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Torch is a darknet search engine (URL: http://cnkj6nippubgycuj.onion/). It indexes new hidden services every day. You can search anything on it (it's uncensored). It's the oldest and longest running search engine on Tor. According to their wordpress site, https://torchsearch.wordpress.com/, they "have over one billion dark net pages indexed". How is this possible? The dark web only makes up a small portion of the entire internet and yet Torch claims they have more than a billion dark web sites? Is there any truth to this statement? Are there more than a billion darknet sites and did Torch really index that many? Also, how does Torch sort through their entire index to choose websites relevant to the users' search? Please provide some clarification for this. Thank you.

Update: Apparently, Torch is also contradicting their previous statement by saying they've indexed only 2 million hidden services here: http://cnkj6nippubgycuj.onion/about. I'm even more confused as to how many sites Torch has indexed and how their processes work. Please explain. Thank you.

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  • darknet search engines are really poor at returning relevancy-ranked, let alone organized, results, often spitting back a russian roulette assortment of their choosing. it might actually reflect how redundant and repetitive and non-unique those 1 billion, 100 million, or 13 million onion sites are – user610620 Feb 16 at 20:11
  • @user610620 can you actually show this? – Swangie Feb 16 at 20:19
  • go on torch and search a word. it's lousy. even onion site descriptions under the link titles try to be clever by using broken sentences are just a potpourri of keywords. a blatant gouging of how non-cryptic cryptographic-wannabes are – user610620 Feb 16 at 20:22
  • @user610620 Even if the search engine isn't that good at finding relevant sites, does it still have an index of 1 billion sites and how does it do this is my question. – Swangie Feb 16 at 20:23
  • i'm just saying it doesn't matter what the number is. because 90% of that billion are either mirror sites (that's how a single "store" gets more business), or contain content/products that are complete rip-offs of any other darknet site that appears in search. whichever wetmarket you go to in the world, you will keep seeing the same chicken feet and pig ears – user610620 Feb 16 at 20:27
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A "page" and a "site" are different things. For example, Wikipedia is just one site, but it has 52,702,416 pages. If Torch has indexed two million hidden services, then it only requires an average of 500 pages per service to get the claimed billion pages.

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  • Thank you for clarifying it to me. But just one last question, are there really 2 million hidden services? – Swangie Feb 17 at 12:38
  • Nobody knows. One of the goals of v3 hidden services is that it should be impossible to prove that a given service exists without knowing its URL (unlike v2 services, which could be enumerated in various ways). – Mark Feb 17 at 22:23

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