The 11 Best Deep Web Search Engines to Find What Google Can’t
For most internet users, the online world begins and ends with Google.com. However, Google is not able to find everything on the web because there is a deep, invisible web that is not accessible by Google. This is why you need special search engines to find information that is not readily available. Read on to learn more about the Dark Web and the best deep web search engines.
What is the Dark Web?
To learn more about the invisible web and how deep web search engines can help, we must first discuss the three different layers of the web.
- The “Web Surface” is where most internet users will stay. This is the web that Google searches. Search engines crawl and index all sites that live on the surface web. This is what the layman understands as the Internet.
- The “Deep Web” is a long list of databases, servers, and programs that won’t show up in an online search result or directly on the web. For the most part, experts consider the Shallow Web to be considerably larger than the Surface Web.
- The “Dark Web” is something you usually hear about in the news or in movies. This is best considered the home of more illicit activities, such as the sale of drugs and weapons. It’s not the entirety of the Dark Web, but it does require a very specialized browser like Tor to access it.
So what is the Invisible Web? For the most part, it exists in the realm of the deep web where general purpose web crawlers don’t reach. For example, most public documents are stored in databases and not on individual static web pages. This makes it “invisible” to Google, but we can get this information from deep web search engines.
Ahmia is one of the search engines designed for use on the Tor browser. It is widely used by users of this browser, but you can also use it on mainstream browsers as a privacy-focused alternative to engines like Google. It will give you more results than you will find on Google, and does not rank or filter what you find based on advertising.
It’s crowd-sourced and open-source, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely free-for-all software. Ahmia always filters out abusive and dangerous sites and has been instrumental in raising awareness of sites that attempt to deceive users.
As you can imagine, the official government repository of all publicly available information about US agencies, states, laws, tax information, jobs, and more contains a lot of information. From there, you can access specific sites and even tribal governments, access all kinds of documents, from birth and death certificates to old legal information. It is a powerful source of information for rigorous people.
DuckDuckGo has a strong focus on privacy, not user tracking, while allowing you to search the Surface Web. However, DuckDuckGo also has a hidden side that lets you search the Deep Web. When you pair DDG with the .onion version, then you can search much wider across the web, including the Deep Web. Note that this will require the Tor browser.
4. Time machine
What makes the Wayback Machine truly special is that unlike search engines like Google and Bing which only look at what is available on a website today, the Wayback Machine provides insight into content that is not is no longer available. Offering over 100 terabytes of data or 593 billion web pages, you can view the history of any public site.
5. not bad
Similar to DuckDuckGo, notEvil requires the Tor browser to access it, but you’re more likely to get results with its more than 32 million websites available. Enter URL http://hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion in the address bar, and you can start searching the deep web. The algorithm is said to be updated regularly and the user interface is very simple, so if you’re looking for an entry point into the Deep Web, this is a good place to start.
One of the oldest deep/dark websites known to the public, Torch is available using any Tor browser (Tor Search = Torch). Promising a three-second response time is pretty good for a website that’s been around the block. As is the case with most of the sites on this list, Torch wants to let you know that it will not track or censor you and absolutely respects your privacy. Torch’s biggest drawback? Commercials.
7. Directory of Open Access Journals
How many times have you come across an academic journal you wanted to reach only to find you needed a subscription? The Directory of Open Access Journals is here to help. It has more than 11,800 journals available in 80 languages from 126 different countries. Topics include agriculture, education, history, medicine, law, military science, scientific technology and more.
If there was ever a time when you wanted to check out a backlog of historical newspapers from around the world, Elephind is for you. With over 3.8 million newspapers available in 4,300 different titles, you have a total of over 200 million archives. When it comes to the right kind of research, students, genealogists and more will find this the perfect site.
Sites like WorldCat help bring to the fore the deep web that revolves around database indexing. Going from library to library to find a document takes a lot of time, so trust WorldCat to do the work for you. Books, DVDs, CDs, articles and more are all available as search engine topics. If you want to create a list of articles for the future, you can register for your own account.
Spokeo is focused on the people-centric nature of the Deep Web. Claiming to have access to over 12 billion public records, Spokeo is a great starting point for reverse phone number verifications. If you want to switch to something a little more invisible, you can search for email addresses, criminal records, social media profiles, current and previous addresses, and more. Spokeo makes most people work for you – all with a ten-digit phone number.
11. The Hidden Wiki
When looking for a catch-all of active .onion sites, your first stop should be The Hidden Wiki. You’ll need Tor to view the .onion address, but it’s a great place to check out some of the best introductory points to the Dark Web. But anyone unfamiliar with the Dark Web should be extra careful.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is the Invisible Web something I should learn to use?
To be honest, that’s a question only you can answer. Why do you want to use the Invisible Web? If it’s for finding library books or leafing through old newspapers, it certainly has its advantages. However, using sites like Spokeo should only be done with the best of intentions.
2. Is the Invisible Web safe?
If you’re starting to wade into the waters of the Dark Web, it’s not so much about security as about legality. If you stay in Deep Web territory, you can do a lot of things where online security isn’t a major concern. Understanding how to use Tor is one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the Deep Web and what you can really do.
3. Can I get in trouble using the Deep Web?
If you’re using sites like Spokeo to find co-workers or neighbors, then yes, that’s probably not something you want to engage in. If you’re using it to look up library inventory, old newspapers, or find scholarly journals, then it’s completely fine.
Ultimately, deep web research should be done with caution. Some of the deep web search engines here are perfectly fine to explore, but once you enter the world of Tor, your online guard should be up. It’s very easy to click on something and go down a rabbit hole of the internet that you probably don’t want to visit. If you’re worried about the searches you’ve done on Google, learn how to delete your Google search history.
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