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The Top 7 Dark Web Search Engines in 2023

The Top 7 Dark Web Search Engines in 2023

Take a look at our 2024 edition of the Dark Web Search Engines rundown here.

When navigating the online world, many users turn to mainstream search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Yet far from the eyes of the public, you can find an entire underground world, with huge portions of the web hidden away. In fact, none of these mainstream search engines index these sites.

This part of the web is known as the deep web, and the most hidden part of it is dubbed “the dark web” or “the darknet”.

What’s so unique about the dark web specifically is that it provides its users a level of anonymity as it uses a protocol that indicates that one user is logged in from three different locations around the globe as a kind of routing chain designed to protect the user from getting exposed.

The dark web has been widely used by legitimate organizations such as the military, government agencies, and even journalists who needed a secure space for communication. However, the anonymity the dark web provides has attracted many cybercriminals engaged in malicious activities, making it a crucial online space for threat intelligence and proactive monitoring.   

One of the main search engines that are known for allowing access to various dark web sites is DuckDuckGo, a search engine that has gained a reputation for not tracking user information. Since 2016, it’s been the default search engine for Tor Browser. It can be used to access the dark web but its results are limited.

How can you access the dark web?

In today’s digital landscape, accessing the dark web (also known by some as Onion websites) typically involves acquiring links to their domains through directories and online related communities, where users and moderators share site connections.

However, maintaining these directories can be challenging due to the dynamic nature of dark web domains, which frequently change. Sourcing forums for these links can be a tedious task, as the information is dispersed across various platforms that may be difficult to navigate.

Another way to find dark websites is by using specialized search engines designed for this purpose. We have examined and identified valid dark web search engines that are currently active.

What are the top dark web search engines?

Before reviewing each dark web search engine, let’s first take a quick look and compare them in the table below.

Overview of the top dark web search engines

Search EngineIndex MarketsIndex
Forums
Login Blocked ContentPaywall Blocked ContentIndexed Pages (est.)Response Time (secs)Granular FiltersLinked Direc-toryI2P SE
Ahmia.fiYesYesNoNo6M3NoNoYes
HaystakYesYesNoNo260K2.8NoNoNo
Tor66YesYesNoNo12K2.5NoNoNo
KilosYesYesNoNo20K2NoNoNo
HoodleYesYesNoNo392K3NoNoNo
ReconYesYesNoNo400K3.5NoNoNo
Z-LibraryYesNoYesNo2M2NoNoYes
Overview of the top dark web search engines

The top 7 dark web search engines – all you need to know

#1. Ahmia.fi

Ahmia.fi functions as a search platform that facilitates access to the dark web. However, Ahmia maintains a stringent stance against any form of “abuse material,” setting it apart from other dark web search engines that list websites that host child sexual abuse content. Ahmia is accessible not only on the dark web but also on the surface web but it supports searches on the I2P network.

The Ahmia.fi search engine

#2 Haystak

Haystak is a dark web search platform specifically crafted for the Tor network. It catalogs about 1.5 billion pages, encompassing over 260,000 websites, making it a resourceful engine. Haystak also provides a premium edition, a kind of VIP area with additional functionalities, including the ability to conduct searches using regular expressions, explore previously inactive Onion sites, and utilize their API.

Haystak

#3. Tor66

Tor66  indexes newly discovered sites through deep web crawling and by enabling users to anonymously submit new URLs for crawling. Its default search results are organized based on popularity. But the platform also provides users with the ability to arrange the results according to various criteria such as top, newest, and languages, and even generate a random list. Similarly to other search engines featured on our list, Tor66 incorporates paid search advertisements into its operation.

The Tor66 search engine

#4. Kilos

Kilos is often used to discover and access dark web marketplaces, where you can find illegal drug trading. While some search engines avoid the more shady side of the dark web, Kilos embraces it, by refraining from filtering search outcomes. This strategy has elevated Kilos to the status of a leading black market search engine. However, it also underscores its role as a gateway to an illegal and dangerous realm of the internet.

The Kilos search engine

#5. Hoodle

The Hoodle search engine employs a crawler to automatically catalog pages from the dark web. The administrators of the site claim that they continually expand the Hoodle database every day. It also provides users with the option to add links to its database. Regarding its user interface, the search engine adopts a simple design for user-friendly navigation. Like other platforms, it includes advertisements and offers paid search placements.

The Hoodle search engine

#6. Recon

Recon was developed by Hugbunt3r, a prominent figure within the well-known dark web platform, Dread. Its purpose is to function as a repository enabling users to explore items from various sellers across diverse marketplaces on the dark web. Users can also view individual profiles of vendors and marketplaces, providing information such as ratings, alternate links, the number of listings, and the percentage of uptime.

The Recon search engine

#7. Z-Library

Z-Library is the globe’s most extensive illegal library, which claims to provide access to over 11 million ebooks. The library has been operational since 2009, providing ebook files in various file formats without their copyright protections. The Z-Library functions as an intricate network of hundreds of interconnected web domains and is available through TOR and I2P platforms.

Z-Library login page

Dark web search engines – what’s next?

Dark web search engines have evolved over the years, both in terms of the quantity and scope of their search outcomes. However, despite some advancements, current dark web search engines merely provide a glimpse into the hidden realm of websites and information existing in the dark web. 

To gain access to a wide range of concealed content on the dark web and at scale, you will require an advanced dark web monitoring API or tool. These solutions automatically identify new marketplaces, forums, and other sites within the deep and darknet. 

Webz.io’s Dark Web API or Lunar can help. The Dark Web API crawls and structures illicit content from the dark web that is blocked by login credentials or paywalls which is crucial for continuous monitoring. Lunar, our dark web monitoring tool, is a simple platform that helps analysts and other cyber professionals easily access and investigate threats and track illicit activities in near real-time. 

Monitoring the dark web is crucial in identifying early indicators of potential cyber threats and requires special tools, get in touch with Webz.io’s experts not to learn how you can start now

Shay Maman
Shay Maman

Cyber Threat Analyst

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