The Tor technology has more to offer than making sure that you stay anonymous on the Internet or can connect to resources that are blocked in your country or network. So called .onion websites exist that can only be accessed through Tor. While they behave mostly like any other website that you come across, the core difference is that they are not indexed by regular search engines and that they can only be accessed if you are using Tor or a service that acts as a Tor proxy of sorts.
So how do you come across these sites if they are not indexed by Google, Bing or Startpage? There are two main methods: First, by word of mouth either through a link that was posted somewhere or by recommendation.
Second, by using a search engine that is specialized in indexing Tor onion websites.
TorSearch is not the only search engine for .onion websites, but it is certainly one of the larger search engines out there. The 128,000 pages it has indexed may pale in comparison to billions of pages that Google or Bing have indexed, but that does not make it less useful considering that there are fewer .onion websites out there than normal websites.
It works like any other search engine, and provides you with options to use it regularly, or while you are connected to the Tor network of sites.
Just type in the search term you are interested in and hit the Search Tor button afterwards. A list of up to ten results per page are displayed to you on the results page that you can go through.
The search engine uses the onion.to hidden service gateway to make Tor hidden services visible for Internet users who are not connected to the Tor network. This means that anyone can access the resources the search engine finds regardless of type of connection.
Non-Tor users won't benefit from the network's anonymity on the other hand, and it is highly suggested to connect to Tor first before the search engine is being used.
Next time you are connected to the Tor network, you may want to give this a try, provided that you want to find Tor network resources and don't just use the connection to stay anonymous on the Internet.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.