistic sources, and helping whistleblowers are all huge benefits of the Dark Web. As the hitmen and fraudsters retreat, the Dark Web could become freedom's most important ally.

What happens if you join 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 . onion instead of the surface web's .com, .

How many levels of the dark web are there? ›

These five are: “Clearnet,” “Surface Web,” “Bergie Web,” “Deep Web,” “Darknet,” “Private Web” and “Marianas Web.” Each level serves a very specific purpose, but more importantly once you want to access the “Deep Web” onwards, you need to use a Proxy service, “Darknet” requires TOR like services, “Private Web” you need ...

What dark web looks like? ›

The Dark Web is a lot like your regular, everyday World Wide Web, which you can safely browse to access websites. But there's one big difference—mainstream search engines, such as Google, do not index sites on the Dark Web. That's actually why this area is called “dark.”

How large 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.

Is there a deeper search than Google? ›

1. pipl. Pipl's query engine helps you find deep web pages that cannot be found on regular search engines. Unlike other search Engines link Google and Bing, pipl Deep Web Search Engine provides search results retrieved from Deep Web.

Is there a truly private browser? ›

Is there a truly private browser? There is a truly private browser called Tor, which is open source and free. Tor encrypts a user's web activity and their device's IP address three times so that it's hidden from their ISP.

What code do most hackers use? ›

Python ranks as the number one popular programming language in the world, according to 2022 Tiobe Index data. It's also a popular language with hackers because it provides powerful and easy-to-use libraries enabling them to work quickly.

What do hackers want the most? ›

Unfortunately, some attackers want to steal your data just to prove that they can. They are not motivated by monetary gain, access to free resources or the ability to steal your users' identities. They simply want to prove to themselves – and their hacker friends, perhaps – that they can break past your defenses.

What search engine is smarter than Google? ›

The Washington Post reports that a new search engine called Omnity is on the way, which is targeted at researchers and students. Not only is it being recognized for unique features that Google doesn't offer, many publications are calling it “smarter than Google.”

What is a better search than Google? ›

#1 – DuckDuckGO

DuckDuckGo is the perfect choice if privacy is your top browsing concern. Like Google, DuckDuckGo offers their own mobile & desktop browsers. By default, this browser doesn't collect or store any personal information at all.

Is SafeSearch only on Google? ›

SafeSearch only works on Google search results. When it's turned on, you can still find explicit content through other search engines or by directly visiting a site with explicit content.

What websites does SafeSearch block? ›

Google SafeSearch is an automated filter that blocks explicit content such as pornography, violence, and gore from appearing in search results.

Does SafeSearch work on all browsers? ›

The process for setting up SafeSearch is the same across all browsers. That means setting up SafeSearch on Firefox, Edge, Safari, or Chrome will be the same process no matter the operating system or device. You can also set parental controls on a Mac or set parental controls on Windows for additional protection.

Why is Google restricting my searches? ›

Why sites are labeled or blocked. Google checks the pages that it indexes for malicious scripts or downloads, content violations, policy violations, and many other quality and legal issues that can affect users.

Why was SafeSearch turned on? ›

You may have been using a “safe” network such as at a school or workplace, where SafeSearch has been turned on to comply with organization policy. Check with the administrator of your local network.

Why I turn off SafeSearch can t? ›

Change Windows Settings

Open the Start menu and go to Settings. Click Privacy & Security. From Windows permissions, select Search permissions. From SafeSearch, select Off - Don't filter adult content from my web results.

Does SafeSearch work in incognito mode? ›

SafeSearch On. This extension forces a google image or video search to always use SafeSearch, even when using incognito mode. This extension will help keep your browsing safe, especially for little kids.

Who runs SafeSearch? ›

Google has published a new help document for SafeSearch that merges together all of Google's SafeSearch details into one larger help document. This new document explains how SafeSearch works, adds some troubleshooting but the overall guidance of SafeSearch has not changed. What is SafeSearch.

Can SafeSearch turn on by itself? ›

It's a browser concept. Look deeper into the browser settings, and synchronisation between devices. There may be something built into the browser that triggers safe search, which subsequently gets synched to other devices. Try disconnecting a device from your synch account, and see if the problem goes away.

How do I permanently block 18+ content in Chrome? ›

Open Settings and select Screen Time. In the Content & Privacy Restrictions section, select Content Restrictions. In the Web Content section, select Limit Adult Websites.

What is the safest way to search? ›

Google Search is the safer way to search. Every day Search blocks 40 billion spammy sites from search results so you can search safely, and proactively protects you by encrypting all of your searches. Search also gives you tools to learn more about your results and take control of your Search experience.

Why is SafeSearch blocked? ›

SafeSearch might be locked by the device or network that you're on. For example, SafeSearch can be built-in to public Wi-Fi networks, operating system family protection settings, or antivirus software. In these cases, those settings might override your individual SafeSearch setting.


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