Why DuckDuckGo Doesn’t Work as a Tor Search Engine

For those who have ever got on Tor and conducted a search for darknet-related material, they quickly find out it is difficult to impossible to find real .onion results. This is because DuckDuckGo is not a Tor Search Engine. It is only a basic search engine that offers more privacy than Google, Yahoo, or Bing. 

These sites are numerous and don’t help web surfers narrow their search. If they want to do specific .onion searches, they must use a Tor Search Engine. But not all Tor Search Engines are equal, but this will be discussed that later.

How DuckDuckGo Works

Most of those who know a thing or two about the deep web have heard people toss around the notion that DuckDuckGo is a deep web search engine. People get this idea because it is advertised as being a search engine that protects the user’s privacy.

Gabriel Weinberg said in an article posted by WIRED, “We protect your search history, even from us.” Weinberg also promises his search engine will not use cookies to track its users, collect personal information, and hides their IP address.

DuckDuckGo may do a reasonably good job doing all of those things, but it is not a Tor Search Engine in and of itself. Moreover, even though it does have a Tor hidden service at http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/, that version is also strictly a Clearnet search engine.

This is why people find it nearly impossible to find the exact search result they want. For example, someone types in the search term “Top quality pistol silencers” in either version of DuckDuckGo and your results look something like the screenshot below.


When someone clicks on a link in Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other sites similar to them, whatever search terms used will be sent to the target site in the HTTP referer header (HTTP header field). Simply put, this means that when they click a hyperlink in one of the above browsers, they send a request to the server hosting the requested destination page.

The referer field in the request allows web servers and the websites they host to identify precisely where people are visiting from, and this includes the individual’s IP address which is like giving out their home address.

This information is supposed to be used to make the user’s experience better by learning what they like, where they live, and so on. Nevertheless, as most people with common sense know, law enforcement and hackers use this information to break into their computer systems as well.

DuckDuckGo calls this “search leakage.” By default, it prevents search leakage from being included in the search results. Instead, a user’s search inquiries get redirected in such a way that their search terms are not sent to servers or websites. The only thing servers and websites know is that someone visited, but don’t know what search was entered, or any personal information such an IP address.

What Makes a Genuine Tor Search Engine

The main reason why search engines such as DuckDuckGo and others like it do not show results for onion site is that they do not crawl the deep web. On the other hand, genuine deep web search engines do crawl the Tor network and show the user a mixture of Clearnet results and real onion results.

By doing this, a person can broaden their scope and see more of what is offered on both the deep and dark web. This means that when someone types a search term in the deep web search engine, instead of only Clearnet results, they will see results such as seen below.

A List of True Tor Search Engines

There are a lot of websites on the Clearnet supposedly listing “all” of the Tor Search Engines available. But the truth is, most of them are full of crap. Below is a full list of all true Tor Search Engines.

MultiVAC – Tor Search: http://multivacigqzqqon.onion.sh

not Evil – Tor Search: https://hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion.sh

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